MICHAEL NELSON & CAMILLE LARRAURI
Photography by Paul Festejo of Paul Festejo Photography
Here’s a beautiful Wedding couple that I am so excited with planning their special day on Saturday, May 9th at The Ranch at Bandy Canyon in Escondido, California (a half hour drive from San Diego). He was a firefighter based in San Luis Obispo, she was a fledgling fitness mogul who also happens to be my Niece! Yes, this will be a Family Affair, and you know that this will be nothing short of fabulous! Meanwhile, here’s their story . . .
It took 6 years for Camille & Michael’s journey, starting with Freshman year in high school (Go Bulldogs!) – they meet. Sparks? None. End of Story? Not by a long shot. Fast forward about 9 years – the scene is a welcome home party at Jon Bauer’s house for bestie Jane (Jane who is now the wedding officiant – so fitting, right?), and they reconnect…… (cue dream sequence music). Michael was definitely smitten. Camille was oblivious. He pursued, she waffled. He persisted, and she caved in. She dropped them other fools with a quickness and decided to go steady. On their first real date to Huntington Library she quickly realized that he was one of the good ones. She couldn’t get enough of this guy – loving, honest, ambitious, intelligent, and thoughtful. She, on the other hand, redefined the term crazy. A country music-loving, washing-dishes hating, fiercely independent dog lover with a penchant for sports bras, Camille wasn’t the typical girlfriend prowling wedding catalogs and plotting out a dress. She didn’t dream about her wedding day as much as brace herself for it. (It just seemed such a big step – very “adult”, you know?)
Michael, meanwhile, in his own quiet romantic way, would make the most of their long distance relationship. He would send her songs that reminded him of her or of them (think God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton) or sometimes, in a burst of inspiration, he would send her songs that he thought she could cool down to after a strenuous workout (gotta love that guy). He adored his “bug” and would call or text when he was on his way home. He took in all the crazy, withstood all the stubbornness, and was dragged to more nights out than he wanted. He marveled at what a great “fur mom” she was to Cheetah (Michael’s Catahoula Leopard dog), and life was good, and he knew he found the one. They moved in together in April of 2012 and shortly after that #dukenelson joined the family. He (Michael, not Duke, Camille’s Boxer dog) agreed to do the dishes while she happily did the laundry. She was amazed at how he balanced her out, kept her grounded, made time to listen to her, missed her while they were apart but didn’t curb her independence when they were together. She would get gushy, make him dinner, rush home to him, let him pick the movie. And slowly, oh so slowly, thought about THE DAY. She wondered when….. They went to the Philippines and came back unbetrothed. Australia was next – no ring. She wasn’t too concerned – ring or no ring, she knew he was the one for her– there was no escape for him! She “wasn’t in a hurry” – coincidentally one of her favorite expressions.
Michael’s shot came when Camille’s mom and sister visited in August from the Philippines, and the family decided to head on over to Santa Catalina Island for some sightseeing. Unbeknownst to her, Michael had already planned out his proposal plot with the help of her mom and siblings. Catalina was the site of their first ever weekend getaway, and held special memories for them (bonus points for this guy), so he was all set. He was sure and certain that this was the moment, and when she finally realized what was happening, he was already down on one knee. She barely survived it in one piece, she was so overwhelmed with happiness, shock and adrenaline! Homegirl could barely stand. Here’s a video link to the proposal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRMLtjJWPUc&feature=youtube.
CONGRATULATIONS, CAMILLE & MICHAEL . . . and WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, MICHAEL!