The wedding between Michael and Danielle was extra special for me. Michael and I both attended college together at Hope International University, so it thrills me to see my good friend find true love proving that there is someone out there for everybody. Being a photographer from Orange County I relished the opportunity to shoot their Monterey Bay wedding in Central California. It also gave me a chance to finally meet his bride-to-be Danielle and very quickly I could tell she was perfect for him and could handle all of his plentiful sarcasm.
The scenery was stunning as some of the pictures we took overlooked the ocean coast from atop a cliff with sailboats in the background. I really loved my time in Monterey as it was absolutely beautiful and the people in this small town were so kind and welcoming, that I honestly feel I made friends there during my short stay and hope to see some of those friendly faces again.
Cheers, my friend Michael, and to his now better half Danielle!
Danielle and Michael’s Love Story
Q: What do you do for work? What do you enjoy most about it?
A: I am a 1st and 2nd grade teacher in Salinas. I adore my kids. They are creative, insightful, hilarious, kind-hearted and packed to the brim with energy. My favorite part of the day is seeing their smiling faces as I pick them up from their parents in the morning.
Q: How did you first meet Michael? Describe to us your thoughts upon first meeting him… was he goofy, weird, prince charming, etc?
A: I first “met” Michael online. Right away I could tell that he was thoughtful, generous and committed to the Lord.
The first thought I had as I watched him get out of his car, the first time we met in person was, “Oooh he’s handsome!” Our first date lasted all day and we talked the entire time. We talked about our future plans, our ideas about life, we talked about God and our role in the world as Christians, we laughed, we quoted movies and he played his favorite music for me as we drove through a redwood forest. At one point, he told me that his greatest dream was to have his own family and be able to pour himself out in service to his family. That made my heart melt.
Q: What is something that you find totally cute about Michael?
A: This is going to sound weird, but I love when he bites his lower lip and his soul patch (that part of his beard right under his bottom lip) puffs out.
Q: What’s the proposal story? How did it all unfold and were you surprised?
A: He took me to the Redwood Forest where we spent some of our first date. He told me we were going to go for a short hike to see a fairy ring. I am not a hiker, but he seemed very excited about the hike, so I went. The hike turned out to be nowhere close to “short.” It took us about an hour and I complained the whole time. He had gotten himself turned around and kept running ahead to see if we were close. He never runs, so I should have noticed that something was up, but I didn’t. At one point, while he ran ahead, I text him saying that I couldn’t go any further. When he came back, he assured me that we were really close. Luckily he was right. When we got there, he made me close my eyes, so that I could really take in the beauty of the trees. He led me into the fairy ring and told me to look up. When I opened my eyes, I saw a regular old fairy ring that, as far as I could tell, wasn’t anything special. But he was SO excited about me seeing this place, that I pretended it was incredible. I kept saying “Wow! It’s beautiful!” to make him feel better. I must have stared at those trees for a good 5 minutes, when all along he was kneeling behind me with a ring in his hand, surrounded by flower petals. When I finally turned around, I was SO surprised! I had no idea he was going to propose that day. I didn’t hear anything he said, but I said YES and we kissed. Our family was hiding behind the trees taking pictures. It was the best hike I’ve ever been on.
Q: As you plan your wedding, what has this experience been like? What’s your advice to others as they plan their wedding?
A: The experience has been crazy. There are SO many details, SO many to-do’s, SO many unexpected hiccups and SO many opportunities for us to become closer through it all.
Be realistic about the time you need to plan a wedding. Too little time and you might just stress yourself out too much. Expect things to get crazy from time to time. Lean on your betrothed and use this time to start solving the random and unexpected problems you will face, together.
Q: If Michael were an animal, what would he be and why?
A: He would be a brown bear, because he is strong and cuddly at the same time.
Q: As you have planned your wedding, what’s something new you’ve learned about Michael?
A: Michael is incredibly patient and dependable. No matter what is going on, he is always there for me to lean on. He wants the very best for me and he will do whatever is in his power to support me and lead me.
Q: What do you do for work? What do you enjoy most about it?
A: I work in finance at a plastics manufacturing plant. The thing that I enjoy the most there is that I am given a number of responsibilities and I have free reign to tackle these problems as I see fit. I have a fair amount of power and sway for my position, and I enjoy that.
Q: Describe Danielle in one word and why did you choose that word?
A: Loving. She is concerned about others and does not hold grudges. She enjoys making her loved ones happy and does what she can to help them grow. It is something that you can see in her life everyday and it is a clear priority for her.
Q: Tell us about your first date. What did you do and were you nervous?
A: Our first date was In Santa Cruz. First we went to coffee then we went for a walk in an arboretum, then we went to lunch. Afterwards we went to the boardwalk to play mini golf and then finished up the day with a walk at Henry Cowell National Park. We talked and learned a lot about each other and just enjoyed each other’s company.
Q: Was Danielle surprised when you proposed and why did you choose to propose the way you did?
A: Yes she was surprised when I proposed. I chose a grove of redwood trees in the forest in Santa Cruz because it was close to where we had our first date and I know she loves it in the forest. I also thought it would be a pretty place to propose to her and I would be able to make it a surprise without arousing too much suspicion.
Q: Looking towards the future, what do you most look forward to doing with Danielle?
A: I am excited to just live life with Danielle. I always enjoy doing things with other people and I can’t think of someone I would rather enjoy life with than her; both the big and small things. I know that they will all be better knowing she will be by my side.
Q: What is something unique, quirky or special about Danielle that you’d come to admire?
A: Danielle definitely is a bit theatrical and loves to break into song or dance at random times. At first it was kind of goofy, but now it just makes me laugh and smile.
Q: How has wedding planning brought you two closer together?
A: We have had to work through a lot of stuff and find balance between our differing opinions on some matters. It has helped our communication and conflict resolution skills a lot. We work through our disagreements rather quickly and it always brings us closer together in the end.
Congrats you two! Thank you so much for having Three16 Photography be a part of your special day and showing us the lovely Monterey Bay!
Planning a wedding or in need of some new family photos? Contact us, we’d love to capture your beautiful story.