Princeton, New Jersey
From the first time chatting with Maria and Michael, I knew they were going to be the absolute sweetest! I was so excited to meet them when the time finally came for their engagement session. All week leading up to the day we were planning to shoot, the weather looked beautiful — then about an hour before I was getting ready to leave, the forecast predicted rain between 6pm-7pm, aka exactly when we were going to be shooting. We decided to go ahead with the shoot anyway, and thankfully there were only a few quick raindrops and otherwise just cloudy skies!
Maria and Michael are actually from the same town and went to the same high school, however they never knew each other. Funny enough, Maria did know Michael’s siblings — and mother! She oversaw the cheer program, which Maria was coaching at the time. One day, Maria was venting to her assistant coach about boy problems. Michael’s mom overheard and mentioned that she would like Maria to meet her son. Maria assumed she meant her son, Anthony, who Maria knew, but she was actually talking about Michael!
As Maria tells it, “A couple of days afterwards, Michael came to one of my cheering practices (he’ll say it was to drop off his mom’s keys). We started talking after that, and then eventually everything felt right and we got together. If you ask him, he’ll say I made the first move and I’ll say it was him — the world may never know. Whenever we’re asked about love at first sight I always refer to a phrase I saw on Pinterest once, ‘It wasn’t love at first sight exactly, but it was a sense of familiarity. Something like oh hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.’ Seven years together, and forever to go!”
Fast forward a few years to Michael’s proposal! They had looked at rings together at the beginning of the summer, and Michael worked with their family friend and ring designer, Gary, to create Maria’s. Unfortunately, the week before Michael planned to propose Gary very unexpectedly passed away.
“Michael will tell you it set his plans off because he wanted Gary to be there. The day came and I was at work, and didn’t think anything unusual. I left work and went by his parents. When I got there, his dad said he had made a memorial in the backyard for all of us to see, but he wanted it to be a surprise so we had to all be blindfolded. I put my blindfold on, and Michael took his off and ran to the backyard as his siblings escorted me out. When we got to the backyard and took our blindfolds off, I saw Michael standing in a gorgeous tent with greenery, flowers, and lights everywhere — and as soon as Luke Combs “Better Together” started playing in the background, he got down on one knee. It was perfect, and I cried like a baby.”
Maria’s ring is a cushion cut diamond halo with diamonds on each side. Her ring is even more special to her because it was the last ring Gary ever made. “He never got the opportunity to see Michael propose, and I never got the chance to say thank you and how much I love it. I know he’s happy for us, but we still wish we could tell him thank you and how much it means to us. Still knowing that I’m wearing a Gary Pollina original brings me such happiness and comfort. I love knowing that he’ll be with us not just at our engagement shoot and the big day, but for the rest of our lives as well.”
Together these two live in West Milford, and love going to concerts and hockey games — they are big Devils fans! I cannot wait for their wedding next April (exactly a year from the day we took their engagement photos, funny enough) at David’s Country Inn in Hackettstown, NJ!