These Two Really Have Come Full “Circle”
One of the things I enjoy most about shooting wedding photography in Orange County is that I am reminded that life is sweet and filled with amazing moments. The stories of how my clients met each other, fell in love, and decided to get married always amaze me. It’s so wonderful to see that people go through different journeys in life, yet down the road, their paths cross unexpectedly and they fall in love.
That is the story of Christy and Dwayne, who are getting married in June 2016. They are sweet and loveable, and that was really evident during their engagement photo session. A lot of laughter too. For their engagement session, we headed to Old Towne Orange and spent time around the Orange Circle area as the sun was setting. The Orange Circle is a place of significance to Dwayne & Christy, but I always find this place to be so special as well. If you ever go to the Orange Circle you will find all types of mom-and-pop shops, unique restaurants with great flavor, but most of all a beautiful community.
Often, you’ll find an older couple sitting on a bench by the fountain, a father watching his kids play on the grass, a mother carrying her sleeping baby, college students sipping on Starbucks while they work on homework, a few older guys sitting outside the cigar shop and of course a photographer or two capturing all the wonderful stories that surround us. This place is a gem.
I hope you enjoy Christy and Dwayne’s story, as they prove that you are never too old to find love and happiness and that you never stop acting younger. Oh, by the way, Dwayne had a piece of broccoli stuck in his teeth the whole time and I didn’t tell him. Just Kidding!
Christy and Dwayne’s Love Story
Q: What do you do for work and what do you enjoy most about it?
A: I am a Legal Assistant for a civil defense law firm. I have been in this field for over 20 years and love what I do and couldn’t see myself in any other occupation. It’s fast-paced and challenging, and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t learn something and have opportunities to grow myself.
Q: What was it about Dwayne that made you start liking him?
A: Dwayne’s kind and gentle spirit first attracted me to him. He is a total optimist and can see the silver lining in just about any situation. I’ve always felt completely safe and secure with him… physically, emotionally and spiritually. Also, his “Just Be” attitude. Be who you are. Don’t stress about things you have no control over. He keeps me grounded and never tries to change who I am because, as he tells me, “why would I try to change you? If I succeeded, you wouldn’t be the woman I fell in love with.” How can you not feel completely secure when someone loves you just the way you are?
Q: As you plan your wedding, what has this experience been like? What’s your advice to others as they plan their wedding?
A: I have thoroughly enjoyed our entire wedding planning experience. For the most part, planning has been relatively stress-free. Everything has fallen into place perfectly and I wouldn’t change any of it. My advice to others planning their weddings would be to enjoy every second of it and don’t get caught up in all of the hype that you have to spend huge amounts of money to have a beautiful wedding day. It’s just not true. Most importantly, be flexible. Things happen. Don’t let the little things that don’t go exactly perfectly stress you out. Relax, have fun and go with it. It’s about the marriage, not the wedding day. It’ll be beautiful and perfect regardless of anything because, in the end, it’s about the both of you celebrating your love for each other. Nothing else matters.
Q: Tell us about your first date, what did you do and were you nervous?
A: We had been talking as friends for many months leading up to our first date. We talked about everything under the sun, so we knew pretty much everything about each other by the time of our first date. In those conversations, he paid so much attention to such tiny little details. Our first date had many little stops along the way and each stop had significance based on our past conversations. For instance, we’re both foodies that love to cook and try new foods. He was shocked when he found out I had never been to Whole Foods! So, that was the first place he took me! Sound crazy? Nope. Because we strolled the store and I was in heaven looking at all of the amazing foods I’d never seen before. Little did I know, the whole time, he was leading me toward the Gelato Bar on the other side of the store. Why? Because he remembered that my favorite treat is Gelato.
Our next stop was a beautiful spot in Corona del Mar on a cliff overlooking the ocean. He told me that this was one of his favorite spots and he wanted to share it with me. We walked down the ramp to the sand. But on the way back up he tried to get my attention so that I would stop walking. I didn’t stop, so he had to run up a steep hill to catch up to me…so when I turned around he was right there and that’s where we shared our first kiss overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. We then drove along PCH to Long Beach and had a great dinner at Tokyo Wako, a Hibachi Steak House, because he knew I’d never been to a Hibachi restaurant before. Lastly, in one of our past conversations when we were asking about likes and dislikes, he asked me if I liked cheesecake and if so, plain or with toppings. I told him plain, which was his favorite way to eat cheesecake. So he surprised me and took me for plain cheesecake at Chili’s to end our evening. His thoughtfulness and attention to detail made me feel like a princess and meant so much to me that he had quietly been paying so much attention to everything I said. It was a perfectly amazing day and I absolutely knew I was falling in love with him that day.
Q: Looking towards the future, what do you most look forward to doing with Dwayne?
A: We have talked so much about the future, and now that all but one of our children are adults, we are looking forward to traveling and just enjoying each other’s company. I look forward to vacations and good times with our family and wonderful friends every bit as much as I look forward to simple everyday stuff with him, such as sipping our morning coffee together before our busy days begin. I look forward to every second of being his wife.
Q: What is it about Dwayne that made you fall in love with him?
A: So many things!! But two things would be his sense of humor and his sense of adventure. Laughter is a constant in our relationship. He can just shoot me a look and I fall apart in a fit of laughter. He’s so much fun to be with. He loves to try new things and visit new places, but whether we’re sitting on the sofa watching TV together or driving in the car or grocery shopping…it’s always a hilarious adventure with him!
Q: What three words would you use to describe Dwayne?
A: Loving, Strong, and Selfless. Dwayne puts others’ needs far above his own. He always has mine and all of our children’s best interests at heart whenever decisions need to be made. He is a strong, Godly man who loves me and our families and friends unconditionally. He prays for and with me and encourages me daily in my walk with God. With him, I feel like I always have someone in my corner cheering me on.
Q: What’s something that stood out to you about Dwayne during the wedding planning process?
A: His creativity, involvement and commitment to making sure I don’t get stressed out. Dwayne is great at coming up with an idea in his head and implementing it. He’s been so involved in the whole process and we’ve just had an amazing time planning and creating our wedding day together. He keeps me calm and focused and if he feels like I’m starting to get a little frazzled by all the planning, he does whatever he can to lessen that for me. We’re a great team!
Q: What do you do for work and what do you enjoy most about it?
A: I own my own business, Action Internet Marketing. I do website design and development, Search Engine Optimization, and various aspects of internet marketing such as Social Media, etc. I also break down Google Analytic Reports, Copy Editing, and Resume Services. It keeps me busy, but I really love what I do. I love seeing when my work for a client makes a difference in their businesses or personal lives. They grow, but it also validates the business decisions I have made since losing my last job in 2009. I love seeing my clients succeed and it’s exciting to know that I played a small part in getting them where they want to be.
Q: How did you first meet Christy? Describe to us your thoughts upon first meeting her…. Was she goofy, weird, charming, etc?
A: Funny story…. I don’t actually remember the day we met. Understand, I had just turned 13 and she just turned 12, and now we are both in our early 50’s, so it was many years ago. Her brother and I met in 1977 at the bus stop going to junior high school and became best of friends. So I met her originally through him while living in the same neighborhood. Then, since cell phones and the internet were not yet invented, her brother and I lost touch a couple of years after high school, and that was that. I ran into Christy and her kids at Fantastic Sam’s one day in 2007. I recognized her right away. We exchanged email addresses and outside the first set of emails just briefly catching up, it was mostly to wish each other’s families Merry Christmas each year. First by email then ultimately on Facebook. The odd part about this was at the start of 2007 I wanted to find her brother and reconnect with him, but had no luck on the internet… five months later I run into Christy after all those years.
Then in the Fall of 2013, we started some small talk that lead to some happy hours and longer talks. Again at that time, it was two old friends just catching up, but then it began to become something more and it just picked up steam. We realized that something special was starting to happen, so we decided to put our friendship on the line and take it to the next level and go on an actual date. All I really remember from back in 1977, and throughout high school, was that she was nice to me. She came out of her room when I was at her house waiting for her brother and would say hi, and then went back to her room. Oddly enough after all these years, her brother is now going to be my brother-in-law and is one of my groomsmen. Who knew?
Q: What’s the proposal story? How did it all unfold and was she surprised?
A: She wasn’t surprised that I would ask her, as we already talked about and started planning our wedding. Marriage was something we both wanted, but the timing and the event itself of proposing completely caught her off guard. We are both very open with our communications with one another and so I tell her every time I get paid or when I get a new client and what it’s for, or even if I am meeting with someone I tell her the who’s, when’s and where’s of it all. One day I received a referral from someone I knew regarding this woman that was trying to build her own website with a do-it-yourself program and was really lost. I spoke to her but never heard back. Then out of the blue a couple of months later she called. We arranged a meeting, but since I knew she was going to be paying in full all upfront, I told Christy I was meeting someone else from my networking group to learn more about their business. I knew with this money I can get her ring, so I didn’t want her to have any idea whatsoever. So I did a little fibbing but for a good cause. As it turned out, I got the contract and the money and bought the ring the next day.
Later that same day after buying it, we went to an Angel’s game with several good friends. The ring box was in my truck, but the ring was in my wallet. After Mike Trout hit a game-winning home run to beat the Red Sox, we headed home… sort of. I had found a way to drive us through Circle of Downtown Orange, which would not be out of the norm. We had some great dates there in the past, so I had decided that was going to be the location where I would ask her to be my wife. We started off in Starbucks where I was able to transfer the ring from my wallet into the ring box. We then took our drinks and started to walk over to the giant water fountain. Even though it was 10:30 at night, all the benches were taken, except for one that faced the street. Not exactly what I wanted, but it had to do. As we walked to the bench I looked over at the fountain and thought, “God, please let a bench by the fountain open up.” Immediately, a couple got up from a bench. I thought, “Wow, that was fast!” So we sat right in front of the fountain! I tried to get the conversation going without her realizing what was about to happen. Since she didn’t know about that money, she never thought that I would actually have a ring. At some point, I squeezed in a quote from the movie “When Harry Met Sally” where Billy Crystal says to Meg Ryan, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want your life to start as soon as possible.” Well after I said it, I reached back to get the box out of my pocket, but in doing so, I knocked over my drink onto the bench. This actually worked out great because she thought I was dealing with the spilled drink, but really I was just opening the box and exposing the ring. I turned to her with the box open and said, “I am ready to start the rest of my life.” She gasped and put her hands over her mouth, her eyes were huge, and then said those magical three words every guy loves to hear…. “YOU DID IT!” Meaning I finally got the ring. Ha Ha Ha, and of course she said, yes.
Q: What is something unique, quirky or special about Christy that you’d come to admire?
A: Where do I start? Which one do I pick? LOL Could be her intelligence, her faith, her kind-heartedness, the list goes on. But if I had to pick one, it’s her laugh. I can listen to it all day. For one, if she’s laughing that much, then I know for that moment in time she is really happy and that the reality of whatever may not be going so well that day no longer matters. At that moment, she is laughing, she is smiling and her heart is full of joy. But, here’s the best part…. If you get her to laugh really well, she snorts. I love when she snorts. It’s subtle and not a snortfest or anything like that. And I use it as a gauge to know if it was funny enough for her. I really love it when she laughs and snorts at one of my odd comments or jokes and believe me my oddness comes out often.
Q: What did you enjoy most about wedding planning and how has planning your wedding grown you both closer together?
A: The thing I’ve enjoyed the most has been working as a team with her; a true partnership. We bounce our thoughts and ideas off one another, we created lists that help us stay organized and it shows things are actually getting done, the planning and the excitement of the planning, going to different stores; it’s really great doing all these things with her. I just love watching her face. I love seeing the happiness and excitement during this whole process, especially when things work out; simply awesome. It’s hard to imagine us being any closer than we already are; we practically share a brain. But planning this out together has really brought us closer as a team. It shows that going forward in life we have the ability to work together and not let egos or anything keep us from accomplishing the things we want to do.
Q: What are you most looking forward to on the wedding day?
A: First, becoming her husband and her becoming my wife; we can really start our lives together. Also for the day itself, is having families and friends from both sides together to help us celebrate our day. It only took 38 and a half years after the first time we met. Ha! Wish we could have every family member and all our friends there.
Q: What is it about Christy that first caught your attention?
A: Well since it was mostly via messaging, it would be her intelligence, her views on life, and her faith. Physically speaking, her smile.
Q: What is something that you find totally cute about Christy?
A: Her reaction when she accomplishes something that she didn’t know she had it in her. For example, she got all crafty with some of our wedding items and did them on her own. She had these images in her head, and on Pinterest, so we would go to the craft stores. Then she would come home and just did an awesome job with our toasting glasses and more. But then to see her excitement and her face all lit up with happiness when she shows me is very heartwarming.
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