Throughout the six years that Daniel and Zack lived in San Diego, one of their favorite places to spend time together was at Torrey Pines. “Since leaving San Diego to move to Seattle, the one place we miss most is Black’s Beach,” the grooms-to-be say. So after they got engaged, it seemed like the perfect place to take their engagement photos before they tie the knot this summer. With Kim C Villa Photography behind the lens, Daniel and Zack’s coastal engagement session is filled with candid moments and stolen glances that will certainly brighten your day.
The Love Story
When Daniel and Zack were in middle school, they both had eyes for the same girl. So when Daniel found out that Zack, her new boyfriend, was on his track team, he says they quickly became enemies. Years later when school was out for the summer, both Daniel and Zack were eager to make some extra cash, and unbeknownst to them, they both landed jobs at the clothing store Quicksilver. “Things were awkward for a while, but we figured out how to set the past aside and slowly started to build a friendship,” Daniel says. It wasn’t long before Zack was finding excuses to sneak into the stockroom when Daniel was back there, and eventually, they started hanging out outside of work.
They officially started dating at the beginning of senior year, but when that year came to an end, they were faced with the difficult task of maneuvering a long-distance relationship as they chose to go to separate colleges. But for Daniel and Zack, it only strengthened their bond more. “I knew I would be with Zack for a long time the first time we had to spend an extended amount of time away from each other,” Daniel says. “We went off to different colleges, and while not very far apart, we were only able to see each other a couple times a month — it was very painful.” Their first year of college was difficult, yet eye-opening, and Daniel and Zack realized they didn’t want to spend any more time away from each other. So the following year they moved to San Diego to attend UC San Diego together.
During graduate school at UC Berkeley, Daniel spent a summer in Santiago, Chile, teaching English. As his program came to an end, Zack planned to meet Daniel in South America so they could spend two weeks traveling around Brazil. Zack took care of all the flight details and held onto Daniel’s ticket until they were ready to board, keeping it a secret that they’d be flying first class to Brazil. They were greeted with a glass of wine upon boarding the plane and enjoyed a salmon lunch in the air before Zack took advantage of a quiet moment and popped the question. “It was kind of comical because we were seated in first class, and the rest of the seats up there were taken by a bunch of wealthy, older Brazilian couples,” Daniel says. “They were pounding back bottles of wine, and it wasn’t about three hours into the flight that they all passed out drunk, and Zack used the peaceful silence to ask me to marry him — it was such a special moment!”
While Zack managed to surprise Daniel with a ring, Daniel admits he was onto him. “Zack had Facetimed me a couple months before all of this and was out to a fancy dinner with my mom and dad,” Daniel says. “It wasn’t totally odd given Zack’s great relationship with my parents, but they were at a fancy restaurant in Napa, and it made me wonder how that came to be and why. I later found out he had taken them out to ask for my hand in marriage — this melted my heart!”
Daniel’s engagement band is a half karat of diamonds channel set into platinum. Zack’s engagement band is a karat of diamonds set in a platinum eternity band. “What, men can’t have diamonds, too?” the grooms-to-be say.
“In a remote village in Rio, we got to throw some photos and text into an email to tell our families about our engagement — that was exciting!” Daniel says. “Zack got us an Airbnb in the jungle on a large isolated piece of private property adjacent to the national forest. We stayed in a tiny house. In the mornings we could walk through the trees and go skinny dipping in the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen. There were no other humans in site and I just remember feeling like ‘life really could not be any better right now — I am REALLY living!'”