Dressed to the nines and clutching her purse, Ilea walked hand-in-hand with Angelo out the front door, and they sped off. Ilea doesn’t like secrets or surprises. She never has. So, on a typical night, she’d know the details in advance: where they were going, what they were doing, who they’d see, and how long they’d be there. But not this night. Angelo comes from a philanthropic family. Well-established. Community-minded. Generous. So, fundraising events weren’t the exception. They were the rule.

On the drive to the event, Angelo veered off course. Took a wrong turn. Diverted a different direction. It confused her. Piqued her interest. This isn’t the way, she thought. He could feel her anxiousness and tried to reassure her. “We’re stopping at one of the sponsor’s to pick up a few donations,” he said. Cooly. Calmly.

Crisis averted.

Moments later, their car pulled up to a helipad. A chopper was waiting. Spinning. Ilea gulped. Then breathed deeply. Then repeated. Over and over. This is it, she told herself. He’s going to propose. “What kind of event sponsor is this?” she asked. “They do organ transplants,” he replied. “We’ll grab the gifts real quick. It’ll just take a minute.”

Stymied again.

The pilot intercepted them, reached out his hand, and introduced himself. Angelo asked about the gifts, but the pilot insisted that there were too many that were too large and too heavy for his car. “I’m done for the day,” the pilot said. “Why don’t you just jump in the bird with me and I’ll take you over with the gifts.”

It was the perfect cover.

Angelo and Ilea boarded the helicopter, took a brief detour through the mountainous sunsetting Arizona skyline, and finally landed on the hotel lawn near two white tents. The charity eventshe reminded herself. Angelo jumped out of the helicopter in a rush. Ilea lagged behind him. It was so windy, she couldn’t look up. Holding her dress and hair down, she looked at the ground until she was clear of the chopper’s reach.

And when she looked up. There he was. Standing. Waiting. With a banner behind him that read, “Will you marry me?”

*     *     *

Ilea and Angelo, we knew we liked you from the moment we met you. Your love story is captivating and your passion for each other is inspiring. You couldn’t be any kinder or more thoughtful, either. Truly. Your bright smiles make everyone around you feel so good — and you can smolder with the best of them! Thank you for inviting us to step into your past, Angelo, and photograph the session at your childhood home. What a special way to weave together what’s happened with what’s to come. We can’t wait for next year when the full circle is complete and you’re officially husband and wife. Here are a few of our favorites from our time together…

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the GEAR USED for this SESSION…

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50 1.2
Canon 70-200 2.8
Entire Gear List

2 comments
filed in: Engagements

    Katelyn James Alsop

    LOVE this you guys!!!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Thanks, KJ! Welcome back stateside!