I have a fun story for you today of the perfect proposal and of course proposal photos to share. I'm so thankful to have such a happy story to tell you because the past two days have just been rough, personally speaking. Looking back through these photos of people I love put a much-needed smile on my face. This is the (abbreviated but still very long) story of how Nathan and Courtney got engaged. I've said so many times that one of the reasons photography means so much to me is because I love telling stories. Typically, when you tell a story, you don't tell the ending at the beginning, but Nathan took creative license to do just that with Courtney (much to the disdain of the creepy guy beside me at Starbucks that day). So, that's what I'm doing, too.
When Courtney woke up on Good Friday, she thought she was going to Alabama with her boyfriend to spend the weekend with his family. Nathan suggested they meet for coffee at Starbucks in Franklin before they hit the road at 8:15 that morning.
That conversation went something like this. Nathan: Let's meet at Starbucks to get coffee before we go. Courtney: Why would we do that? You don't like coffee. Nathan: I thought you would want to do that. We don't have to. Courtney: No, I want to go to Starbucks.
Looking back, that was among the first clues that Nathan was up to something.
Instead of Nathan waiting for her that morning, though, Courtney's sister Ashley was there. Ashley lives in California... And Courtney was confused. Clearly.
Ashley had a note from Nathan that helped clear things up. Is FURY part of the seven stages of realizing you're in for the best day of your life?
Ah, now she gets it! Also, I think that guy is picking his nose.
The next note told her to call a certain phone number and say, "I'm ready." So she did.
Confusion surfaces again when the voice at the other end of the line answered the phone "Nashville Penitentary Work Release Program." This is Courtney's "I think he said penitentary" face.
Fortunately, 20 seconds later, Kyle, I mean, The Chauffer showed up. Courtney thought she recognized him from work, but she was definitely wrong.
From there, the notes sent her to get a massage with her sister.
The next clue sent her to an address on Patton Road in Franklin. Once we got there, she received this very clear and to-scale map.
She followed the map of Arrington Vineyards, the site where they had an especially meaningful date, where she expected Nathan to be waiting. But she was wrong.
It was two of her best friends, one of whom drove up from Birmingham.
They were treated to a catered, picnic lunch at Arrington Vineyards, where Courtney shared her adventures so far.
When lunch was over, Courtney received her next clue.
The chauffer, whose name is Shellfur by this point, took them to the next address where Nathan's sister, Karina, and his sister-in-law, Audrey, awaited.
It's probably obvious what happened there. But just in case, I'll show you.
Next, we went to the Marriott in Franklin, where there were more surprises. One of which was Courtney's mom, who lives in Chicago.
Moms are the best.
Oh, and Nathan's mom was waiting, too.
They took Courtney upstairs to a room for, yes, more surprises. Nathan had picked out a pretty black dress and THESE SHOES, each in two sizes, just in case. A choice of two clutches and this note were included, too.
Courtney jumped in the shower and got ready, while the rest of the girls freshened up and changed into nicer clothes.
Of course, Tiffany is a hair stylist, so that's a nice bonus.
At 4:30, another clue was handed to her, with a website she needed to visit on Karina's iPad. Courtney loves the Rascal Fatts, and Nathan has connections. He had the lead singer record a message and a song for her, effectively debunking No. 16 on this list.
Everyone loaded into the van, and we went to downtown Franklin to the Red Pony, where more friends awaited. Nathan treated everyone to drinks and appetizers. And when I say Nathan treated them, I mean we had his credit card and he wasn't there.
As the girls were finishing up, Courtney received another clue, telling her to cross the street to the Franklin Theatre and to come alone. (Except for me.)
But, still, no Nathan. Instead, she was greeted by Nathan's dad and a pretty girl.
Her final clue took her to Aspen Gove Park in Franklin, so the girls piled into the van.
Jordan and I beat them there. (Jordan is an awesome videographer in Birmingham and Nathan's brother.) Since we had a few seconds to spare, we took some family pictures. Yes, I consider myself family. I don't think they mind.
Courtney was greeted at the entry of the park by her dad. They walked and talked as dads who are getting ready to give their oldest daughter away do, even when they know she's in good hands.
Then, one final clue and one final hug, and she was off to find Nathan.
Whoops, she saw me. Fortunately, she was used to me being everywhere by now.
And this is where I pause and notice how seriously stunning she looks.
And as Nathan does, he was waiting and singing.
I've known Nathan for 25 years. He's the closest thing I have to a brother besides my actual brother. I've seen him really like a girl before. I haven't seen a look like this.
When she hugged him, I'm pretty sure he said "I haven't even done anything yet!" As I said when I told you about these proposal photos in Huntsville, I try not to be seen and not to listen. But I couldn't help but giggle a little at how ridiculous that statement was.
One more song.
And then, finally.
Now this, this is a Nathan face I've seen before.
Enjoying the moment.
Until they got stuck together.
And couldn't get unstuck. Just another reason you should hire someone to take proposal photos. After I watched them struggle for a minute, I jumped in and unstuck them.
Then, we called in the families.
And everyone was happy.
It was an amazing day, made even more amazing by friends and family from all over the country following and posting their own proposal photos for them on the #mahyyoumarryme hashtag on Instagram. (We took Courtney's phone at the beginning of the day.) You can see behind the scenes proposal photos there, and you can see the rest of the proposal photos I took at http://photos.caleynewberry.com/mahy/.