OC Engagement Session | Mission San Juan Capistrano | Mike & Gabby

How They Met

Both transplants to the Bay Area - Mike from North Carolina and Gabby from Bucharest, Romania - we grew up in the same small community of Alameda, California. We spent much of middle school and high school simply being aware of one another. Gabby knew Mike as the short kid in the front row of our 8th grade Close-Up photo, and Mike knew Gabby as one of the Romanian twins. It wasn't until senior year of high school that our paths finally crossed. With unwarranted help from our faithful matchmaker "Shley", we began what we thought would be a senior year fling.

For our first date, we went to In-N-Out (of course) after our senior homecoming dance, where Mike used the little money he had as a high schooler to buy Gabby a strawberry milkshake. Fast forward a couple of weeks, we made plans to watch the annual Cal vs USC football game on Tightwad Hill. At the end of the night, as Mike was getting ready to take Gabby home, he decided to drive the opposite direction toward Shoreline Park, where in the rain, under an old tree, and with a beautiful view of the San Francisco city scape, he asked her to be his girlfriend.

The Last Decade

Even though we lived upward of 800 miles apart throughout our college years, our relationship stayed strong. We made countless memories visiting each other in Eugene and Los Angeles, and we truly "grew up together" despite being so far apart. When the time came to graduate from college and enter the real world, we moved in together to our first apartment in Los Angeles.

Over the following 6 years, we built a home together. We supported each other through the beginning of our careers, Mike enduring the long road to Gabby's graduation from medical school, and Gabby supporting Mike's entry into the competitive Los Angeles sales and finance market. We shared many wonderful moments getting to really know each others' families, spending holidays together and taking several bucket-list trips. And in this wonderful, ever sunny place we came to call home, we decided to take the next step...

The Proposal

The day after our tenth dating anniversary, we had planned a trip to Catalina Island, a small island just off the shore of Long Beach in southern California, to celebrate the last decade together. Despite living in Los Angeles for so long together we had never been, and looked forward to a little getaway exploring the quaint Catalina community. It was a beautiful sunny day in LA (as always). We took a scenic ferry ride to the island and checked into the cutest little victorian hotel that was dubbed to have "the best rooftop view in Catalina". We spent the day hiking to the Wrigley mansion, walking through a beautiful botanical garden, and enjoying each other's company. When we got back to your hotel, Mike suggested we watch the sunset together - one of our favorite past-times. It was then, with the Pacific Ocean and the always amazing pink fall sunset sky in the background, that Mike got down on one knee and asked Gabby to marry him. She of course, through many happy tears, said yes! 

We spent the remainder of our special weekend exploring Catalina, breaking the news to our families, and playing the best mini golf course we've ever seen (seriously, we recommend it!). And although many things have changed in our lives since this day (a graduation, a big move, and lots of wedding planning) we have spent every day excited to continue our lives together as husband and wife!

The Images