Ironically, we met in church five years ago. At first, we struggled a lot with our identity and the age difference. People can be very judgmental and can’t understand our relationship.
However, once they get to know us personally, they can’t help but see the authentic and beautiful love that we share for each other.
It is incredible to feel like your life person is not only your partner but the best friend you can tell EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to. We seriously have no secrets within our relationship.
I have always dreamt of how I would propose after we began dating. I don’t know how else to explain it other than I just knew she was the one for me. I started looking for rings and found the one I thought was perfect for her. Once it arrived, I began brainstorming on an idea for proposing. I am big with family, so I imagined having that component play a part in it, but her family is BIG!! So then I thought of something more intimate.
She would mention how she really wanted to have a personal photoshoot for the two of us for the longest time. A lightbulb went off, and I began searching for LGBTQ+ photographers in the area. Tiny House Photos came up, and I loved their page and reviews. The photographer happens to have my same first name, and I felt enough of a connection to go ahead and reach out (by far the best decision ever because she is AMAZING!).
I did not discuss it with Steph at all. I had ordered and received the ring but was unsure of how I would propose. I knew I had to be careful because she has a way of figuring things out. We had already made reservations to a special place for dinner, and my thoughts were to do it after dinner, maybe. However, it just so happens that her cousin was in town that same weekend, and I mentioned to her my plans and she brought up the idea of coming by the family’s house so that everyone could be a part of it. To be honest, I was very nervous, and I figured this way she could help me capture the moment with pictures. Plus, I know Steph is big on family.
Tell us about asking for blessings from Michelle’s kids before the proposal and ring shopping.
I felt it was only right to ask for blessings from her kids (who are grown-ass adults) and her mom. I knew her dad approved from heaven, and in life, he always said, “I know you will always take care of her.” From there, I started the incredibly stressful ring shopping! While she was asleep, I grabbed one of her rings from the jewelry box and placed it on her finger. She totally woke up but did not notice a thing. I then took that ring to a nearby mall to get the actual size.
Fast forward to finding the perfect ring and waiting what seemed like forever for it to arrive at the house. Once the ring was in my hands and I received her family’s blessings, I proceeded to get the engagement shoot setup and everything else that came with it. Remember, I never keep any secrets from her, so this was HARD. I am a horrible liar, and my face gives it all away. Although, I guess I won an Oscar that night because apparently, she had no idea!!
Tell about having your proposal captured by Tiny House Photo.
Our anniversary lands on November 6th, so I planned an “anniversary date” for us. I contacted Tiny House Photos to see if we could set up a surprise photoshoot where it ended up being an engagement shoot, and I had our friend, who’s a makeup artist, do our hair and makeup at the house. I had laid out our outfits on the bed while she was getting made up. At this point, I started to feel very nervous and was praying that I did not slip or mess anything up.
Once we were headed out the door, I told her she could not see where I was taking her and blindfolded her. We started heading to our church, where our pastor had allowed us to use the entire place for our special moment. Of course, Michelle thought we were going to dinner. Once we arrived, our photographer, Steph, was there, and I carefully walked Michelle into the church. When the blindfold came off, she was extremely confused!
I wish you could have seen her reaction at that moment.
I explained that her gift was the personal photoshoot she had always wanted. In the middle of our photoshoot, I got down on one knee, and she freaked out, to say the least (in a good way).
What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?
Engagement is just making legal what we already have. What we feel for each other is true, unconditional love. It is a love that we think will last eternally. Getting married is to share that special moment with family and be legally recognized as a couple. We all know how tricky the laws are and how unfair they could be at times, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. We have accomplished so much together and look forward to more and we would hate for something to happen to either of us and the other person is not “entitled” to anything due to legalities.
How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be?
We hope the wedding will be a memorable experience for us and our family and friends. That day will be a testament to our love and devotion. We are trying to enjoy each step in the process as far as wedding planning. We both work and have a busy life, so it gets a bit stressful at times, but we always try to look at the positives. Doing it together also helps.
Photography by Tiny House Photo