I am pleased to present to you the story of Nick and Amy. There is only one place for me to start, and that’s at the very beginning.
I met Nick, my officemate, a year ago when I returned to our Austin location. He works in a different department than me, but we see each other occasionally in the hallway. I couldn’t hide my surprise one morning in October when he approached me about a “non work related” question. He explained he was planning to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Amy, on November 20th in Fredericksburg, Texas. He described his planning process from the past six months: picking the perfect venue (Becker Vineyards), preparing the menu for a picnic under a big oak tree on the property and collecting photographs to create a scrapbook of their entire relationship. The best part of the book? The very last page featured a photo of Amy’s best friends, taken at the vineyard, holding a sign that said “Say Yes!”
Amy’s birthday was the week of Thanksgiving, so this special trip to the heart of Texas wine country was disguised as her birthday celebration (with the scrapbook as her surprise present). Little did Amy know, the trip was to be so much more than that.
As if this story didn’t already have my attention, Nick hit me with the following:
“I’m not sure if you do this kind of photography but would you be interested in secretly taking pictures of the proposal from afar?”
I almost fainted from excitement. Would I? I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do! Completely blown away and honored that Nick would include me in this major life milestone, we began plotting the day.
Considering that it might seem strange for me to be by myself, taking pictures of Nick and Amy/weirding them out, I commissioned my friend Anne to go with me. Anne would be my “model” for our pseudo photo shoot at the vineyard. That way, I could pretend to take pictures of Anne, while really focusing beyond her on the happy couple.
Here’s how we mapped out the day:
- Anne and I planned to arrive at Becker shortly before noon, scope out the property and wait for Nick and Amy to arrive.
- About 30 minutes later, I would wait for Nick to send me a text message letting me know they’d arrived.
- I’d stalk them and take pictures while waiting for the present to be opened after they ate lunch.
- As soon as the present made an appearance, I’d photograph the entire proposal from start to finish.
In addition to all of these steps, I was also responsible for calling Nick’s best friend, Sam, to let him know when he and a group of their closest friends should arrive to celebrate after the proposal. Amy thought the trip was just going to be with Nick, so she was sure to be very surprised!
November 20th arrived and Anne and I roadtripped to Fredericksburg. We approached beautiful Becker Vineyards and the weather was just perfect.
It wasn’t very long before the VIP arrived too. In that moment, I morphed into a member of the paparazzi.
Unsuspecting Amy, Nervous Nick
Approaching the Picnic Site (Nick didn't even put that sign there!)
I spent a lot of time hiding behind a fence. This is what I saw.
For the next several minutes, we waited. When I grew tired of taking the same photo over and over, we grabbed some great ones of my wonderful assistant, Anne.
But although it felt like we had ample time to waste, it quickly evaporated as the gift appeared and it was business time.
Opening the Gift
The shutter rapidly clicked as I took frame after frame after frame. All of a sudden, thanks to my zoom lens, I could see the ring box in Nick’s left hand. The book was coming to an end, and the big moment was about to happen. Before I knew it, he was on one knee, Amy had her face in her hands and I was crying. That’s right – tears were streaming down my face while simultaneously taking pictures. That was a unique experience I won’t forget anytime soon.
Immediately after proposing, Nick pointed me out in the distance. Amy couldn’t believe the photographer she had been commenting about during the picnic (“Who is that? That model is pretty. I wonder what they’re taking pictures for?”) was actually there for her and had documented the entire thing. Suddenly, a group of their closest friends ran up to the picnic, completely surprising Amy.
Shortly after, Nick waved me over. I threw on my sunglasses and joined the celebration for some up close shots. From there, we launched into a full blown engagement photo shoot session (and did some group pictures too!)
At one point a ladybug landed on Amy's ring!
As we walked around the grounds taking photos, word spread around the vineyard that these two had just gotten engaged. Many people clapped and cheered as we passed by, and when a small band was playing on the porch, everyone looked on as Nick and Amy took a few moments to dance.
After awhile, we settled in the grass under the big oak tree and enjoyed a glass of wine. Amy called her mom, Nick called his dad and everyone relished in the excitement of the day. By this time, I felt as though I was part of their group, good friends with everyone. It doesn’t get much more welcoming than that.
It was the perfect ending to the most perfect day. Nick and Amy: congratulations and thank you again for inviting me to be part of your engagement. I wish you both the very best!
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