I was so eager to hang out with these fellow Reese’s lovers in downtown Tucson. Alaina and Michael knew right away that they wanted an urban feel for their engagement session. I suggested a few spots for them to check out and Alaina replied asking if we could do their session at a Tucson brewery. Brewery engagement photos? Yes, please! I love it when couples decide to feature places that are unique and special to them. I had walked by Borderlands Brewing Company before and thought that it would provide us a ton of options both at the brewery and just within a few blocks!
First, I have to say this. I have never had a couple tell me about their love story in such detail. I could literally feel the excitement in their words as they each told me how they met and got engaged. Guys, Michael seriously thought of EVERYTHING when he popped the question!
They met at Lucky Strike bowling alley in Tucson. Michael was there with a group of friends and Alaina was there with hers. Michael admits that he was flirting with Alaina, but she says she had no idea until her friends pointed it out to her. On her way to the bathroom, Alaina walked by Michael waiting at the bar for a drink. To his surprise, she smacked his butt and then ran off to the bathroom! Michael said, “That was a sign if I ever saw one.” He convinced Alaina that she, in turn, owed him a coffee date in return for the slap. She agreed, but had some interesting stipulations. No exchanging of numbers. They agreed on a date, time, and place and waited to see what would happen. Alaina told me, “We both showed up at Epic Café and never looked back.”
As I was listening to their story I was like, “These are my people!!!” Their relationship has been filled with humor since Day 1. But it’s so obvious how totally smitten they were with each other. Within the first 60 seconds of seeing them at their engagement session I felt like I was just grabbing a drink with a few friends. They are that down-to-Earth and personable! What a story, right? Well, hold tight because it gets even better!
A little more backstory: did you know that you not only have a birth stone, but you also have a tree attached to your birthday? Alaina is all about this! Her tree is the black walnut tree. The black walnut tree is quite poisonous and not much can survive around it. Uh oh! However, the Willow tree (see where I am going with this), Michael’s tree, CAN! Alaina said, “So we joke, he is the only one that can put up with me…SO true! SO PERFECT!!” Michael boasted, “There’s no escaping me now!”
On their 9 year anniversary, back at Lucky Strike, Michael popped the question. He requested the same two lanes where they first met. He also brought along the ring, waiting in a custom ring box made to look like a walnut shell. I told you he though of everything! I loved hearing him tell this story:
“I ninja-d myself over to her drink while she was bowling and put the walnut shell on the mouth of the bottle and waited. She had no idea what it was. She even thought someone was messing with her and leaving a discarded shell hull on her drink. Thankfully, as luck would have it, I just so happened to have put the golden hinge facing her. This ring was surely going into the trash bin if I hadn’t. As she opened it up she began to cry and turned to find me on one knee behind her asking for her hand in marriage.”
What an epic story to be able to tell their friends and family!
We thought showing up to the brewery on a Wednesday evening would mean things were nice and quiet. Wrong! The place was packed and the courtyard was full of people hanging out and having fun. Honestly though, it was so freaking nice to see. The social distancing and masks are almost obsolete. I’m ready for some normalcy!
I met up with Michael, Alaina, their dog Vici, and Alaina’s mom: the dog wrangler. Michael seemed right at home at the brewery and I swear he was on a first name basis with the bartender. I loved it because that meant these two were going to feel comfortable and relaxed as if we were just hanging out at their home together. Michael grabbed a few drinks, ensuring that he had some photogenic and colorful cocktails. For the photos, of course.
Of course, their sweet dog Vici had to tag along to celebrate with his mom and dad!
It had been pretty overcast for most of the evening. But, after Alaina and Michael changed into their second outfit, we were able to get a tiny bit of that sunset glow I love so much!
If their wedding at the Stillwell House is even half as fun as their engagement session, they are going to have one heck of a wedding day together!
Click here to see more Tucson engagement sessions I’ve captured!
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Tucson, Arizona.
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