The “Arts” of Love: Emilia + Shayeon’s Miami Engagement Session

First comes music, then comes marriage for this couple. Emilia was first spotted by Shayeon during a her 7th grade dance performance in his school. The second sighting occured as teenagers in the same performing arts school. Shayeon had been studying music at the time, while Emilia continued to pursue her dance. Sharing each other's passion for the arts, the couple chose to display their "first loves" of music and dance in their engagement shoot - which was shot beautifully by photographer, Cendino Teme.

Having officially met in high school, Emilia and Shayeon have been doing this dance for over nine years, and feel that they are taking their next big step into the right direction.



Bride to Be: Emilia Montes de Oca
Groom to Be: Shayeon Hawkins
Engagement Session Location: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami
Wedding Date: 08/18/2015
Wedding Location: La Romana, Dominican Republic


Tell us about how you met and all about the proposal!

The two had unknowingly been doing this dance since their seventh grade year (2003). Emilia’s dance ensemble came to perform at Shayeon’s school and it was then that he declared that she would be his. Fast forward two years and the two would both end up at New World School of the Arts, where they always seemed to exchange eye contact in passing. It wasn’t until two of their mutual friends began to talk, where the two shared their first interaction. She sat in his lap and jokingly told the group that Shayeon was her man. (Mind you the two do not know each other’s names and are still strangers in a sense.)

A few weeks later, Shayeon literally ran into Emilia and her friend Abby during lunch. Abby and Shayeon played catch up and realized that they were being rude which lead to Abby introducing the two formally. The two programmed their numbers as hubby and wifey and begin to talk, keeping their relationship private until their junior year when they could no longer be secret lovers. Late night conversations revealed that she was in fact the girl who performed at Shayeon's school in the seventh grade. Fast forward eight years, three moves and a puppy later, the two are eager to finally be tying the knot.

The proposal
For weeks Shayeon had been hinting at wanting to take salsa lessons and getting a group together to go. So he rallied up everyone and we are all together learning the steps. Once we got the steps down and it was time for everyone to show off what they learned, he whispers to me that his knee is starting to act up again. But he promises that he will get through the dance without out messing up. (The dance had a lot of bending and dropping to one knee throughout so it was understandable). After all the other groups had finished it was our turn to show off our moves and I was determined for us to be perfect. The music starts and everything is going well, we nail the first trick, and the second. Then he spins me as planned and when I turn to face him, he is on bended knee. I am thinking to myself that he has hurt himself and can’t get up. Then I realized that EVERYONE now has their cameras out and phones zoomed in on us and I’m thinking what in the world is going on. He is just on bended knee with the biggest smile on his face. And then he whips out this huge box (which I don’t understand how it fit in his back pocket and I didn’t notice) and asked me “Will you be my wife and dance with me at our wedding?” You see he always says “Imma dance at your wedding” when I do things for him which worked my nerve because it would be OUR wedding and for him to finally get it right was that much more special. The icing on the cake was that he was able to have both of our families Skyped in so that they didn’t miss the moment.

The Engagement Session

We wanted to do a few different things that would portray different aspects of our relationship.
Our first look, we were going for the look of opulence. We really enjoying getting all dressed up and attending over the top events.

Our second look honors our artistic background. We have both been in our respective performing arts fields since elementary school. We'd be remiss if we didn't appreciate what brought us together.

For our last look we wanted to do something that would work for our destination wedding, and was a little more relaxed than the previous looks. We had a ton of fun shooting this look because we had both been missing the beach since we moved from Miami.

Overall, our engagement session was perfect. Our photographer really understood what we were trying to capture.

What did you do on your first date?

Typical high school first date. We had our older siblings drop us off at the movies and then we grabbed some food.

What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?

Cuddle up and watch Netflix or a RedBox movie.

How has wedding planning been so far?

Planning has been I N T E R E S T I N G . With us doing a cruise destination wedding there are so many moving parts and parties. The things that just involve Shayeon and I are smooth sailing. Its the working within the parameters of the cruise ship and the island we are docking on, that have been two of our biggest obstacles. I still have not said yes to a dress yet but i do my best work under pressure.

Tell what your looking forward to most on the wedding day?

I am looking forward to marrying the love of my life and seeing all our late nights and early mornings pay off. Being surrounded by friends family and loved ones that have encouraged, supported and mentored us and have come together to witness The Hawkins Experience come into fruition. This will be the first big event that we have planned that strictly celebrates us and the love we have shared over the last nine years and will continue to share for the rest of our lives.


Venue: Vizcaya Museum
Photographer: Cendino Teme

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