and the winner is………

Leah & Skyler!!

congratulations Leah & Skyler!

first and foremost, I was absolutely blown away by the love & support that each couple received from family and friends.  you should all feel very loved after reading everyone’s sweet comments.

I really would have liked for EVERY couple to win, as each and every one of you had a wonderful love story (thank you for sharing).  but as you know, in the end, we must have one winner.

I’d like to extend a ‘thank you’ to all the couples that entered the contest.  for each and every couple that entered the contest, I will offer $250 off any wedding package from katie baldi photography.  for the 5 finalists, I will offer an additional $250 off any wedding package ($500 total!).

now for the added bonus…….

Kristen Calderaro (amazing make-up artist) has also offered to donate wedding day make-up for our winning bride!

http://www.kristencalderaro.com

again, thank you ALL for entering, voting and playing this fantastic game of love

skyler and i grew up in two small neighboring cities our whole lives, not knowing the person we were going to spend the rest our lives with was just around the corner.  at 13, the two of us first met at ralston middle school in belmont, ca, when i was introduced to skyler through a mutual friend.  luckily, a year later, both of our middle schools filtered into carlmont high school, where our groups of friends immediately gravitated toward one another.  having so much in common, it didn’t take long for us to become close friends.  at 15, skyler made it apparent that he had feelings for me beyond our friendship, but at that time, i was scared to risk our strong relationship.   ironically a year later, while gossiping with girlfriends about who we wanted to go to our winter formal dance with, i realized i had feelings for him.   as a few months went by, my feelings for skyler grew stronger.  however, at the time, he didn’t feel the same and ended up asking another girl to the dance.  i was crushed.  as the school year went on, our friendship continued to remain close and when junior prom came around, i knew i couldn’t miss out a second time.  as it turned out, a close friend of mine at the time, asked me to prom instead.  however, after hearing rumors that skyler was going to ask me as well, i politely declined and hoped for the best.  fortunately, the next night, skyler finally asked me!  our first date was prom and that was the first of many.

after high school, we both ended up moving to santa barbara for school.  during our time in southern california, we were fortunate enough to experience life as adults together and grow with one another, which has been a key aspect to our strong relationship.  our last year in santa barbara, skyler and i decided to move in together.  although we went through the initial rollercoaster of adjustments that most couples do when they move in with one another, we knew it was one of the best decisions we had made.  moving in together just felt right.  we realized that the best and most important part about our years together up until then, was that we were also able to develop ourselves individually.  this was and still is extremely important to us.  in addition, skyler and i have really been lucky to have maintained solid relationships with our childhood friends and our families, who have constantly showed us support as a couple.  during the summer of 2008, our time in so cal was coming to an end and we decided to move back home to the bay area, where we’ve lived together ever since.  now, close to 10 years later, we currently reside where it all started in belmont, ca.  we are both working full time and are enjoying life to the fullest.  during our free time, we’re really just your average townies:).  we are very social and active people, always make time for our friends and families, and make sure to make time for each other.  if i could pick one word to describe our relationship, i’d choose effortless.  i love that we can still be ourselves together, whether it’s us goofing around at home playing wii or out at a giants game.  we’re excited to start the next chapter of our lives and continue our journey.

our engagement: june 3rd, 2011

the night before my birthday last year, we went to a joint birthday/goodbye party for me and two of our friends who were moving.  it was a thursday and we knew we had the next day off for my birthday, so naturally, i thought our group would all want to go out for cocktails following dinner.  but for some reason, no one seemed eager to keep the night going (well, at least some of the guys – who i found out later already knew).  so, we went home and i was left with no suspicions, knowing we had to take off early in the morning.  skyler had been planning to take me to santa inez for my birthday the next day and in addition, told me he would take care of all our day’s events.  during the car ride south, he told me i could open my gift.  of course, i took advantage of not having to wait and opened up a new camera!  since the camera was a great gift in itself, i didn’t think there was much more to come.  however, all day long skyler had planned to go wine tasting at different vineyards together.  after a wonderful day out, we ended up at my favorite winery in santa inez, gainey vineyards.  the weather was beautiful and so after getting a couple tastings poured, skyler suggested we bring our wine and walk in the vineyards.  at first, i was apprehensive to climb the small wall that accessed the vineyards because there was a sign that said we were not allowed and i’m the square who wanted to follow those rules.  however, skyler had other plans and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  so, we climbed and walked and it was gorgeous.  after a little while skyler got down on one knee and proposed in the middle of the vineyard and i couldn’t have been more shocked!  in fact, i even asked him what he was doing when he started to go down on one knee…of course i’d ask, right?  without any hesitation, i screamed yes!  it was the best birthday present ever!

why we deserve to win:

skyler and i really pride ourselves in our ability to maintain a strong, healthy and fun relationship with each other.  although nothing is perfect in life, we feel that we’ve figured out happiness together.  we love each other more now than ever and it’s a pretty cool feeling to be in love with your best friend.  that’s the best part…aside from being happy and in love, we’re friends and i think that’s why we work so well.

now, enough with our corny love story.  here’s the main reason why we would love to win this contest…just recently, in march 2011, skyler and i were given the incredible opportunity of purchasing a house at a reasonable price.  although we definitely weren’t prepared at the time to make such a purchase, the price was right and we knew we’d regret it if we didn’t buy it.  so, we did!  however, at 26 years old, our financial situation isn’t the slightest bit close to ideal for being homeowners.  our house is definitely a “fixer-upper” and in addition, buying a house in general usually means you’ve just signed up for never ending (and a lot of the time unexpected) bills.  that said, instead of hiring a team of contractors to help us put our home together, little by little the two of us have worked to make our house a home.  we’ve spent hours, days, weeks and months doing what we can step-by-step.  in the midst of this, we got engaged and now have a wedding to plan and pay for during this process.  when a close friend of ours (one of our groomsmen) heard about this contest, he immediately told us to enter our story.  as i’m sure you all know, weddings can end up being pretty costly, so the plans we’ve made for our house have been put on hold until we are married and no longer need to save for our wedding.  as of now, we are living in what we call our “construction site,” which makes for several sacrifices.  although we can’t complain, it would be so nice to start back up again and continue fixing it up.  in addition, both skyler and i are up to our necks with student loans, credit card debt and everyday living expenses.  if we are given the opportunity and are chosen as winners for this contest, we would be saving a lot of money on a photographer, which would be plenty to continue work and put right back into our home and debt.  please pick us!  we’d love the opportunity to become a finalist and share our story.

Leah Jen

Thank you so much, Katie! We honestly couldn’t be more grateful for this experience. Your photography is gorgeous and we’re thrilled to work with you. Speak soon!

Leah

Angela Yee

Katie, I want to thank you for making so many couples happy. And for bringing their family and friends closer together. I checked out all the finalists and they all have such great stories. Of course, I voted for Leah and Skyler. Skyler I’ve known all his life, and Leah, well… it feels like at least half of her life because they’ve been together for so long. And they are truly a couple, together, forever, from their youth into their respectful adultness. What a bonus to have Kristen do Leah’s makeup! You make lasting beauty, your photographs are a delight. Thanks again! See you at the wedding!!!

boo-boo jen

congratulations, leah & skyler!
i love you both & look forward to the wedding!

your loving sister,
boo-boo

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