This story begins with secrets, lies, and double-lives… sort of.
When Clarice and Stanley planned their trip from Hong Kong to Canada to visit Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains, Stanley suggested that Clarice bring a wedding dress so they could set up a tripod and take some pre-wedding photographs (a typical Chinese tradition). They are both photography enthusiasts so it seemed like a good idea. What Clarice didn’t know, however, is that Stanley was planning on surprising her with two human tripods (named Davina and Daniel) AND an engagement ring!
We picked up Clarice and Stanley at their hotel in Banff after location scouting for the previous two days and I think we may have been even more nervous than Stanley! We kept our real names, but the story was that we were friends of Stanley’s cousin, fellow photography enthusiasts who happened to be in Banff at the same time as them, who would show them around since we had a rental car and they don’t drive. When we got to Lake Minnewanka, selected for the proposal spot for its privacy, I nervously asked Clarice and Stanley if they wanted us to take a photo of them on the rocks. I nodded to Stanley to take the ring out of his backpack while I distracted Clarice, and convinced her to leave her backpack with me. There wasn’t a single tourist around as they climbed the rocks, posed for a photo and Stanley got down on one knee and presented her with a sparkly engagement ring to the sound of a music box he had hidden in his pocket. A shocked and thrilled Clarice said “yes!” and we all got a little teary-eyed.
Able to finally reveal our real identities to Clarice, we were excited to tell them about all the great spots we’d be exploring the next day. All four of us were visiting Banff for the first time and it was truly spectacular. To have the opportunity to photograph Clarice and Stanley against these breathtaking backdrops was an experience that we will never forget. We could not have asked for a sweeter, more willing couple to go on this adventure with.
Thank you, Stanley, for inviting us along, and to Clarice for embracing the surprise and the adventure!
To see a photo from the proposal itself, head over to our Instagram page where we post behind-the-scenes photos of our travels and photoshoots, as well as (embarrassing) photos from the last 10 years of Davina + Daniel.
If you follow me on social media, you probably know how much of a hockey (especially Canadiens) fan I am. Over the last few years, photography has allowed me to get closer to the team than most can ever dream of, and I’ve had the privilege of documenting behind the scenes on numerous occasions for the “Habs”, spending time in the locker room & gym with players, and even watching playoff games from the end of the team bench. Whenever my phone rings, and the caller ID reads a number from the Bell Centre, I run to pick it up. Last fall was no different when I was introduced to Chaunette and Andrew (yes, that’s Andrew Shaw, the feisty forward we’ve come to love!), who are set to get married this summer. Though they had already booked their wedding photographer, they wanted to have their engagement photos in old Montreal, to capture their new city, having just moved a couple months earlier (Andrew had just been acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks). We spent a couple of hours roaming around the cobblestone streets, watching Andrew speed ahead of us in his crutches (from a little injury the night before), mixing talk about hockey & their new life in Montreal, and stopping for some portraits of the two of them, of course.
It was another memorable experience for me, and I really enjoyed getting to know these high school sweethearts. Chaunette & Andrew, I wish you guys a beautiful wedding this summer, and Andrew, I hope to be there with you on the ice when we (finally!) lift the cup in Montreal!
Deniz and Khoa’s engagement session in Istanbul was one of many firsts and mosts for us. For starters, it was Daniel and I’s first time in the beautiful country of Turkey. It is also furthest we’ve ever travelled for an engagement session, and the first time we’ve ever travelled with a couple before their wedding. As it turns out, Deniz and Khoa were very compatible travel parters for Daniel and I. Having grown up in Istanbul, Deniz proved to be an excellent tour guide; taking us to all the sights and suggesting what and where we should eat (For the foodies, highlights were: Turkish breakfast – especially the fried cheese; Lahmacun – a Turkish pizza of sorts; mastic ice cream; salt-crusted fish flambe; and my personal favorite, Cigkofte – the most delicious raw meat I’ve ever had).
We spent a total of three days in Istanbul with Deniz and Khoa, and when we weren’t eating, we were visiting the sights – Aya Sophia, Dolmabahçe palace, Kapalı Çarşı (the Grand Bazaar) – and of course taking photos. On our last day, they treated us to a very unique and traditional experience: the Turkish bath, or Hamam. If traveling with these two hadn’t yet bonded us, then for Khoa and Daniel, and Deniz and I, being scrubbed down in a hot room while half naked was sure to do the trick!
I have to say, I think taking a trip together is probably the best way we’ve ever gotten to know a couple. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know a place that is so meaningful to both Deniz and Khoa, and to have done their engagement photos there. And to think, this trip was just part one… we are so excited to join them in Turks and Caicos for their wedding next month!