Cherry blossoms galore! We had to rearrange our schedules a few times to hit the peak days for the blooms–and we certainly did, and it was so worth it! Sandra and Dustin wore traditional Hanbok clothing for the first half of the session and they looked like they stepped out of a movie! Combine that with their palpable love for each other and this session was magic!
Sandra shares, “Dustin and I are just a couple of nerds who love each other. We met through the help of the often underrated app, Tinder, and quickly bonded over our mutual love of space, sci-fi, Hayao Miyazaki and old skool video games.
I went on our first date having no expectations and discovered that this guy Dustin was not like anyone I had ever met. He seemed immediately trustworthy and honest and, although we shared some common interests, our upbringings were quite different and it was really refreshing and exciting to be dating someone so different from myself.
Over the first few months together we grew closer and soon realized we never wanted to be apart. This September we are going to be making our commitment all nice and legal-like at the Metropolitan Building in LIC, Queens. We loved the space when we first saw it, and even though I had my heart set on an outdoor ceremony, I knew the light was great at the Metropolitan Building and that going outdoors wasn’t going to work out for us, but secretly I was still dreaming of having pictures of us outside.
When we first met Jessica and she told us about planning our engagement session she mentioned how this could be a great way to use things that we love but weren’t going to be a part of our wedding. I immediately thought it would be an opportunity to get some photos of the two of us outside in ‘nature’ or at least the next best thing: Central Park. I also wanted to take advantage of seasonality by staging the photos with those ephemeral and iconic pink blooms of early spring, the cherry blossoms.
I told Dustin I really wanted us to wear the traditional Korean dress called hanbok. I love the silhouette of both women’s and men’s hanbok and although logistics made it too cumbersome to incorporate into our ceremony or dinner, I thought this would be a great place to include a bit of my Korean heritage and also introduce hanbok to Dustin. He was willing to go along with it and we found a wonderful place in Flushing called Hanbok Story where the owner designs hanbok to buy as well as renting hanbok for weddings and photo shoots. The jeogori (top) part of the hanbok I wore was a new design and serendipitously features little cherry blossom details.
People in the park were loving us in our Hanbok! Jessica wasn’t the only person snapping pics. I think wearing Hanbok and shooting with the cherry blossoms made the day feel that much more special for us and something to remember.”
Dustin shares, “Sandra and I met using one of those dating apps, swiping right for love. Luckily that was both of our intentions.
Our first date was a normal first meeting type of thing. We met up at a local pub for a a few drinks and chatted about all sorts of things. The second date is where I felt like I really got to know her. We went to the Brooklyn Comic Arts Festival and after sitting through a few panel discussions, we went around the corner to get something to eat. Over dinner we somehow ended up on the topic of classic arcade games and we both agreed the Simpsons game was at the top of our lists. We both knew that Barcade (half bar, half arcade, but you probably figured that out if you didn’t already know) has a lot of these retro games and after a quick Google search we were off to the Chelsea location and ended up playing arcade games all night together.
At some point Sandra introduced me to her high school friends who introduced me to a new kind of game, the ‘Escape Room.’ In an escape room, you’re ‘locked’ in a room or even multiple rooms and you’re required to solve puzzles to try and get out. So, every month or two we do one of these rooms at varying levels of difficulty and themes.
Last year I started planning my proposal. I reached out to three of Sandra’s good friends to ask for advice on the ring. They all were super excited and helpful through the process. After a few months and many rounds of narrowing it down, I found the perfect one from a local designer (WWAKE) who also happens to be a friend of one of the friends I turned to for advice. Once I had the ring I was ready to work out the proposal plan.
I had known for awhile that I wanted to propose in an Escape Room where at the end instead of finding a key to get out, it would be the ring. I eventually found a spot in our neighborhood and talked with the staff who were very accommodating and happy to set up the room for us. I made sure that Sandra’s friends would be arriving early and I called to confirm our dinner plans after we finished the room. We had only been in the room for 20 minutes before we solved the last puzzle. The final clue unlocked a drawer where there would usually be a key and letter saying that you solved the room, but instead there was a letter that I wrote for Sandra. After she was done reading the letter I did the traditional proposal where I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me and she said yes.”
Happy Engagement Sandra and Dustin!