It was a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. I was photographing a newborn session when I saw that someone had left a voicemail on my phone. After listening to it several times, it finally clicked in my head that it was Tim, a new friend and client with whom I recently met, along with his fiancée, Jessica. As it had turned out, Tim's custom designed engagement ring arrived early so he decided he was going to surprise Jess with a proposal and asked if I could capture that moment.
It was a no-brainer in my head. OF COURSE I wanted to! Only, our phone call was five hours before his intended time so that meant Tim and I had to quickly draft a game plan before everything went down. But this is where I'll stop talking and let the newly engaged couple share the rest of their story... cheers!
TIM: Leading up to the proposal, my biggest struggle was planning something that didn't seem out of the ordinary and maintained the element of surprise. I gamed every scenario and luckily the engagement ring arrived a day before Jessica's 27th birthday, ahead of schedule. Originally, I had planned to pop the question during an everyday activity but realized that wasn't "us." From the inception of our relationship in Los Angeles, we always bonded over great meals, sushi in particular, and I knew I had to tie that into the proposal somehow.
JESS: He's right - one of our favorite activities to do together is to sit at the sushi bar, talk with the chefs, and stuff our faces with nigiri. Tim knows the way to my heart - it's through my belly ha!
TIM: Since I had already made a reservation at Uchiko for Jessica's birthday (without the prior knowledge that the ring would arrive), I decided to enlist the help of the restaurant management and staff to help with the proposal. The one problem was I had never been to this venue before which made it very difficult to picture in my head how this would all turn out. I must have called the managers at Uchiko fifty times (likely once or twice, but in my head it felt like fifty...) to just go over the game plan and execution.
JESS: Still impressed Tim managed to plan and pull this entire proposal off in basically a day. He does tend to work better under pressure... :)
TIM: The whole plan was contingent on Jessica getting out of work early and getting her to come to the restaurant under the auspices of staking out a seat at the sushi bar. Victoria was kind enough to come early to the venue and review the plan and find a good place to hide out in the meantime.
JESS: Ever since my parents gave their blessing for us to marry back in December 2017, we have been researching wedding photographers. We stumbled upon Victoria's page one day and reached out to her to meet for coffee. Based on our conversation and connection that day, we really wanted to work with her for our wedding. Apparently Tim called Victoria about 5 hours before our dinner and she was available to shoot the entire proposal!
TIM: Game on. I arrived at the restaurant and the staff warmly greeted us and put the plans into motion. Once set up on the cocktail patio, I calmly texted Jess that I had arrived a bit early and was "just getting a drink" to wait out our reservation. The cocktail waitress was prepared to videotape the whole event and even the surrounding guests were in on it.
JESS: Hahaha "calmly". Well he did seem pretty calm over text. In person... not so much. :P
Tim: Since it was her birthday, I wrote a long note on a card and planned on presenting the ring just as she finished reading it. As most plans go, as soon as she arrived, she spotted Victoria, likely noticed I was sweating profusely, and my makeshift videographer was nowhere to be found. Luckily, she quickly emerged but somewhat awkwardly just started recording right in front of us (actually the footage is quite good). It was now or never...and I quickly got down on one knee, botched the most important speech of my life and presented Jessica with the ring. The sheer look of surprise, joy, and love from my newly minted fiancee made the entire process completely worth it.
JESS: Side note: I really love receiving greeting cards and Tim always makes it a point to get me sweet, funny, and thoughtful greeting cards during birthdays and holidays. I still remember the perplexed look I gave the cocktail waitress - she just stood there with the phone recording saying nothing hahah. Tim did NOT botch the speech, it was actually very sweet. In my mind, I thought I was going to cry or jump into Tim's arms. Well, I felt like a deer in the headlights. I felt really stunned because I couldn't believe the actual moment was finally here. I was also caught off guard because the ring was so beautiful and exactly what I had hoped it would look like. Moments after I said yes to him... I awkwardly said aww thank you.... Hahaha here is someone professing his love to me and I am awkwardly thanking the guy.
TIM: Now with the hard work out of the way, we toasted our proposal and took a few celebratory photos with Victoria. I am truly thankful she was able to photograph this occasion for us and share in our love story. We finished the evening seated at perhaps the best seats in the house and were treated like royalty by the staff. While the evening certainly didn't go exactly as originally planned, it was totally "us" in every way, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
JESS: It was very much "us". We did exactly what we love to do together: sit at the sushi bar, talk with the chefs, and stuff our faces with nigiri - both my belly and heart so very full and happy!
Tim and Jess, I've said it about fifty times, but thank you again for allowing me the
opportunity to capture this milestone for you both. I loved the spontaneity and joy that we
all shared together. Here's to your forever.
Thank you to all the staff and participants at Uchiko that day for helping us out.
We cannot be more appreciative of your care that evening.