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Shay & Vel

Shay & Vel

Oh Lovely Wedding photography lesbian gay queer beach engagement proposal USA American photos Dancing With Her

I met Vel while flipping through one of the geo-tracking dating apps. Coming across her profile I just had this urge that I needed to get to know her. I looked at her photos and fell for that smile, so genuine and just full of happiness. With that, I sent her a message, “Hey, how’s it going?” She wrote back nearly instantly, and well, that’s where it all started.

She later told me that her first reaction was, “no way this girl likes me, it must have been a mistake.” Unbenounced to me at the time, Vel was leaving town in two days, off to a bunch of cities for work, even a month-long stint in Europe. We really got into talking, and that’s when I asked her what part of the city she lived in, and then it hit me, she said she lived in Arizona! It turned out she was visiting friends and family in town, which is how the app connected us. In my head, I instantly went to “I knew this was too good to be true!” I felt so defeated. The girl that I was sharing this insane connection with not only lived far away but in another country!

Nevertheless, we texted non-stop since we were matched up. The usual get-to-know-a-stranger chit chat blended with deeper, more philosophical trains of thought. What I remember was her seemingly bubbly nature and how our senses of humor meshed really well.

However, at the top of my mind was how this was ever going to work. My family and friends are here, my job, just how? As time went on, the more we chatted day and night, and the more I could feel myself falling for her. We were FaceTiming daily, messaging constantly. We honestly couldn’t get enough of one another. And even being thousands of miles away, the connection we built from the get-go was just indescribable.

She was off to the American South, then overseas to Europe for work. We ended up either calling or FaceTiming any chance we got. Our jobs at the time gave us both the privacy and freedom to talk on the clock. We were on for hours at a time. Vel called me from every city she stopped in and gave me play by plays of the touristy things she did. On the phone, she laughed like a crazy person sitting alone, eating three-course meals at small cafes on cobblestoned streets. The turning point was when she was offered to stay in Europe for another month or two then move on to Japan. But she decided to come to my city so we could go on a proper date.

I planned for us to meet in this great little area close to Downtown with a bunch of cool restaurants and walking paths alongside the water. I went early and sat on the bench to try and calm down. Being super nervous, and then looking through the crowd, I saw her walking towards me. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is it. I’m really going to meet her finally.” The closer she got, she also spotted me. She had an immediate smile on her face, and we finally met and had a long hug. We could feel one another’s hearts racing.

It was so surreal, someone you’ve developed this amazing bond with over merely talking to them and never meeting, then meeting them in person for the first time. It was absolutely amazing and so nerve-wracking at the same time! We sat for a bit and tried to get cool, calm, and collected. Then we went for a little stroll, stopping to sit on a bench by the water to chat more. We continued strolling, hand in hand, and came up to this cute off-shoot from the central canal with an old rustic arch bridge. And that’s where we shared our first kiss. It was incredible. We had both been longing for it and meeting one another finally solidified those feelings we both had.

We had many difficult discussions over the next few months about how this would work in the world. She came into the city a few times, but it got harder and harder every time she had to leave again. Lucky for us, she owned her own business and actually grew up in this city, pretty close to where I did. She lived here for ten years then moved to Arizona with her family. To this day, we find places that we both had connections to. We had the same dentist, played at the same park, went to the same local corner store for popsicles and freezies. With some of her close family and friends living here and her miraculously mobile career, she decided to move here and see where this relationship would go. So one day, she just packed her bags, hopped on a plane, and moved here!

There wasn’t one specific time where it just clicked, and I had that magical feeling, “I love you.” But slowly, I was falling in love with her because of all the little things she never knew she was doing. I know, super cliche, but it’s the truth. The smirks and laughs she has with weird things she finds funny. The specific way she talks about the topics she’s most passionate about. The constant love and support she has for her family and friends. Her determination always to do better. How she looks up recipes for Gluten-Free options I can eat. When I’m sleeping but can feel her wrap her arm around me, how she thinks she’s a lousy dancer. Still, she actually has some good rhythm, the love she has for our dog Mia, and so much more.

We had an upcoming trip to La Jolla, California – our favorite vacation spot – to visit friends of ours. I wanted to plan a surprise proposal and photoshoot while we were there. But the logistics were getting too complicated on such a short trip. So I pre-proposed, and we ended up discussing a double proposal while we were there, which felt right since we had bounced back and forth with “who would pop the question.”

We went ring shopping together and wrote handwritten love letters in the weeks leading up to the trip. After sunset on the first night we arrived, we picked up some tacos from our favorite stand, grabbed a bottle of champagne from the local store, headed to the beach, and then it happened. Our unbelievable adventure up until that point had us sitting on that beautiful beach in one of our favorite places in the world, proposing to one another. We ate some tacos, read our proposal letters, shed some tears of happiness, and popped champagne! It was so simple, so us, and beyond perfect.

Velen is my best friend, my soulmate, and my soon to be wife, and I couldn’t possibly be more grateful. She continuously infuses my life with inspiration, joy, laughter, calmness, adventure, and indescribable amounts of love daily. She’s shown me parts of me I never thought existed, and in her, I found a love I thought only existed in Nicholas Spark’s books. We provide peace, comfort, safety, and strength for the other when it’s needed. Push each other to speak our minds and keep our lines of communication wide open. We inspire each other to grow continually, and we know that a love like this takes hard work every day.

We make sure we share trust and honesty, compromise without losing authenticity, and have the freedom to be uniquely ourselves. We’re equal partners in this, ensuring we both feel comfortable and supported and heard. She’s the love of my life, and I can’t wait for our future together.

There are no words to truly describe how the universe conspired to help us connect and work its incredible magic. If you told me all this would come true, I would have told you this was insanity!!! Vel came into my life unexpectedly, took my heart by surprise, and changed my life forever.
We’re in the midst of planning an intimate wedding in Temecula, which we are very stoked for!

Photography by Oh Lovely Wedding

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