Vivian and Ryan

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How We Met

Ryan and I met via the app Coffee Meets Bagel in April 2015. I told him to pick the spot for dinner, and he chose a spot in Playa del Rey, CA just a few blocks from his place. I was new to the Los Angeles confusion and all of its region, and had no idea where it was. I figured LA is LA, and didn’t mind. It turned out to be 1.5 hours away from my home! Had I known exactly how long it would take to get there, I would have skipped on even speaking with him. Luckily, I was naive to that fact! Worse, it began raining an hour before our date, right when I was heading out, and Los Angelenos are not known to be good drivers in the rain. I was almost 1.5 hours late for our date, and almost bailed except I didn’t want to “waste my makeup”.

Within a few minutes of our date, I knew he was The One. It sounds super cheesy, but I just knew. I had never felt the spark I felt when I saw Ryan’s smile. He was worth the travel from the 10 to the 110 to the 105, in bumper to bumper LA traffic, in the rain.

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How He Asked

His story: After Vivian moved in with me, the idea of marriage and taking things a step further became more of a reality. I spent the following months looking for a ring and also thinking of proposal ideas. The perfect ring fell into my possession sooner than I expected: it was classic, vintage, and in its original setting from the 1940s. Better yet, it was the exact carat weight of the date we had our first kiss. Now when should I propose? How should I ask her?

Viv and I had been planning a road trip to northern California in late December for winter break (she works with students with speech and language impairments). I had gone back and forth on proposing to her then, mainly thinking of how I could ask her, while also doing something special for us.

The idea occurred to me while looking at photos we had taken with each other by a professional photographer a few months prior. She loves getting dressed up and having photos taken in pretty locations. It hit me: what better way to capture the moment of us getting engaged and still keeping it a surprise by asking her in the middle of a photo shoot? We have an excuse to get dressed up, to go to a pretty location we haven’t been to and to also document our intimate moment with our friends and family later.

I finally found the perfect photographer who was available with one week left until show time, and shared the idea of the photo shoot with her. Needless to say, I did not get the reaction I was expecting.

Viv became stressed. She told me she needed to find something to wear, and that she had always wanted to take pictures up there but I didn’t give her enough time to prepare. It went from a happy, exciting moment for me to a moment of dread. How can I get this to work?

A few days later, she brought up the photo shoot, and agreed to do this spontaneous shoot. YES! This was going to happen!

I had the ring safely tucked away and with me at all times. I picked Point Lobos in Monterey, California to be our special place. Vivian was all dolled up, and we were having a great time with the photographer.

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The session came to an end near the beach, in a secluded location on a rocky cliff. The sun was setting in the background. This was the perfect moment. I looked into her eyes and told her, “You know I love you so much, right?” and she looked very confused and told me “yeah, I know”. I then got on one knee and spilled my heart to her, asking her to marry me. Her reaction was not exactly what I had expected. She laughed, and then couldn’t stop laughing. She laughs when she is surprised, so I knew I got her. I asked her “So… is that a yes?” and she replied “No sh*t, Sherlock!”

Her story: I can’t believe Ryan’s proposal almost didn’t happen because of me! When he had brought up wanting to do a spontaneous photo shoot, I absolutely became stressed out. I had one week, and I was swamped with work and with the holidays. I’m glad I decided to go through with it, since taking pictures in northern California was always something I wanted to do.

When we started the photo shoot, our photographer stressed just one simple rule— to not talk when it was camera time. So we spent most of the shoot laughing, smiling, singing between our teeth, then talking while the camera was down. So imagine my slight annoyance and confusion when Ryan started talking mid-shoot! When he asked me if I knew he loved me, I told him “yes, shh!” between my teeth. Then he kept talking. And I didn’t hear anything else he said. I just started nervously laughing! I’d calm down for a quick moment, then start laughing all over again. I asked him for a hug, and, well, I’m colorful with my words.

“So, is that a yes?”

“No sh*t, Sherlock!”

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Special Thanks

Rachel Zee
Photography