This stunning engagement session was shot on a summer evening in August at the jaw dropping Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack, B.C.
Before I get into how Stan and I had our initial meeting, I feel that I need to give some back story. Just to show how someone who was a complete stranger saved me. I’d like to share an open letter I wrote back in 2017, after I witnessed some huge lows in my personal life, which would effect every single aspect of my world as I knew it…
“If I’m truly honest – I was “content”, content with my life, job, my home & my relationship of 11 years. There seemed to be more negatives than positives with my relationship but he was my best friend & I stuck by him. He was a bit controlling. Very critical and a bit unapproachable at times. I knew deep down I was ‘settling’ and there was a part of me that couldn’t see a future I’d be truly happy in, but I buried my head in the sand because after all, I thought he really was my best friend. We were extremely close. I gave everything I had despite always being let down, dealing with constant drama & someone who was quickly becoming very selfish… but I trusted him. Implicitly. Which in my eyes was worth its weight in gold. My thought process was that maybe you have to sacrifice having that deep, crazy, intense love, for a relationship that is stable & secure – maybe that kind of love only exists in your teenage years. It nearly always results in heartbreak & tears. It’s almost so good that it’s toxic.
It’s not realistic. What I had was the ‘sensible’ option. I was loyal. I was selfless and completely generous with my support to him – emotionally & very much financially. I played many roles – the fiancé, the mother, the bank but that’s what you do when you’re in a relationship surely? You support each other. He was a support in my life & he wasn’t all bad. I would never say he wasn’t a good person because he was in the beginning. We were just very very different and both at very different stages in our lives. He unfortunately grew into someone completely different from the person I first knew. That transitional period was soul destroying. I was losing my best friend. Everyone around me started to realize that this wasn’t for me. People closest to me knew it from the start. I remember my parents telling me to walk away after me calling them and getting upset on one of the many occasions I had been hurt by something that had happened. But I pursued.
I continued to bury my head in the sand and tried not to complain too much to those closest to me, but they knew and they knew he was starting to take advantage of me. Without going into it deeply, that ‘best friend’ betrayed me in the most mortifying way possible. Things had started to change and he was not the nice person I knew. It was all a massive blur. All I remember, amongst throwing up and sobbing, is my family and friends – my absolute rocks – driving to my house and picking up the pieces of my whole world which had just been shattered before my eyes. I lost my little home, my best friend and everything I had known in 24 hours. That solid trust had just been broken and I could not grasp what had happened to me. I had my two dogs and the thought of leaving them behind completely broke my heart even more. They couldn’t come and stay with me at my parents. What was I going to do? Where was I going to live? Would I rent? Buy a house? What about all of my things? After all, this was a whole house I was clearing, not just a wardrobe. I can’t imagine what my parents went through, they had to hear their little girl in inconsolable pain and I can only imagine how angry it made them seeing me like that. I kept saying I didn’t want to leave the home. I wanted the dust to settle. Maybe everything would be okay. It was just a bad day. But the truth was they were all excuses. I was absolutely petrified. Terrified. So scared of starting over.
Petrified of stepping out of my comfort zone. Petrified of losing everything & petrified of the unknown.The house we had shared was an empty shell & as painful as it was, I felt slightly empowered. A part of me had gained a little control back after being broken down over the last 6 months. My parents, my siblings, my whole family were very supportive. I knew I’d be okay at some point. Of course I was heartbroken more than I can even put into words. The pain was excruciating. But what I realize now is that is was the mourning of the friendship, the trust & our life that was so painful. I always knew he wasn’t the love of my life, but I thought he was my best friend. The pain & the shock was horrific. I was in so much shock. I lost over 15 pounds. The anxiety was horrendous. I had no control. I was sleeping with the light on at 31. I longed for an appropriate time I could go to bed everyday & I hated waking up more than anything. My hair was falling out & I don’t think I stopped crying for 2 weeks solid. I finally started to sleep through the night. I started to feel more of myself than I had done for the last 2 years.
People complimented me on how glowing I was looking and I remember a best friend telling me he hadn’t seen me so happy in years. I was confused but I knew it was true. It was the start of a new chapter. Now I could go into detail about the rest of the journey, the gory details in getting over the break up, I could SERIOUSLY shame & embarrass him but that isn’t me & that is not my style. I believe in Karma. All I will say is that he pulled the short straw in the end. I was well & truly gone & in time I came to realize my true self was never whole heartedly there in the first place.I took time for myself. I took time to do all the things I hadn’t taken time to do in a long while. All these things make me who I am & give me happiness. I was patient with myself. I started to plan my life & my goals & I was very specific in what I wanted to achieve. (This is where Stan comes in)I met this great guy, and we went on an amazing first date to Granville island. Everything just felt easy & natural. I remember calling my mom the next day to tell her about our date. 2 days later we went on a second date… We have been inseparable ever since. That is not an exaggeration.Throughout this whole time we have spent maybe 5 days apart. We have drinks. Went out. Stayed in. Gone to Seattle, Kelowna, Whistler. We talked for hours. We laughed constantly. Yes it was unexpected & it all happened in a whirlwind but that’s because it was right & unlike anything I’d experienced before. He felt like home & I fell for him instantly. People always say when you meet the one you “know”. Well that is the truest statement made. We have the best friendship & the kind of relationship that inspires movies. This is so soppy & so cliche & the thought of him reading this makes me blush & cringe immensely. But seriously… he is the best thing that has ever happened to me & I don’t know how I became so lucky. He is gorgeous beyond words, sensitive, caring, thoughtful & a real MAN. I’m crazy for him. We laugh constantly & always have the best times together. He has an amazing, lovely, hilarious family and friends. Life is so good. I feel so secure & so so grateful & lucky to be where I am now. I’m in the best relationship I could ever wish for. (You CAN have that crazy, intense, teenager kind of love! Without compromising your sanity haha!)The moral of the story is – NOTHING lasts forever, everything WILL be okay in the end – if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. XOXO Jessica”—————————————————————-
Long story short, we met online. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Every ounce of my being was planning on staying in that beautiful day in June. Fun bun, pjs, Netflix and ice cream. When he suggested to go to Granville island, I had no idea what possessed me to say yes. But I’m glad I did. The rest is history.
The greatest foundation of our relationship is that we are truly best friends. And, as best friends we constantly look out for each other, care for each other and are deeply concerned with each other’s well-being. We bring out the best in the other and do things just to make the other smile, because that I’m itself is the most beautiful gift we can get in return. We laugh all the time, and can find joy in something as simple as dancing in the kitchen. We are so incredibly blessed that we found each other.
For me, I knew it right away. I knew he was different from anyone I’ve ever dated before. I felt so comfortable and relaxed, but I had butterflies at the same time. How can one person be capable of giving both those feelings? Everything felt so right.
It was close to Christmas time, and Stan and I were shopping for a toy bench for his niece. He asked his brother for photos of her room to make sure what we were going to purchase would match her decor. Stan handed me his phone to show the photos, and I swiped through the couple ones that his brother sent. Not knowing I swiped one more time and saw a beautiful ring. I quickly closed his phone and said the room looked good, totally pretending I didn’t see what I obviously wasn’t supposed to. I told my sister what I saw the next day, and her face gave it away. She knew. Every date leading up, I made sure my hair, nails and makeup were done…just in case. Finally Christmas Eve morning came and Stan wanted to go to the North Shore Auto Mall to look at a vehicle (which wasn’t out of the blue, as he was on the hunt for a new car). We had plans that evening to have dinner at his parents house so I made him promise we would be back in time for me to get ready because I didn’t see the point in getting all dolled up to go look at a car… I should’ve spent more time. After we quickly ate some lunch across waterfront park, Stan turned to me and said “we should go for a walk”. As we were heading towards the water I spotted his friend Ryan hiding behind a bush. My heart began to beat fast. I knew it was going to happen. We got to the top of the gazebo and we both stared out towards the water. He began to point out where we had our first kiss and where he told me he loved me for the first time (all within eyesight of the gazebo) he then said “let’s make one more memory” and went down on one knee. I can’t remember what he said exactly, it was all a blur. I just remember crying and saying “yes! Of course!” Ryan got it all on camera too.
It’s a beautiful 1.5 carat oval diamond with an under halo. It has to be the most gorgeous ring I’ve ever seen. After getting the whole back story of his process to find the perfect ring, I found out it took him, his mom, and my sisters opinions to help him decide. Which makes it even more special that he included these ladies in the process.
All planned out!!! Can’t wait to marry my best friend on October 5th 2019.