Hear all about my one-of-a-kind engagement story that takes place on a romantic picnic on a lake in small-town Missouri. From a little rain that cleared just in time for a sunset proposal to the surprise photographer that showed up in record time to capture every moment, our engagement is something I’ll always hold dear to my heart. Join me for the full story today.
I talked a little about my elopement during March of last year. You can find the Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement post right here. But right now, on the one-year anniversary of our marriage, I’m sharing all the details about the day my husband proposed. It’s an unforgettable engagement story…
I thought it would be nice to take a little walk down memory lane. Plus, there are some really great photos I felt needed to be shared. We had a fabulous photographer, whom I’ll talk more about later.
I also feel so grateful to not only have it all captured on camera, but to have found someone that went the extra mile to get all the small details right. Adrian (AJ) tried so hard to make it just right for us. The thought he put into it made me swoon.
Now, before I ramble on too much, let’s just get into the story you’ve all been waiting for: my engagement story.
The Engagement Story
It all started on a rainy afternoon… I was driving home and had a feeling that tonight was “the night.” I had picked up on a few subtle signs, but ultimately decided to kept my attire dressy casual. You know, to play it cool and all.
I drove home from work, anxious and excited, wearing a comfortable pair of skinny jeans and an oversized mustard yellow sweater that complemented my skin tone and dark features.
Simple, but cute.
I’d even taken the time to straighten my hair and wear make-up. Most days I go barefaced and opt for natural waves. Not today, though.
We were planning on meeting at the lake in my husband’s hometown. We’d had one of our first dates, a picnic, there two years before… We arrived before five’o’clock to a rainy and completely empty parking lot. Luckily, the showers were very light and the weather was cool. A slow breeze welcomed us in.
As the rain continued on in little spurts here and there, we gathered under a gazebo and unpacked the picnic Adrian packed us.
At this time in my life, I lived a vegan lifestyle so he had packed blueberries and strawberries, some vegan mini muffins, plant-based cheeses, and some whiskey. I am partial to whiskey, so he did well with that!
We chatted about our day, I sipped my whiskey, and we snacked on all the delicious food. And yet, I kept getting this weird feeling, wondering “Why hasn’t he asked me yet? What is taking so long?”
I was quickly growing impatient after an hour or more had passed. I knew the autumn sun would be setting in the next hour and couldn’t imagine why we were still out here at a lake under a gazebo making small talk this entire time.
Before I knew it, a man and woman pulled into a parking spot. It was odd considering the rainy weather and the sun would be going down soon.
The man approached my husband and asked if he could take a few pictures of us. He said he was building a portfolio and getting some practice shots and asked if we’d be up to getting a few photos taken. This was a little strange, I thought. Then I realized this was all probably set up… My clever husband (then boyfriend) was pulling out all the stops.
Before I knew it, we were in the sand near the edge of the lake, Adrian and I posing with some guidance from the photographer. After a few short minutes, before I could think straight, he was down on one knee asking me to be his wife.
I still tease him to this day about how he asked me. He was nervous.
He didn’t give me a long, drawn-out speech and instead anxiously blurted out, “Will you marry me?!,” as quickly as he possibly could.
I didn’t care. I was completely elated.
Maybe it was the presence of the photographer, or maybe it was because deep down I knew all along, but neither of us teared up the way you see it happen in movies. (This was of course a different story on our wedding day. So much emotion.) I think we were both just so nervous about our big moment. Things are just a little different when you’re in front of a camera and already kind of anticipated it.
We embraced, stayed on the “beach” a while longer, and had many photos taken–all with the help of Carmen, the photographer’s wife who also happens to be AJ’s coworker.
We headed back to the gazebo and even had some shots taken of our little picnic. I was ecstatic. Nervous to be having so many pictures taken, but I was so happy to be heading into our next chapter together.
We drank a little more whiskey at this point, too, to celebrate our news. We were entering a new phase. It all felt a bit surreal.
More Engagement Story Details
AJ proposed to me at Smithville Lake, a popular lake north of Kansas City. Smithville Lake is known for their hiking trails, boating, and apparently now proposals.
I’m so glad our engagement story takes place at this spot. It was reminiscent of one of our first dates, where AJ serenaded me with delicious snacks, held me for the first time, and walked with me along the shoreline. He made me feel so loved, so having him propose to me here felt right. Meant to be, really.
My advice: If you want to impress your partner when planning a proposal, pick a meaningful place because it will only become that much more special.
AJ is not known for his cooking skills, but he makes his snackage expertise known. He was very considerate of me and my vegan diet at the time. He provided lots of vegan cheese and blueberry muffins for me. The strawberries and blueberries were just an added bonus.
I love how he packed a variety without overdoing it. I think we were both nervous that evening, and I don’t think either of us could have eaten a full meal if we had wanted to. Having some spirits (whiskey) on hand was perfect for the celebration to calm my nerves. He planned this evening out well!
No engagement story would be complete without at least mentioning the ring. AJ proposed to me with a custom ring he had designed for me. It really did fit my style.
I love turquoise, so the center stone was made of this. This round halo ring was surrounded by diamonds with a white gold band. Timeless and unique. It had a one-of-a-kind bohemian flair.
However, today, this is not the ring I own and wear.
Apparently, I quickly found out, turquoise is a very soft stone. When placed in jewelry it has to be set with a special adhesive. This adhesive doesn’t compare to other types of setting techniques that can be used with harder gems.
For example, hammering can easily get diamonds and sapphires into place without damaging or breaking them. Turquoise does not have this quality. This is why the center stone fell out more than once. We had it reset multiple times to no avail.
On the final trip to the jeweler, Jewelry by Morgan, I decided I just wanted (needed) a harder gem instead.
I decided on the classic sapphire, a stunning gem beloved by royalty for centuries. Also very reminiscent of Princess Diana’s stunning engagement ring. It has not fallen out a single time since being set nearly three years ago. I feel confident that it’s safe to wear anywhere now.
It did cost quite a bit more than the humble turquoise, but it has been worth it. I will admit, it is more elegant, too. I can’t complain about my second ring!
My husband hired a wonderful Kansas City photographer, Marc Wiggins of Marc Wiggins Photography. We were very happy with our photos and love the scenic views he captured of us in two different locations, our second one being at Weston Bend State Park in Weston, MO.
We were so grateful to receive such gracious accommodations to fit our schedule, too. He included a more formal engagement shoot in addition to the proposal shoot as a packaged deal. He was such a professional and kind photographer to work with. Would recommend!
I couldn’t publish this post about my engagement story without at least telling you a bit more about AJ. When I told him I was adding this part he said, “I’m a man with a beard, what’s more to know?” Classic AJ. Humble and humorous.
AJ and I first met when we worked together years ago at a hospital. I could instantly tell he was a hard worker, easy to get along with, and trustworthy. We became good friends over the months until we began dating.
AJ is now a clinical social worker by day and provides private therapy to clients in the evenings. In his free time he likes to spend quality time with family, watch his favorite sports teams (saying he’s a Huskers fan would be an understatement), and practice his faith. I have always admired his commitment to his spirituality.
He loves to spend time outdoors hiking, but also loves to explore the city with me when we go on dates as often as possible. An avid Kansas City Symphony concert goer, music entertainment is another pastime he enjoys.
Adrian does nearly everything entirely too fast and is allergic to anything with fur, but I sure do love him. He is a keeper, that’s for sure.
I will end with my favorite famous quote from a classic novel I love, something I sprinkled into the wedding vows I wrote:
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights