"Long Beach, CA was the first time TJ and I had lived in the same city, so we wanted to do our engagement pictures there. We spent most of our weekends biking to our favorite spots in downtown, so that's what we did for our shoot as well. It was St. Patricks day so there were a lot of funny things happening on the streets, such as a guy walking around with a cat dressed like a leprechaun. At one point we were taking a picture of TJ on the bike and me on the handlebars, and some French tourists walked by and were taking pictures too as if they were the paparazzi. TJ is a musician, but wanted to include something more unique than a traditional guitar. He ended up bringing his theremin, which is an instrument that is equally creative and science-y. We mostly thought it was funny, but it definitely matches our personalities. The floral dress I wore was actually the dress my grandmother made herself and got married in back in the 40's." - from TJ & Mikkele
How he proposed: TJ knew he needed to talk to my dad in person before proposing to not only ask him for his permission but also to pick up my grandmother's diamond that he was going to have set in my ring. He was taking a work trip to Arizona and decided that was the best time to swing by my parents house to talk to my dad (this added 12 hours to his overall drive from Arizona back to Southern California). I thought his trip was going to last 3 days, but in reality it only lasted 2. On the third day he got up at 3am and drove to my dad, but was posting decoy pictures on Instagram about his work trip and tweeting about how much he hates driving through the desert, when in reality he was in a completely different part of the state. He even had the guy he was working with in Arizona post a fake Facebook status about their lunch break together. I had no clue what was really going on. Fast forward 3 months to Christmas night. Part of my Christmas present was this super sweet note and a coupon good for one adventure. The note was so sweet and sappy that I actually thought he was going to propose right then and there, but that would have been too easy. I found out the adventure would take place 3 days later, and he had called to get me out of work. The day of the proposal, we left at 3:45am to drive 2 hours away to Temecula where they do sunrise hot air balloon rides. TJ knew I'd always wanted to do this, and despite his efforts to throw me off, I figured it out pretty quickly. I thought he might propose, but was convinced he hadn't talked to my dad or gotten a ring. I started figuring out that something was going to happen when he had convinced the balloon pilot to let him take his guitar up in the air with us. We got up in the air, and TJ had written a short song that he performed before proposing. It ended up being really funny because even though the song was only 1 minute and 38 seconds, the pilot kept turning the burners on to keep us flying. It fluctuated between TJ singing softly and then the sound of an airplane taking off. When he finished I stood there and stared at him, waiting for him to say something, but he was busy trying to put his pick back into his pocket and grab the ring at the same time without dropping it. Everything seems more precarious when you're flying through the air in a giant basket. After a few seconds he got down on one knee and proposed! The winery where we did the balloon ride greeted us with champagne when we got back. Later that night there was also a surprise engagement party for us with a ton of our closest friends.
Photo credit: Kate Noelle Photography