Todd and Elena

Image 1 of Todd and Elena

how we met

Love could be the most amazing, scary and overwhelming feeling that someone can have. You break out of a boundary that feels safe and enter an unknown. Yet you are strangely calm. You never really know what is to come and yet you jump on the roller coaster feet first and hope for the best.

Todd and I met on a whim. Our roller coaster was a ride I never wanted to get off. Call it a twist of fate. Growing up worlds a part, we strangely were connected. Todd grew up in Michigan and not far from where I attended University. Although I grew in up in Canada – we had a lot mutual ties together. We had set up a day and time to meet at a place named Wonderland in Ocean Beach. I was nervous, excited, terrified would be an understatement. . . yet, as I walked up those stairs to the restaurant, before I even noticed the hostess, I saw Todd and locked eyes. I walked straight to him and within moments I felt a sense of calmness and warmth come over me. They say that “love at first sight” is a fairy tale, well this was mine coming true. Todd quickly became my everything. We came from two different worlds. Todd being a pilot in the Navy, and I was a city girl from Toronto but we knew from the moment we met that we were meant to be together.

Image 8 of Todd and Elena

We fell instantly in love. I remember having a smile on my face from that day forward. In fact, it was only our second date that Todd told me that he loved me.

As a little girl growing up, you always imagine what your wedding day will feel like. You always think about what the man you will marry will be like. You ponder about how you will actually know that you’re in love and that this is the man who you are to spend your life with. It is absolutely true when they say, “when you know – you know” From the time that I go to sleep, I feel like I am where I am supposed to be and I wake up with a smile on my face. Todd pushes me to be a better version of myself. I truly feel like the world is my oyster. Of course this feeling of euphoria is described for centuries. YET, one of my true moments when I knew I loved Todd. . . we had a romantic dinner together full of laughing, wine and amazing food. Todd gets up and goes to the freezer, I obviously thought he was getting out dessert because I saw a cookie tray. Nope! He had made homemade treats for our pups and didn’t want them to feel left out while we had dinner. It was game over for me after that.

Image 2 of Todd and Elena

how they asked

It was just over a year ago… May 5th, 2015. Todd had planned a picnic for us at a secret beach in Sunset Cliffs, (San Diego, California). The day was a bit overcast for a picnic but decided to go anyway. To get to the secret beach you had to scale down a rock ledge. It’s a rare, untouched beach that is surrounded by rock cliffs and beautiful surroundings. Todd had set up an incredible picnic with a fire, wine and cheese and music. In that moment I literally felt like I was in the most picture perfect moment. We talked, laughed and literally in the moment it felt perfect. Then Todd had asked if I had wanted to go for a walk.

At the time, the tide was out which made a rare moment where you could climb into these unique caves that scatter across the cliffs. I was slightly skeptical because I was in a dress, but went for it anyway. We climbed over rocks, laughed as we got splashed and slipped clumsily on the rocks, yet made it to a little cave. It was incredible. Just looking out from that view to the vast ocean was breathtaking. At the moment, with waves crashing in on us, Todd got down on one knee and proposed. It was in those minutes or seconds that I felt like the world stopped. My world as I knew it was changing, it was becoming complete. I knelt down with Todd and he wrapped my in his arms as the waves were crashing in.

Image 3 of Todd and Elena

Image 4 of Todd and Elena

Todd asking me to marry him isn’t just a step in our lives – it is our life. My heart truly felt so full and I had never felt so alive. I looked into his eyes and literally saw my past, my present and my future.

Image 5 of Todd and Elena

I saw the man who made me feel so loved, cared for and admired. I saw the father of my children, the man who I want to face every adventure with, be by my side thru thick and thin, the good the bad and the ugly. I saw the kindness in his eyes, the warmth in his heart. I could feel the love that he has for me. This was it. This man was my everything, not the end to my fairy tale, yet just the beginning. A proposal is a beginning of a journey. It’s a rare magical moment in time. Ours will forever be captured at Sunset Cliffs.

how we found the rings

Engagement ring (by Todd): I purchased the engagement ring from Steve Padis Jewelry, but I was actually in San Diego when I purchased the ring, not San Francisco, where they are located. I worked with Anne who had been recommended by a friend and let me tell you, it was nothing short of first-class service. Anne and I communicated via telephone, text, and email, and she showed me around 30 pictures of different rings before I chose “the one”. The crazy thing is that “the one” was actually one of the first rings Anne suggested. After I told her the style I was looking for, she had an uncanny ability to find perfect rings to fit it. I loved “the one” right away when I saw it, but I asked to see more and more options because I felt like I couldn’t possibly have found it so early on (I was wrong!). Then came paying, of course. Anne was able to get me a great deal, and it was even more amazing to have received extra 20% discount for being active duty military. I couldn’t thank Anne and Steve Padis Jewelry more for supporting the U.S. Military.

Bands (by Elena); We ended up flying up to San Francisco together for a weekend getaway! When we walked into the showroom, I didn’t know where to begin – there was just so much sparkle! I was able to have my engagement ring sized as we picked out bands, and Anne was so incredibly knowledgeable as we did. Her advice was that I wasn’t just picking out a band to match, but that I was picking out a band to match my lifestyle. She asked personal questions like what I like to do, how I see myself wearing my rings, and so forth.

Image 6 of Todd and Elena

Todd was leaning towards a band for me that was classic with clean edges (just like him), and I wanted something with flare. I was very lucky that Todd decided to surprise me with two bands! One was a classic Henri Daussi band, and this other was a Padis original. Pairing them together was perfect in my eyes, and Anne was SO kind and patient with me as we found that perfect combination. I truly felt like royalty, which is exactly how it should be. Together with your loved one, picking out a band you’ll wear forever shouldn’t be rushed. I kid you not, I was there for 3 hours and not once did I feel rushed. Padis was the cherry on top of a perfect weekend getaway in San Francisco!

Image 7 of Todd and Elena

Special Thanks

Shelly Anderson Photography
 | Engagement Photos