We both love traveling and spending time outside hiking, camping, and taking our mini Goldendoodle, Junie, to the dog park. Shelby also likes to sew, sing, and dance, and Annie likes to exchange postcards and write letters (and she’s also a fantastic cook!)

We met and first started talking on the dating app “HER” in March of 2018. We started dating in April 2018 — our first date was at a coffee shop, after which we made plans to get dinner the very next night. It’s been a wild romance ever since.

We had undoubtedly talked about being together for a long time: “if we get married…” but had never made any specific plans for the proposal. Sneaky Annie started planning, starting with picking the right ring (which took months). Finally, she found the perfect one at the end of August 2019. Annie also knew wanted to find a photographer to capture the moment — she messaged about 20 photographers on the island of Kauai and found Alexandra at the beginning of September 2019. 

Annie picked out Shelby’s ring on Etsy. Maria from the Northway Studio was communicative and just as excited. She provided all the details about the ring and the making process. It took Annie a few months to finally find THE ONE, and then a few weeks to make the ring, but it was done just in time for our trip to Hawaii for Shelby’s birthday. Maria’s studio is located in Pullman, WA, and we love supporting local!

All her plans were starting to come together.

It took quite a bit of thinking on how to keep the whole proposal a secret and how to convince Shelby to dress up and drive to an undisclosed location to take pictures with a random photographer. Luckily, Shelby asked for a photo session as her birthday gift. Voila. The perfect cover.

The secret-keeping wasn’t as tricky as Annie imagined, and she only told a handful of people about the proposal. The most challenging thing was to keep the ring hidden in our cozy Airbnb in Kauai. 

We were scheduled to meet Alexandra at a parking lot of a shopping center in Hanalei Bay, where we would caravan to the proposal spot on Tunnels Beach. We didn’t expect to make several stops along the journey to the beach, but Alexandra had so many amazing ideas that we ended up taking 200+ pictures instead of the 20 we had anticipated! 

We’re so happy to have met Alexandra- she made us feel super comfortable, which made the pictures look natural.

Engagement means a commitment to the rest of our lives together; it means “I’m in, let’s do this.” It means all the things we’ve been planning in our heads to do together are really in order- getting a house together and having kids. It’s the most exciting thing. Especially for us, because engagement is one step closer to marriage, and for Annie, it’s one step closer to citizenship, and freedom. It means maybe one day we can travel the world together.

We have not started planning yet, and wedding planning can be quite stressful and overwhelming. We keep going between having an intimate wedding and eloping or going all the way out with 100+ guests. But we do have a wedding song playlist made, and we know we want to wear something fabulous. And of course that our dog will be there!

Alexandra, our proposal photographer, offered to photograph our wedding, and we would be thrilled to have her with us on our special day. As for all other vendors, we will focus on supporting small local businesses that are LGBTQ+ friendly and have worked with gay couples before.

Photography by Alexandra Masihy