To be perfectly honest, I am baffled as to how to even begin this post. You see, one of my closest friends just got engaged, and not only was I let in on the proposal planning process, but I also got to spend the afternoon with my friend, driving her around on a scavenger hunt of sorts, photographing the entire afternoon. Figuring out how to word this post is more difficult than usual because my head wants to convey the thumping in my heart–the love and happiness that I have for my dear friend, Brittany, and the awe and gratitude I feel. I am always a sucker for photographing love and marriage–after all, I am a wedding photographer! ;) But being able to photograph someone who I love so dearly as she steps into a path that will alter the course of her life forever…it swells my heart tenfold.
Brittany’s now fiancé, Brice, contacted me some weeks ago to let me know that the time had come. When I got his message, Nate made fun of me because I fist-pumped the air and yelled, “YES!” and then did a little dance around our bedroom. I guess you could say I was a little excited. Brice had an elaborate plan for Brittany–a scavenger hunt–in which Brittany would visit various locations in which she & Brice shared memories. At each location, a few close friends or family would wait for Brittany with the next location “clue.” Each clue was a different photo with a clever riddle Brice had penned on the back.
Initially the whole thing was to be a surprise, and this was the trickiest part for me! I arranged to meet Brittany for coffee near clue location number 1, aka Balboa Middle School in Ventura (where Brit & Brice first met), and when Brittany asked if we could meet at a different coffee shop, I had to make up a little white lie for a reason to meet at that particular coffee shop. I felt so bad. Mostly because I had to be a little inflexible, which I personally find a really annoying quality. ;) (Nate assured me that Brittany would thank me in the end. She did.)
So we met for coffee and thank God for those theatre classes I took in high school, because Brittany had no idea that I was lying to her. Haha. We were walking towards Balboa Middle School when we “ran into” Brice’s brother and his friend. When Brittany first saw them from a distance, she laughed and said to me, “Oh my gosh, Amanda–this is SO funny. That’s Brice’s brother! I’ll introduce you.” Little did she know that I had just met him 15 minutes prior when we discussed our last-minute tactics. After Brit introduced us, Brice’s brother told her they had something for her and they handed her clue number 1:
And so it began. After reading the riddle, cracking up, then having Brice’s brother read the riddle, she said, “Okay?” and we started walking back to my car. She figured out that the clue had given her another location–the pool that she works at. At some point Brittany exclaimed, “Amanda, you are such a schemer!” and “Oh my gosh, Amanda, this is soooo weird!!!” Haha. I love her. On to clue number 2:
Brice’s sister and Brittany’s good friend were waiting for her there. Clue number 2 “just happened” to be sitting on a bench.
At location 3–Ventura Marina Park–some of Brittany’s family were waiting for her. At this point in the game I think Brittany had a pretty good idea of what was going on. :)
(P.S. The photo Brittany is holding above is from when we photographed her and Brice in April 2012.)
On the drive to location number 4–Boccali’s in Ojai–Brittany and I had some time to chat and it was SO good. Two more friends were waiting at Boccali’s:
And here’s Brit just after stepping out of the car at our final destination–the top of Sulphur Mountain Road in Ojai. It is a crazy gorgeous drive up the mountain to get to this spot. As we were parking, Brittany said, “Amanda–that’s my parents’ car! And that’s Brice’s truck! And I’m not sure whose car that is!” :)
We walked a little ways up the path… and ran into Brit’s parents first.
And then there was Brice.
Brittany & Brice’s family and friends were there, too.
Brice sang a very silly and sweet song to Brittany and we all cracked up…
At the end of the song, he sang, “Stand up!” Brittany listened…
Congratulations were in order…
And, of course, more photos were taken!
So much happy:
I asked Brice to snap the following photo of Brittany & I. Brittany & Brice–I couldn’t have been more honored to play a part in this moment. I love you guys and my heart is filled with happiness for you both.
The sun was setting as I drove back down the mountain. The leaves on the trees were yellow, the car windows were down. I thought about the beauty of life and thanked God for the beauty of marriage as I drove home to my own darling husband.