I'm a published wedding and portrait photographer located in a small town outside of Charlottesville. In addition to capturing beautiful images, I love spending time with my family, am freakishly good at word games (Hey Wheelmobile!), love an ice cold can of Coke or Dr. Pepper, know every line to Hocus Pocus and can never pass up a Chick-fil-A waffle fry or a trip to HomeGoods.
With the weather warming up and lots of brides putting the finishing touches on their summer or fall weddings, I’m feeling inspired to share my wedding planning experience. Keep in mind this was almost five years ago and definitely pre-Pinterest, says the Pinterest addict. I’ll share what I did well, what I didn’t do so well and what I would have done differently because no matter how fabulous your wedding was or is, there’s always at least one thing you would have changed.
So, where do we begin? With the engagement of course. Now, obviously I didn’t plan this one although I’m sure I could have gone the non-traditional route and tried. I’m not sure how my groom would have felt about that though and I tend to believe that deep down every girl wants to be asked.
To give a little necessary background information, every summer my husband’s family spends a week in the Outer Banks. The houses change and the number of people change (sometimes going as high as 30), but the location is always the same. They rent a large, oceanfront house somewhere along beach road in the Nags Head area. In 2009, we were in the Wright House, which is a yellow, oceanfront house next to a public beach access and lifeguard station. The Wright Brothers Memorial can be seen from the front porch. It’s a great house and we actually rented it two years in a row until babies came, marriages happened and we outgrew it.
Something else we outgrew–a family portrait. For several years there was a tradition of taking one group photo, usually the last day before we left. We don’t do it anymore, although we really should, but it was that tradition that allowed my now husband, Ron, to plan his proposal.
Everyone gathered Monday afternoon for a family photo on the beach. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling it. I hadn’t felt good all day and the last thing I wanted to do was pose for a photo. I very reluctantly joined in, just trying to move the whole thing along as quickly as possible. We were up there for what feels like forever with different poses and multiple photos. I was about to bail when I felt the ring box in his pocket. Little tip gentlemen, do not put the ring box in your front pocket. I think Ron would agree.
Now I’m not one for being the center of attention, so just before I really started to sweat, a plane comes along carrying a banner asking me to marry him. Seriously, a plane? I’m not sure how he thought that up and I never expected it. I can also assure you nothing will make you the center of attention to a beach full of people faster than a plane carrying a banner with your name on it although it is pretty amazing and definitely makes for a good story. I should also mention there was another proposal happening just down the beach sans plane. I apologize now for any issues that might have caused.
Jumping ahead, and no I didn’t pass out in the sand, obviously I said yes, after making sure my parents had been asked first (I’m a little tradition in that way), and the planning began.
Now that I think about it, it’s our five year anniversary this fall and we’ll be heading back to the Outer Banks in August, the same week we were there in 2009. Is that jet engine fuel I smell? A right hand ring perhaps? A new Canon? No, there can only be one plane proposal and we already had it and it was perfect.
One of the many group photos we posed for that day. I’m the one all the way on the left.
Everyone else is looking for something that I’m just not aware of…
Nice, happy before shot Yep, there goes the sweating… That’s what everyone is looking at… Yes, I did get engaged in Soffe shorts, a bikini and a Juicy velour track jacket, but I’m rocking it. Let’s be honest. I also love these photos. They’re just very real and in the moment. Another tip gentleman, if you are going to propose to your lady have someone there with a camera. They can be there, like in these photos, because I promise you’ll forget they’re even there, or they can hide in the bushes all covert ops. style, which I have done in order to capture a surprise engagement. Either way, definitely have photos to capture the moment. Your future bride will thank you. I have no idea who took this photo from behind, but it’s one of my favorites. Have an amazing engagement story? Share it in the comments below.