PERFECT ROOFTOP PROPOSAL PHOTOS: Downtown Phoenix, AZ Photographer: Amie + Justus

There’s no way he’ll surprise me, she said. I’ll know when it’s going to happen, she said. I even have a dress picked for the day he does it…. She said.

Except he did. And she didn’t. And as for the dress… well… she’ll just have to save it for another special day. Because Justus pulled off exactly what Amie never expected. The perfect marriage proposal. Complete with a stunning view, rose petals, champagne, and oh yeah… some serious bling. And she didn’t suspect a thing.

How, you ask? How does one surprise the love of their life when you’ve already picked out the ring together, and you both know it’s just a matter of time?

Planning, that’s how. And a little help from your friendly neighborhood photographer. *wink*

Justus nailed it. He contacted me a month before “the big day”. He knew he wanted pop the question somewhere with an urban downtown feel, and a good view of the city. I gave him several suggestions of locations (although to his credit – he had already looked at or was aware of many of the places I mentioned! Take note guys… do your homework in advance! It will make the process so much easier!) We met 2 weeks before the day to walk the area and plan out where he would lead her to, which way they would stand, and exactly how it would happen. We texted back and forth the day before and the day of so all of the details would be set, and the proposal would go off without a hitch.

He brought champagne and rose petals ahead of time, and I got to our spot early to set it all out. Oh… and make sure there where no straggling sunbathers or hotel catering staff lingering around to ruin their private time! I may or may not have shoved some staff members into a closet to hide. To my defense, Justus and Amie were literally on their way up the elevator when the banquet servers walked in to gather supplies. Aack! It was only for a few minutes until she said yes. I promise no staff members were harmed in the making of this proposal! Special thanks to all the amazing staff at the Hilton Garden Inn… they were all SO helpful and integral in pulling this off!

Amie’s reaction was priceless. Of course she said Yes!! (Although she doesn’t even remember if she did because she was so caught up in the moment.) And THAT makes the whole thing, all the planning, all the details, all the nervous excitement…. so, so worth it. They spent some time on the roof enjoying the moment, popping some bottles & sipping some bubbly, and admiring that shiny new rock on Amie’s ring finger. And then we headed down for a little adventure around the Phoenix streets. They made friends with everyone they met, and even found “Their” street. It was a fabulous night that started out as “just going to a work dinner”, and turned a day they’ll remember forever.

Congratulations Amie & Justus! I’m so honored to have been there to capture these memories. You guys are just incredible and I adored photographing you! Your joy is infectious, and I know your life together will be filled incredibly romantic, epic, bottle-popping, dancing-in-the-streets, making-all-sorts-of-strange-friends, kind of adventures! I am so very happy for you, and I can’t wait to see what you plan for your wedding! 💕

©Mindy Deluca

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

Surprise, marriage, scenic, engaged, getting married, proposal  Surprise, marriage, scenic, engaged, getting married, proposal         toast engagement champagne        Funny, proposal, engagement, photo  Surprise, marriage, scenic, engaged, getting married, proposal  epic urban engagement photo          downtown phoenix epic sky sunset    

To see more proposal, engagement, & wedding stories photos, follow my blog!

 

The GEAR used for this Session:

Nikon D750, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, Nikon 35mm f/1.8Nikon 50mm f/1.4Nikon 60mm f/2.8, Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 TTL Speedlight, Flashpoint R2 Pro Transmitter,  MagMod Grids, Gels, and Sphere


RED ROCK CROSSING ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Sedona, AZ Photographer: Ashley + Aaron

Have you ever been in the company of two people who are so right for each other, you know they just belong together? As in…. you can’t help but feel their chemistry. It’s as though there’s some sort of magnetic pull between them, only allowing them to be *so* far apart, and always drawing them ever closer?

That pull, that magnetism… it sends chills up your arms and makes your neck tingle… it’s undeniable when you see it, feel it. It’s nothing short of electric. It makes you know deep down in your heart and soul that nothing could ever be so right as the love happening in front of you.

Yeah, that’s the kind of love happening between these two. Ashley says she feels safe with Aaron, he makes her want to do things that are not in comfort zone – like dancing, and facing her fear of heights. And Aaron says Ashley takes his breath away with just a smile, that she is his 8th wonder of the world. THAT, friends, is the kind of relationship we should all dream of having.

We met at the beautiful Crescent Moon Ranch/Red Rock Crossing area in Sedona for their engagement session. It was a warm and sunny summer day, perfect for a stroll along Oak Creek. As the sun set, we hiked up for a gorgeous sweeping view of Cathedral Rock. And the breeze was just perfect for that sexy wind swept hair. This was one of those days, and one of those places that make you fall in love with the desert, and the incredibly romantic vibe it gives. There’s nothing better than an epic view and an epic couple to make this photographer’s heart sing. And on this particular day, in the company of Ashley + Aaron, and in full view of their love, well… it was just magic.

Congratulations Ashley & Aaron! You guys are fabulous and I adored photographing you! Your chemistry is infectious, and I know your life together will be filled incredibly romantic, dancing-on-top-of-a-mountain, pushing-each-others-limits, wind-blowing-through-your-hair kind of adventures! I can’t wait to photograph your Windmill Winery wedding! 💕

©Mindy Deluca

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

Buddha Beach, Snuggle, Golden Sunlight, Holding Hands    Buddha Beach, Snuggle, Romantic  Buddha Beach, Kiss, Crossing Creek, Romantic  rock face, cliff, rock cairn, couple, romantic  Black & White, romantic, emotional 
Black & White, artistic, trees, sun rays, sunlight
army, soldier, romantic, epic    army, soldier, romantic, epic  black & white, kiss, soldier, romantic  army, soldier, romantic, epic

To see more engagement stories & photos, follow my blog!

 

The GEAR used for this Session:

Nikon D750, Nikon 35mm f/1.8Nikon 50mm f/1.4Nikon 60mm f/2.8Nikon 85mm f/1.8


SURPRISE FILLED WEDDING PROPOSAL: Phoenix, AZ Photographer: Juliana + Paul

How do you plan the perfect proposal? Better yet… IS there such a thing as a “perfect” marriage proposal??

When to pop the question? Where to pop the question? How to pop the question?

He had been searching online – and searching…. and searching…  for ideas, locations, suggestions and tips. It’s nerve wracking enough just thinking about the whole ‘down-on-one-knee’ thing, asking the love of your life those four little words…. Will you marry me…, let alone trying to coordinate it all so that everything goes according to plan AND not tip her off so she figures it out ahead of time!! It can be overwhelming! And stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning, some preparations, and a photographer (Hello!!) on your team… your proposal can be not only super special, but more importantly… unforgettable.

Paul had the ring. Well, almost. He had designed it especially for her. It was being made, and would be ready in just over a month. When… Check.

He had been eyeing the perfect spot… the gorgeous, lush Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. In his search, he found some photos of another proposal that I had captured there. It was secluded and romantic, perfect for privacy, and a place she had never been, great for a date night. Where… Check.

He recruited her best friend to help with the plan and keep Juliana occupied and un-suspicious. First some pampering for the girls, where they would have their hair and makeup done. Then they would go get dressed, and the two couples would meet up later for a stroll around the garden and out to dinner. A full double date day. But he knew he wanted to kick it up a notch (or 3!). There had to be music. More specifically… Juliana’s favorite song (Sabes Una Cosa). So that meant there had to be Mariachis. They would be hidden, waiting until she said yes, and then they would come out around the path and play for her. And Arthur had to be there (Juliana’s dog)! So, her friends would pretend they were running late (giving Paul time to pop the question in private), pick up her pup, and bring him to the garden for their first official family photos! And no celebration is complete without the cake and champagne! So to finish the plan, I picked up the fabulous custom cake Paul had ordered from Piece of Cake and had it set up further down the path, for her to find as a final surprise, along with some bubbly for them to toast to their future! And, of course, he wanted it all captured in photos for her to remember this (quite unforgettable), and altogether perfect day. How…. Check.

So, about that ‘perfect’ proposal thing? Yes, it is possible. You take some things that your girlfriend loves, you combine them into one incredibly romantic date filled with surprises at every turn, and you recruit someone to help you pull it all off! Paul’s plan included things that were special to Juliana, and that’s what made it perfect… for them.

Juliana and Paul, thank you so much for allowing me the honor and trusting in me to capture this incredible moment in your lives. I am so very happy for you, and I can’t wait to see what you plan for your wedding! May your lives together be filled with many more perfect plans!! 💕

©Mindy Deluca

Paparazzi style engagement Japanese Garden romantic photo paparazzi engagement She said yes He put a ring on it Serenade Mariachi surprise Romantic surprises Violin serenade canine puppy engagement puppy poodle terrier gorgeous garden engagement newly engaged couple wow, tears of joy, cry she said yes cake bridge, ring, bling, princess cut Koi Pond Bridge Engagement

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

 

Check out another proposal I photographed at the Japanese Friendship Garden -click here!

To see more engagement stories photos, follow my blog.

The GEAR used for this Session:

Nikon D750Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8Nikon 50mm f/1.4Nikon 60mm f/2.8.


UNIQUE & FUN DOG PARK WEDDING PROPOSAL: Phoenix, AZ Photographer: Megan + Jordan

He told me he was going to propose to Megan and he wanted me to capture it. I was honored. Then he told me he planned to do it at a dog park…. And I thought to myself, these are people after my own heart.

Let’s be honest. It’s HARD to plan a unique wedding proposal. One that hasn’t been done before. One that will come as a surpise. One that is absolutely perfect.

But that’s exactly what he did.

Let me back up a minute. To know how it was the perfect proposal, you have to know why he decided on the where part of the plan.

Valentine’s Day was coming, and it also happened to be eighteen months – to the day – from the day that changed both their lives. A year and ½ from that perfect day when he and Sophie just happened to run into her and Lola at the local watering hole. (Err… the drinking station at the Dog Park they frequented.) Call it canine coincidence or four-legged fate, but their furry friends brought them together. And from that day on, he knew that when the time was right, he would bring her back to that very spot where it all began.

We had it all planned. I would go the park and pretend to take photos of my dog. When they arrived, they would do a lap around, and then stop at the drink station. Jordan would say something to get Megan to turn around, and I would turn my camera on them. Aaannnddd then the (normally dry and sunny) AZ weather took a turn. The clouds opened up and the rain started falling — ALL DAY. I was worried that Megan may not want to go to a wet dog park on Valentine’s Day before their dinner reservation. But thankfully she was still game (my kind of girl!). And Cupid must have been looking out for them, because by the time they arrived… the rain had stopped.

So I played fetch with my own pup, and concealed my camera (with my giant zoom lens on it) inside the doggy tunnel in hopes that she wouldn’t notice there was crazy girl with a camera watching them walk around the park. (Side note: training obstacles can be really good camouflage for a photographer!)

They entered the park and talked about how romantic it will be to toast to their ‘anniversary’ on Valentine’s Day at the spot they met. (Megan had even thought to bring champagne to celebrate!) And as they approached their spot, Jordan said to Megan, “You know what would be more romantic? If I proposed to you at the spot we met.”  And when Megan turned around, he was on his knee, ring box in hand, surrounded by their best friends, in that very spot.

Megan and Jordan, thank you so much for allowing me the honor and trusting in me to capture this incredible time in your lives. Here’s to best friends, dog park drinks, never letting the weather hinder your plans, and making many more memories together regardless of how much doo-doo is surrounding you. 😉 I absolutely CAN NOT WAIT to hear what your plans are, for what is sure to be, your perfect wedding! 💕 ©Mindy Deluca

He popped the question She said yes black & white Dog people cheers, champagne Engagement Ring, Oval, Halo

 

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

To see more engagement stories photos, follow my blog!

The GEAR used for this Session:

Nikon D750Nikon 70-200 2.8Nikon 60mm f/2.8


ADORABLE VINTAGE INSPIRED ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Phoenix, AZ Photographer: Alexandra + Dustin

They’re THAT couple. You know the ones. They’re so freaking adorable that you can’t take your eyes off them. They’re gorgeous and silly and cuddly and goofy and so sweet together that you find yourself non-stop smiling in their presence. And so do they. They absolutely light up when they look at each other. They’re the epitome of the perfect pair.

Alex & Dustin wanted a vintage vibe with a modern twist, so we decided to begin their engagement session and one of the best throw-back places I could think of… an old time Soda Shop! MacAlpine’s is a sweet little joint downtown that makes you feel like you stepped back in time. It was the perfect spot to share a root beer float, swivel on the bar stools, and get a little intimate in the antique phone booth. They had no trouble being snuggly, and needed no prompts to steal kisses, so I knew the session was going to be fabulous. I could just feel the love radiating from them… and not just because it was a hot summer day!

Quick wardrobe change and we headed over to Heritage for a romantic stroll around the Square, which is the oldest remaining residential block in the city of Phoenix and a very cool historical site. And it also happens to be a lovely spot with lots of pretty backdrop options. Not that we needed any extra pretty with these two… they are all kinds of pretty just on their own. They cuddled on benches, snuggled in the garden, and danced in the street. Basically, most of the session was a whole lot of me saying… “Oh my god, you guys are adorable together!”

Alexandra and Dustin, thank you so much for allowing me the honor and trusting in me to capture this perfect time in your lives. Thank you for being so sweet and genuine, both to me and to each other. I absolutely CAN. NOT. WAIT. for your wedding this fall at Windmill Winery, my friends! 💕

MacAlpines Mirror Reflection Engagement Photo

MacAlpines Fun Soda Shop Engagement Photo

MacAlpines Soda Shop Engagement Photo

Fun Vintage Soda Shop Engagement Photo

Antique Telephone Booth Engagement Photo

Sexy Vintage Soda Shop Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Garden Engagement Photo

Romantic Downtown Phoenix Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Beautiful Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Candid Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Romantic Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Black&White Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Victorian building Engagement Photo

Heritage Square Brick Wall Engagement Photo

Downtown Phoenix Streets Fun Engagement Photo

Dancing in the Street Engagement Photo

Phoenix Dancing in Street Engagement Photo

Downtown Phoenix Engagement Photo

©Mindy Deluca

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

To see more engagement stories photos, follow my blog!

The GEAR used for this Session:

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


ROMANTIC JAPANESE GARDEN WEDDING PROPOSAL: Phoenix, AZ Photographer: Jessica + Montee

He planned it all out perfectly. Every last detail. He had the where and the when. A lush garden, to celebrate the romantic holiday. He even planned the details of the how.  He had found a dress for her (a hot little black number), to go with the pink suede Christian Louboutin shoes he had bought for her as a Valentine’s gift. He asked her if she would like to get dressed up, have some gorgeous “couple” photos taken, and then go to a romantic dinner together. The perfect date night… complete with the perfect pink heels. What girl could possibly say no to that?

When Montee contacted me to take photos of them, and complete his plans for his perfect proposal…. I almost couldn’t believe how well he had everything already worked out. When he and I met to walk the garden and finalize his proposal plans, he told me he was just a romantic at heart and he knew both his own and Jessica’s “love language.” That’s when I knew he was the real deal. Pay attention guys…. you can learn a thing or two about how to make a girl fall head over pink heels, here! Yes, you can be a tough-on-the-outside, and sweet-on-the-inside kind of man.

So, a few days before Valentines, we met at the amazingly beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden in the heart of downtown Phoenix. We strolled the garden for a bit to help them relax in front of the camera. They were both so nervous at first, I couldn’t help but laugh a bit because I knew what was coming! We made our way around to the spot where we had planned for Montee to pop the question. I told them to give me a minute to make some adjustments and to just chat with each other. I stepped back away to give them some space, and when I was ready, I gave Montee the “signal” we had agreed upon. I won’t give away all my proposal photography secrets here, but suffice it to say that the whole point is to capture the moment from a bit of a distance, and hopefully they forget the camera is even there (if even for just a brief time). And it worked! Evidenced by the very sweet, soft tears that Jessica wiped from her eyes; the true, genuine way they smiled at each other; and the warm, tender embraced they shared after she said yes.

And, in true perfect proposal planning fashion… Montee had arranged for a bit of bubbly to be waiting for them at the other side of the garden. So, while they toasted to their amazing future together… of course I took the opportunity to photograph those perfect shoes – and that HOLY MOLY – perfect ring!!!

Oh, and as for the why? Well, after I spent the evening with these two and saw how adorable they are together…. I totally understood the why. These two make one gorgeous couple. But beyond that, they make a fantastic pair.

Jesica and Montee, thank you so much for allowing me the honor and trusting in me to capture this incredible moment in your lives. Thank you for being so sweet and genuine, both to me and to each other. I absolutely CAN. NOT. WAIT. for your wedding, my friends! May your lives together be filled with many more perfect plans!! 💕

©Mindy Deluca

Photos:  Mindy DeLuca Photography

To see more engagement stories photos, follow my blog!

 

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


SURPRISE WEDDING PROPOSAL: Phoenix, AZ Photographer: Chelse+Chris

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

To see more engagement stories photos, follow my blog!

 

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


ASU ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Alison + Justin

You know when you meet someone, and as you learn more about them, you realize you have so much in common that your paths were meant to cross at some point?!? Like… how in the world did we not meet until now? Well, that’s how I feel about Alison + Justin. We must be connected cosmically or something, because seriously, I feel like Alison must be my long lost sister and Justin, my hubby’s long lost cousin.

First, they’re both ASU alumns, as am I…  go Sun Devils! Alison and I have the same go-to coffee order: Hazelnut Latte, we both have a serious affinity for Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and are both from Colorado & love the Broncos (full disclosure… I’m officially a Cardinals fan and have been for many years now… gotta’ root for my permanent home team… I have been a desert girl for a long time now. But I will still root for Denver in any AFC game since they are my original “home town” team). But basically… we could very well have met at any one of a ba-zillion events in our lives! Justin is from West Virginia (where my hubby, Ben, went to college), loves Casey Moore’s (Ben will jump at a chance for fresh oysters), is a “holiday baby” with a New Year’s Eve birthday (Ben’s is Valentines), and proposed to Alison in Mexico (Ben and I met there!)!!!!  And to top it off, we’re proud parents to crazy, loyal, long-nosed, short-haired, awesome rescue pups. I mean…. We’re like dopplegangers here!! Not in our looks or a “scary evil twin” kind of way… but definitely in the “we really should be pals because this must be kismet” sort of way! Hahaha!

So, strolling around downtown Tempe and at ASU for their engagement session was… well… super fitting and a lot like hanging out with great friends! And these two were just so sweet and fun and obviously head-over-heels for each other. I absolutely adored my time with them, and I am so grateful that our paths have finally crossed!

Congratulations Alison and Justin! I CAN NOT WAIT for your wedding at The Buttes later this fall!  💕

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.

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TEMPE TOWN LAKE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Jennie + Boyd

He changes song lyrics and substitutes in her name. Jennie mixes. That’s what he calls them. He sings them spontaneously, surprising her, but does it so well it’s as if he’d written the song himself. Or as if the song was actually about her. The truth is, they are. For him. Every sweet melody and lovely harmony he hears makes him think of her.

The met at work, and clicked instantly. On their first date, she knew, he was the one. They have fun when they’re together, regardless of what they’re doing. From hiking and adventuring, to football games and movies, taking trips and having amazing meals, spending time with family and going to church, and even just relaxing… it’s all better when they are side by side.  And it’s obvious that along with the joy, there is a comfort they bring to each other.

We spent some time together on a gorgeous spring day for their engagement session at Tempe Town Lake. There was a nice breeze, and the temperature was perfect, just like these two. Jennie and Boyd had photos taken previously, so they were naturals in front of the camera. They were so sweet together, I know their wedding will be full of love, and I’m certain that whatever love song plays… it will be about them! 💕

Congratulations Jennie + Boyd! I can’t wait for your wedding later this month!

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.

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Jennie+Boyd


CANYON LAKE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Ashley + Jordan

“In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you.” ~ Unknown.

She didn’t want to be in a long distance relationship. He was cute, sweet, and looked great in his Marine uniform. But he was stationed in California. So she didn’t text him back, because they would never see each other anyway.

But they did. In a crowd of 100, 000 people, in the middle of the Arizona desert…. he saw her. In her cowboy boots, straw hat and jeans shorts. That beautiful blonde girl who he’d never really met, only chatted with via tinder, was standing right in front of him. And he would recognize her anywhere. It had been six months since they texted. There was beer involved. People were everywhere. But in the middle of a throng at the Country Thunder Festival, he saw HER. Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was God. Maybe it was country music. Whatever it was, it brought them together… this time, for good.

Eight months later, on the day after Christmas, at a Country Bar (of course!), this Soldier got down on one knee, like a gentleman. And there, in front of family and friends, he asked this gorgeous girl to be his bride. She said yes, knowing that this man, who found her in a sea of people, would always find his way to her.

And even though they live in separate states, their relationship grows stronger each day. They facetime at night and text during the day. He drives from Cali to Arizona and back again on weekends. They make it work. Because although they are apart for now, they know that nothing will keep them apart forever.

I am so incredibly happy that they found me to be their photographer!  We spent an amazing afternoon together adventuring around Canyon Lake for their engagement session. There were rocks and grass and trees, and bridges and roads and mountains, and clouds and water and a glorious sunset!! Ashley and Jordan were fun and sweet and romantic and gorgeous! It was seriously this Arizona photographer’s dream. I had a fabulous time with this fabulous couple, and I see why they are so incredibly head-over-heels in love. 💕

Congratulations Ashley + Jordan! I CAN.NOT.WAIT for your Schnepf Farms wedding later this year!

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.

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PUBLIC LIBRARY ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Anna + Hank

She’s quirky and bubbly and chatty and outgoing. He’s quiet and thoughtful and shy and intelligent.  She loves purple and pigs. He loves tech and toys.  She studied education, he studied engineering.  He’s the left brain to her right. She’s the art to his science.  But, they both love books and punk and crime TV.  They’re both weird and wacky and wonderful. They’re both well- traveled and well, frankly… well-matched.

Anna & Hank met randomly at a mutual friend’s house. They didn’t even live in the same city. But karma or fate or fortune stepped in and brought them to the same place at the same time. Some may call them opposites. I call them compliments. That’s the thing about love. There’s no hard and fast rule that determines who is “compatible” with you.  The question is: Does that polar-opposite, couldn’t-be-more-different, bizarre-world, anti-you… complete you? If you can find someone who is the zen to your zany, well then, accept and embrace those crazy differences. You just might find that whatever was missing in your world before truly was your other half. 💕

We met at the (really cool) Burton Barr Central Phoenix Library for their whirlwind engagement session.  Being a bibliophile myself, I was stoked when Anna suggested this as our first stop!

The entrance to the library has this amazing hallway covered with quotes and names of donors. We found the perfect quote for their ‘uniquely exciting’ session…

Every bookworm is a kid at heart, and Anna found the perfect Roger Hargreaves books for her and Hank. Which ‘Mr. Men’ or ‘Little Miss’ are you?

The top floor of the library has these amazing giant wall to wall windows where you can see the all of downtown Phoenix. It’s a great place to gaze and learn. Anna & Hank spent some time gazing at each other and learning about ‘How to Celebrate Your Differences’,  in the apropos book Love Styles, by Tina Tessina.

Study break! Who hasn’t snuck away to kiss their sweetheart behind a stack of books?

The stripes on Anna’s dress inspired me. Lines, lines, everywhere.

Next stop, Forest Park. Anna lives there and loves the foliage & fountains & zen vibe of the area. I have to agree.

You know I can’t do an engagement session without trying for a sunset shot! Snagged a little golden light.

The sun went down, but the lamps lit the way. These two were just so cute all cuddled in this giant tree & wandering around the complex together.

And of course, we have to end this post with a gorgeous ring shot! Purple stone on a pig holder… Perfect!!

Congratulations Anna and Hank! You guys are awesome and I had so much fun photographing you! I can’t wait for your Desert Botanical Garden wedding!

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.


McDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Sheila + Brand

They were neighbors. And friends. Great friends, even. But that was all. It didn’t hurt that she is sweet, outgoing & incredibly gorgeous, and he is tall, dark, handsome & charming. But no, they were not going to be a couple. At least, that was not the plan.

Until the summer they spent apart. He was away in Utah, working as a nature counselor. He would go into the wilderness for 6 days at a time. There were no phone calls, no internet chats, no communications… for a week at a time. And when you can’t even talk to your best friend for a week…. What’s that old adage about absence?

And so they made an agreement. Every night at 9:00pm, they would look up at the stars and know that, (just like Fievel), “Somewhere Out There”, someone was thinking of and loving them right then.

After that summer, the neighbors, who had become best friends, became much, much more. They decided that they didn’t want to spend any more time apart… ever. So on an another adventure in Utah, together this time, on the top of Brian Head, Brand told Sheila that he wanted to spend his life with her. And in that big somewhere out there, she agreed.

We met at the beautiful McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale for their engagement session. It was a warm and sunny winter day, the kind that reminds us why we live in Arizona. It made for a very nice afternoon in the park. And the McDowell mountains are one of those places that make you fall in love with the desert.

It’s a popular hiking spot, but since we weren’t exactly dressed for a hike J, we casually strolled along bridge and hung out in the amphitheater. Sheila made friends with everyone she passed. It’s easy to see why Brand fell in love with her!

These two were just SO gorgeous together!  The romance just oozes! I mean….. Yowza!

Have I mentioned lately how I LOVE when my couples have FUN during a session? I mean, shouldn’t that be the goal, anyway??! These two are not only beautiful, but super funny and playful to boot. They had me laughing  along with them all afternoon! This is officially the 1st time a couple practiced yoga with me during a session! Ok, so we didn’t actually practice for long, and I didn’t really practice (camera in hand, and all)… but Sheila + Brand have some mad ‘Tree Pose’ skills!

Being desert/nature lovers, they  wanted to take a photo by the giant Saguaro cactus. The results…. Incredible!! Brand, you can be my photo assistant any day! And yes, I do have a serious love for black & white photos.  They just have a timeless, emotional appeal!

Brand is an avid hiker. And he has begun a tradition that every time he goes for a hike, he looks for a heart-shaped rock to bring back to Sheila. So, of course, he found one this day also!

So, as any good photographer would, I just HAD to take a picture of Sheila’s 2 new rocks that Brand has given her!

When a couple is really, truly in love, it just shines through and lights up everything around them. This light, this love… a wedding photographers dream!

As the sun began to set, we stopped under the ramada for a dance, a twirl and a very romantic sunlit kiss….

Sunsets here in Arizona, viewed from the wide open desert… they’re amazing. I feel fortunate (every single time) to witness them. And on this particular day, in the company of Sheila + Brand and in full view of their love, well… it was just magic.

Congratulations Sheila and Brand! You guys are fabulous and I had so much fun photographing you! Your joy and laughter is infectious, and I know your life together will be filled with love! I can’t wait to photograph your  Marshall Garden ceremony at the Scottsdale Civic Center! 💕

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.


RIPARIAN PRESERVE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Laura + James

The ship sailed through the western Caribbean and on to the next port. It was the formal night, and they were dressed to the nines. They had some time before dinner, so he asked her to step out on to the balcony to enjoy the view and watch the sea float by.  He handed her a small, pretty package. It was 5 days before Christmas, too early to exchange, but he explained it away. He had 3 gifts to give her and said he couldn’t wait.

She carefully un-wrapped the box, and pulled out a beautiful wallet. It was much appreciated, he knew she had been needing one. He then gave her a handwritten letter, and in it he professed his eternal love. You know I feel the same way, she told him. He placed the 3rd item in her hand. It was a note, with only 3 words. “My Last Name.” Confused, she looked up to ask him what this meant. But she didn’t have to look up to look in his eyes, because he was kneeling on the floor before her. And in his hands was the ultimate gift.  One that his mother and grandmother had both worn.  A stunning wedding ring, a family heirloom.  And there, on the sea, somewhere between Mexico and Belize, Laura and James began planning the rest of their lives together.

We met at the beautiful Riparian Preserve in Gilbert for their engagement session. It was a pleasantly overcast day, the kind that we Arizonans cherish. It made for a very nice afternoon in the park. And the Preserve is one of those places that make you forget you’re in the desert.

We started by strolling down the path, and taking a few “walking” shots to get into the photo groove. I often like to start this way, as it gets everyone relaxed. I don’t often start with a photo of my couples looking straight at the camera, but Laura and James were so cute together, I just couldn’t resist.

And even better, they played and laughed together. Which is perfect, because I absolutely love when my couples have fun during their session.

And even better, they played and laughed together. Which is perfect, because I absolutely love when my couples have fun during their session.

And even better, they played and laughed together. Which is perfect, because I absolutely love when my couples have fun during their session.

They even picked up on my hybrid cues that often come out as some sort of amalgamation of multiple words. Let’s just call them “Mindy-isms”. I’m fairly certain that this was when James became a “snozzling” pro. What is snozzling you ask? Well, you’ll just have to ask my Brides & Grooms!

Why yes, this is a serious Blue Steel. Guys, you get it.

We strolled along on the more secluded paths, and we came to the creek, one of my favorite spots of the park.

As they had a quick wardrobe change, I had to take a shot of Laura’s gorgeous engagement ring. Talk about an amazing family heirloom!

Side note…. it’s not easy to change clothes in a semi-public location,  in a hurry because you’re trying to save daylight and get more photos before sunset. 😉 So, how do you manage this? Why, you find the most secluded little path, and you duck behind some massive bushes while your fiance and photographer play lookout! Of course!!  Thanks to the people walking their dog who turned around so we could make this desert-style Superman thing happen!! 😉

These two, seriously! Between the romantic holds, the sweet kisses, and some playful lifts…. so awesome! I could have photographed them all day!!

As dusk began to fall, we stopped in the big ramada for a sit and some more snozzling….

And as the clouds rolled in and daylight faded, we ended our session near the lake under a streetlamp. And this particular shot in this location, it just took my breath away! Love under the light by the lake… so much YES!!

Congratulations Laura and James! You guys are so amazing and I had a fabulous time with you! I know your life together will be filled with laughter and joy and love!


PAPAGO PARK ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: Erin + Dan

He waited for the perfect time. He even waited until after Christmas, and after New Year’s, a time when many other men were popping the question. He knew that the time was coming, they would be in the perfect spot soon, and he could be patient. They packed their bags for the short stay-cation at the resort her Mom had booked for her birthday. And when they got there, he had it all set up. There were candles and flowers in the room.  It was beautiful and romantic. It was like every girl’s dream of how a man would ask for her hand. It was a perfect proposal. And there, in that room, on the beach, she said yes, and they began their plans for their wedding.

The plans would only take a year. 365 Days. 52 Weeks. 12 Months. 1 Year… to the day, in fact, from the day she said I will, to the day they’ll say I do. It just so happened that the date was available. Easy to remember, that way, the day that it all happened. Dan had planned the perfect proposal, and together, he and Erin have planned the perfect wedding.  In 1 year.  And they’ll never forget their anniversary. J

We met at Papago Park over the Christmas holiday for their engagement session. It was one of the coldest days of the year, and the wind wouldn’t stop. But Erin and Dan were troopers, and we had a blast (no cold weather pun intended)!

The park is always full of desert beauty, cactuses and palm trees and palo verdes. We had to stop and soak in this gorgeous Sonoran backdrop.

Dan was so sweet, trying to shield Erin from the cold & wind.

And of course, no trip to Papago is complete without a visit to Hole in the Rock.

It’s a short hike up, and there are several nooks and crannies in the rock formation that are good for a cuddle.

Who doesn’t love a stunning engagement ring against a crisp white shirt? I mean really?

Despite the chilly wind, Dan was all smiles with Erin in his arms.

Snuggle in a blanket on top of the world with the man/woman of your dreams? Yes please.

I have to end with this epic view of Erin & Dan, in love on the mountain top, Erin’s hair flying in the wind.  It’s times like this that remind me how much I love my job, and simply take my breath away! Erin & Dan, I wish you a lifetime of epic views.  💕

“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.” ~ Nicholas Sparks

Congratulations Erin and Dan! I cannot wait for your wedding at McCormick Ranch!

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.


SINGH FARMS ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: MAGGIE + CHAD

He was looking on every seat. And searching his pockets. After Every. Single. Ride. It was taking forever to get through the park, and if they kept this pace they would never get to ride everything they wanted before the Electric Light Parade. What is his deal today? The Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones rides were one thing, but after the Matterhorn and Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…. Forget about it. You’d think Chad had lost not only his keys, but possibly his mind. What are the chances that you will lose your keys… And cell phone…. And wallet… And whatever else it is that you keep in your pockets and say you’re looking for… all on the same day?? If it stayed in there through the first 10 rides, I’m pretty sure it’s secure. Now, can we please keep going and experience the rest of the amusement park? Maggie was not amused.

Their best friends thought it was hilarious. And being “in” on the surprise, they made light of Chad’s sudden “paranoia” and kept the foursome moving through their Disneyland adventure. But they disappeared in the crowd in front of the Cinderella Castle. Instead of finding their friends, Chad suggested he and Maggie walk into a little pathway, away from the crowd. And now she knew something was definitely up. As he got down on one knee, the reason he had been acting so strangely became apparent. And as he asked for her hand in marriage, in front of a castle, Maggie felt like a real-life princess. Chad’s Disneyland Engagement Proposal gave new meaning to the phrase “Happiest Place on Earth.”

We recently met at what I consider to be the Happiest Place in Phoenix, Singh Farms, for their engagement photo session. It’s an amazing garden and (IMHO) a magical oasis in the desert. And this gorgeous couple rocked their photo shoot, creating some serious magic of their own…..

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Ok, seriously… these two, in this setting??!!?!! GAH! So romantic! Definitely a photographer’s dream session!

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The garden was stunning this time of year, with the golden leaves on the trees. And since Maggie will be using Sunflowers at her April wedding, it made for a fitting color palette! We had to stop and soak in this gorgeous golden yellow backdrop.

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Chad brought the serious Blue Steel!! Zoolander, eat your heart out!

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Who doesn’t love a stunning engagement ring in a weathered tree branch? I mean really?

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Quick wardrobe change into some comfy flannel shirts, and they fit perfectly into the rustic garden vibe! Every bride planning a south-western wedding needs a wagon wheel photo, right?

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Then there was the time that Chad made a new best friend at the horse stables.

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Their equine buddy wasn’t ready for them to leave. When we went around the other side, look who decided to PHOTOBOMB! Ok, you guys, quit horsing around!

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The campfires in the garden were a perfect spot for a snuggle, and to warm up by on the chilly December morning.

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We had so much fun during their engagement session at Singh Farms. I didn’t want it to end. I don’t think they did, either! LOVE that my brides and grooms have fun during our shoots!

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Congratulations Maggie and Chad! I cannot wait for your wedding next April at Rustlers Rooste!

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.

Photos: Life Story Photography

To see more beautiful engagement photos at Singh Farms, check out Shelby+Mark’s session.


SAHUARO RANCH ENGAGEMENT SESSION: LAUREN + JEFF

He hid the ring in the sand… below his son’s toys. Risky, really, considering it was a public beach, and his little boy could’ve exposed his plan at any minute. Jeff took Lauren to San Diego, CA for vacation, and planned to pop the big question at Mission Beach, but he knew he had to be sneaky to surprise her. So he put the ring box under the bucket and shovels, and asked Lauren if she would help pick up before they left. He anxiously watched as she gathered the playthings and baubles and games. And the risk paid off. As she lifted the toy and saw the box, she couldn’t believe her eyes. He sat next to her in the sand, and asked if she would spend the rest of her life with him and his son. And there under the warm summer sun, he slid the ring on her finger, and the three of them agreed to become a family.

We met recently at the historic Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale, AZ for their super sweet engagement session. And these two could not have been cuter!

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Lauren stopped for a quick sip of water from the fountain, and Jeff joined in. Seriously you guys, you are adorbs!! I love it so much when my couples have fun together and I get to catch it!

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Every time I would take a minute to adjust settings, I would look up and find them teasing each other and playing together. Jeff knows exactly how to make Lauren light up. By the end of our session, she said her cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much.  THAT’s when you know you are happy!!

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Photobomb! This peacock decided he wanted his time in front of the camera too… he gave Lauren a bit of a scare when he snuck up behind them. Her expression was priceless!

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After the sun set and we were about to leave, I turned to see Jeff holding Lauren so tenderly. What an amazingly beautiful moment to capture!

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I had so, so, so much fun this evening with Lauren and Jeff. Their wedding will take place next June in the beautiful state of Idaho. I’m so excited to see what is in store for this sweet couple and their adorable son!

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Congratulations Lauren & Jeff! You deserve all the happiness you have coming your way!

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©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.

Photos: Life Story Photography


VALLEY GARDEN CENTER ENGAGEMENT: CHELSEA + DAVIE

Waffles. Yes, the breakfast food. Crispy and soft and delicious. And the reason that Chelsea and Davie are together. Because when you’re charged with making waffles for 600 people, you get to know the person with whom you’re waffling. It was over the steaming irons that he asked her on a date. And there, in the resort where they worked as chefs together, they fell in love.

He says she didn’t like him at first, and that he had to wear her down. She says she had a kitchen crush on him the whole time. I’d say they’re so cute, they can’t not be together! Their love for cuisine and comics and games and all things vintage is really only surpassed by their obvious love for each other.

On an amazing day when the desert sky was filled with both sun and storm clouds, we met for their sunset engagement session at the Valley Garden Center. It’s got a courtyard and koi pond and a gorgeous mix of desert plants. And Linda was so gracious to accommodate us in a pinch! (Our plans for our session at the Japanese Friendship Garden fell through since it was under construction.)

The Garden has this huge, amazing mesquite tree, full of twists and bends and knots and strength and beauty. And at the very base, the two sections of trunk come together as one…

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These two! Quirky and cute! They kept sneaking little side glances at each other, making silly faces and speaking some secret telepathic language, which inevitably ended with one or both of them cracking up.  Just adorable!

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Quick wardrobe change and…. Ok, seriously, Chelsea and Davie’s vintage style with her in a cheongsam style dress against this crazy cool retro / art-deco stucco wall???!!! I. Can’t. Even!!!

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Amo Te Semper = I Love You Always. Yes, I believe they will. Like the Scrabble pieces, they fit together to create their own words.💕

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Tell me they couldn’t be a couple in a Dick Tracy movie!!?!

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As a wedding photographer, you always hope for that gorgeous golden light, but what we were treated to this day, was just magical! As the sun was setting, the clouds opened up and, GAAAHHH…. Look at the result!!! The rain was amazing against the golden sky.

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Yes… we got drenched! Chelsea and Davie were sports, and I was giddy with what unfolded in front of the camera. I felt like singing…. in the rain…. with my very own Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds right there in person!

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And then, to top it all off (as if this session could get any better!!?!), a rainbow appeared! Since Davie is from the rainbow state, this could not have been more apropos. And I think he has truly found his treasure at the end of his rainbow….

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I absolutely adored this evening with Chelsea and Davie. It was like a scene in a movie. I am so excited to see what is in store at their amazing wedding at My Vintage Venue!!

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.


COON BLUFF, SALT RIVER AREA ENGAGEMENT : BRANDI + SAM

©Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography.

They met online. You may call it a cliché, I call it meant to be. Brandi and Sam found each other at a point in life when they very possibly needed someone most. Funny thing about love, you can’t really know it unless you know loss also. And Brandi knew loss all too well. Still, she took a chance and started dating again. Sam was fantastic, but she was hesitant to get close. Did she really want to start over, and open her heart again? So they decided to just be friends. Thing is… they became best friends. They even called each other to talk about dates they went on with other people! They cared deeply for each other and protected one another. As time went on, they realized that the person they were searching for was right there the whole time. The love they share is evident. Sam looks at Brandi with a tenderness unmatched. And she simply glows when he looks her way.

Coon Bluff was the perfect place to take sunrise engagement photos. It’s a quiet, relaxed, comfortable place along the Salt River in Mesa, AZ. It’s full of beauty and reflection, just like the love that Brandi and Sam share.

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We strolled along the bank of the river, and stopped for a bit to enjoy the surroundings.

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How awesome are these boots?! Could not be more perfect for this spectacular desert setting!

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Soft, glowing sunlight and a sparkling engagement ring… these are a few of my favorite things!

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I absolutely loved spending the morning with Brandi and Sam. It felt as though we were meant to meet! I cannot wait to document the joining of these two amazing people and their families at their wedding at Las Sendas.

Happy Monday!

 


Scottsdale Engagement Photos: Shelby+Mark

They both signed up for six years. Joined the military after realizing that college was not in the budget. They knew it would bring them skills and opportunity. What they didn’t know is that it would bring them love. They worked in the same unit. Mark met Shelby and knew he had to learn more about this pretty girl. He asked her to work with him on a job. She agreed, and found that this tall, dark & handsome soldier made her work much more interesting. They agreed to a movie date, and stayed up for six hours afterward talking, laughing, and not wanting the night to end.

It happened fast, but sometimes you just know when it’s right. The military schedule is unpredictable, and you never know when (or if) you’re going to get re-stationed, possibly overseas. Mark knew that they were meant to be together. “I just didn’t want to risk being without her.” So when they went to Ohio to meet her family, like a true gentleman, Mark asked Shelby’s dad for her hand in marriage. They’re planning a wedding in a few months, so they spent a couple mornings together for their engagement session in Scottsdale and Glendale, enjoying the beautiful sunrise light in the garden & park despite the hot & humid June weather.

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The morning light and the magic of the garden make this an easy place to get lost together…

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This day of the session ended sweetly, sharing a “Peach Fizz” juice made fresh with produce from the garden…

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Bright and early the next morning, we met for a sunrise session at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale. The light was gorgeous, and these two Patriots were stunning…

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Shelby+Mark Engagement Session at Singh Farms, June 28, 2015. Photo: Mindy Deluca, Life Story Photography

We even got treated to a quite a show by the local wildlife. Super fitting, as one of Shelby & Mark’s wedding colors is teal blue, just like these beautiful peacock feathers…

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I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter, more joyful couple to photograph. Shelby and Mark, THANK YOU, for letting me be witness to your love. <3

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