Engagement Session: Cristina Spiewak and Joseph Parker Jr.

While Cristina was vacationing in Mexico with her friends, Joe flew in to surprise her and proposed.

Photographs by Keith Cephus Photography.

Cristina leapt off the slate stone wall of USNA’s stadium and forever into Joe’s heart. From the start, it was huge hugs and even bigger smiles. Joe recalls feeling a cloud lift within seconds of their first hug. When Cristina met Joe, during a stop-over in Maryland on her way from Boston to San Diego, it was fortuitous, the result of fate’s intervention and patience. Joe and Cristina had almost certainly crossed paths before, or just missed catching sight of each other with Cristina having walked the sidewalks and streets of the downtown Annapolis community where Joe lived during Cristina’s first stint back home after college. Had they met then, Joe says, he might not have been so lucky. Having not crossed paths, life afforded them the experiences, triumphs, and failures that define a person, and allow them to “know when you know.” Effortlessly they fell into place beside one another, Joe desiring to protect the freedom and inviting joy in every one of Cristina’s smiles and Cristina using that joyous spirit and love of life to encourage, support, and inspire Joe. They found each other and never let go.

While Cristina was vacationing with her friends in Mexico, Joe flew in to surprise her and proposed. They wed earlier this year on September 27, 2014, on Cristina’s father’s private estate that he had built years prior with her wedding day in mind. Keith Cephus captured the evening with beautiful photos of their special day, while Tanya Wilbon of The Event Group International made sure the night went off without a hitch. “She did everything!” Cristina told Washingtonian. “I didn’t realize how much we needed and relied on our planner, but she really did an amazing job and with her; we weren’t stressed at all and could really enjoy the night.” The couple now calls Annapolis home.