When my husband’s aunt from Chicago randomly called me in July, my stomach dropped. I’m big on texting and, in my world, a phone call usually either means REALLY great news or REALLY bad news. I was happily surprised to hear REALLY great news! My husband’s cousin’s boyfriend, Kevin, had met with her parents and asked for their blessing in a marriage proposal. He’s a wonderful guy, so I imagine the conversation was full of happy tears and lots of “YES!” And then the planning began…
Kevin planned to propose to Erica at Fazeli Cellars, a gorgeous winery about an hour and a half outside of their hometown of San Diego. Erica’s mom aided in planning an absolutely stunning surprise engagement party immediately following the proposal – complete with engagement gifts, beautiful decor, florals, a catered meal, delicious wine, tasty desserts, AND favors! She really went above and beyond to help ensure her daughter (and future son in law) had the most memorable engagement experience EVER.
The day before the proposal we met at the winery to plan out how the actual proposal would go down. Kevin was full of nervous and excited energy – holding tight the ring he had custom designed for his soon-to-be fiance. We scouted proposal locations, did a walk through for the party, and even took part in a little wine tasting. ;)
The morning of the proposal, family, friends and vendors gathered at Fazeli Cellars to help set everything up for the big day. Kevin’s mom and dad came equipped with adorable favors (popcorn, wine stoppers, and gorgeous handmade scented candles). Erica’s mom, dad, brother, sister, and brother in law came with boxes upon boxes they had shipped to the winery containing decor items and gifts (engraved beer steins, wine glass holder, signage, wedding planning materials, and even champagne flutes and cake cutting set for the future wedding day!). Vendors were busy bees, setting up a stunning dessert bar and farm tables with silk runners and gorgeous floral arrangements.
The sun was out in FULL FORCE, with basically ZERO shade. These types of conditions definitely make for a gorgeous day, but also add another layer of complexity for photographers and videographers. Thankfully I think we were able to make the most of the sunny weather and gorgeous setting Fazeli Cellars offered.
Favorites from Erica and Kevin’s proposal, mini engagement session, and surprise engagement party:
- Kevin custom designed Erica’s engagement ring with a San Diego area jeweler. I learned in our conversation that he had multiple revisions and rubber casts done before the final product was approved. Kevin was determined to design a perfect ring for his bride, and he certainly achieved that.
- Kevin’s mother, Erica’s mom, and I hid in a private room out of site before the proposal. The nervous energy was palpable, two mamas anxiously awaiting for their babies to arrive for a day the entire family will remember forever! As a mama myself, I felt all the feels… It was really special having this quiet time with these two moms and witnessing them watch the proposal unfold in front of their eyes. Happy tears are the BEST tears.
- After the proposal, Kevin guided Erica into the event space at Fazeli Cellars. My guess is she was expecting to do a celebratory wine tasting…and instead she opened the doors to see her closest family and friends ready to celebrate the happy news! After MORE happy tears, Erica and Kevin were shown around the party and all the working parts that came together to throw them the BEST surprise engagement party ever.
- When Kevin asked for Erica’s parent’s blessing, Erica’s father declined to see the ring. He wanted to see the ring on his daughter’s hand after the proposal. Witnessing her dad, my husband’s uncle, see the ring for the first time that Kevin had worked so hard to custom design for his bride was such a special moment.
- Erica, Kevin, and I snuck away for about 40 minutes during their surprise engagement party for a mini engagement session around the grounds of Fazeli Cellars. The lighting was difficult (no shade!) and it was approaching 100 degrees, but we managed and I am thrilled with their images! Favorite part from our mini engagement session? At one point, Kevin teared up. All of his planning and hard work had finally come to fruition and he was officially engaged to the love of his life. I love a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve (my husband certainly does) and it was so sweet to witness Kevin’s vulnerability and Erica’s ability to comfort him.
- ….and if the surprise engagement party wasn’t enough, after our time was up at Fazeli Cellars, we headed to an after party in San Diego! I was off the clock by this point, but staying with family and able to celebrate with my husband’s cousins and aunt and uncle. Truly blessed.
This whirlwind weekend was one I will forever remember. I loved traveling to San Diego for a change of scenery… and was absolutely HONORED to be the one to document such a big day for these two families.
- Venue and Catering: Fazeli Cellars Winery
- Ring Designer: ….info coming soon!
- Dessert: Laura Maries Cakes
- Florals: Sweet Flowers Weddings and Events
- Popcorn Favors: ….info coming soon!
- Custom Candles: ….info coming soon!
- Wine Stoppers: ….info coming soon!
- Videography: FilmLife Moments
- Photography: Eva Rieb Photography
…and a HUGE thank you to Trenton and Bethany from FilmLife Moments for creating this beautiful film of the day!
Leave some love for the happy couple!!