One thing that I encourage all my couples to do is to feature locations or hobbies that mean something special to them. Brandi and Mark love touring the wineries in southern Arizona when they have some free time together. I knew immediately what I wanted to do for them: a vineyard engagement session! Working hard for my couples is something I pride myself on, but this day turned out better than any of us could have hoped for.
Brandi is one of those people that I felt an instant connection with. She said she worried that she was bothering me with all of her texts before their vineyard engagement session. Impossible! I mean, if chatting about our favorite Girl Scout cookies, our good times in marching band, and tips for battling seasonal allergies isn’t JUST like texting your best friend, I don’t know what is! The more she and I texted the more excited I got to give her a big ol’ hug in person.
These two band nerds met back in high school. They both had feelings for each other, but were too shy to come forward about it. Years later, Mark ran into Brandi in a bar and they reconnected. They’ve been together ever since. COVID threw Mark’s proposal plans for a bit of a loop, but it still turned out so sweetly! Brandi tells their story the best : “He had planned to propose in Disneyland… then it closed. So he was going to do it in California on a trip,… but the ring didn’t come in on time because of COVID delays. So, several months later, we up to Pinetop and went kayaking where we had a picnic together and he proposed. It was adorable and perfect!”
When I’m telling you this engagement session was one I’ll never forget, I mean it. When I showed up to Autumn Sage Vineyards, one of the owners, Steve, offered to give me a tour of the grounds. The vineyard has been working on creating a beautiful space for its guests and it shows. Their brand new tasting room has recently been completed this year and the outdoor area is incredibly inviting. I had reached out to Steve and his wife Nancy about Brandi and Mark’s wish to feature their vineyard for their engagement session and they were beyond accommodating.
After Steve and I finished our tour, he surprised me with three bottles of their signature wine and three souvenir wine glasses. He thought the couple would love to enjoy some of their delicious wine during their session… and he was right! When Brandi and Mark showed up and I told them what Steve had gifted them, they were in as much of a state of shock as I was. You don’t see that kind of selfless, generous hospitality very often!
Brandi told me that her ring would become my new favorite. She might just be right! I LOVE taking the time to get some gorgeous, up-close photos of my couple’s engagement ring!!!
Most of the vineyard had been picked for harvesting, but we still had a few rows to work with that were green and full of grapes!
Snuggling shots may have been aided by the complimentary wine!
In addition to being a big wine fan, Brandi said she also wanted to feature the green colors of the vineyard in her session. She loves Tucson, but she also loves that bright green color!
Probably my favorite portrait of them during their session!
Brandi was excited to let her tomboy side come out a bit more in her casual outfit. We had so much fun in the vineyard that we were losing light quickly. However, I did make sure to get a fun reflection shot by the pond before we hit the road 🙂
To top off a wonderful evening, as we said our goodbyes and packed up our things, Brandi told me she had something for me. She seriously brought me to tears. I received the sweetest card, a bottle of her favorite wine, and (to make things even sweeter) a bag of Reese’s candy. And you know how much of a sucker I am for Reese’s! I won’t lie… the Reese’s have disappeared. But their card? It’s proudly sitting on a shelf in my office where I can look at it every day. Brandi and Mark, thank you so much for being such a caring and down-to-earth couple. I will never forget our time at the vineyard together!
You can follow along with me as I explore more awesome engagement session locations around Tucson HERE!
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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