A couple months ago I did a photo contest in San Diego where I asked couples to submit their love story for a chance to win an engagement session. I was inundated with love stories and many moved me to tears. On the last day of the contest I received Tatiana and Derek’s story and again, it warmed my heart and more tears were shed. Tatiana came from Colombia and was staying and working in another state where she was being mistreated. She met Derek on a date at Dave&Busters. As soon as Derek saw her he knew She was THE ONE but was afraid to tell her he was in the army, stationed there and was about to leave in a few days since he’s a soldier! The connection was instant but on the second date Derek tells Tatiana he’s leaving for Afghanistan tomorrow! She thought he was lying and was trying to end it but Derek tells her he wants to stay in contact and will visit her as soon as he gets a vacation (She still thought he was lying). Off he goes into the front lines as a soldier and in the middle of the chaos, the one person that keeps him sane is Tatiana. Alerts would go off, soldiers preparing for whatever comes their way and Derek would still manage to message Tatiana. Months went by and Tatiana ended up leaving the state she was in and moving to California. As soon as Derek could, he flew to California to visit her and they spent more time together. Now she knew he was telling the truth! He flew out again, continued the long distance relationship and when he returned he asked her to marry him. She said Yes! They planned to get married right away and move back to South Carolina to live close to his family. I can’t imagine going through what they did but I am in awe and it reminds me of how love is made with an instant connection. As I told her she won the engagement session she was beyond thrilled and asked me if she could exchange it for one or two pictures at the beach on their wedding day since they were getting married at the courthouse. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have their love captured so I offered to capture it for them. The ceremony was beautiful! It was the two of them and me (I had the honor of being their witness)! We continued our journey from the courthouse to Dana Point where I continued to get to know them and capture how in love they are. They are SOOOO in LOVE! It was such an honor to meet you and be part of such a beautiful day. Thank you for allowing me to capture your love and I look forward to seeing what the future may bring. Love!