Engagement sessions are so exciting. It’s presumably one of the first times you and your newly betrothed step in front of a camera under the sole pretense of capturing your love. You can go so many different ways with it. You can be a bit braver than you would think to be with your wedding, or you can do something that celebrates the every day, your extraordinary, ordinary life. And I am such a fan of both, but today we have a sesh from Punam Bean Photography that has me convinced that the latter is the only way to go. Punam Bean was able to capture the pure essence of this couple beautifully. It’s one of my new favorite engagement sessions ever. Click here to see the rest of these two cuties jaunting around the woods!
These two met working on a movie set in the Bronx. Andy was the lead and Ashley was an extra. The scene was a house party gone wrong where a fight breaks out and eventually gun shots are fired, not the most romantic place you’d think to find love.
From the groom … I remember Ashley sitting in the waiting room where all the extras were holding, I was smitten from the moment I laid eyes upon her. She was breathtaking. I remember trying to find an excuse to go and talk to her but I was so shy, and instead lived vicariously through the other boys who made their attempts.
At some point the director comes up to me and says, “Hey, in the next scene I need you to be flirting with a girl at this party, so go and pick out one of the extras.” I jumped, like a little boy, I jumped. It’s hard to explain love at first sight without sounding banal in describing feelings but, it was very much that, love at first sight. I quickly picked Ashley from the crowd and before you know it we were pulled tight together and whispering. At first there were nerves abound but, as we flirted, she let me know that she was just as nervous as I was and that put us at ease.
I came to find out that she was a very down to earth girl from Texas, and I being a California boy, we found it easy to talk about a longing for home. A day after the shoot, Ash and I walked all over the city together, we mused about everything. I think we walked 151 city blocks but no one was counting. At one point on our long walk Ash and I found an old bench in the middle of Central Park tucked away in a wooded area off the beaten path. She and I sat facing each other eye to eye and I told her, “I think I’m going to marry you one day.” I can’t explain the human heart. I can’t explain leaps and certainty. I just somehow knew she was ‘the one’ and no explanation was needed. We would go on to have a three month long distance relationship and eventually she made the move out to Los Angeles. Four years later, we are getting married.
Before I proposed to Ashley, I had composed an elaborate plan to fly back to New York and propose to her on that bench we found in Central Park. I found it fitting considering it had been a symbol of our romantic beginnings but, my impatience failed me. After I had found the ring I couldn’t contain the secret. One night, Ashley and I were in the kitchen making dinner, Italian wedding soup to be exact. We were having a laugh as usual. She looked divine. I was gushing with anticipation, especially after having asked her father’s permission for his daughter’s hand. My heart raced, it could have been the “Holiday Punch” but, I could no longer hold out. I grabbed her and I told her, “I’m going to ruin something and you can’t be mad at me. This isn’t what I had planned.” I got down on not one, but two knees and begged her to marry me. She said yes, and for the first time I really knew what real love was. I had known we we were in love but, at that point, our love was real.
Our wedding is going to be like the last day of summer camp meets an open bar. We’re getting married on the Yacht Eternity that journeys through Newport Harbor at sunset. It will be simple. It will be elegant. And there will be lots of dancing.
Photography: Punam Bean Photography / Location: Bonelli Park, San Dimas, CA