29 October 2013

A Cincinnati Engagement Session by Ben and Les Photography

This darling engagement is the perfect package - an adorable package, beautiful skyline, awesome tones of blue, and don't even get us started on the ring.  Breathtaking!  Ben and Les Photography creatively traveled around the city with this couple, creating portraits that showcase authentic emotion, the charm of Cincinnati, and lots of incredible details.  The architecture, the outfits, and the composition of the images create a modern, classy shoot with images that are sure to be treasured for years.

Their love story: The Introduction… They met in July 2011 at an industry conference in Columbus, Ohio. A mutual colleague, Samantha (Sam), introduced them at a dinner that Greg was hosting with a number of financial professionals. At the beginning of the evening the mutual colleague ensured that Julia and Greg sat together in order to formally meet and get acquainted. Julia: I had no idea that my boss, Sam, was setting me up with Greg. When I arrived at the dinner Sam rearranged where everyone was sitting so that I would be next to Greg and I thought it was the strangest thing! Little did I know, that maneuver introduced me to my future husband. Greg: I had attended a different conference with Sam about a month prior to the dinner where she described the perfect woman – intelligent, great personality, adventurous, and beautiful – she was right on all fronts! I expressed some interest and I agreed to be set-up. At the dinner, I can still remember the exact instance of the first time I saw Julia – stunning! During this dinner Julia and Greg discussed their backgrounds, experience, and common interests. One side note was that Greg spilled a glass of water on Julia’s white pants that caused quite an initial awkward moment. Julia: I was totally embarrassed that water was spilled all over my white pants, but it’s totally my style to just go with it…and it did! I think Greg liked that… Greg: It was a suave move (OK, not so much!) but Julia totally blew it off and enjoyed the evening, which was indeed an attractive reaction. The evening progressed with the group moving to after dinner cocktails at an establishment with dueling pianos – this led to a further opportunity for Julia and Greg to chat and of course exchange phone numbers. Julia: We had such a fun time! I was totally shocked that he asked me for my phone number – reminder: I didn’t know we were being set-up! But was excited, none-the-less! Greg: It was a really great evening. Since Julia didn’t know what was going on, the flow of the evening was very relaxed and casual. A challenge presented itself though – we were with a larger group and I really did not have too much 1:1 time with Julia to have a more personal conversation and ask her out. I conspired with another colleague to distract the others and make my move – I could tell that I caught her off guard but it went well! The Courtship… The dating of Julia and Greg started off slow as immediately after the conference Julia took a long vacation to California and then an extended celebration with close friends and family for her birthday in August (for those of you that know Julia, neither of these occurrences is uncommon). At the time, due to the delay, Greg was certainly skeptical that Julia did not share the initial connection but he stayed in touch and they eventually had their first date. Julia: Greg teases me that I kept blowing him off and just as he was about to give up I “threw him a bone” asking if he wanted to go out on a Tuesday night for our first date. :) Greg: At the risk of being dramatic, I had asked her out a couple times and she had some reasonable excuses but I was not going to ask her again (keep in mind, she is an advisor for a large client) but the final time she presented a counter offer of a Tuesday night dinner – I can remember thinking I need to plan this well! I do tease her that we were one text message away from never being together. The first date proved to be a blueprint for future dates as they started off at a local steakhouse for a dirty martini (Julia’s favorite cocktail), then proceeded to a sushi restaurant for dinner, and closed out the evening with a nightcap(s) to continue their conversation. Julia: Let me just say we had THE BEST FIRST DATE EVER! Greg is such a gentleman and we really hit it off! Greg: I admit that I spent some time planning our first date - I relied on all on our previous dialogue to coordinate the evening – she told me her favorite drink, that she loved sushi, and I recalled many of her interests to keep the “first date” conversation fresh. They developed their connection and continued to see each other on dates and business functions. Over the next year and a half they enjoyed their dates and their shared interests of working out, trying new restaurants with unique cuisine, and traveling. In many cases, doing all of those things in such places as San Francisco (Napa Valley), Chicago, Cayman Islands, Las Vegas, and New Orleans. Julia: We are so blessed. I love our life together! We do share a lot of the same interests but it’s so special to me that we share the same faith too. Greg: We have such a diverse set of common interests – from running in charity races, to our evenings out , to trying new foods (including turtle – ask Julia!), to traveling, and many others – we have had such a surreal romance.

The proposal: The Proposal… Julia decided in the summer of 2012 to surprise Greg with a trip to New Orleans for his birthday in early December. Since the relationship had mutually progressed Greg was searching for a ‘surprise’ proposal opportunity. He decided that Julia would not be expecting the proposal on his birthday and he was right! Julia: I didn’t expect Greg to propose that day but I teased my co-worker, Mike, that he would probably propose on his birthday because I would be the best birthday gift ever! Haha! Greg: I struggled with selecting an engagement ring for Julia – she has a strong sense of style that exudes elegance, sophistication, and class - and I’m a dude! After that, I really did want to surprise her because I felt she knew it was coming and I did not want to do a Christmas or New Year’s type scenario. The New Orleans trip was perfect! Julia had made all the plans for the trip but she alerted Greg of the agenda in the weeks prior that allowed him to incorporate his proposal. On the first evening, which was his birthday - he determined that a walk from a pre-dinner cocktail to the restaurant that went between a park in the French Quarter and famous catholic cathedral would be the place to propose. Despite dozens of onlookers Greg proposed on bended knee(s) in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Julia: I always joked with Greg that he better get down on both knees when he proposes to increase his odds that he would get a ‘yes!’ :) Greg: Yes, true story. Greg prepared a brief commentary that was quickly forgotten but she said “YES”. After updating their families and an outstanding dinner the couple took a two–hour carriage ride complete with champagne to tour the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, learn some of the rich local history, and visit some of the local taverns. If that was not enough, they continued their evening at a casino that proved to be a prosperous decision. Julia: The best day of my life! Unbelievably romantic! Greg: The proposal went perfectly! Funny note, after professing my love in detail in the proposal I hear Julia explaining it to her Mom in this manner “Greg said a bunch of stuff then, will you marry me?”

About their engagement session: Ben and Les (our photographers) happen to be my (Julia's) brother-in-law and sister. It was amazing to see them 'in action.' They do truly beautiful work and I was a very proud sister that day, as I am every time I see their work. They wanted Greg and I to think of the day as a date and it was so romantic holding each other close all day and seeing the amazing memories that they captured. Our engagement shoot was on a Saturday in February in Ohio and we were so lucky with the weather. It was a comfortably cool sunny day. We were at a few beautiful settings in Cincinnati, where Greg and I now live. We started our session at Ault Park in the morning, followed by Eden Park at dusk overlooking the Ohio River, and lastly Devou Park for a champagne toast overlooking the Cincinnati skyline at night. Greg and I were shocked when we saw our images, they were so beautiful! Ben and Les have such a creative vision, the pictures were better than I ever could have imagined.

Photo credit: Ben and Les Photography // Dress designer: All Saints Spitafields // Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Engagement Ring: Richter & Phillips Jewelers // Suit: Burberry

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