We met Jayson and Karen at a wine bar in San Diego to discuss ideas and styles for their wedding photos. After a few drinks we got to find out that they are avid climbers and are into adventuring and traveling just as much as we are. After a few different ideas we decided to head out to Joshua Tree National Park to roam the open roads. – Photographer,  Astray Photography

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?

A: We first met in middle school. We didn’t think much of each other because my best friend at the time was interested in her from 6th grade to sophomore year in high school. It wasn’t until sophomore year we got to know each other a bit more since we had some classes together. During this time of the year our school’s homecoming was quickly approaching and I had no date to the dance. I was feeling nervous because it was going to be my first high school dance and I wanted to have a date to bring. After multiple attempts of my friend trying to court Karen he finally gave up. He then said I should ask her out and see what happens. When I finally got the courage to ask her out to the dance we continued to talk and grew closer every day. On March 5th, 2005 asked her to be my girlfriend and have been high school sweethearts ever since.

Q: What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. (example: pushing each other to new limits, love to travel, huge comic book fans, foodies, etc.) What makes your relationship unique?

A: Our relationship is special because we are very family oriented, we are high school sweethearts stayed that stayed together through the ups and downs of life, and that we are willing to go out of our way for each other for anything. Our main interest that we both love doing is working out and rock climbing. We have met most of our close friend through our rock climbing community. Other fun things we enjoy doing is drinking coffee at every hipster coffee shop we can find, tasting beers at new breweries that seem to pop up every month in San Diego, and traveling all over the world meeting people, tasting delicious local foods, and catching views of what nature has to offer.

Q: How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship? (these may often be the same moment, but aren’t always)

A: I don’t think we had a specific moment that made us realize that. Honestly, it’s a combination of all the moments and experiences that we have shared together. Such as: traveling, eating, climbing, learning from each other and just loving each other unconditionally. Our love is only growing from here which the fire is still burning strong.

Q: Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?

A: The original plan for the proposal was supposed to be a surprise on Labor Day weekend in Yosemite on top of Lembert Dome at sunset. But as I was planning this there were already a couple reasons this date was not meant to be. 1. Karen did not want to go on out annual group climbing trip because she tore her tendon in her ankle a week or two prior. So her excitement for her to go was gone since she could not climb. My friends and I convinced her to go because we promised we would piggyback ride her everywhere. 2. A friend texted me during our 8 ½ hour drive to Yosemite telling me that one of our other friends proposed to his girlfriend at the trip. Once I found out, I pushed my proposal one more month so I can figure out what to do and where to go. I decided Mammoth Mountain to rock climb and gather our closest friends to capture/witness our special moment. I spent a week researching a perfect place to propose to her and eventually I found Rainbow Falls. Rainbow Falls had a lookout where I would be able to propose while having a 50 ft drop into glassy black water and have a rainbow spectrum across the waterfall’s spray as the sun rose behind us. Everyone woke up at 4:00 am except Karen, she was the last to wake up because she was too tired and too lazy to wake up to go on a 4 mile round trip hike in 35 degree weather to catch a sunrise at a waterfall. I had to push her to get up and we eventually went on this blizzard hike where we can barely feel our hands and face. Once we reached the falls, my friends and I were searching for a perfect spot where they can be far enough to take a picture. As the time drew near all the butterflies started to kick in. I started to run the whole speech in my head and thought to myself this is going to flow easy and I won’t cry. When the time finally came, I started fumbling my words and had trouble describing everything I had so articulately planned out. As I was trying to say my lines, Karen was confused as to why I was tearing up. I finally got down on one knee and finally said “will you marry me”

Q: We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!

A: If I had to describe my ring in three words, I would have to say it’s elegant, classic and timeless.

Q: Are you excited to start planning your wedding day? Do you have any ideas in mind yet?

A: Since we got engaged on October 7th, 2017, we have been planning collaboratively for our wedding which has made this journey so much easier for the both of us. Knowing that we both come from large families, we knew we had to find a venue that would fit a little over 200 guests. We wanted a venue with a large and open space with lots of greenery and natural lighting. The first venue we checked out was Twin Oaks House & Gardens located in San Marcos, CA. It had a beautiful white tent with glass chandeliers hanging from the top which lite the entire place making it look so magical. However, we were informed that the venue could only accommodate up to 150 guests which was well under our headcount. Our hearts dropped knowing that we were not able to get that venue. But, that day was our luck day. The wedding coordinator told us that Twin Oaks has a sister venue called the Ethereal Open Air Resort in Escondido, CA which was much larger and could accommodate to about 400 guests. We drove to the venue which was about a few miles up north and entered into this private estate that was tucked away in a corner. We walked in and our jaws just dropped open. We were so stunned with the beauty of this venue and immediately fell in love with it. It had a gorgeous rustic and vintage layout with large trees filled with an endless amount of twinkle lights and breathtaking greenery and botanical gardens. It was so magical that it hit the heart and we immediately said “yes to the venue!”

Congratulations to the pair!

Vendor Collaboration

Apparel: J Crew // Apparel: H&M // Fashion Designer: Urban Outfitters // Shoes: Johnston and Murphy // Event Venue: Joshua Tree National Park // Apparel: Stacey Adams // Apparel: Macys // Apparel: birkenstock // Apparel: MVMT // Restaurant: https://www.stranahans.com /// Photographer: Astray Photography // Submitted via Two Bright Lights