One of my greatest joys is sharing one of life’s special moments with close friends. A few months ago, my friend Tony approached me to help him with a wonderful proposal idea for his girlfriend, Sherry. Both Tony and Sherry share an appreciation for cooking and dining out. There’s no other way of saying it – they love food. Over the course of their relationship, Tony and Sherry dined out a lot and there were a select few meals that left an impression on them. So, Tony’s proposal idea: Tony contacted restaurants in Jersey City, New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles where they had their most memorable meals to compile a book of recipes containing his and Sherry’s favorite dishes. The restaurants loved the idea! Not only that, but Tony commissioned me to photograph some of the dishes he chose to include in the cookbook.
Tony and I worked hard to keep Sherry unsuspecting. You see, Sherry and I previously planned to do a photo session of her donning a beautiful ivory tulle skirt by up-and-coming designer, Alexandra Grecco. What Sherry didn’t know is that these photos were also to be her engagement pictures! As far as Sherry knew, Tony “reluctantly” agreed to make an appearance in some of the photos. I met the couple at The High Line in New York City where they had their first NY date, and where Tony had planned the proposal.
Tony decided that he wanted to propose to Sherry privately, so I called the couple and pretended I was running late. With a basket of “props” in hand, the scene was set for Tony to propose.
As they “waited for me to arrive,” Tony suggested to go through the props, which included the cookbook, a bottle of champagne, two champagne flutes, and a beautiful diamond ring. Upon seeing the book, Sherry said “Oh, Shadi got us a cookbook to take photos with!” As she started flipping the pages, Sherry slowly came to the realization that all of the restaurants were ones she’s been to before and that the recipes were some of their favorites. She continued until the last recipe; a recipe for their story:
The Perfect Pairing
For the Michigan girl:
1 package of Canadian Bacon
¾ cup of Yellow Maize
Bake in California sun for 2 years
For the Jersey guy:
4 blocks of Swiss Chocolate
2 cups of Kenyan coffee beans
Heat in a Jersey City melting pot
ONE | Thoroughly whisk 1 Michigan girl and 1 Jersey guy at a destination wedding in California for 5 hours. Follow by seasoning with countless hours of Facetime.
TWO | To add in East Coast flavor, move mixture to Jersey City. In a saucepan over low heat, pour in 2 unhealthy obsessions with food, 1 instant camera, 50 new friends and a generous amount of love.
THREE | Let sit until the 27th of September. When ready, add the following: 1 tulle skirt, 2 champagne flutes and 1 fake cookbook. Cover entire recipe with an abundance of God’s blessings. Top with 1 diamond ring.
FOUR | Propose and serve.
As she finished reading the final recipe, she looked up to see Tony down on one knee. After many tears and a resounding “YES,” I arrived to photograph the newly engaged couple.
I took them to one of my favorite locations and began photographing. The beautiful scenery, Sherry’s stunning outfit, and their happiness made for an outstanding proposal session.
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