Find the Perfect Engagement Ring

5 Easy Tips to finding the Perfect Engagement Ring

It’s that time of the year!  The weather is perfect for cuddling, family is in town and love fills the air.  The holidays are the most popular time of year to get engaged and that can come with a lot of pressure.  You’re pretty sure when you ask the love of your life to marry you she’ll say yes, but will she like the ring?

Here are 5 easy tips to finding the perfect engagement ring that DON’T involve the 4 C’s (Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity).

Engagement Rings in San Diego1.  Know her ring size

Before you worry about styles or where to look, find out your girlfriend’s ring size.  There are a couple of ways to go about it without directly asking her and possibly blowing your surprise.  You could borrow one of her rings that she already wears on her ring finger and take it to a jewelry store or the jewelry counter at a department store.  You could ask one of her friends or family members (more than likely her mom or sister might know).

The safest option is to take her to a jewelry counter and ask them to measure her.  They’ll also have helpful tips on picking out the perfect size.  For example, a thinner band will feel looser than a thicker band in the same size.  Also, fingers swell and shrink with the weather.  A ring that fits snugly in the cold winter months may feel too tight in the summer.

Engagement Rings in Orange County2.  Know what style she likes

There is so much more to know besides gold, silver or platinum.  Does your girlfriend like vintage rings?  Maybe she likes classic solitaire rings or she might want a three stone ring.  Halo isn’t just a Beyoncé song, it’s also a type of engagement ring.

How will you know what style she likes?  She’s probably been dropping hints.  Has she shown you pictures in magazines or pointed out rings as you pass by Cartier at the mall?  If not, don’t stress!  You can look at the jewelry she already wears to get an idea or ask her best friend.

There is also a magical website called, Pinterest that she probably not only has an account for, but also has an entire board dedicated to her future wedding, including rings.  Try telling her you heard someone talking about Pinterest and want to know if she could show it to you.

If you don’t want to try to be secretive about your ring buying plans, just flat out ask her what type of engagement rings she likes.  Which brings me to the next tip.

Wedding Rings3.  Take her shopping

Going engagement ring shopping with the one you love is so exciting for women!  It gets us excited that you’re thinking about proposing and we love that you sincerely want to know what we want in an engagement ring.  Make a date out of it by going to jewelry stores together and then have dinner at her favorite restaurant.  She’ll be bragging about you to her friends for weeks.

wedding rings in Corona, California4.  Go to a local, family owned jewelry store

Sometimes what you want just doesn’t exist in the typical jewelry stores.  For my wedding band, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted, but no matter where we went, I couldn’t find it.  It wasn’t until we walked into a local, family owned jewelry store that a jeweler not only understood what I wanted, but he also made a digital sketch of it right there while we talked to him.

Having the opportunity to have something custom made for your soon-to-be fiancé is amazing.  If you’re in Orange County, check out Simone and Son in Huntington Beach and tell them Kimberly and Derrick sent you.  Contrary to what the commercials want you to believe, women don’t really run around telling all of their friends, “He went to Jared!

Unique Engagement Ring5. Consider Alternatives to Diamonds

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  Well, not exactly.  Some women prefer colored stones (or no stones at all).  After seeing the movie Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio, my dreams of a Tiffany’s solitaire engagement ring changed forever.  There are some great Eco Friendly and Humane options to diamonds.  Check out Brilliant Earth for man-made diamonds or Novica for options from artists around the world.  My husband bought my blue topaz engagement ring from an artist in India and I love it.

You can also look for antique options from vintage shops or from family members.  Before you decide on an alternative engagement ring, definitely make sure your future fiancé is on board with that decision.  While colored stones are beautiful, the majority women still prefer diamond engagement rings.

I hope this helps you find the perfect engagement ring for the one you love!   Congratulations on getting engaged and make sure to {click here} so you can find me when you start looking for a wedding photographer.

Dana Point Wedding ~ Kari & Cam

Dana Point weddings are always beautiful.

Kari and Cam’s day started surrounded by their family and friends at the Best Western Marina Shores in Dana Point, California.

Best Western Marina Shores Wedding Photography

Best Western Marina Shores Wedding Photographer

The little girls in the room decided to take over the chalkboards Kari brought for props.

They were very proud of their artwork!Dana Point Best Western Wedding PhotographyDana Point Best Western Wedding PhotographerBride at Best Western Marina Shores

The seaside ceremony was held at the OC Sailing Center in Dana Point Harbor.Beach Wedding in Dana PointDana Point Wedding Photography

Cam’s laugh and sense of humor kept everyone smiling while sitting in the warm sunlight.OC Sailing Center Wedding PhotographyOC Sailing Center Wedding Ceremony

Kari’s eldest daughter walked her down the aisle.OC Sailing Center Wedding PhotographerOC Sailing Center WeddingDana Point Wedding CeremonyDana Point Bride and Groom

One of the best parts of weddings at the OC Sailing Center is that it’s right next to Baby Beach.

It’s a fun location for wedding pictures!Dana Point Wedding PicturesDana Point Wedding PhotosDana Point WeddingDana Point Bride and GroomDana Point Wedding Couple

On the walk back from the cliff behind the Dana Point Ocean Institute, we stopped to take some pictures of Kari by herself.

Cam was so excited about how beautiful Kari looked that he said he had to stop to take a picture of his gorgeous wife to announce they were married on Facebook.Dana Point Bride

Dana Point Wedding ReceptionDana Point Wedding CakeDana Point Wedding SmoresDana Point Wedding First DanceDana Point Mother Son Dance

During the wedding reception, Kari surprised Cam by singing, Crazy for You by Madonna.
Dana Point Wedding ReceptionOC Sailing Center Wedding Reception

The picture on the right of Cam’s parents chokes me up every time I look at it.

True love.
Dana Point Wedding ReceptionDana Point Wedding Reception

Kari and Cam, I have had so much fun getting to know you over the past year.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding and I hope you continue to laugh with each other for a very, very long time.

Venue: OC Sailing and Event Center
Photographer: Kimberly April Photography
Event Coordination: Table7 Events
Floral Design: Floral Paradise
Cake: It’s All About the Cake
DJ: Invisible Touch
Catering: Blue Agave
Hair: Priscilla Robinson
Makeup: Cortney Zamudio
Rentals: Mission Viejo Rentals
Bar Service: Barworks
Accommodations: Best Western Marina Shores

Palisades Gazebo Wedding ~ Marla & Robert

An intimate wedding overlooking the ocean.

I love getting to know my couples and their families.  This year I was fortunate enough to photograph members of the same family on four different occasions!  Marla is Sean’s mom and in August she married Robert at a beautiful cliff-top wedding ceremony overlooking Capistrano Beach at the Palisades Gazebo in Dana Point, California.

Palisades Gazebo Park WeddingPalisades Gazebo Park WeddingPalisades Gazebo Park WeddingPalisades Gazebo Park WeddingPalisades Gazebo Park WeddingPalisades Gazebo Park Wedding

After the wedding ceremony, we headed over to Dana Point Harbor just behind the Ocean Institute for pictures on the beach.Palisades Gazebo Park WeddingDana Point WeddingDana Point Wedding

Dana Point WeddingDana Point Wedding

Marla and Robert, it was so nice to be a part of another family event!  Congratulations and I hope to see you again soon.

My Miscarriage Story ~ A love letter

I wrote this post with the hope that one day I would be brave enough to share it.

Miscarriage is an incredibly common heartbreak that most women suffer by themselves.  It’s a difficult subject to talk about, not only because of the emotions it brings up, but the awkwardness of not knowing what to say to others who have not experienced it.  When I was at the darkest point, I desperately searched for blog posts written by women who had experienced what I was going through and came out the other side stronger than ever.

It is my wish that someone in the future might find this post and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Eventually you will make it to that light and feel the warm sunshine on your face again.


Dear Wedding Clients of 2014,

Thank you.  Thank you for getting me through the hardest thing I’ve gone through so far in my life without even knowing what was going on.  As I write this letter to you, it’s been 11 weeks since my miscarriage.  I have no idea if I’ll ever share this with you, but I want to write it all out in case one day I’m confident enough to share my story.


In June 2014 I became pregnant with my first child.  Having children is something I had patiently waited for ever since my fellow swim team member turned around in government class and told me, “You’re going to be a great mom.”  It might have been the cupcakes I baked for my class doing the talking, but her words stuck with me.

After college, friends started getting married and having children.  I patiently waited. On a warm spring day in May, my husband and I had our dream beach wedding surrounded by our closest family and friends.  The following year, we decided we were ready for kids.

Right in the middle of my busiest wedding season so far.

I got pregnant right away and for that I felt incredibly guilty.  Guilty, because even though I had patiently waited for so long to start trying, women I cared about had been trying and couldn’t get pregnant.

We decided to wait to tell our family the exciting news until August so we could tell both sides of our family in person.

It was a typical, hot Southern Californian summer and I cheerfully photographed my wonderful clients’ weddings.  I felt like I was sharing my passion with my baby and it was such a fun experience for me.  I was fortunate to not have morning sickness and I made sure to stay hydrated.  When I was home I was exhausted, but at weddings I was even more happy and energetic than I was before I was pregnant.

Life seemed even more beautiful.

The last few days of July, 1 week before my husband and I were about to tell our family I was pregnant, everything changed.  I’ll spare you the awful details, but I went through the most horrible pain both physically and emotionally that I had ever experienced.  My husband was by my side and together we went through the confusing pain of knowing the baby we were so excited about was no longer there.  It was heartbreaking, but there wasn’t any time to dwell on it.  We were flying to Cleveland for my sister-in-law’s wedding in a few days and we didn’t want to ruin her special day.

I put on a smile and we made it through the trip.  The wedding was lovely and I was happy to be surrounded by family that I love so much.  We kept our suffering to ourselves, only sharing it with 2 people while we were there.  I dodged questions about when we were going to have kids and did my best to keep my crazy hormones in check.

We made it back from Ohio and there was still wasn’t any time to deal with my emotions.  My cousin was getting married!  I didn’t want to take away from her day and so I continued to keep my pain to myself.  The wedding was beautiful and I had a great time dancing with my cousins and sister.

The end of August I photographed the first wedding since my miscarriage.  Being surrounded by love and doing what I do best was wonderful. For the few hours I was there I was able to forget my heartache and really feel the joy of the moment.  It felt like everything was going to be ok.

Then September came and the reality of what had happened finally sunk in.  I cried.  A lot.  I slept instead of editing.  I ate way more food than I should have. Through it all I did my best to take care of my clients, determined not to give them any reason for concern.  I started letting my second photographers know what was going on.  I wanted to make sure someone else was watching to make sure I didn’t fail my clients.

Now it’s October and I’m starting to feel like my old self again.  Wiser, stronger and more confident in my abilities as a wedding photographer.  While I was mending my heart I created some of the most beautiful pictures I had ever done.  I photographed weddings at new exciting venues, formed friendships with incredible couples and wrote heartfelt blog posts.

So, to my wonderful Wedding Clients of 2014, thank you.  Thank you for your joy.  Thank you for your confidence in me.  Thank you for letting me photograph your love for your partner in life.  Thank you for your patience while I took extra time to edit your wedding pictures.  Thank you for your excited words when you saw your pictures for the first time.

My cup was feeling empty and you filled it.

For that, I will forever be grateful.

With so much love,



Chelsea - November 2, 2014 - 3:09 pm

Thank you for sharing, this was heartbreaking and beautiful and so real.

Debbie Kasunic - November 2, 2014 - 6:38 pm

My dear sweet, long lost friend! My heart is aching for you & Derick! I know we’ve lost touch through these last few years, but please know I think of you often & try to catch up with you on social media! I read way more than I post on social media. I completely understand your pain & heart ache. I too suffered not 1 but actually 3 mis-carriages. I think the first was the worst. It was shortly after George n I were married. We were super excited to be adding to our family. The emotions of feeling guilty, as if I had done something wrong was awful. I’m hear to tell you that God had a plan for you! You are such an amazing person, caring, thoughtful, kind, compassionate & loving. When the time is right, God will bless you & Derrick. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, but no doubt you are stronger than ever! I will keep you both in my thoughts & prayers. If you need to talk, or want to catch up, just call or email me! Blessings to you my friend!

Kimberly - November 4, 2014 - 9:12 pm

I miss working with you so much. Any hope for you moving to California and running my studio for me? Then we could laugh together every day like we used to at Focus One. Thank you so much for sharing with me. After I shared my story there has been such an amazing outpouring of support and love from so many people. It really helps confirm for me that I needed to share my story. I keep up to date on your family through Katie’s social media posts. :) Next time I’m in Ohio we’ll definitely have to meet up!

Kimberly - November 4, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Thank you for commenting Chelsea! I never really know who reads what I write and if it affected them at all.

Marina Village Wedding ~ Dani & Ben

A laid-back wedding surrounded by family and friends.

Dani and I were inseparable in college.  When she started planning her wedding I was so excited to use everything I had learned so far as a wedding photographer to help her have the perfect day.  Then she gave me a choice…

Did I want to be a bridesmaid or her wedding photographer?

At first I definitely wanted to be a bridesmaid.  How could I say no to wearing a pretty dress and holding a bouquet of flowers?  As we chatted more about her wedding plans I realized in order to help one of my best friends have the wedding of her dreams, I needed to have a camera in my hand, not flowers.

The wedding day started with Dani and her bridesmaids getting ready at The Dana on Mission Bay.

Bride at The Dana at Mission BayBride at The Dana at Mission BayBride at The Dana at Mission BayBride at The Dana at Mission BayBride at The Dana at Mission BayBride at The Dana at Mission BayBride at The Dana at Mission Bay

While I was at The Dana on Mission Bay, my second photographer, Kristine, was photographing Ben and his Groomsmen at The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay.Groom at Hyatt Regency Mission BayGroom at Hyatt Regency Mission BayGroom at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay

After the Bride and Groom were ready, they were able to see each other for the first time that day.First Look at Marina VillageWedding Party at Marina VillageWedding Bouquets and Boutonnieres

Wedding Ceremony at Marina VillageWedding Ceremony at Marina Village

It’s always fun to see what personal touches couples add to their wedding ceremony.  Dani and Ben had a tree planting ceremony.Wedding Ceremony at Marina VillageWedding Ceremony at Marina VillageWedding Ceremony at Marina Village

Quick shout-out to my husband, who folded all of the napkins on the tables and helped Stephanie of The Fashionable Event turn the Captain’s Room at Marina Village into a beautiful Wedding Reception.

Wedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina VillageWedding Reception at Marina Village

Dani and Ben, you are perfect for each other and I am so happy I was able to help you have an amazing wedding.  I’m looking forward to celebrating many more life events together in the future!

Venue: Marina Village Conference Center and Marina
Photographer: Kimberly April Photography
Coordinator: Stephanie Jernigan, The Fashionable Event
Makeup: Lipstick & Luster
Hair: Bridal Hair by Cristina
Cake: BabyCakes San Diego
Catering: Los Tacos and Nana’s Heavenly Hot Dogs
Accommodations: The Dana Mission Bay and Hyatt Regency
Flowers: Mother of the Bride

Molly Lepisto - October 24, 2014 - 9:09 pm

I love, love the picture of Dani’s mom putting on her necklace, so lovely.