A few weeks back I got an inquiry from Jay. In my 10+ years in photography, there is generally only ONE situation where a man reaches out to me for a portrait session...so, I knew what was about to take place. Jay told me that they were going to coming to Waco in August for a trip, and that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend Kristina. EEEKKKKK!!!
Turns out they had visited Magnolia last summer and they both loved it, so he had his heart set on proposing there! I was beyond excited to get to be a part of such an exciting and momentous occasion, especially somewhere so pretty and iconic to Waco!
When talking to Jay about details, I asked what kind of proposal he had in mind! When it comes to documenting a proposal, there are really two ways to do it:
You set up a couples photoshoot that she is aware of, and surprise, you pop the question during the portrait session with a prompt we established in advance. Or....
This is what I call the "hide in the bushes" option, where I discretely "photograph" the surrounding area (that we have agreed to in advance) or I hide until you pop the question, which I document and then come over to do a couples session afterwards.
Jay opted for the second choice. This one is always a little more nerve-wracking for me because it means all our communication needs to be a secret, which makes setting things up just a little more difficult on my end (but by no means impossible). We emailed to discuss all the details and decide where he wanted to propose (which at Magnolia, how do you NOT do it in front of the Silos)? I also had him send me a photo of them, just to be sure I am taking photos of the right couple--definitely not something you want to get wrong on the day of.
When the big day finally had arrived, Jay texted me in the morning to let me know what they were both wearing so I could easily pick them out. That evening, I texted Jay a picture of where I was to let him know I was set up, and then I waited. Once I saw them walk up, I turned on my phone camera to video the whole thing, and got to witness and document this sweet life-changing moment.
Kristina clearly had NO idea what was taking place. Once he hit his knee and asked her the big question, she looked around, and I think she thought it was a joke. The crowd at Magnolia cheered and it looked like it finally sank in to her that this is actually happening. Once she said yes and he got the ring on her finger, Jay turned to introduce me and I got to be the first to congratulate the happy couple! I gave her a few minutes to get composed since she was still in shock and teary-eyed from the excitement, then we got started on a super fun engagement session!
Fortunately Jay had ensured that she had her nails done, and subtly encouraged her to wear a beautiful white dress! He really followed the 6 Rules of Proposing to a tee! If you don't know the rules, here they are (there are of course variations, but it's pretty straight forward):
Ask her parents
Choose a meaningful location
Make it a surprise
Make sure her nails are done (and that she is looking cute for photos)
Get down on one knee
Document it! (this is where I come in)
It may not seem like getting dressed up and having her nails done is a big deal in the grand scheme, but I promise the first thing she will want to do is take a photo and share the exciting news with someone. Plus, she is going to want to remember this moment forever and will hope it has been documented one way or another. If you can spoil her with a manicure, a hair appointment, and even a new outfit prior to popping the question, she will most certainly appreciate the gesture and be even more impressed and appreciative after the fact at your forethought and planning efforts. It really is all the little details that women appreciate the most!
Props to Jay for picking such a meaningful and gorgeous location like Magnolia Market to ask Kristina to marry him. It was so much fun to explore and capture their sweet relationship in all the beautiful spots that Magnolia has to offer: the gardens, the greenhouse, the old church, and the many adorable benches and table & chair setups. It is obvious that someone with an eye for design has put a lot of thought into it! *wink wink*. This was definitely not my first couples session at Magnolia, but things are always changing and I love to see what's new! Plus, every couple brings a different "vibe" to the table and getting to document each unique relationship in a new way makes my job so fun. Thank you Jay for giving me the opportunity, and of course allowing me to document this incredibly special moment in your lives.
Wishing Jay & Kristina a lifetime of love and happiness and congrats again on your engagement!!