I fell in love with this wedding right away. The poolside nuptials between a couple so pretty was tops and Daniel Usenko Photography hit it out of the ballpark. But then. Then I read the groom’s proposal story. And got goosebumps. Because this blogger was also proposed to in front of a castle of the Disney variety. So obviously, I’ve parked myself (and my happiest tears) in the gallery and don’t think I’ll be leaving anytime soon.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Poolside
From the handsom groom … In very rare occasions during the course of my life I’ve had moments of perfect clarity wherein I experienced an intimate understanding of certain details of my future. I’d never been a believer in the ‘love at first sight’ adage, but meeting Liz was one of those instants. Within the moment I’d met her I knew she was the girl I was going to marry. Liz has always been captivated by fairytale stories, so naturally an appropriate proposal would need to take place at the most magical place on Earth. When I wasn’t fully convinced by the ideas Disneyland’s guest services offered (they’ve got some great ideas, but just not personal or spontaneous enough), I set out to come up with my own idea – which more or less consisted of a ‘wing it’ endeavor. I’d envisioned an after-hours, romantic walk through an empty kingdom where I could propose in private in front of Snow White’s iconic castle. It was going to be romantic and perfectly magical. Throughout our relationship, I’ve often surprised Liz with out of town excursions. One of our first dates was an impromptu trip to New York, followed by a surprise trip to Hawaii a few months later; and many more throughout the years. I decided that the proposal trip needed to be a complete surprise. I arranged with Liz’s bosses to schedule her for mandatory overtime using Facebook as the means of communication. I made sure to delete all of the conversations so that Liz wouldn’t find out. I scheduled the weekend of April Fools Day. Liz has always enjoyed a good Fools’ joke, and an engagement would be a perfect fit. As the Big Weekend came near, Liz had decided that she had a ‘surprise vacation’ on the horizon. I still don’t have a clue how she got this in her head, but fortunately she didn’t know which weekend or where I’d be taking her. Sometimes she has amazing intuition. The day before we left I told her to pack her suitcase for 80 degree weather. The destination was a surprise, and Liz was excited about the trip. What I didn’t expect is that she would look up every airline website to try to check in for any flight with her name tied to it. She immediately knew that a Southwest flight to Burbank likely meant a Disneyland trip would be associated. Our Disneyland day was scheduled for Saturday. We had a great time all day, and in the evening I’d arranged to have preferred seating at the Fantasmic show. When the show was over, I’d expected the park to completely clear out so that we could have the place to ourselves for the magical moment. I would waltz Liz around the park a bit, walk through the castle and propose in the garden outside or on the gate. I did not expect the place to be at capacity at the end of the night. As we walked through the castle, I knew that stopping and getting on my knee would be like hammering the brakes on the freeway at rush hour. If I’d stuck to my plan we would have been catastrophically trampled by kids and strollers and never heard from again. I pulled the landing gear back up and circled for another approach, hoping the place would clear out by the time we looped through Frontierland. The Disney workers were informing us that Disneyland would be closing soon, and ushering everyone down main street to the exit. With my deadline quickly approaching and the place still completely packed, I’d considered that perhaps a Disneyland proposal under these conditions simply wouldn’t provide the magical moment I’d envisioned. On the other hand, I likely wouldn’t get the opportunity to plan another trip for a few more months. I was committed to getting this done. As we took another run at the castle, the place was still completely full, and the park was officially closed. I faked a quick exit, circled back and asked one of the security guards to take a final picture of us in front of the castle. As he was lining up for the picture I got the ring out and asked the girl of my dreams to be mine forever. After a round of applause from the people around us, we headed out and enjoyed the balance of our weekend in Newport Beach.
Photography: Daniel Usenko Photography | Second Shooter: Angela Shae | Flowers: Amore Flowers | Wedding Coordinator: Without a Hitch | Ceremony + Reception Location: Basel Cellars | Invitations: Checkerboard | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Dress Designer: Oscar De La Renta | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: JLM Couture | Men’s Fashion: Men’s Warehouse

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