“Love comes from the most unexpected places” -Barbra Streisand

How did you meet?

Christina: We initially met in freshman year of college and were very good friends for several years before any possibilities of romance presented itself. When we “re-met”, I was living in the East Village, a few years out of college and working in a very high-stress, demanding job reverse commuting everyday to Stamford, CT. I was actually in the midst of doing some self-discovery, taking a break from dating and trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted, and what really made me happy. They say you find love when you aren’t looking, and this was definitely true for me. Our worlds collided that Sunday morning when I was not anticipating the possibility of love or a relationship. The reality now is I could not imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t take that turn down 9th St.

It was early Sunday morning, and I was walking through a completely deserted East Village to go to Bloomingales looking for a dress for a mid week cocktail party. As I was walking west across 9th st, the sun high between the buildings in the sky, I saw Nick walking towards me. We stopped and chit chatted for a few minutes, and he asked if I would be interested in grabbing a drink the following weekend.

Nick: I remember the first time I ever saw Christina at Fairfield. It was one of the first day’s of freshman year and I was walking through the Quad back to my dorm after class. I remember seeing Christina walk out of her dorm and she was walking towards me. She had on a yellow tank top, denim skirt and these huge sunglasses. I remember thinking to myself that I need to meet that girl. Little did I know that I would be marrying her one day.

Our first real encounter to the start of our relationship was when we bumped into each other in the East Village. We planned on getting drinks on Friday night and I honestly thought she was just being nice to agree to meet me. I always thought of Christina (and still do) as one of the most beautiful girls and out of my league. We met for drinks at Bar Veloce which somehow turned into us splitting a bottle of wine. It was so easy to talk with her since we were already friends. All of the awkward first date stuff wasn’t present and everything seemed so natural. After our bottle of wine we decided we wanted to grab a bite to eat. We walked down second avenue searching for a place to eat. We ended up at Frank, a small Italian restaurant with only a few tables. We both combed the menu and when it came time to order we were both thinking the same thing. We decided we wanted to split the burata appetizer and gnocchi pasta.

How did the proposal go down?

Nick: Christina and I are both big golfers. Christina is a lot better than I am (she played in college). We got engaged at my country club on Long Island on the 9th green in front of the club house. I had her family and my family waiting on the back patio and we had a celebration inside afterwards. I was definitely nervous and getting the ring out of my golf bag without her noticing was difficult.

Christina was playing well (as usual) and wanted to keep playing after 9 holes. When we got up to the 9th green we both looked over our putts and I looked at her and said “Well what do you think?” She responded, “I think its going to move right to left” I wasn’t expecting that answer, so I had to hit my putt….. I missed.

She then made her putt and I looked at her again as I got down on one knee and said “So what do you think?” She looked at me with a blank stare and I said… “So do you want to keep playing 18 or do you want to get engaged?”

She looked at me and said ” You need to say it!, Say it!” ..I responded with “Will you marry me?”

The entire day was a little strange so I had a feeling something was up. I had been by the pool BBQing with his family for most of the day, when he asked if I wanted to go play 9 holes. I never turn down a chance to play, but it was just an awkward time when we were all having a good time by the pool on the hottest day of the summer. We went out to play 9 holes, and I remember just having the best time, being silly and taking selfies. I was playing pretty well so I was begging him to play 18. When we got to the 9th green, I had just putt out for par, and he still had quite a long putt left. He said “what do you think?” which usually when he says this means “can you help me read my putt?” So I started to help him with his putt, which went no where near the hole. He then again said “so what do you think….do you want to play 18 holes still or do you want to get engaged?” He got down on one knee about 15 feet away from me, I immediately started hysterically crying into my hands! I finally got closer to him and realized that he was crying too which I had never seen him do before! After he put the ring on my finger and hugged and kissed, he pointed to the clubhouse patio and my family and his family ran out towards us. He had coordinated a whole surprise party for us afterwards!

When we met Christina and Nick, we had just finished shooting a maternity session with one of our past couples and their 2 year old daughter. The day was a bit humid so the combination of photographing an energetic toddler plus the humidity had us a bit sluggish. Luckily Christina and Nick’s energy and smiles were contagious and it wasn’t long before we were back to 110%.

We started the engagement session at the Central Park Conservatory Gardens. We’ve been shooting weddings and engagements professionally for 7 years and shot hundreds of times within Central Park – this was the first time we’d ever shot at the Conservatory Gardens! It was incredible. Christina and Nick had to purchase a permit prior to the session (and it was only for 30 minutes) so if you’re ever planning on having a shoot there, be sure to get the permit (they did check and did hold us to the 30 minutes).

The Central Park Conservatory Gardens is a perfect spot for engagement photos. There are well manicured florals and shrubberies as well as beautiful scenic locations to shoot. Our favorite spots to shoot were in the pergola section and the pathway that was covered by trees. We spent a majority of the time in those two locations.

After our time was up we hailed a cab towards 72nd street to take advantage of the more popular Central Park Engagement Photos spots – the mall and bow bridge to name a few. On the way down we snapped a few pictures inside the cab while our friendly cab driver kept us entertained with his never-ending stories (although we couldn’t really understand what he was saying). He was really sweet and loved what we were doing – it was a highlight of our shoot!

As the sun set on the day, so did our session and we couldn’t have been happier with the way the photos turned out. Christina and Nick’s wedding next year at Tribecca Rooftop is going to be amazing! We can’t wait!

Central Park Conservatory Gardens Engagement photos by Michael Justin Studios.