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Lead Wedding Photographer, Owner of Three16 Photography, and Boba lover.

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Orange County Professional Photographer

There are a couple of reasons why my staff and I love photographing Orange County Engagement Photo Sessions. First of all, Orange County offers so many different locations to choose from that it becomes a photographer’s blank canvas. Our couples can choose from the beaches, parks, and nature’s finest to the confines of urban living, as there are so many amazing backdrops that we have the opportunity to incorporate into your Engagement Photos. The second is of course the couples we meet along the way. And not just any couple, but all our couples that we photograph become part of the Three16 Photography family. This is true for Michael and Alyssa who recently had their engagement session at the Northwest Open Space located in San Juan Capistrano.

This hidden gem is approximately 500 acres of nature at its finest, with flowers, trails, fencing and trees. Now the best time of the year to visit Northwest Open Space is at the end of winter when everything is green and in full bloom, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the year isn’t something to sneeze at. Alyssa and Michael’s engagement session took place during the heat of July. And although much of the scenery had turn brownish in color, the backdrops to their photos still came out beautifully. The brownish hues actually gave the scenery a more country-style rustic look and feel to it. And when the sun set just behind the mountains, the atmosphere and scenery changed slightly for the better.

Loving would best describe Alyssa and Michael during their session. But once they became more comfortable being in front of a camera, the more natural they became. And with that they really began to open up and have more fun as the shoot went along. It was a real joy to watch.

It may have taken them some time to go from just friends to a relationship and now to marriage, but persistence paid off for these high school sweethearts that have “grown-up” together. And THAT makes for a truly sweet story.

Alyssa and Michael plan to marry in May of 2021 and we would really like to thank them both for allowing us to be part of their special day. We wish you many years of love and happiness.

Check out their love story. We hope you enjoy it, and their photos, as much as we do.

Alyssa and Michael’s Love Story

How &When did you first meet? Describe your thoughts and how you felt about each other. And tell us, was it love at first sight?

We first met as freshmen in high school through mutual friends. It wasn’t love at first sight. At first, we only hung out occasionally with our friend group. Over time Michael began expressing interest in me. I shot him down many times. I did not want to be in a relationship, but Michael believed we were meant to be more than friends. Michael remained impressively persistent for much longer than I thought he would and at the end of our sophomore year, I gave in a little and agreed to go on a couple of dates. I did not make it easy on him and still declined to give the relationship any title. We both had busy summers planned and we didn’t really talk all summer. When school started back up, Michael was right there, and we were able to pick up right where we left off as if no time had gone by. That was when I knew that I had to give him a chance. We started dating our Junior year and 10 years later we are getting married!

What do you both do for work?

Michael works for Fletcher Jones Management as a client loyalty coordinator. Alyssa is a nurse working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

GROOM: What was it that made you first start liking your bride-to-be?

From the beginning of our friendship, I could always count on her to give me a good laugh or just be there to talk through the rough times. She was more reserved than many of my friends, but I loved that once you got to know her, she had a much larger personality then she let on! She had a competitive spirit like me and liked to play, watch, and talk about sports. I liked that we both value family. She accepts people for who they are and let me be me.


BRIDE: What was it that made you first start liking your groom-to-be?

I was impressed with how personable Michael was. He could talk to anyone about anything as if he was their best friend. He made everyone feel comfortable and was able to easily make friends with all of my friends and family. Like I said above, I gave him a hard time for two years before agreeing to date him. Over that whole time, he made sure I knew I was important to him and was always the first person to be there for me if I needed anything. On a more superficial note, he was a stud athlete, had a cute smile, and a nice butt!

Tell us about your first date. What was going through your mind and where did you go and what did you do?

Our first date was the go-to high school date at the Irvine Spectrum. We had known each other for a couple of years at this point, but I had just agreed to try our relationship out as more than friends. We had dinner and walked around the shops for a while. It was an easy-going and fun night. At the end of the evening, we took a ride on the Ferris wheel and Michael asked me to officially be his girlfriend (because that is what you do in high school LOL). The excitement started after the date had ended. We were pulling out of the parking lot in our separate cars, and Michael had to share his good news with some friends. He made the poor choice to text and drive and ended up rear-ending my car! Our parents were not happy, but it is a good laugh now.

What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together and what makes your relationship unique?

Michael and I have had the unique experience of growing up together. We started dating in high school, and while we thought we were grown up then, we did most of our growing up and becoming who we are now together. Through this, we have both pushed each other to new limits and balanced each other out. Michael likes to be the life of the party and has helped pull me out of my shell. I have a large sense of adventure and have encouraged Michael to step out of his comfort zone to do things he otherwise wouldn’t. We are both competitive people and are big sports fans. We enjoy watching football and baseball together and compete against each other in fantasy sports leagues. We like to hike and be outdoors and spend time with our families.

Tell us about your proposal story! How and Where did it all unfold? Were you surprised and tell us, who cried first?

Michael proposed to me on December 14, 2019. I had an idea that the proposal would be coming. I had just graduated from nursing school and it was good timing. Also, Michael is not a good liar or secret keeper. The days leading up to the proposal he was a little anxious and had funny excuses for needing to get out of the house. One day he told me he was going to the batting cages, but he was wearing flip flops! He is very trustworthy, so I didn’t say anything, but now I get to poke fun at him. The day he proposed to me, he told me we were going out to dinner to celebrate my graduation. Before dinner, we went to happy hour at Star Fish in Laguna Beach and then he suggested we walk around the Montage Resort to pass time before our dinner reservation. When we got there, there was a very large wedding happening. I thought it was so cool, but Michael seemed a little anxious about it. It turns out he had picked out a couple of potential locations to pop the question, but all the spots were taken up by the wedding. He pulled it together and suggested a walk on the beach. As we walked along the sand Michael began to reminisce on our long history and then stopped me and got down on one knee! Michael cried first, which is no surprise to anyone that knows us! Even having a little inkling that the proposal would be coming sometime soon, I was still surprised. I teared up a little which is saying a lot for me! It was the perfect evening!

What is one piece of advice you have for couples just beginning the wedding planning process? And what have you enjoyed most about planning your wedding?

Try to enjoy the process as a couple! Go on venue tours and tastings together and focus on having fun with it, not stressing about finding the perfect everything. Give yourself plenty of time to plan, so that you don’t have to be stressed about the timeline. Go with the flow and trust that it will all work out. Use vendors that openly share ideas and tips with you before you even sign a contract with them, these are the people who are in the business to give you the best day possible!


Northwest Open Space Engagement | Michael & Alyssa

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017


Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017
Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017
Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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