August 9th 2015
Golden Gate Park Beach, San Francisco
Tori and McKenzie met for the first time in 2012 at She Rex, a monthly queer women’s dance party in Washington DC. The two connected over a shared loved of music—Tori is a bass player and McKenzie a vocalist—and they had an amazing time playing in a rock band together for the next year and a half. After that time the two began a relationship, and though they talked a lot about the future—marriage, kids, where they might live—they always skipped over the part about getting engaged. McKenzie decided it was time to act, so after soliciting advice from Tori’s siblings, she got to planning.
McKenzie: “Shortly after Tori and I had started dating we went on a trip to San Francisco. It was there that I knew I was falling hard for Tori, and I found out later that she felt the same way. Because it was so special to us, I knew I had to propose in San Francisco. About a month prior to my planning, Tori and I had booked flights to Oregon to visit my family. This was my opportunity: I could change the flights to fly us into San Francisco instead, and she would never know! I wanted it to be a surprise so I told only a few people this was happening.
On the day of our flight I was out-of-my-mind nervous. I was able to get her all the way to Oakland without her suspecting anything. When we got there I said, “So we’re not actually changing planes here. We’re staying in San Fran for the day!” Later that evening, we hopped in an Uber to head to dinner and Tori had no idea where we were going. The driver took us through Golden Gate Park, which was so lovely. As we exited the park, we came upon Ocean Beach. This was the first time Tori got suspicious about what was happening.
We walked around on the beach collecting rocks and shells, both trying not to act super nervous. I had hired a photographer from Flytographer, Danielle, who was on the beach taking candid photos of us, unbeknownst to Tori. Danielle just looked like she was out there on her own capturing the sunset. We had previously agreed on a cue for her to capture the proposal, which was to be when Tori and I compared our seashell findings. This was the only trip-up! There were basically no shells on the beach that day. Tori thought it was pretty weird that I was so insistent on finding shells when there weren’t really any to be found, but she was so nervous with hopeful anticipation that she just went with it and channeled her nerves and excitement into the task. I was so grateful for this!
We found a few shells and we stopped on the beach to compare them and pick our favorites. I had placed the ring under the stack of shells in my hand, so when I got to the bottom of the stack, I said, “Okay, I have one more,” and I opened up my hands with the ring sitting there and asked her to marry me. She said ‘Yes!’ And Danielle captured the moment beautifully. It was perfect.”
McKenzie purchased their matching rings from Bario Neal. The couple later went to the Philadelphia store to choose their engagement rings and wedding bands. Some of the magic captured below.
Danielle captures the couple sharing a kiss from afar.
As McKenzie reveals her seashells to Tori, there’s something else in her hand.
We love these perfect, matching rings.
Another kiss on the beach. McKenzie pulled off the surprise!
Tori & McKenzie’s rings from Bario Neal.
We are Flytographer, a vacation and proposal photography service that helped McKenzie plan her proposal and capture the moment. Their story and photos moved us to tears, and we are honored to share their special moment! The pure love and joy is amazing to see, and we wish them all the best in this exciting new chapter! All photos are credited as Danielle in San Francisco for Flytographer.