Jill and Brian | Black and White Engagement Shoot

How they met: While Jill attended a masters program at Pepperdine University, she also worked for the institution as a graduate assistant. This afforded her the opportunity to attend ‘faculty and staff’ functions and, incidentally, meet one particular gentlemen who very quickly caught her eye. Switching back into student mode, Jill joined her classmates to have her ID photo taken at Pepperdine’s Irvine campus by none other than the cute IT manager running the operation – Brian.

The evening of their first date, Jill drove to Brian’s house to find him playing the ‘fashionably late due to excessive primping’ card. As a result, Jill went to wait on his back porch with several of Brian’s best friends. It was interrogation time , and Jill was asked to state her intentions before she could receive the pack’s approval.

Brian then escorted Jill to engage in some of his favortie OC activities: pre-dinner sport’s bar shuffle board, do-your-own Japanese-style Korean BBQ, and an obligatory ‘fake-birthday’ celebration replete with Polaroid picture and free ice cream scoop — courtesy of the number one restaurant. He was a consummate gentleman with a child-like sense of adventure. She was aflutter.

The culmination of a few months of dating led to a lengthy discussion about the properties of zero, the Golden Section, and the mathematical revelation that “infinity contains an immeasurable number of sets with various carnalities.” In other words, zero = the nothing that is, the Golden Section (a mathematical ratio) exists not only on white boards in math departments, but also in art and nature, and infinity can take more than one value. Brian was speaking Jill’s language of abstraction. You could say that he had her at infinity.

How He Asked: The pair became an ‘item’ in December 2007 and two years later Brian asked for Jill’s hand – it was a clever engagement. All of his friends at the Cornell Johnson School and both of their families knew about it to the extent that Jill’s nine-year-old nephew boasted his secret to anyone who would listen! Alas, Jill remained in the dark.

Prior to Christmas, the pair traveled to California to celebrate the season with Brian’s family. On the winter solstice – December 21st, 2009 – he made arrangements for them to revisit the site of their first date for some Korean BBQ, followed by a long walk around Orange County’s Christmas light Mecca: Balboa Island. It was there that they enjoyed the sight of thousands of Christmas lights, the sound of their favorite Nina Simone song, and their mutual sense that the other person felt like home.

Due to a hectic semester at Cornell, both of them seemed to get winded easily from having done a little less cardio then they would have liked! After noting Brian’s breathlessness, quickened heart rate, and request to ‘stop for a minute’ while walking around Balboa, Jill became a bit concerned. Upon stopping at the tip of the island, Brian started descending down on one knee, and in response, Jill quickly followed him down thinking that he might be experiencing cardiac arrest (a genetic predisposition for overreacting)! He shook her arms frantically and shouted “No, no, no! Stand up!” Neither of them can recall exactly what was said after that, until Jill came back into consciousness and Brian realized he still hadn’t gotten an answer. His next line is the one they both remember: “So, are you going to marry me, or what?!”

Making the transition from fearing Brian’s cardiovascular failure to comprehending his proposal of marriage, Jill started jumping up and down with an exuberant, “Yes, yes, yes!” and a massive bear hug for her new fiancé. A mother-daughter duo saw the scene from afar and quickly rushed up to congratulate the couple. Jill started hugging them both with gusto, while Brian’s heart rate returned to normal. And the rest, as they say, is history…


Photos by David Wittig Photography