Last week, I was in Canada, photographing a magical woodsy wedding. August has been especially busy and returning from Canada didn’t mean things were slowing down just yet. I was only home for 48 hours before catching a red-eye flight to Baltimore, to visit my family and photograph my cousin’s 1st birthday party. That cousin is the daughter of my cousin Chad and his wife Gabrielle. I photographed their amazing wedding, in 2010, and it worked out that I was able to come photograph this big event in their lives too!
Chad is an awesome photographer and a couple of weeks before I came, he had mentioned doing a portrait shoot of me in my grandmother’s garden, in Virginia. I loved this idea, because I hadn’t had any updated portraits done in awhile. I also had a gorgeous 1940’s vintage gown lying around, that I really wanted to be photographed in and would work perfectly for a garden shoot. The garden itself, actually plays a big part in this story and in my life. Growing up, my parents and I took some trips to visit the farm in the summers. I was a bored preteen and decided to take out their point-and-shoot camera and take pictures of things. Minutes turned into hours and before I knew it, I had spent half of the day in that garden, photographing butterflies, flowers, and the farm cats. These moments, in this place, are when my love affair with photography began.
Saturday was the day that we had determined was best to do the shoot and it began just like any other day. Around 4pm, I did my hair and then Gabrielle did my makeup. I had texted Andrew throughout the day and he let me know that he was working with his dad and told me how much he missed me. At about 6pm, we arrived at the farm and I went inside to see my grandparents for the first time during the trip. When we headed outside to shoot, the light was PERFECT and Chad instructed me to sit down on a bench.
He posed me for a minute or two, then Gabrielle handed me a gorgeous leather storybook to pose with. I looked down at the beautiful tree design and the antique style clasp and they told me to open it to the first page….where I read the following:
“If you could write your own fairytale, what would it say?
Would you ever believe that it would begin today?
In an enchanted garden, where it all began
Stands one fair lady and one fine man
With an unfailing love; as true as it can be
This fairytale begins with: Will you marry me?”
At this point, the tears were flowing and I realized that this was NOT just a regular portrait shoot. Around the corner, came Andrew, with the most gorgeous bouquet. The rest happened so quickly. My heart was racing and I was so overwhelmed with joy, as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said YES and he slid the ring of my dreams onto my finger. Then he put a crown on my head and said “For my fairytale princess”.
At this point, I began freaking out with excitement. I had a million questions….. “How long have you been here?” “How long has this been planned?” “WHATTT???”. I was in disbelief! I thought he was still in California and here he was!!
He later filled me in on more details. He actually had been on the East Coast a day longer than I had. My grandma had made the gorgeous bouquet. Gabrielle had written the perfect poem. He had worked with Chad and Gabrielle to pull off the most amazing proposal and it was more than I ever could have dreamed of!!!!
I am so excited for this next season in our lives. These past 6 years together, from high school to today, have been amazing! I can’t wait to spend the rest of my days by his side. Our fairytale has been in the works for some time and I am thrilled to greet these next chapters in it. Thank you to everyone who played a part in this day and in our lives.
To see even more photos from the proposal and hear the story from Chad’s perspective, head on over to his blog, HERE!
Photography- Chad Heller
Makeup- Gabrielle Carlson Heller
Poem- Gabrielle Carlson Heller