Yes, yes, yes! It’s real. My sister is ENGAGED!!!!!!
Oh, this story. It’s pretty amazing. Not entirely sure where to start but I will do my best to bring you all up to speed. I’ve known about this proposal for months. MONTHS!!! Keeping this a secret was quite hard. As many of you already know, I’m very close with my sister and I talk with her about everything. You can imagine how knowing this special secret while spending time with Beth slowly but surely ate away at my patience and ability to keep my squeak induced excitement at bay – ever since I heard news of Marcus’ plans to propose, my huge heart for my sister has been slowly winding itself in tiny circles. As the big day approached and the excitement of friends and family grew, my heart spun faster and faster.
God’s timing is remarkable. I’ve wanted to photograph a proposal for some time now. I never ever thought photographing my sister’s proposal would be my first opportunity. News of Marcus’ plans to propose came several weeks ago. My parents had told me that while Marcus was in town one weekend (Marcus is in the army reserve and at the time was stationed in Columbus, GA at Fort Benning – my sister lived down there with him), he stopped by their home with plans to ask for Beth’s hand. Marcus is a classic gentleman – hearing this came as no surprise. With an unexpected visit from Noah man and as everyone’s attention quickly rested on cutie-pie Noah (my nephew), Marcus’ plans were derailed a bit. This was the first time I heard of any plans to propose.
The next week, my sister texts me something along these lines: Between you and me, Marcus and I might go ring shopping soon.
Puh-lease, sister. I already know what’s up! Anyways, this is where my special agent skills came into play. Over the next few weeks as Marcus finished his orders in GA and they prepared to move back to Indy, Marcus and I kept in contact through texting. From the beginning, he had plans of putting together a surprise party to celebrate after they were engaged. With the help of my mom and several others, we worked together to find the perfect date for everybody: Thursday, July 19th. Marcus’ goal was to have everyone at the party that Beth would want to call after getting engaged. Gigantic high fives and gold stars to Marcus! The surprise party (footage to come) went off without a hitch. While I was out photographing Marcus’ proposal, everyone was gathering at Marcus’ home to surprise her.
THE PROPOSAL: Nerves like crazy. Marcus wanted to take Beth back to where they had their first date. More gold stars! Marcus is from Danville so we made plans to go back to a sweet covered bride where B went with him years ago in his blue truck.
I should preface this by explaining how we set this shoot up in the first place. My sister is super bright. She’s super “with it”. There’s no way in a million years that I thought we’d be able to pull this off without her knowing full well our intentions. While vacationing in the Outers Banks, EVERYONE knew of his plans to propose and the surprise party. We were so scared someone would let the secret slip. One day on vacation, Beth asked to try on one of my mom’s diamond rings. She put the ring on her left ring finger, pulled her hand away from her face and examined the way the ring made her hand look. We knew she had some practice with this recently ; ) Mama and I put our game faces on and Mama played it off so well. I shared a wink and a smile with my mom as B stepped away from the table. I’m still in shock we made it through vacation without Beth finding out…
Fast forward to our drive back from the Outer Banks. KILLER. Oh geez – it was terrible. What should have been a 14 hour drive ended up being a 20+ (straight through) drive. I knew it was my responsibility to set (or at least plant the idea of) this shoot up on this drive. I kept putting it off for fear I’d blow it or she’d see right through me. Our moods began to plummet as the sun set and we still had hundreds of miles left to drive. I somehow managed to eek out a text to Marcus asking him to take photos. Marcus and I agreed that the best way to approach this would be for me to ask him if I could do this as a gift for him before he was deployed. Marcus agreed – saying “I’d have to do it this week though before I’ve got to get my army stuff done.” So, we had planted the seed to take them that week. And over the next couple of days, we VERY casually set up this shoot for Thursday. I don’t think I even solidified it until late Wednesday night with a text, “Can I just come to Danville? I want to hang at the house with you guys, too!” I didn’t want her to think we were in some rush to set this up.
I honestly think I was as nervous as Marcus. The drive out to the bridge seemed like an ETERNITY! We pulled up to the bridge and Beth says, “Isn’t this where we had our first date?” CRAP. At this point I’m thinking she totally has us figured out but Marcus, Scooter and I kept our game faces on. We started by taking some casual portraits. As you’ll quickly notice, my sister is
obnoxiously super photogenic. She is the most naturally beautiful person I know – and I don’t say that because she is my sister. Just look.
Scooter was VERY excited to join! Scooter is a shitzu poodle that lived with Beth and Marcus in Columbus, GA. He came to the beach with the Sullys and everyone (especially my dad) fell in love with him. He is the most easy going dog. He slept on my (and Beth’s) lap the ENTIRE drive back from the Outer Banks. Such a warm and cuddly lil’ guy! I was so excited to see him again and have him along for the big event!
He is a tough pooch to photograph — but I’m happy we squeezed in some fun shots with him!
So, there were no plans for this shoot other than the ultimate goal being to propose. I didn’t really know when he wanted to pop the question – right away, 5 or 20 minutes in. I was on my toes and prepared for whatever.
Sweet Marcus was so nervous. At one point, my sister turned around to fasten Scooter’s leash on the bridge so I could grab some shots of just the two of em’. As she turned her back to us, I locked eyes with Marcus and winked. We found the spot. That shot on the left was taken moments before he proposed. Beth later told us Marcus’ core was trembling at this point. He wasn’t the only one. I was trembling, too! I was so excited and nervous, I could have screamed!
Beth is even a pretty crier – which is NO small feat. The next few moments were a blur for all of us. All I know is I was snappin’ away : ) I was honestly a little surprised Beth cried as she had some idea this proposal was coming (after all, they had been ring shopping together!) — but this moment is one I will never, ever forget.
You can bet I was squeaking by this point.
The day we arrived in the Outer Banks, Marcus texted me three photos of the ring. I made him promise me he would send me pics when he found the one : ) he said the ring was a lot smaller than it it appeared in those photos. WRONG! Beth was totally blown away and said it was everything she could have ever asked for. More gold stars for Marcus!
In case you wondered, Marcus (who I affectionally call Marky) DID get that official sit down with my dad. My dad is a physician and Marcus met him at work on Wednesday, the day before he proposed, and asked my dad for B’s hand ; ) Pappy was the first person to touch the ring! I can only imagine my state of mind at that meeting. Perhaps it’s best I wasn’t there.
Again with being photogenic. This shot was the first I took in a series of just my sister. THE FIRST ONE. One of Beth’s dearest friends, Mary (I love you, Mar!), fittingly calls Beth a Beauty Queen. I wanted to capture a few images of Beth before Marcus proposed to remember her at this time in her life. I can’t remember her being so happy and beautiful. I should also mention that Mary lives in New York and flew out to be here and celebrate with Beth and Marcus. There were many people that flew in/traveled from across the country to be there for Beth and Marcus. Beth and Marcus sure are loved and adored.
Fact: My brother-in-law gives the best bear hugs.
Shortly after Marcus proposed, the skies opened. Literally! It poured! Indiana hadn’t seen a significant amount of rain in over 40 days. I like to think the heavens were just so happy for my sister and her man! I know I was and I still am…
Beth quickly said she wanted to drive into town (Danville is a 40 minute drive away from Indy) and tell Mama G and Pappy. We decided to first “drop off Scooter” at the house. We pulled into Marcus’ driveway as the rain fell around us. Fortunately, I was sitting in the back seat and had set up video on my Mark II without Beth seeing. I ran in first and stood there in silence with everyone else as my heart raced. Seconds later, Beth walked in as close to 60 loved ones and friends yelled, “SURPRISE!!!!!!!” That party? SUCH love there. Can’t wait to share some of the footage with you all.
Perhaps the most special moment of the night for me came after nearly everyone had left. I found myself outside with just my sister as she says to me, “While I’ve got you here, will you be my Maid of Honor?” Waterworks. Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But I definitely shed some big, joyful tears and hugged my sister tight as I said two words: Of course.
Beth and Marky – CONGRATULATIONS!! It’s official! You guys know I love you both to the stars. Thank you for letting me capture this special moment in your lives. It was one of the greatest honors of my life! Wishing you guys all of the happiness and love in the entire world. Looking forward to having Marky around for good 😉
All my love,