High school sweethearts always make our hearts melt, and that’s exactly what happened when we met Dawn and Zach! These two have been together 11 years(!), and were each other’s first-ever boyfriend and girlfriend! They’ve traveled the world together, they love Harry Potter and Spongebob, trying new foods, and always having a blast with each other!
Even after just meeting Zach and Dawn, I could tell that they were special. Even their love story is so fun! So it came as no surprise when they suggested Balboa Island Fun Zone in Newport Beach for their engagement photography session. They had a blast playing arcade games, walking the boardwalk, and watching the sunset, and it was awesome getting to capture all the fun!
We hope you enjoy reading their love story as much as we do!
Q. How & when did you first meet? Describe your thoughts / how you felt about each other. Was it love at first sight?
A. We were friends of friends through most of high school but not particularly close until Zach’s senior year. Dawn had theater class with Zach’s brother Alex. After Zach’s cross country practice he would sit and wait for theater class to let out so that he could take Alex home. While sitting and waiting we would talk since Dawn would be finished for the day and was waiting for rehearsals to end. We had fun talking to each other and later at the Winter formal dance we started dancing and Zach asked Dawn to go out with him. We started dating that Valentine’s day and have been together since.
Q. What do you both do for work?
A. Dawn is a production assistant for an upcoming Warner Bros. film and has aspirations to be a producer. Zachary is a data analyst for a company that does movie audience analytics.
Q. GROOM: What was it that made you first start liking your bride-to-be?
A. I thought she was easy to talk to and we both had similar life experiences thus far (you know, all the life experiences you have in High School). Since she was my first girlfriend I didn’t have pre-conceived notions of how maintaining a relationship worked and a lot of relationship dynamics just fell into place naturally with her.
Q. BRIDE: What was it that made you first start liking your groom to be?
A. I liked how comfortable he was in his own skin. He was never afraid to be himself. He was also very caring and we had so much in common. We’re both big nerds and I love how we can share that. I also thought he looked like a Jonas brother, and I was a huge fan of theirs so that didn’t hurt either.
Q. Tell us about your first date. What was going through your mind? Where did you go, what did you do?
A. Our first date was a fun-filled sushi date. This was my (Dawn’s) first-ever date; I was very nervous. Zach picked me up at Target where I was shopping with my mom and we went out to sushi. I was very impressed with Zach since he had never had sushi before and actually really liked it!
Q. What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. (example: pushing each other to new limits, love to travel, huge comic book fans, foodies, etc.) What makes your relationship unique?
A. We both love to travel! Experiencing new cultures and foods is something that we’re both very passionate about. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cruise, a road trip, or via airplane, we love it all. We’ve driven cross country (to Florida and back) and camped the whole way there, we’ve been to Hawaii, the Philippines, the UK, and Iceland.
We’re both big nerds and love Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and all things Sci-Fi. We can also basically have an entire conversation using only Spongebob references.
Our families and friends are very important to us. We see our families as much as possible and are still very close with our friends from High School.
Zach: I think we both offer things that complement one another’s personalities very well. Depending on the situation, one of us is the other’s rock when we need them to be.
Q. Tell us about your proposal story! How / where did it all unfold? Who cried first? Were you surprised?
A. Dawn and Zach had been dating for 9 years by the time Zach proposed. So Dawn took it upon herself to send Zach some engagement rings that she liked. Zach went the very next day to Trumpet & Horn to buy the ring. He kept it a secret, only telling his brother, for a few months until their European vacation in September of 2017. On their second day of the trip in Iceland, after an adventurous morning of glacier hiking, Zach took Dawn to Skógafoss waterfall where he proposed in front of the picturesque backdrop. There were no tears, just absolute happiness.
Q. What is one piece of advice you have for couples just beginning the wedding planning process? What have you enjoyed most about planning your wedding?
A. Do what makes the both of you happy! It’s your day, so making decisions based on what you both like is key. Planning a wedding can be challenging at times, but it’s very rewarding when you’ve both been able to come to a decision that makes you both happy. Those moments for us have been the most enjoyable so far.
Zach and Dawn are getting married in September of this year at Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga, California. We’re so excited for these two, and we can’t wait for all the amazing adventures that are ahead of them! From the team at Three16 Photography, we wish you all the best!