This sweet little love sesh right here? It’s my happy place this afternoon. A breezy gallery snapped up by Carmen Santorelli with not one, but three gorgeous dresses in blush, turquoise and gold, a floppy beach hat, a cozy sailboat, rays of warm sunshine and loads of nautical lovin’. Come kick back with me in the gallery.
From the beautiful Bride…Dean and I met in San Diego in 2012. After convincing myself that I could move all of my furniture on my own, moving day came and I realized that I was in some serious need of help. I called my nearby friend Phil and asked that he bring as many friends as he could to help. Turns out, most of these friends were not in any condition to help the morning after an “all nighter”. The only person willing to help was Phil’s friend, Dean.
Dean showed up with the biggest smile on his face and I specifically remember thinking to myself; now, this is the kind of man that I want to marry. I actually remember being upset after meeting him because I was under the impression that he was already taken. I guess I just assumed that someone this incredible and kind had to already be taken off the market. Turns out, he wasn’t and I couldn’t be more grateful. The week after we met, I went to my home state of Colorado to visit. Upon returning, I learned that Dean had been trying to get a hold of me, but was (without his knowledge) given the wrong number by our mutual friends. The next time I saw him, he was overly apologetic thinking that I hadn’t returned his calls or texts because he was too forward. After assuring him that he just had the wrong number we finally went on our first date and have spent almost every single day together since.
Together for nearly two years, I was more than ready to become his wife but with no indication from him, figured an engagement was still a long time away. When I woke up one Sunday morning, Dean handed me a cup of coffee and a note explaining that he was taking me away for a couple of days on a surprise trip for our “birthdays”. The note was complete with a packing list and the reassurance that he had already called my boss to tell him I wouldn’t be at work Monday morning. I had no idea where we were going until we arrived at the Dana point marina. I then knew we were headed to Catalina Island, a place I had been longing to visit since we started dating.
Once we finally set foot on Catalina we enjoyed an amazing day of exploring the island, eating to our hearts content and just enjoying one another’s company. After lunch, Dean mentioned that we needed to start getting ready for dinner and told me that he rented a sailboat and wanted to have a sunset cruise before our dinner reservations that night. I thought this was a little suspicious (and over the top) for our birthday but refused to let my mind wander to the thoughts of our engagement in fear of being let down if it didn’t happen.
After spending about an hour on the boat we came to a point where we were literally surrounded by hundreds of dolphins and sea lions all swimming together surrounding the boat. Even the captain of the boat mentioned that he had never seen anything like it. At this point I was so distracted with trying to capture pictures of the circus happening in the water around us, that getting engaged was the furthest thing from my mind. Not even a minute later, Dean got down on one wobbly knee and asked me to be his fiancée. Turns out, this weekend was to celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together. That moment is one that I wish I could relive a million times over because I don’t think I have ever been so overwhelmed with joy in my life.
When the incredible Carmen Santorelli and I started to brainstorm where we should take our engagement photos it seemed only fateful that a sailboat engagement session was something she too had been dreaming of and gathering inspiration for, for quite some time. When she told me about this, I knew that this would be the perfect backdrop to tell the story of where this chapter in our story began.
Photography: Carmen Santorelli Photography