From the couple: The engagement session was fantastic. We relied heavily on Candice to make the photo shoot really work. We let Candice pick the location, pick props, set everything up, pick the colors of our clothes, etc. and we couldn’t be happier. Candice picked a park in San Dimas, CA near Raging Waters that had wonderful wilderness trails, a beautiful lake, and wonderful hill sides that made a picturesque background. However, what we appreciated most was the ability to let our own, true personalities come through in the photos (the groom-to-be never thought he would be able to actually get a series of shots with his boxing gloves), while also getting those, as Candice put it, “photos your Mom is going to want”, out of the way. The most difficult part of the shoot was to figure out which picture to use for our Saves the Dates and which to use for all our social media profiles.
Their love story: Our love story began with a wedding. Tim’s sister’s wedding to be exact. Joanna had gone to college with Tim’s sister, Rebecca, and Tim and Joanna had known of each other for some time now, but though they admired each other, never really managed to hang out by themselves. Rebecca and Joanna did theater together so Rebecca, having been on the receiving end of Joanna’s make-up artistry a number of times, asked Joanna to do her hair and make up for the ceremony. A chance make up rehearsal which coincided perfectly with Tim’s music rehearsal managed to put everyone in the same place at the same time, which subsequently lead to the three of them going out to dinner after afterwards. Joanna and Tim managed to hang out a number of times in a group that week as more and more common friends came in to town for Rebecca’s wedding. Then, as fate would have it, Tim’s date to Rebecca’s wedding had to cancel on him… as did his second date… as did his third! Now about three days away from the wedding and knowing her brother’s condition, Rebecca told Tim that Joanna was looking for a date to the wedding as well. It was a no brainer for both parties. So, Joanna and Tim’s first date was a wedding. Obviously, it went very well.
The proposal: Tim had brought up months before how much he’d love to go see a Heavyweight Title Fight in Vegas and to his surprise, Joanna said that she would actually have a lot of fun dressing up and going as well. As a young man in love and avid Combat Sport aficionado, that was all he needed: an out of town destination and a diversion that guaranteed a well-dressed and photo-ready new fiancé, and a proposal that should come as a complete surprise. Perhaps a little out-of-order given the expense, naturally Tim set out to purchase tickets to the fight and buy the ring before ever consulting Joanna’s Father, whose permission he sorely sought to stick with tradition. The event would be UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez in Las Vegas. The young couple would be heading to see it immediately after their Christmas with Joanna’s family, where Tim was confident that her Father would acquiesce to his nuptial request. And so the Christmas travels came. Unbeknownst to Joanna, Tim had been carrying around her engagement ring in the compartment of his suitcase that he used to pack his socks for the better half of a week. He had bought it on Black Friday, nearly a month prior, and had been keeping it hidden in the glove compartment of his car, at times no more than a foot away from Joanna’s knee caps, ever since. Yet, despite several attempts to have a one-on-one conversation with Joanna’s Father, largely due to the busy schedule and family gatherings, Tim was unsuccessful the entirety of the vacation to do so, and had to settle for a nerve-racking, yet successful phone call after leaving a voicemail with a message that included: “I’m calling… well… frankly to talk about marrying your daughter”. So came the big night. Joanna was dressed in a stunning, silver, sequent dress paired with Tim in a black suit, blue shirt, silver tie, and the ring in his vest pocket. Then, after saturating themselves with physical melee, beer-drinking fight fans who only spilled on them twice, and the constant shouts of the incomprehensible crowd cheering in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, Tim realized the romance he assumed would naturally occur on such an occasion, probably would not come to fruition in the current environment, and needed a way to transition. He was blessed with shoes. During the walking to the MGM Grand from the Mandalay Bay, Joanna’s feet had been put through rough angles and weird surfaces in shoes not meant for that kind of use. So, after witnessing Cain Velasquez recapture the Heavyweight Championship, they headed back to the Mandalay Bay hotel room to switch shoes and explore dinner options. Tim, realizing that this was probably the best opportunity to make something happen, removed the concierge informational brochure from Joanna’s hands, sat next to her on the bed, told her that he loved her and all about how he was trying to find a time to talk to her Father this weekend. After a brief explanation, he fell down on his knee, took the ring out of his pocket, and asked her to be his bride. Welling up in the eyes, she clasped her hands to her mouth and said “of course”. And to Tim’s satisfaction, she was very pleased to already look so wonderful for the photos that followed.
Photo credit: Candice Benjamin Photography