Where do I begin? As I sat down to write this story, I realized that in just a few short months my best friend would be marrying the man of her dreams. I realized that I would soon have to write a toast, help her put on her dress, and make sure the bridal suite was clean for photos while we were getting ready. I realized that I would soon have another best friend in my life, her soon to be husband Alex Martinez, and that I couldn’t be more excited to see the two finally say, “I do.”
From wedding planning to cruising for Melanie’s bachelorette party, me and Melanie’s girls have been with her every step of the way along the wedding journey. As a wedding photographer, I am captivated by love at a whole different level. Documenting it, seeing it grow, capturing feelings, emotions, love that I than turn into images you can print and hold, it is like no other career in the world.
Melanie and I had been chatting about an engagement session for some time, as I wanted her and Alex to be a personal project featuring the heart and soul of my work that I could share with others. Waking up at 3:30 AM and preplanning for months, we purchased outfits ahead of time and ventured out to a quiet little boat dock I had luckily stumbled upon just a week prior. It was though as our shoot was meant to be just as much as my ‘soon to bes’ were.
But first, where did it all begin? Alex first laid eyes on Melanie at a local spot when the two were introduced through a mutual friend back in college. The two crossed paths when they were young and over time have grown together into beautiful adults. When college ended the two parted ways, but fate brought them back together. Melanie now a Speech Pathologist and Alex a Software Engineer spend their time building their careers and relationship in the heart of downtown Orlando.
I always ask my sweethearts what they love most about one another, and of course Melanie and Alex were no different. I had a big clue of what both were going to say since I had originally surprised Melanie with a video recording of Alex answering a Q&A for her bachelorette party surprise and well with Melanie being my bestie, I know about everything there is to know about Alex from the characteristics she loves most to his shirt size. However, there is just something special about writing it down. Putting into words the love you share is very symbolic. It is the binding of pen to paper that feels like emotions and love can be captured in words; and so it goes… Melanie loves the “how patient and kind Alex is” and Alex “loves how Melanie is caring and will always be there for her loved ones and friends.” Wholeheartedly they explain that they just “enjoy ‘just being together’ no matter what we are doing.”
As you can imagine it is clear as day that these two are meant to be with one another. Alex just knew that Melanie was ‘his girl’ and wanted to make sure that she would also be ‘his forever.’ During a trip to New York City while visiting Melanie’s family and friend Brittany, they decided to walk around Central Park to sightsee a little and explore the city. Following the path leading to a bridge, Melanie had no idea that Brittany and Alex were in on a little secret. Stopping for a moment at the top of the bridge, Melanie and Brittany took a picture together and Alex asked Brittany to take a picture of him and Mel. Smiling at the camera for a quick pic, Melanie didn’t even realize Alex had dropped to one knee. Turning to her beau with utter excitement on her face as the realization of what was happening before her eyes, Alex asked for her hand in marriage and of course Melanie said, “yes!!!!!!!!!” As Melanie recalls, “we first did a girls picture and then Alex and I took a picture, he dropped to one knee and proposed to me!” However that was just the beginning of their romantic trip, “Alex had such a wonderful evening planned… “he had a hotel room booked for us with a view of the Empire State Building and dinner reservations that night at the River Café overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so romantic!”
I was actually at a wedding the day of their proposal and had a feeling something was happening. I wasn’t sure what or who in my life, but I just had this feeling. While grabbing a quick bite to eat during the guests’ dinnertime, I checked my phone and saw I had two missed calls. I knew that my feeling was spot on. I called Melanie back as soon as my sweethearts had their send off into the night and immediately asked, “did Alex propose to you?” Of course that was why she was calling and I couldn’t have been happier. Next question (or rather a statement) was send me a picture of the ring and we need to start planning when you get home. Sharing in that little moment of finding out your best friend just said “yes” to such a momentous and beautiful question was incredible and reiterated how much of a romantic I am when it comes to weddings.
For Melanie and Alex, the most important part about their wedding will be seeing each other for the first time. The realization that they are about to make a lifetime commitment through exchanging vows and rings will be the most important part of their day to the two of them. Of course, they are also looking forward to “enjoying the intimate moments together before celebrating and dancing” with their loved ones!
It will be interesting being in front of the camera, as I walk down the aisle as Melanie’s Matron of Honor. I think this one time… and only this one time… I will be more than happy to be on the other side of the camera sharing in the love of such a special day with the rest of Melanie and Alex’s friends and family.
More than anything this album captures the love I have for two very important people in my life and the love I have for my work. “Love is but an emotion, a feeling, a destiny, that only two souls who are meant to be with one another could ever understand.”
Venue: Rollins College