I often marvel at how many wonderful, intimate moments that I am fortunate enough to witness as a photographer. Sometimes a camera is a tool, and other times it’s like having a passport into people’s lives. There are always moments during weddings when I become acutely aware that I am witnessing the beginning of a new life, a new family, and a new future. In a way, sometimes I feel more like a cultural anthropologist than a photographer. Witnessing life through a viewfinder is always fascinating to me.
Usually, the first time I talk to a couple, we are talking about wedding dates and engagement sessions. When Marko called me and described the elaborate set-up he was masterminding in order to propose to his girlfriend (and now Fiancé’!!!!!) Ashley, I was super excited. I always meet people after the proposal, so this was something very new and intriguing for me. There was also an elevated sense of excitement because there could always be a tiny, tiny chance that maybe she might not say yes, and so I instantly became a member of Team Marko – totally pulling for Marko and rooting for his cause. Of course, anyone who knows them as a couple could have told me he was a shoe-in, but still….
So last Saturday morning, I made my way to the Ponte Winery in Temecula. I got there a bit early so I could talk to Ty Tyler, Marko’s partner in crime at the Winery. Ty had safely tucked away a couple of very special bottles for Marko that you’ll see below. He very kindly showed me around the winery and described the game plan to me, so when Marko and Ashely arrived at the counter, it was ‘game on.’
When Marko and Ashley came to the tasting counter, Rene gently guided them down to the sunny end of the counter. My job was to pretend to shoot wine bottles, but really I was just sneaking shots of Marko and Ashley when she wasn’t looking!
As Rene was helping Marko and Ashley, Ty Tyler casually came by and offered them a more private tasting in the barrel room. As Ty guided them to a corner of the barrel room to taste a couple of wines, I was out in the garden, pretending to shoot the scenery…
This is where the story gets even better. During their staged tasting, Ashley enjoyed one particular vintage of red wine, so Tyler promptly offered to sell them a rare bottle…only a few existed in the whole winery! Marko and Ashely took a little stroll outside while Ty went to grab this special bottle. Marko and Ashley walked past the garden to the foot of the aisle, where later that day a wedding would be held. The symbolism was perfect!
Here comes Ty with “THE” bottle…
So here it is…the big moment. Ashley realizes this is no ordinary bottle of wine, as Marko goes down on one knee with a ring box in hand…
The proposal wasn’t the only surprise for Ashely. About 30 friends and family members were waiting in a reserve room at the winery, ready to celebrate with the happy couple.
In this picture, Marko’s father is watching him speak…he looks very proud and happy for his son.
Ashley’s father proposes a toast!
Congratulations to Marko and Ashley!