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“So… my friend Nadine is going to be getting engaged, and she has NO idea, and I told her boyfriend that he needs to ask her at your photo session because that would be SO cool I think. Don’t you think?” my sister excitedly rattled on the phone.
It took me about 5 seconds to answer, because I was getting excited too.
“YES!!!!!” I yelled.(I may or may not have fist pumped. Just between us, I’m sort of a geek. Don’t tell anyone k?)
A surprised engagement has been on my bucket list of things I want to shoot for a while, so when this opportunity arose, I grabbed on with both hands and my iPhone. Ken, Nadine’s soon to be fiancé, and I started texting and planning the finer details of the proposal.
Nadine had NO idea. The morning of the Sunflower sessions, everything went wrong. She showed up frazzled, but ready to be pampered and have a good time. Hair and makeup went great, and we headed to the Bowden SunMaze to shoot. Then it started POURING rain. BUCKETS.
My gorgeous friend and even more amazing assistant Lisa and I trudged through the mud. It was slippery, disgustingly squishy, and getting worse by the minute. The rain showed no signs of clearing. It was cold.
The sunflowers were perfect.
Perfect outweighed the negative. I turned to Lisa and said “We gotta say a little prayer. This is gorgeous and it HAS to work out. HAS to!!!”
We stopped in the middle of the rainy pathway, and I said a short prayer. It was to the point.
“God, everything is set up- we really need the rain to clear up just for a few hours.”
By the time we made it back to the car, the rain had stopped. It was still raining on either side of us, but over the sunflowers had cleared. MIRACLE.
I rounded up our crew. We were scheduled to photograph Nadine and Ken, as well as 5 other girls- Lisa and my lovely sister included. Nadine & Ken were up first.
Over the course of the morning via text, Ken and I had worked out a code phrase. “Face each other and hold hands- uhhhhh no, this is looking sort of awkward- how about just do something spontaneous and romantic?” was what I would say- and then he’d drop to one knee and pop the question. Simple, right?
I set them up- we took a few shots. I figured there was no point in taking a billion photos without a big sparkler in them, and then re-doing them with a ring, so I uttered the code phrase. Ken FROZE.
“I DON’T HAVE IT!!!!” he furiously mouthed to me behind Nadine’s oblivious back.
“Hey uhhhhhh Ken…. Why don’t you go put on your jacket? Nadine is wearing hers- so it’ll look more um symmetrical if you grab yours too.” I stammered, trying to stay cool.
Ken hustled off to get his jacket. AND the ring.
“Oh for crap sakes Kenneth do something with your face!” she said in annoyance. (We’d had conversations about how “Ken was going to be a challenge”… sorry Ken)
He drops to one knee. IN THE MUD. (mad brownie points dude! high five!)
Cue tears. Cue fireworks. Cue alllll of the other girls at the photo shoot crying and saying “AWWWWWWWWWWWW” in the peanut gallery. I thought Nadine was going to bowl Ken right over. They were hugging, kissing, crying- it was the coolest moment ever. I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
Unbeknownst to Nadine, Ken had already procured her family ring- and also purchased it a friend to live with. She was completely blown away, and maybe also gloating a little that she got THE ring- the family ring. There may or may not have been some triumphant language used.
Nadine & Ken- thank you for letting me be part of this special day in your lives. I am so excited for the two of you as you prepare to start your life together!! Thank you for letting me check one thing off of my bucket list (oh and ps- shooting in the Dominican is my next item…. *cough cough*)
Congrats you two!!!
PS- At the end of the photo session, after the last girl had been photographed, and as we were packing up… it started to rain again. How’s that for having friends in high places????!! MIRACLE. I definitely sang “Jesus loves me” on the way out.