You remember in elementary school, how when you liked someone, you gave a note to your best friend, to give to the person you liked, to ask them if they liked you too, and maybe they might want to go steady with you, and if so… check this box? Yeah, that’s kind of how this worked. Only the note was a sign. And the friend was a dog. And going steady meant forever. And the box… well, it held something much prettier than a check mark.

When Chris told me he wanted to surprise his girlfriend with a proposal, and have it photographed… I squealed a little. And then when he told me that he wanted to include his dog, Larry, and that his first proposal attempt had been foiled, and Chelse was now ‘on guard’, and he wanted help with the planning of this one… I jumped up and down. By the time we agreed upon the plan: Chris would “win” a fake gift certificate for a Holiday family photo session as a ploy to fool Chelse into believing that this was nothing to be suspicious of, and that Larry would have a “Merry Christmas” sign that we would sneakily swap out for the identical “Will you Marry My Dad” one… I was down-right giddy.

Yes, sometimes the ‘girly-girl’ comes out of me. I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for romance. Because, let’s be honest. Every girl wants their wedding proposal to be a surprise. And they want their man to put thought into it. And what girl wouldn’t want it to be captured so that they can look back on how it happened, and relive those moments, and show their children, many years after they’re married?

We met at a secluded desert location near the Superstition Mountains, so that the whole plan could unfold in privacy and surrounded by beauty. And when they stepped out of the car, dressed in the finest polyester Christmas suit and dress you ever did see, I couldn’t stop laughing with joy. Because I knew that within the hour, their crazy family Christmas card photo session would turn into something much more magical. It would no longer be photos as girlfriend/boyfriend/dog, but as an engaged couple and their fur-kid, and soon to be family of three.

Chelse and Chris, thank you so much for allowing me the honor of capturing this incredible moment in your lives. Thank you for trusting in me to help with the planning, and for being so amazing during the session. I absolutely CAN. NOT. WAIT. to see how the rest of your engagement and your wedding plans unfold! May your lives together be filled with many more zany, romantic surprises, and awesome Christmas Card Photos!! OH! And I hope I’m never competing with you guys at an ugly Christmas Sweater Party! #BestChristmasOutfitsEver 💕

©Mindy Deluca

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

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The GEAR used for this Session:

Nikon D750Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8Nikon 35mm f/1.8Nikon 50mm f/1.4Nikon 60mm f/2.8Nikon 85mm f/1.8Yongnuou 560iv SpeedlightsYongnuou 560-tx and 622nll ControllersMagMod Grids, Gels, and Sphere