The botanical garden at Tilden Park is one of my favorite getaways in the East Bay. It’s very quiet and tucked away, especially compared to the nearby Berkeley Botanical Gardens (another wonderful place to visit if you ever get the chance!). There’s very little foot traffic at this particular garden, which means you can wander for long stretches of time with no one else around but some chirping birds and curious geckos. For a free park (!), the outdoor space is impressively diverse and well-tended, with an incredible array of sights and scenes ranging across multiple ecosystems. The drier desert space near the entrance where we walked in immediately caught my eye, and we decided to start Alicia and Yilok’s engagement session between all the colorful cacti! From there, we wandered our way over to some picturesque sunken garden scenes, followed by a quiet redwood grove.

Engagement sessions can be so FUN with couples like Alicia and Yilok (pronounced like “ewok”, but with a y – I’ll literally never forget it after Yilok told me this on our initial consultation call). I truly appreciate how much they trusted me with directing and capturing their engagement session. There’s a lot of prep work that I do on my end before a session begins, but there’s also an element of learning that happens during the session, which is when I really get to witness in person my couples’ interactions and relationship with one another. With these two, it was immediately obvious how relaxed and fun Alicia and Yilok’s bond is! Smiles came so easily to them. We had a beautiful time exploring the fresh air and the gentle fog coming into Tilden Park that afternoon. Both Alicia and Yilok juggle some pretty full lives together, and between all the long work commutes, creative pursuits, and after-work extracurriculars, I’m so thankful to have gotten this chance to third wheel on one of their weekend dates. Congratulations again to these two on their engagement and upcoming marriage! I hope you all enjoy the images!

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"And when you appear all the rivers sound in my body, bells shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world."