For their engagement session, Denise and Alex wanted to feel like they were out of the country. Somewhere unique that has character and tells a story of love.
However, due to COVID, the travel-loving couple could not leave the country. In addition, they couldn’t take photos in their hometown of Pasadena, CA due to local wildfires. So, they worked with their wedding planners at Flawless Weddings and Events and found the perfect location- the hidden jewel of San Juan Capistrano in Southern California. They were able to have the most stunning engagement session there full of history and rustic architecture.
Read about their love story and see all of the gorgeous photos below.
- Couple: Alexsander Cullins & Denise Johnson
- Occupations: Alex – Branch Manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Denise is a Philanthropy Communications Coordinator at City of Hope
- Wedding date: 4.3.21
- Wedding location: Chez Fennoy (private estate) in Glendale, CA
- Location of Engagement shoot: Mission, San Juan Capistrano
How did you meet?
We knew of each other, both being from Pasadena, but had never officially met. A mutual friend wanted to set us up, so after about a month of saying no (because, in my experience, setups never work), I finally agreed to let her pass along my contact info to Alex.
Tell us your proposal story
We were in the thick of the pandemic and quarantine; I think we were both getting cabin fever and wanted to get out, so Alex suggested we go to the beach one weekend. We got to Zuma, and there were too many people. I was like, “don’t even pull into the parking lot. I’m not getting out of the car, it’s way too crowded” LOL. We drove along Pacific Coast Highway and found a more secluded area where you could sit and overlook the ocean.
Alex wanted to walk down this rocky area so we would be on the beach, but I was so nervous that I was going to fall. I kept saying, “nope, I’m not walking down there” (looking back, I was a bit difficult that day). We went back to the car to get a blanket and sat on the trunk. We talked and laughed for a bit, and after a while, I was ready to head back home. Alex steps down, stands in front of me, and starts up another conversation about our relationship. We talked about how far we’ve come and how much we love each other. Then he leaned in for a hug and just held me for a bit, and when he stepped back, he said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?” and pulled out the ring. I started balling crying and said yes. It was perfect, just the 2 of us.
When did you know he/she was “the one”?
Alex: I knew Denise was the one after our first date. I had to have her forever.
Denise: I don’t think there was a specific moment; there were many things that let me know he was the one. He makes me feel safe and secure, I never have to question his love or loyalty for me, and that kind of peace is priceless.
Describe your engagement session.
The original idea was to take photos in popular areas around Pasadena, CA since it’s where we both grew up. When we scheduled our photoshoot, there were many local fires, so Tracy (my wedding planner and cousin) suggested Mission San Juan Capistrano. I knew I wanted to wear a white dress and another dress, so once I found my outfits, I had Alex find something to match them. It all just came together and worked out so flawlessly that day, and we love our photos so much.
What did you do on your first date?
We went to Buffalo Wild Wings, which was pretty funny because I don’t eat meat, but Alex didn’t know that. We spent about 3 hours there talking and laughing.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We love to travel. We have gone on a trip every year since we started dating. I think Japan is probably the most memorable place we have visited so far.
How has wedding planning been so far?
It started a tad overwhelming because of Covid. It was hard finding an affordable venue, and we are still trying to get the guest count down. But I think we have gotten a lot of the big things taken care of, and Tracy is my saving grace. Everything is coming together by the grace of God, and we both keep saying we can’t wait to be married and start the next chapter of our lives together.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day.
Alex: I’m looking forward to giving Denise my last name.
Denise: I am looking forward to the look on Alex’s face when he sees me in my wedding dress. I need to see him shed a few tears.
- Photographer: Benny Chiu BYC Photography (Instagram: @bycphotography)
- Planner/Assistant: Tracy Bowles & Falynn Love Flawless Weddings and Events (Instagram:@flawlessweddingsevents)
- Venue: Mission Inn San Juan Capistrano (Instagram: @missionsanjuancapistrano)
- Alex’s Suit: The Michael Ferrera Collection (Instagram: @michaelferrera)