I have something SUPER special to share with you all! Perhaps you remember the Valentine’s Day contest that I hosted this year with a number of other fabulous ladies? What a contest it was - we had a TON of really, really amazing entries - a lot of couples sent us details of their love stories and we had such a wonderful time reading through each and every one. A lot of them made me a bit teary-eyed - everyone’s story of how they met was so unique and special so it was incredibly difficult to choose the winners. In the end, we had decided to choose two couples to win the You’re the One I Love contest, Sandra + James and Sarah + Kyle (who will be featured in a little while!). Once again, I have to thank all the couples that entered the contest from the bottom of my heart; for taking the time to share with us your special relationship and also for sharing so many wonderful details about the love you share.
But today, we celebrate Sandra and James! Myself, Stephanie of Sweetheart Events and Ashton of Bespoke Decor Rentals met with Sandra and James to have a chat about what they envisioned for their session. Both of them were so laid-back and easy going, we knew instantly that we were going to have a really great time with these two! That night, we had come up with a plan to meet at Granville Island for their session because Sandra went to school at Emily Carr so that spot had some great significance to her. But what happened at the shoot that Sunday afternoon was entirely unexpected and a really big surprise!
Our whole crew met at Granville Island after Faye Smith had dolled up Sandra to the nines with hair and makeup. I had our route all planned out as I always do - a list of locations to travel to and we first started at the Love Wall, a mural installation at the Arts Umbrella. What a great first spot! We hung out here for a bit and as we were finishing up here to move to our next spot by the water, James insisted he have a few photos with him in his jacket. I initially thought this was a bit weird and said OK. So he put his camel coloured jacked on and went to embrace Sandra. I had to pause a moment because I kind of wasn’t expecting this and took a few seconds to regroup and ponder my next creative move. And then James said, “I have something to ask Sandra.”
I looked at James and thought to myself, Is this happening?
And when he got down on one knee, it was obvious what was going on. It’s really happening!! Oh. My. Goodness!!
It took a few moments for Sandra to take in what was going on and when she did, it was such an extremely joyous thing. Stephanie was shrieking with excitement, I was trying to focus the camera with tears streaming down my face, Sandra was in disbelief. No one knew. James had decided not to tell a single soul of his plan. So he proposed to the love of his life in front of the Love Wall. It was one of the most delightful moments as a photographer I have experienced to date.
We then immediately transitioned into their Engagement Session, which was such an unexpected surprise. We traversed the south side of Granville Island, seeking out some quieter spots. We had a few items prepared by Bespoke Decor; a cozy blue plaid blanket, a lovely winter-inspired bouquet and a simple vignette with Coronas, signifying an element of how they first met. And to cap it off, a photo of the two of them 11 years ago when they first met and now.
A big shout-out to the ladies that partnered with me on the You’re The One I Love contest; Stephanie of Sweetheart Events for co-coordinating the meetings and the session plans, Ashton of Bespoke Decor Rentals for providing some additional flair to the sessions and to Faye of Faye Smith Makeup and Hair for making the ladies look fabulous. Don’t forget to stick around, there is one more session to tell you about later on!
We asked Sandra and James if they would answer a few questions about their love story and I’ve peppered them throughout the post. I hope that you enjoy this Vancouver proposal story!
James, when did you know Sandra was the one?
We started dating in 2003 and in 2004 (we were 19 and 20), I went to Europe for 1 month. My vacation was great but all I wanted to do was to come home to Sandra. I knew then how much she meant to me. She was working a summer job as a server and we even discussed pooling her tips and my savings together to buy a ticket for me to come home early.
Describe your feelings in the moment? Were you nervous? Were you surprised?
Sandra: James totally caught me off guard. There is no exact word that could describe how I felt that day! I was a mix of every emotion: happy, nervous, shocked, excited, confused, stunned… I do know my legs were shaking and I had happy tears streaming down my face.
James: I wasn’t nervous or scared… I was just happy and extremely excited to share this with Sandra. I knew she was going to be so surprised that I was finally proposing after 11 years!
How did you personalize the moment and make it true to you?
James: I knew my proposal would be simple and intimate. The scene that set for our Granville Island photoshoot reflected who are as a couple and when the time came, I was comfortable and I knew I had Rose on hand to capture it all.
Do you feel having this moment photographed is important? Why?
Lifes’s moments pass by us so quickly. To have photographs of the day, help us record that event and we are able to relive the feelings and emotions. It’s beautiful to be able to share that with our family and friends.
If you are interested in having your proposal documented, do let me know! I can also hide in bushes! It can all be very discreet and sneaky-like. For more information, send an email to [email protected] for how I can help you preserve your proposal memory forever.