So, I’ve spent some time over the last few months trying to decide whether to share mine and Mr. Wondermous’ engagement session here or to submit it to another blog. Well, Mr. Wondermous helped clinch the decision to share it here when he said that it would be great for my readers to see a bit more of the woman behind the keyboard. Well, here it goes!
As a Navy Brat growing up in San Diego, I was fortunate to have parents who immersed me in the traditions and cultures we encountered among our community. My favorite was and still is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The colors, the sounds, the celebration of one’s deceased loved one spoke to me and is something I have carried on throughout my life and have passed on to my son.
We get together with friends, make sugar skulls, gather up pictures and momentos of our honored dead and instead of mourning them all over again, we feast and celebrate the return of their spirits. We set up an ofrenda (altar) with marigolds and papel picado (ornate hand cut tissue paper) banners, food and especially favorite foods of the loved ones we are celebrating. It’s always so much fun to head to our favorite local Latino market for special treats. I think the most fun is when we can introduce this day to those who have never been exposed to it.
When Mr. Wondermous and I were considering an engagement session, we decided to skip the old fashioned portrait session and do something we both love. I must admit that the idea to do a Dia de los Muertos them stemmed from my purchase of these shoes:
Thanks for the inspiration Iron Fist!
Armed with our Day of the Dead theme, we headed with my friend and photographer, Eric Murphy, of Piscean Dreams Photograpy to Fairmount Cemetery not too far from our place in Denver. Here, Eric captured the gorgeous fall colors we in Colorado are fortunate to have.
What I find amazing about Mr. Wondermous and me is how our lives have so many near misses in our meeting one another and commonalities. Mr. Wondermous was in the Navy and I’m a Navy Brat. Mr. Wondermous was stationed at the same base in San Diego as my father prior just in different years. I went to university in Riverside, CA and Mr. Wondermous lived in Riverside for a good portion of his life prior to his moving to Colorado. Not only did he live in Riverside, but he worked at the same Del Taco my friends and I frequented after going to our favorite club. There are a few more, but these are some of the stronger examples.
How did we meet? It’s a funny yet complicated story, but I’ll give you the short version. We met at his ex-girlfriend’s housewarming party. Now before you think I’m a home wrecker, they had been broken up for a while yet remained friend and she was a friendly acquaintance. It wasn’t and instant connection though.
In certain situations, I can be quite shy. In this one, I was petrified. I didn’t know that many people who were there and when I found some friends I immediately latched myself on to them. I was just getting comfortable with my surroundings and this guy comes up and joins the conversation and introduced himself to me. Mr. Wondermous says that I was “seriously stand-offish” and wasn’t entirely friendly upon introduction.
As the night went on we ended up talking to one another and their was an immediate connection. As the party winded down, some of us were looking for crash space and we talked at length until both of us were fighting sleep. In the morning it was an awkward goodbye with a plan to perhaps continue the conversation at another time. It took us a week or so to get in contact with one another and set up a date. We’ve been together ever since.
A few weeks ago, I gave the story behind the proposal. When it came to the ring, we just couldn’t find anything either of us liked. In the back of my mind, I knew in my heart what I really wanted, but was afraid to ask. You see, I wanted to wear my mom’s engagement ring. It had been six months or so since my mom’s death and I had no idea if I should or even dare to ask my dad about it. Dad and mom were together for 49 years and married for 48 of them. I figured that in addition to being a beautiful ring, I felt that their luck in love and steadfast marriage would be a bit of luck for us.
So, when I finally got the nerve to ask my dad about the ring, he said yes! Not only did he give us my mom’s engagement ring, but also her wedding ring and his wedding band. I was floored. He told me how he got all three of them as a set from the PX (a military on-base department store for those who don’t know) and how he would love nothing more than to give us the love and steadfastness that brought he and my mom so much happiness and many years together.
When it comes to engagement photos, I can be a bit of a portraiture purist. However, I did allow for a bit of silliness for this session as Mr. Wondermous and myself are both fairly serious and our fabulous photographer just knows how to get us to let loose a bit.
Photography by: Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography
Location: Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, CO
Dress: Shabby Apple
Shoes: Iron Fist
Skelemingos: Dottie Grim Designs
Ofrenda (altar), sugar skulls, paper flower bouquet: Belle Memorie