January 23, 2021

Oak Canyon Nature Reserve Engagement | James & Heidi

Orange County Engagement Photographer
I love being a professional photographer in Orange County, especially in the wedding industry. You get a chance to meet some truly great couples and share in their special day, as well as some of the events leading up to it. But every now and then you get the chance to photograph a couple that has so much meaning to me personally. And this is exactly what happened at a recent Engagement Photo Session with James and Heidi at the Oak Canyon Nature Center.

This is personal for me for two reasons. For one, my wife Josie and I got married at Oak Canyon Nature Center in February of 2020 before Covid-19 really wreaked havoc, so that is an obvious one for me. But the second reason goes back much further. James’ dad, Steve, was not only my wrestling coach back in the day when I attended Esperanza High School, but he has played a big role in my life in helping me become who I am today.  Having the opportunity to photograph his son’s engagement and future wedding is just a thrill beyond the words I can ever express.

Photographing engagement sessions allows the couple to just relax, be in love, be in the moment with each other and to get used to being in front of a camera.  An engagement photo session also allows the couple to really put their love for one another on display and I got that feeling with James and Heidi at their recent shoot up at Oak Canyon.

Located in Anaheim Hills, Oak Canyon Nature Center is one of our favorite nature locations for engagement photography, as well as wedding venues in Orange County. We love what this location brings to your photographs as it has plenty of amazing natural backdrops, streams of water, bridges, walking paths, and all those awesome trees. Simply Stunning.

One of the many wonderful parts about falling in love with someone, is when that moment comes and you realize, this is your mate. Heidi and James both experienced those moments at different times, but they knew. Crazy to think that one day two people happen to meet online, and before you know it, he is down on one knee proposing to his love in front of the Coliseum in Rome. Crazy to think about our lives’ paths.

All of the details of this engagement session at this natural beauty of an engagement location was captured by the team at Three16 Photography. Heidi and James plan to marry in June 2021 at the Eureka Building and we would really like to thank them both for allowing us to be part of your 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.


Heidi and James’ Love Story

How &When did you first meet? Describe your thoughts and how you felt about each other. Was it love at first sight?

We connected through the dating app, Bumble. We went on our first date at O’Malley’s in Seal Beach and instantly hit it off. It took us four hours to finish our first drink because we just couldn’t stop talking to one another. After that first date, Heidi told her best friend that she knew she met the man she was going to marry. James was a little bit more reserved, but it didn’t take long for him to fall for her, too.

What do you both do for work?

James is a high school math teacher and a Freshman head football coach. Heidi is currently studying Communicative Disorders at CSUF to pursue a career as a Speech Pathologist

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

For one of our early dates, I took Heidi to Pinot’s Palette for a wine and paint night. We couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. While we were painting, Heidi began to do a terrible French accent describing her work. It was that moment that I knew she was the one for me. I asked her to officially be my girlfriend on the spot. Her humor has always been something that I love about her.

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

The thing that I first liked about James was how he would light up when talking about things that interested him and how he wanted to know everything on my mind. On our first date, we talked for hours about everything under the sun. There was never a dull moment in the conversation. I remember leaving the date thinking that I had never met anyone who seemed to understand me as much as James did.

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

What we love most about our relationship is our friendship. Traveling the world and trying new foods is something we love to do together, but it’s the moments in between that bring us the most joy. Some of our fondest memories are from our road trips. Spending time in the car, laughing at ridiculous jokes, and discussing our hopes and dreams. These are the defining moments in our relationship. When we are at home, cooking together is an activity that brings us a lot of happiness. We are both very creative people and enjoy testing out new recipes. We also love sharing these experiences with family and friends. We are always filled with love when we are hosting people for dinner and a game night!

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

James bought the ring a couple months before our big Europe trip. He tried really hard to keep the proposal a secret by scheduling other exciting events prior to attempt to throw her off. When it came time for the trip, James made sure to store the ring in his Nintendo Switch case because that was the last place Heidi would ever look. The night before James had planned to propose at the Colosseum in Rome, the tour guide told him it was a terrible plan because of how crowded the site would be. However, unexpected rain came through the next morning and not as many people were out. It just so happened that the local guide was running late, leaving us waiting directly in front of the Colosseum. The moment was just too perfect to pass up. James looked at his sister, Athena, and whispered, “NOW!”. She quickly suggested that we take a photo together, setting it up perfectly for James to get down on one knee with the ring. Heidi instantly began to cry and bent down to hug James. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that she actually remembered she needed to say “yes.” It was a beautiful moment shared with family and friends.

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?

When the wedding planning begins to get stressful, make sure that you keep in mind how much you love each other. At the end of the day, it’s just a party to celebrate that love!

Anything else you want to add?

Our first kiss is a story I love to share. On our second date, we went to dinner and then went bowling. As the night went on, I could tell that James really wanted to kiss me, but he was working up the nerve to do so. Towards the end of our game, he picked up the bowling ball and ended up throwing a strike. He turned around, strode over to me, and swept me into a kiss! It’s a moment that I will never forget.

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