Lively + Michael | Garden Romance at the Lavender Marketplace | Sierra Madre, CA

I am so happy to share Lively and Michael’s pre-wedding session on the blog today! These two are such a dream couple, I couldn’t help but smile as I captured every romantic, joyful and sweet moment they shared. Take a look at their session below!

Why did you choose the Lavender Marketplace and what do you love about it?

Michael and I were looking for a photo location that can perfectly deliver our personalities and aesthetics. We are fans of vintage. We love colors. We appreciate an intimate moment and secret garden vibe. Our dream is to have a sunroom at our future home, so we can enjoy the gentleness and warmth that the spring sun brings us.
So there it is. We found Lavendar Marketplace and Workshops in Sierra Madre. When the first time we visited this place, we immediately fell in love with it. We were immersed in its tranquility and embraced by its elegant landscape. It is humble and low-profile, yet full of characters. Our favorite spots in the garden are the little white cottage and the sunroom. By day they are streaming with light, and after sunset with the lights lit up, we were brought to a classic, English royal world.
Another reason for us to choose this location is its generous diversity. The small garden is offering different little locations for our photoshoot. We did not need to travel to several different locations but could still enjoy various gorgeous photo backdrops. This advantage definitely allowed us to gain the most from the treasurable golden hour.

What is your favorite activity to do together?

We love picnic together. We enjoy preparing foods for it and picking different locations for this delightful event. We also love taking Paufu, our dog, everywhere with us. Seeing her happy on the drive always makes our day.

Where is your favorite place to go together?

There are several places we love to go together, but flea markets (Melrose Trading Post and Rose Bowl Flea Market) and Rose Bowl in Pasadena are our favorites.

Do you have a funny, romantic, or touching story about your relationship?

During the one year long distance period of our relationship, we only saw each other one time.

From Michael:
I visited Lively in Taiwan where I got to meet her parents and brother for the first time. I still remember seeing her for the first time in months at the Taipei airport. I remember how I hugged her for so very long. I had forgotten how small Lively was and when I held her in my arms I never wanted to let her go.

Meeting her family was quite stressful because I do not speak Mandarin, and her parents only spoke a little English. Nevertheless, I was able to communicate how much I loved their daughter, and I could tell they understood my feelings. I also saw Paufu again. I was afraid she may have forgotten me after so many months, but as soon as we opening the door, she was there to greet me.

Despite her broken leg, we spent the whole vacation visiting her favorite locations around Tainan (her home city). I remember how I enjoyed pushing her around in her wheelchair. The experience might not have been as enjoyable for Lively because I was not the best wheelchair driver.

Even though my visit to Taiwan was short, I left knowing that Lively was the one.

From Lively:
It was definitely the hardest moment in my life during our long distance. I was preparing for my application for graduate school. I got into a car accident, broke my leg, and had three surgeries. Covid hit, so I did not get to see Michael as often as we planned. However, he still flew for me despite all the challenges. I can never forget the thrill while waiting for at the airport lobby. I can recall I was very impatient at that moment. I only wanted to see him. And then, we had the most meaningful week of reunion.

However, I can never forget the pain when I had to say goodbye to him at the airport, either. Before he entered the gate to the customs, he hugged me so tightly that for a second I thought he might change his mind and would just stay in Taiwan with me forever. I cried hard when we hugged, and I wished time could stopped at the moment. I did not want him to go.

With all the reluctance, he left. But I knew deep in my heart that Michael was the one.

Lively, what do you love most about Michael?

Michael is the only person that feels like home for me. I have left my family since 12 for studying and working, so their participation was always a missing part in my life. I am also a very free and reckless person. I did not feel comfortable to have a life together with someone. I had never thought I would have or want my own family until I met Michael. He supports every decision I make and has belief in me. When I was struggling if I would come back to the US during our long distance, he said to me, “I want to be your home.” That’s the moment when I realized how much I actually yearned for a home and Michael was the only home I wanted.
Besides it, I love Michael’s honesty and reliability. I feel I can share with him everything. I feel safe.

Michael, what do you love most about Lively?

Lively is the strongest person I have ever met. She supports me during difficult times when I don’t have enough strength myself. She is kind and caring and full of love. She teaches me so many things about myself and the world. They way she looks at me makes me want to be a better person. She makes me feel like I am complete.

What is your engagement story?

We got engaged shortly after Lively returned to the US. We had a private dinner at home that night. After dinner we talked for a while about the future and what plans we had. I asked Lively to marry me because I wanted her to always be apart of that future. I wanted her to know how committed I was to us and what we had together, and I wanted her to always feel safe and know she always will have a home with me.

What is your most valuable piece of advice you can share with future couples planning their pre-wedding session?

We would suggest couples make sure to spend time envisioning the pictures they hope to get. Picture what types and colors of attires will go well with the photoshoot location. If the location is more formal, maybe it is a good idea to dress up. If the location is nostalgia-inspired, maybe some classic movies can help with imagination. If the location is quite hip, dressing boho than gowns is perhaps nicer. Some little props are always a plus as well.

We suggest this because we were debating if we wanted to just show up without any detailed preparation because both of us are quite busy. However, we realized it is not an everyday thing that we can have such a great photographer and such a beautiful location for a photoshoot. Most importantly, a pre-wedding session is a time when couples can really dedicate themselves to their photo moment without needing to worry about other wedding tasks. It is a time that the couple can do a well-planned and professional non-wedding photoshoot. So, we decided to spend some more time searching for locations and making our mood board and lookbook for our reference. And we cannot be happier that we did these because every element really shines under Vanessa’s camera.

Can’t wait for your upcoming wedding at Villa del sol d’Oro!!



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