Updated: This engagement session (and Justin’s surprise wedding proposal) have been featured on Bustl’d and How He Asked by The Knot!
I met Justin + Wesley while photographing the wedding of Joey + Monica at the Millennium Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Everything about that wedding day was influenced by the comradery between the bridal party, their family, and friends. Justin + Wesley exude this in spades, and that is a very good thing. There was something that may be a first for me: During the “tosses”, Justin caught the garter belt, and Wesley caught the bouquet! And now I have the honor of documenting their story. As Wesley will share below, their love story began long before that. However, it makes for a memorable first impression I have of them.
Freedom Park Engagement Session
Share with us how you two met:
My very close family friend who is like a godmother, Deborah, and Justin’s Sister, Donna, worked together. They insisted we must meet each other because we would be perfect together. They planned and tried to get us to speak to each other for at least two years. We both drug our feet and were not very interested in being set up or were dating other people. However, Justin reluctantly added me on Facebook to appease his sister. Then after waiting a whole year (I had decided not to Facebook message him first! It was enough for me to accept his friend request!) In February 2014 Justin messaged me out of the blue and introduced himself. We texted and talked on the phone for a while, but we did not meet until he was scheduled to fly to California from RDU airport a few weeks later. His flight was unexpectedly canceled and he thought of me (I lived in Durham, NC at the time) and asked me if I would like to go to dinner. We had a lovely first date, eating at Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar, and strolling through Durham’s American Tobacco Historic District and City Center District.
Tell us about your proposal:
Justin had accepted a job offer in Atlanta the Tuesday before he proposed. I had just finished working 8 days in a row and planned on taking it easy that weekend. Justin told me to make sure to not make plans on Sunday evening because he wanted to go out to a nice dinner to celebrate his new job and as a way thank me for being so supportive as he went through the process. I told him that’s a great plan and I let him “pick” the restaurant and let me know what to wear. I decided to go along with the surprise. Little did I now he had been planning this all month! He also scheduled an appointment for me to get my nails done as a thank you for being supportive. But I was honest with him that I thought it would be a waste since I work in a laboratory and my nails wouldn’t last very long. I suggested that he could paint my nails if he wanted to treat me. AND HE DID!!! (I should have caught on at this point!) He was so nervous about them being just right and even helped me pick the color.
Justin let me know we had reservations at 6 pm and also mentioned that it was Triangle Restaurant Week so I just knew we were going somewhere good! He drives to Downtown Durham and I am guessing out loud which restaurant we are going to Nana Steak? The Little Dipper? After parking, I see the sign for Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar and I said “How perfect!” Since this will be one our last outings in Durham and we had not been back since our first date ( I still had not caught on). We go inside and there was live music on the main floor. The host takes us upstairs to a private event like room and there was only a sweetheart table in the room! I was suspicious at this point, but I didn’t want to be wrong. I asked Justin If he thought it was strange we were the only ones up here? He said they probably put us up here to get away from the music event (LIES!!). I couldn’t read my menu at this point because I was so nervous and he asked the waiter to give us a little more time to read over the menu (later I found out this was also planned!) After praying for our food, he told me how much he loved and appreciated me and wanted to give me a hug. After standing up for a hug and saying he had something to ask me….he dropped down on one knee and proposed! I was so happy and surprised! After I said yes and we hugged, kissed and I told him about all his lies! He points out that Dajuan from In His Image Photography was hiding across the room taking pictures!!! Also, he tells me that my family and his family are downstairs waiting to come up and celebrate with us!! It was perfect!
Why did you choose your engagement session location?
We chose to have our photo shoot in my hometown of Charlotte, NC. We loved the urban and beautiful setting of Charlotte’s City Center and Freedom Park’s relaxed beauty.
Thomas Polk Engagement Session
Did you enjoy your engagement session?
We loved our engagement session!! Dajuan helped create the engagement session of our dreams!!
Romare Bearden Park Engagement Session
Charlotte Engagement Session
Any feedback you’d like to leave for our studio?
Amazing work! From an awesome studio!