How We Met: We met through mutual friends, but like most couples this day and age we started messaging on Facebook. After a few days of messaging, getting to know each other a little better. I had a feeling she was the one. I know that sounds crazy. But as a romantic I follow my heart, I remember telling my best friend that I was in love.
This is all before we ever had our first date, which was a simple coffee date during her lunch break at work. We hit it off, she was so nervous. We talked for nearly three hours, I’m sure at this point her co-workers thought I had kidnapped her. I didn’t want to say goodbye though, she was so beautiful, her shyness and nervousness made her even more adorable.
Some people use the word soulmate, before I met her I would never use that word. I honestly feel she is my other half, we want the same things in life. We have the same passions.
I knew right away I wanted to marry her. That she was on the same page about everything with me. We would be a team. Worrying about what others would think I waited 4 months to buy an engagement ring. Then asked her father for his blessing to marry his daughter. But the real task was creating the perfect proposal, something that could be captured. I wanted to make it unforgettable and include her son, my two boys and daughter.
how they asked: The idea hit me while thinking about the holidays and doing a family photo shoot.
So I dropped the idea of a family photo shoot and built up the idea in her head. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I just had to be careful to pull it off. I reached out to a mutual friend/photographer Angela Elliot and asked if she would capture this special moment for us. Explaining to Angela my plan of a photo shoot ending with a surprise proposal. Telling her of my idea of Carla and I standing behind the four kids, while each kid hold a painted canvas. Reading Will You Marry Me?
But pulling off this proposal with the kids and Carla not finding out was tricky. It took a little fabrication and photo shoot prop ideas. I waited till Carla was in the shower one hour before the photo shoot to paint the canvases so she wouldn’t find them, I told the kids right before we left to the photo shoot. Knowing that if I told them too soon they might slip and accidentally ruin the surprise proposal. They were super excited and all on board to hold these “props”.
The photo shoot was booked for one hour including a 15 minute warning to get the props and set her up out of sight of the words on the canvases.
Angela drops the 15 minute warning, while she is shooting the four kids. I tell Carla of this idea I had about letting the kids hold blank canvases. Explaining that I talked to Angela about Photoshopping what ever words on them we wanted.
Carla was super excited about this idea and I ran to the car to get the canvases while they set up near the water. I place everyone where I want them, I say hold on. I run to Angela’s side pretending to make sure everyone will fit in the frame. It looks great, so I hand the kids each a “blank canvas” and show her the fifth canvas which actually was blank and throw it on the ground.
Panic ensues as my youngest son says “what does it say, what does it say” I show him and whisper to him the plan again. Luckily Angela distracts Carla as we finally get all set, I have to find something to draw her attention away. I simply point off in the distance “look at that” I say.
I quickly take a knee, when she turns around it’s pure surprise. In shock she covers her face with both hands, I say “Carla Varnell, will you marry me?”
She said yes, after what felt like a minute… She was still in too much shock.
It turned out we had an audience, a family of four having a picnic.. When the canvases were given to the kids and I took a knee, I hear gasps of joy. I was so excited to share our moment with them. But the joy I’m going to share with Carla and our kids will last a lifetime.
Photos by Angela Elliott