Monica & Phil Heart Oakland Engagement Excursion

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One gorgeous Saturday in February, we had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Monica and Phil, exploring their favorite Oakland landmarks. Both have lived in Oakland for ages, which meant we had lots of ground to cover. Our first stop was Cleveland Cascade, a verdant set of stairs across the street from Lake Merritt that’s popular with local fitness enthusiasts. It’s also where Phil ambushed Monica with his proposal while she was in the middle of training for a half-marathon—so sweet (and sneaky)!

After dodging a bevy of sprinters and joggers, we enjoyed a stroll along the bustling lakefront before heading to Jack London Square to catch the sunset. We arrived just before the sun dipped below a horizon punctuated with the familiar silhouettes of container cranes that make their home in the Port of Oakland. (Star Wars fans still like to believe that they’re the inspiration for the AT-AT walkers in The Empire Strikes Back, but George Lucas himself has long denied it.)

Once the wind picked up and the sky darkened, it was time to move on. On our way to the Cathedral of Christ the Light (which looks cool during the day but is even more spectacular at night), we unexpectedly made a pitstop in Downtown Oakland. Monica and Phil had mentioned wanting to get a photo with the historic Oakland Tribune building, but we had crossed it off the list since none of us could figure out the best vantage point. As luck would have it, we somehow wound up driving down a quiet street that was virtually traffic-free and had a clear view of the building. How awesome is that? Getting to the church before the lights switched off for the night just a glorious bonus. We had a blast and can’t wait to spend more time with this cute couple at their wedding this summer!

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