Katie originally thought that she was taking part in a photo session that her boyfriend, Michael, had “won”, but little did she know that it was a photo shoot of her proposal! The day before this lovely couple’s one year and seven month anniversary, Michael made Katie the happiest girl in the world when he asked for her hand in marriage. Michael arranged a perfect wedding proposal at Bluemont Vineyard. He spent months planning and preparing a moment that he knew would live on forever in both of their hearts and minds.
Michael flawlessly assembled an amazing cover story that Katie totally bought. To set the scene of the surprise, he told Katie that he won his company’s annual March Madness tournament bracket pool. Every year they give out extravagant gifts, like spa days, an Xbox, or Apple Watches. When Michael told her that he had won a photo session, it did not seem too far-fetched for Katie.
After some forged emails and conversations, Katie was 100% on board with the cover story of a photo shoot. Michael went on to meticulously plan the shoot to include a surprise marriage proposal. He discussed how they overall execution with the couple’s photographer KPC and Co. On the day of the proposal, Katie didn’t think anything of it when she was asked to face the opposite direction, count to three, and turn around. Katie was so taken surprised and shocked to see Michael down on one knee, that she didn’t even hear a word of the proposal speech Michael had memorized for her. After the proposal, Michael had one more surprise up his sleeve. He slipped their families into Bluemont’s tasting room and surprised her with a quaint celebration.
From Katie: Michael told me he had won his company March madness bracket and the prizes to choose from were an Apple Watch, Xbox or a two hour professional photography shoot. He knew (obviously) I would try to persuade him into the photo shoot which he finally agreed to after a couple of days of nagging! We agreed to do it at Bluemont Vineyard where we had our first date. We started taking pictures and all was going as normal. At one point, our photographer Lori asked me to turn and look towards the grapevines as she wanted to capture Michael walking up behind me and wrapping his arms around me. Once Michael had come up behind me she said “okay Katie, turn around and saying something funny to make him laugh!” I turned around and there was the love of my life, on one knee with the most unbelievably brilliant ring I’d ever seen. I was completely full of emotion and joy as this is the moment I’ve dreamt of since I was a little girl. He had this beautiful speech he was trying to say but I couldn’t help but cut him off and say “YES!!!” before immediately diving down to hug him. After we spent a few minutes relishing in the moment, we agreed to go meet the photographer inside the main winery to take pictures of the ring. I walked up the stairs to the main floor, turned the corner and heard “CONGRATULATIONS!” Again, to my complete shock and surprise, was both Michael and I’s families with champagne in hand and a beautifully decorated area complete with signs, balloons, food and cake. When I say this day was the most special and surreal moment in my life, it’s the truth. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to begin my life with my soulmate.
From Michael: Planning a proposal should be fun, exciting, meaningful and a little nerve-wracking (in a good way). That is, unless you want to push the envelope, and orchestrate a complex story line involving multiple parties, weeks of planning and hundreds of details that need to be executed flawlessly. In that case, planning a proposal should make you feel like Danny Ocean from Oceans 11, planning the most unforgettable moment instead of the ultimate casino heist. The most special person in your life deserves to feel just how special they are to you; so the proposal was the perfect time for me to do just that.
I tricked her into thinking I won my companies March Madness Tournament; which had a few awesome prizes to choose from such as a private photoshoot. I created a series of fake emails, fake companies and A LOT of fake golf outings to help support the story line and buy myself time to execute the plan. I had already chosen the date, time and location but made sure to let her “choose” as we continued through the process and the fake emails kept pouring in. I worked closely with the photographer, who deserves an Oscar for her performance, and the special events coordinator to map out every single detail of the visit. I even brought out the colored pencils and drew pictures, maps and decoration design layouts to get everyone on the same page. Most importantly, I was able to get both of our families to come celebrate with us as a second surprise once we walked into the winery to wrap things up with the photographer.
The effort, stress and countless hours spent planning and coordinating the moment I was finally going to ask my best friend to marry me was worth every single piece of it; a million times over. Seeing the love of my life’s eyes light up as I was down on one knee, and her pure state of shock, was honestly the most rewarding experience of my life.
Photography Credit: KPC and Co.