It just so happened that I would be in California right before Cassie and John were flying across the country for their NYC wedding. The couple lives in Newport Beach with their sweet pup, Frankie. So we just had to plan an engagement session at the beach!
Cassie and John met in Laguna Beach. At the time, in April of 2021, Cassie was traveling around the West Coast. They started dating that June, and got along so well, that when Cassie was set return to New York, she changed her plans and stayed in California so they could be together. About a year after they met, in April of 2022, they got engaged.
Happy engagement Cassie and John!
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I met Catherine and Steve and their sweet pup, Bo, at Red Rocks for their engagement session. We were lucky to have a warm winter day to enjoy the scenery.
Catherine shares, “After some serious quarantining in my tiny NYC apartment in Spring 2020, I decided to put all of my belongings into a storage unit and move to Denver to take advantage of remote work. I had a bunch of friends in Denver and I was so excited to go hiking on the weekends – it was going to be the perfect 2-month vacation!
A few days after I moved to Denver, Steve swiped into my life on the dating app Hinge. Our first date was in July 2020 and, in true pandemic fashion, we walked around City Park with takeout margaritas from Middleman. On our first date, we realized we had a ton in common. We both worked in tech and had spent a lot of time working abroad, played ice hockey as kids, and even frequented the same bars in Arlington, Virginia, in our early 20’s. On our second date, I got to meet Bo, his adorable yellow Labrador who he had adopted just 3 months before.
Starting a new relationship during a global pandemic is a strange experience. Very quickly, we went from being strangers to road-trip companions, co-workers, and roommates. Somehow, my 2-month Colorado vacation has turned into a permanent move and I couldn’t be happier about the way things turned out. Fast forward to January 2022 when Steve proposed to me while snowshoeing in Crested Butte and I said yes! We are so excited to get married in September 2022.”
Happy engagement Catherine and Steve!
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Leah and Nathan were married in September, but jumped at the chance to extend the celebration with some beautiful snowy portraits in Denver.
Hutson Floral Design created a beautiful, wild, winter bouquet featuring roses, greenery, and a pin cushion protea with moss wrapped stems.
Leah shares, “Nathan and I met at a Christian leadership academy in Mijas, Spain, in 2018. I had a huge crush on him and he didn’t know I existed. As we both went on our own journeys, our hearts were formed and transformed by unconditional love and, eventually, our paths converged. In our dating, I was plagued with loads of relationship anxiety, the effects and aftermath of trauma. I’m passionate about that part of our story because it’s more common than the cultural narrative would have us believe and I want everyone to know, relationships are lovely and messy. Both, at the same time.
We got engaged in the midst of COVID and committed to planning a wedding in just 57 days – piece of cake! Our covenant ceremony was the most lovely, magical day complete with a carpet dance floor.”
When I spoke to Michèle and Matt about a photo session to celebrate their marriage at the Highlands Ranch Mansion I was thrilled! The whole thing came together like something out of Cinderella! Congratulations, you two!
Matt shares, “Twelve years ago on a Sunday afternoon I walked into John Holly’s Asian Bistro ready for a closing shift and a long night. Never would I have imagined that I would be meeting my future wife, manning the host stand, with those captivating eyes and freckles that just melt me. Fate slated us to wait many more years for our relationship to begin, but a seed was planted in the form of a serious crush that (I have on good authority) we both shared.
Fast forward seven years and we’re out for drinks, watering that seed and discovering how life had changed us through college and beyond. Months later, after growing a beard and as some would say, “a pair,” I finally asked Michèle on our first date. Our relationship began at a sushi restaurant, so Sushi Den seemed the most fitting destination for our romantic journey to begin. Good wine, good food, and the best company sped up the hours until we were standing on the deck of her apartment locked in conversation as we watched the night sky go by. Motivated by the waning hours and my lack of suave, Michèle moved in for the kiss. I was smitten… and the evidence suggests that so was she. I’ll go to my grave testifying that the last first kiss is the by far the best first kiss. We haven’t left each other’s side ever since.”
Michèle shares, “Ever the planner, I am sure Matt was certain he would never be able to surprise me. Lo and behold, he did!
About a month prior to our engagement, Matt asked if I was available for an end of summer lobster dinner at his Uncle David and Aunt Stephanie’s home. Admittedly, so excited for a seafood feast, I asked Matt if I could wear sweatpants. His response was a gentle but adamant, “You may want to dress nicer than that… It’s a really nice house.” Fair point.
A month later, on September 22, 2018, we approached the house and were greeted by a sign, “Party in back.” As we turned the corner of the garden, we were greeted not by sounds of merriment but by strings of twinkling lights. The backyard had been decorated with string lights and gold and white balloons. A table was set with candles, Lamarca Prosecco (our favorite), sushi and wine. The same wine we had on our first date- which was at Sushi Den! He had recreated our first date!
My favorite part of the whole set up was the Polaroid pictures Matt strung up on a line. From the first picture we took together, our first 1:1 trip to Mexico, and Disney World, to the “fake” wedding shoot we did with Rocky Mountain Bride, he had captured so many of our most treasured moments. Imagine my surprise when Matt said, “I’ll be right back” and left me standing there! When he returned, he had a present for me to open. The first thing I took out was a homemade coupon that I had made for HIM and given him our first Christmas together in 2014. Gee, thanks. The coupon was for “Any activity, anytime, anywhere.” However, when I turned the homemade coupon over, there was the world’s sweetest note. “From the moment you gave me this, I knew what I wanted to use it for.” That’s when the waterworks started. I barely noticed the photographer, our friend Lia, in the corner snapping away.
Matt got down on one knee and asked me to spend my life with him, which I very enthusiastically accepted!
Amore Fiori created a beautiful winter bouquet featuring roses and greenery.
Michèle shares trying to plan a wedding during the pandemic, “What a wild experience! I have always loved the idea of fairy tales, princesses and dreamy wedding days. I even worked in the wedding dress industry for a few years. However, the pandemic quickly turned what was 2 years of planning our wedding into a pipe dream and a prayer. With our original wedding date in September 2020, we decided to keep friends and family safe and postpone for 2021. We quickly realized that, as sad as we were to not share this special day with our loved ones, the real important part of a wedding is the marriage!
We decided to elope on the two-year anniversary of our engagement, just us two and our photographer. It was intimate and filled with laughter and a few happy tears. We know that the “makeup” wedding in 2021 will be just as special, surrounded by those we cherish most. We are so thankful and fortunate that we were still able to be married this year, just on different terms.”
Cristina and John had a romantic winter wedding with Christmas touches. The day began in the couple’s apartment in Astoria.
Cristina shares, “Our wedding day truly was THE BEST DAY EVER. I’d describe our wedding style as romantic and elegant, with a hint of glitz. We were surrounded by meaningful people and reminders of those we wish could have been there. From the start of the day, having my family (including our “furbabies”: Chloe and Baby) getting ready with me in our first apartment together was so significant. Chloe and Baby mean the world to us and having them play around the apartment while we all got ready made the morning joyful. I love the holiday season for the togetherness that it brings and having our Christmas tree as my backdrop felt super special. For my accessories, I wore my sister’s wedding earrings and a brand new necklace my Dad gave to my Mom. I also wore my Grandmother’s wedding band on my pinky finger. It felt special to wear jewelry from all of the influential women in my life on my special day.”
The couple shared a first look outside of the Liberty House surrounded by flurries of snow!
The ceremony was warm and cozy inside the Liberty House. John walked down the aisle with Cristina’s mom.
Cristina continues, “The Liberty House is a beautiful location that overlooks lower Manhattan. We both grew up in New York City and having the skyline as our backdrop was an ode to the place that made us who we are today. The inside of our venue has large glass windows that made it feel like we were outside, despite the cold December night. Other personalized additions to our wedding included our “wish you were here” table, honoring the memory of those who had passed and were near and dear to our hearts. We reserved a seat for John’s Mom at our ceremony, as we know she was watching over us. Our signature cocktails are drinks John and I have been enjoying for years together over date nights. Our wedding favors were ornaments to commemorate our wedding day, filled with love and representative of our favorite holiday, Christmas. My favorite moments of the day included seeing John for our “first look.” In the 30-degree weather, my adrenaline kept me warm enough to be able to show John my wedding dress outside, in front of the beautiful skyline. We came out for our first dance in true fashion dancing to EDM music. Our first dance was romantic and magical. It allowed us to enjoy a moment to ourselves, taking in all of the love in the room while our guests watched over us. Dancing with my Dad was also a highlight. We share similar personalities and have always been able to understand each other without saying much. As we danced, I could feel my Dad’s pride for me and I know he felt my appreciation for being the best Dad a daughter could hope for. Seeing John dance with my Mom pulled at everyone’s heartstrings. Celebrating John’s mother’s life during our ceremony honored her existence while John dancing with my Mom represented the new bond they will share as mother and son-in-law. The thing we were most grateful for was having our living Grandparents with us to celebrate. I grew up very close to my maternal Grandparents and having them there to bless our marriage was truly a gift. John’s Grandmother played a huge role in raising him and recently turned 95. One of my favorite memories of our wedding day includes her with us on the dance floor and being the life of the party. John and I enjoyed dancing to our favorite songs no matter where we were or what we were doing in that moment. It made us feel very present and allowed our guests to feel relaxed and comfortable to enjoy the night as they wished. The rest of the night went by so fast. Sitting at our sweetheart table gave us the chance to take it all in and appreciate everyone’s presence on our special day. We danced the night away in between trips to the bar taking shots with friends. Having all of our loved ones under the same roof felt surreal. It was absolutely a day we will never forget.”