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(Image: Alexandra Celia)
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Documenting Love: Gabrielle + Sophie's Story

Photographer/blogger/genius Alexandra Celia has devoted her career to documenting love in its purest and most original form — which you'll see in her photos. Every now and then, she will share her work with couples: their love story, their commitment, their passion....and of course, their photos. Think of her as our Love Guru. She loves love and is here to share it with the rest of us.

Sophie
I was 23 and (thought I was) straight, and Gabrielle had gone on a few dates with an acquaintance of mine. We all ended up on the same camping/climbing trip one weekend, and I was immediately enamored with her. She had such a calm and gentle presence and always had something interesting to say. We got along effortlessly, and we all drank margaritas around the fire until the very early morning. I couldn't stop thinking about her for weeks afterward, in an "I just really want to be best friends with her" way — or so I thought. We kept running into each other at the climbing gym, started hanging out and grew to be best friends. A few months down the road, she and the acquaintance broke it off, and I realized I was, in fact, gay and actually stupid madly in love with her. I was very literally lovesick over her and felt like I was going to implode at any moment if I didn't tell her how I felt. My friends tell me now that it was always completely obvious from the second I met her that I was head-over-heels in love with her (before I knew it myself) because I would gush about her to anyone who would listen.

Gabrielle
We met on a camping/climbing trip. I went with a person I had gone on a couple dates with. I liked Sophie right away; she was being silly and drinking some kind of wine cooler. She's a fun person to be around; it took like a minute to figure that out. We all drank a lot and stayed up late. Everyone was tired or hungover in the morning, but I heard people talking, so I went out to say hi. Sophie had made coffee for us. I remember being taken aback, like wow, that's so thoughtful.

Sophie
The list of things that make me feel proud of Gabrielle is endless, but the most magical thing about her is that she is the kindest, most level-headed person I've ever met. She comes at every situation, person, interaction or challenge with pure kindness and optimism. She always gives the most level, unbiased, empathetic advice. She truly brings out the best in everyone around her and just has a way of making everyone she meets feel good.

Gabrielle
We joke about it being stubbornness, but when she says she's going to do something, she really commits to it. Whether it's her unwavering loyalty to people or deciding she'll bike 20x more miles than she's ever done in a month, you can really count on her to do whatever she says she'll do. I've also always been proud of how successful she is. She's six years younger than me, and our careers are in a similar place. It's not so much where she is, so much that she's in a competitive field and is just great at her job. I love getting to watch her excel at something I don't even really understand.

Sophie
We had been hanging out at the climbing gym as friends more and more. One day at the climbing gym, I told her I was going to run errands and go to IKEA, and she asked to tag along. We ran around IKEA like kids in a candy shop set loose without their parents. Afterward, we caravanned over to Target and tried on as much matching clothing as we could find in the men's section and bought matching snapbacks. Then we went to a bar and had burritos and beer. The bartender gave us our drinks for free, and Gabrielle joked it was probably because she thought we were a cute couple, which lit the insides of my brain on fire for a reason I couldn't figure out at the time. I didn't know why, but I suddenly felt the urge to ask her about her typical "type," and she went on to explain my appearance to a tee. I thought I was going crazy for thinking she must be talking about me and might be into me. We left the bar to go to Goodwill, and she taught me how to skateboard on the way. As we were skateboarding back to the car from Goodwill, I remember zooming down a hill on a skateboard with her shouting tips at me and me looking back at her on her board and thinking, "I could definitely date a woman if it was this much fun!" I think that was the exact moment I knew she was my person. We ended up going back to the gym after that and getting beers with her friends afterward, where I proceeded to tell them that I was interested in dating women. Spoiler alert: dating her is, in fact, just as much fun as I thought it could be.

Gabrielle
I knew I cared about her pretty quickly. I thought she was definitely straight, so I didn't think about us being together until she asked if I had ever thought about kissing her. I hadn't! I had just ended things with someone I had casually dated for a couple months, and Sophie and I were just really good friends. The next time we met up, I had a list in my front pocket of all of the reasons we shouldn't date for a while. I even brought a friend along to help buffer. We met at Toffee Club, and I was waiting at the bar. I remember the exact moment Sophie walked up and stood next to me — it was all over. I made it one week.

Sophie
Gabrielle is really, truly, my absolute best friend. I have never connected with another person that way I do with her. We often joke that we share a brain because we are always on the same wavelength and think the exact same way. We also joke all the time that we feel like we are kids that were left at home while their parents went out of town and were left with the credit card. We have so much fun doing everything that it feels like this much fun shouldn't be allowed. I am completely smitten with her; I swear I look like the heart eyes emoji every time I'm around her (which you can see in these photos), and I think a lot of our really deep affection and love and appreciation comes from being best friends. I am just 100% certain that we are soulmates.

Gabrielle
I've heard the "relationships are hard" thing a million times. Yes, we have rough spots every now and then, but I never imagined a relationship could be so easy. We're best friends. We have so much fun together. We're so fluent with each other it feels like we're always laughing and speaking in code. I thought doubts and uncertainty were just a part of dating, but from the first week we were dating, I knew we were great together. I've become the kind of annoying person in a couple that I was always skeptical of. Years ago, there was an episode I saw of "Master of None." This couple is dating and goes to a wedding where the vows are along the lines of "I love you forever, I've never had any doubts, you're the love of my life, etc." There's this awkward moment where they know they don't feel that way about each other, but also question if that is even real. That scene kind of haunted me for years, do you settle or hope this perfect fit exists? Before Sophie, I would've probably given advice to settle, now I feel the opposite. Get out there and keep looking. I don't feel like I'm settling on a single thing.

Sophie
Emotionally, I am so attracted to Gabrielle's intellect. She is so incredibly smart and always has something interesting to say. I could seriously just listen to her talk for hours and hours on end. She is so effortlessly cool too — I don't know how she does it. She also has no limits to what she tries to accomplish. The second she sets her mind to something, she does it, no matter how big the task. I ended up accidentally biking 500 miles this May because she got the idea in her head, and I decided to tag along. I'm also wildly attracted to her sense of adventure. She loves to be out in nature and always wants to be doing something and trying something new. She's so curious, and it always lends to us seeing the most beautiful things and having the most memorable adventures. I just love getting to see life through her eyes, where everything is an opportunity and an adventure waiting to happen. Physically, I mean, LOOK AT HER! Her brown eyes, her curly hair, her sneaky smirk, the way she dresses — my god. She's the full package, smart, sweet, hilarious, stunning (the list could go on forever).

Gabrielle
Sophie's gorgeous. There's nothing to not be attracted to. She's warm and sweet and funny and super hot. When we were first dating, I asked what color her eyes were (they have a lot of colors in them), and she answered, "they're golden."

Sophie
I am horrible at talking about my feelings and tend to shut down in difficult situations. For the first six months of us dating, I could only bring myself to talk about my feelings in a British accent (I have no explanation for this). She is definitely my emotional rock and has always gone out of her way to help me draw out my feelings, talk about them and process difficult situations. I've gotten much better at it over time, and we always try to process our feelings and talk through anything difficult. The reality is Gabrielle really holds my hand and walks me through difficult situations, and I am so grateful for it.

Gabrielle
External situations, great, one of us is usually comically bad, and one of us holds it together and gets us through it. We never know which way it'll go, and sometimes it switches. Internally, we're working on it. Pretty good, though, we are on the journey of prioritizing seeing issues from the other's perspective in order to stay empathetic in disagreements.

Sophie
Gabrielle has a way of making everything, no matter how small or mundane, feel very dreamy. She has a vision for everything, and it always just works. For example, the other day, we went to Fred Meyer for our first big outing since COVID, began to buy tomato plants and nothing else. She got an idea in her head that she wanted to buy a charcoal grill and a croquet set and garden supplies and make an evening of it. Our evening quickly turned into a whole adventure. We came home and turned the concrete slab behind our apartment into our own little garden summer oasis and grilled burgers and sat in our rainbow lawn chairs, and it felt like a damn rom-com. She does something like this every single day. She turns everything into a sweet, fun, dreamy adventure and is an expert at making lemons into lemonade. I feel like every day is more fun and easier because of these constant little adventures.

Gabrielle
She makes me laugh constantly. It makes everything easier. She's very clever and is just always surprising me. She also always opens all of the blinds in the morning and brings me coffee in bed a lot. If I'm ever stressed or anxious and put my arms by my sides, she'll bear hug me. If I can't sleep, she'll wake up to keep me company; sometimes we just end up talking for hours. It annoys our dogs.

Sophie
I think some of the best parts of our relationship are the little rituals we share. On Sundays, we always get pad thai takeout from our favorite place. On Saturday mornings (pre-COVID) we walk to our favorite coffee shop, and Gabrielle draws and then lets me color in her pictures. It's very manic pixie dream girl, and I'm fully obsessed with it. We skateboard around the neighborhood with the dogs. We spend almost every summer evening after work sitting on our front stoop, fetching with the dogs, drinking Rainier and playing card games. On rainy weekends we pull an old TV into the bedroom, prop it up on a ladder and watch old DVDs in bed with our coffee and cuddle our pups. At Christmas time, we put on full matching pajamas with us and our dogs. We like to drink cheap beer out of champagne flutes and pull our mattress into the living room to have sleepovers. In my opinion, grand gestures don't mean anything without these sweet little rituals. They are my favorite.

Gabrielle
We've done a lot of cool things together, but I think some of the most fun we've had is staying home and playing games together. We like the same bad music and will just drink and sing and dance and have the time of our lives in our living room!

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