"Your nose is so cold!"
We stood nestled in the trees, the fall sun setting behind crisp, evening clouds. It was a beautiful autumn evening, and somehow we managed to escape the rain.
That prior afternoon, I had flown home from Seattle, where the rain plagued the city and thick rain clouds shielded the sun from view. On my drive back, heavy fog blanketed the East Bay, but the moment I drove through the Caldecott Tunnel, the fog broke and the sun shone through. While I'm totally able to make the rain and fog work for a photo session, I can't say I don't prefer the sunshine!
Instead of encountering the fog, our session location was fresh and bright, although it did require a short trek through the mud soaked autumn leaves.
Truth is...I hadn't seen either Curt nor Salina since I was in their wedding in September 2017! So, not only was this shoot necessary for some seasonal Christmas cards, but it was also a great excuse to catch up!
Fun fact: Salina and I have known each other since we were seven! I am truly thankful that she thought to reach out to me to do this lovely fall session with she and her husband. Thankfully, I think Salina still loves me, regardless of the mud on her heels!
Four years ago, at a Chinese restaurant in Santa Cruz, Marissa's eyes fell upon a man sitting at another booth. Determined to get to know him, she ultimately worked up the guts to write her number on a slip of paper for her best friend to hand over on her behalf (with a note to remind him that she, of course, was the brunette). Now, that slip of paper sits nestled next to a polaroid of the two of them, placed in a frame on their bedroom wall.
I have known Marissa since the start of our freshman year in college, and she never fails to make me laugh. And, upon meeting Ken, she has never seemed happier. The two of them have such a fun and playful vibe to their relationship, and of course, they share a huge love for their kitty (also the love of their life), Abby (so many Snapchats of her, you guys). When we all find the time to get together, there is an endless supply of joy, laughter, heart to hearts, and of course, lots of love. These two never fail to lift my spirits.
Before this engagement session, Marissa's best friend (and future Maid of Honor), Madison, organized a surprise engagement party exactly one year prior to their wedding day. This special day included lots of food and drinks, decor, the company of various friends and family (some of whom drove for 6+ hours to celebrate with her!), and of course, an endless loop of Hilary Duff's "What Dreams Are Made Of" playing in the background. There was also wind...lots of wind.
It was especially clear after our weekend together how loved these two are, and how much joy they bring to those around them. In fact, some of my favorite weekends in Santa Cruz are the ones where we all sit snuggled on the couch in the living room, with a drink in our hands, playing Fish Bowl and laughing so hard we get dizzy. Marissa and Ken have never failed to make me feel like such an integral part of their journey and love story, and I am so thankful to have been the one to document this moment for them. So thank you, Marissa and Ken, for adventuring through the slippery rock terrain with me and for allowing me to capture this special time in your life. Here are a few of my favorites from our session together!