Brianne and Mischa

How We Met: Mischa is a photographer and I was representing a photo lab at the professional photographers annual November vendor meeting.

I was interested immediately, asked a few friends if they knew anything about him, lurked his myspace and facebook pages for clues about him and -of course- checked out his photography.

Our next opportunity to be in the same place at the same time was February 2009 at the same photography association’s awards banquet. I was hoping to seat myself next to him but he was the MC and I was stuck next to coworkers.

Mingling on the way out, I saw my chance and asked if he’d be at any of the three upcoming conventions, no luck there either, so I threw a “hail mary” and brought up sushi (an interest I knew that we shared from his social network profiles) He suggested that we have sushi together sometime, then invited me to his upcoming birthday party the following Saturday…. on Valentine’s Day.

I showed up, he stayed by my side throughout the party, we shared our first kiss that night and never looked back.

How He Asked: Mischa and I had plans to attend a “Sommelier challenge” dinner at the Farmhouse Inn and were looking forward (especially) to tasting the pairings of a new friend (the fiance of a dear friend).

Meanwhile, Mischa had mentioned that he purchased something from my Amazon wish list and that I should ignore the receipt notices in our shared email. (I did).

A large box arrived at our studio door and Mischa was adamant that I not peek, claiming that he was excited to wrap it and give it to me at dinner.

I was totally uncomfortable with the thought that I would have to walk in to the restaurant with something large and awkward (I prefer to be behind the camera than the one drawing attention)

Sure enough, Mischa wrapped the entire box, in polar bear and snowman Christmas paper. I was not looking forward to walking in with it.

Then, I get a text from my friend – whose fiance is the Sommelier in the challenge – asking for us to bring camera gear so she can video him doing his pairing descriptions. I tell Mischa (and he plays dumb) so we pack camera gear before we leave.

We arrived at the restaurant and I pleaded one last time for his mercy, could I just open the huge gift outside; Mischa insists that I wait and open it inside the restaurant.

Half an hour early for our reservation and very ready for a glass of wine AND sure I’m going to be embarrassed opening a large & practical gift in a nice restaurant we enter. The three sommeliers in the challenge are seated near the hostess station with the other noteworthies and my friend. There’s an empty table for two directly next to them. Mischa shows my friend how to use the camera’s video settings and comes to me.

“Would you like to open your gift?”

Umm yes! Can I? Yes!

I start to open one end of the huge box, peek inside, and see a very practical jewelry shelf with earring and necklace hangers – pretty much what I expected. Not really what I want to answer when people inquire about the huge box and holiday paper…

“There’s something else in there..”

That’s when time slowed down and sped up at the same time.

I reached in and my hand immediately found a small square box in the tissue paper.

Now, I’ve received earrings and necklaces from Mischa before so I wasn’t certain – though, if I’d been able to see that he had gotten on one knee, it would have been unnecessary to keep holding my breath.

One square box opened to reveal an ivory ring box and once unsnapped, I saw my ring for the first time. He spent months designing it, using rings I had hinted at and adding his own artistic demands. I said yes (had to watch the video to be sure) and repeated “it’s perfect” a few times – regarding the ring.

We were congratulated by the Sommeliers and restaurant staff (everyone knew but me) and we started the evening with a champagne toast.

No longer embarrassed by the wrapping and totally in shock, we talked all about his adventures designing the ring and who knew and who didn’t and his other plans to try and ask me and finally, why the huge gift… he knew that his excitement would give away the surprise if he didn’t have an explanation. It worked, I was so concerned with being embarrassed by the huge box that I missed his fancy outfit and his willingness to lend out our video equipment rather than offer to shoot for her.
It was perfect.

There’s a video too!

Mischa is the lead photographer for Mischa Photography based out of San Francisco, with Brianne as his partner, second photographer, office assistant and now fiancée!