I promised a few weeks ago that I would share my proposal story with you all, so for today’s Wedding Wednesday, here it is. I wrote it out after it happened so that I remembered all of the details, and the photos are at the bottom. I’m so, so, SO happy to have photos of this moment, I will cherish them forever. They mean so much to me! This is why I have such a passion for photography. I really believe that it’s super important to have these moments, these memories, to look at for years to come. Heck, even generations to come. And yes, we have the memories in our minds, but the photos not only add details to those memories, but cement them in our minds. Some of these moments, like proposals, births, weddings, and so many in between, go SO fast. They just fly by, and the photos will help us to remember those little things that might have been missed.

I have four photos to share with you at the end of this post, and one of them… well, it’s not very flattering. I’ll just throw that out there, keepin’ it real. I look horrible. But it’s a moment to me, a memory. I was crying, my makeup was all messed up, and Tom was holding me. Seriously, really horrible photo of me ha! But the memory, the emotion, and the love – all of those things jump out at me, making the photo one of my favorites. And believe me, you’ll KNOW which one it is when you see it.

I look at these photos and get to relive this all over again. They still bring tears to my eyes. That is what I hope to bring to all of my brides – the happy memories, the love of not only their husband, but friends and family, and the fun times of that day flooding back to them.

Because this is a Wedding Wednesday post, I will leave you with this before sharing the story: Even if you don’t choose me to be your wedding photographer, please choose someone awesome. Don’t skimp on your photography. Hire a professional that you want to spend the day with. It is one of the very few things that you really get to take away from that day. Marriage is hard, it’s not an easy commitment. And sometimes when things are rough or you’re going through something that tests you, those photos will remind you of your love. Yes, I’m sappy. I’m an emotional chick, I love Love! That being said, I would love to spend your wedding day with you capturing those memories, so if you want to chat, email me and we’ll talk.

Onto the story! This is our proposal story, as I wrote it after it happened.

In January 2010, I told Tom that I had always wanted to go to the opera, and that Madama Butterfly was playing at the Central City Opera House in the summer. He said okay, and bought tickets so we could go. I was VERY excited, and wanted to get all dressed up. Tom just kind of rolled his eyes but agreed. He humors my whims… :)

So fast forward to June. We had an extraordinarly busy month, with traveling and other things going on, but I went shopping for a gown with my best friend Ryan. We were a little down to the wire, so when I found my PERFECT gown and they said they might not be able to get it in time, I was crushed. Ryan and I actually considered driving to Kansas City for the weekend to pick it up! Which was even funnier at the time because Tom was in Illinois with his friends! They were able to rush the order, and I left a very happy girl. Tom came home from fishing and rented a tux, with the color to match my gown in the vest and tie. I KNEW that he was going to look amazing! I was looking forward to July 17th SO much – how often does a girl get to dress up like a princess, and get her guy to wear a tux?!

About a week before the big day, I started thinking about us being all dressed up and looking spiffy. We go out quite a bit but to basic dinners, comedy shows, movies – nothing this big, nothing this fancy. I certainly don’t get to wear a gown very often! And we would be in Central City, away from friends and family, with no one to take pictures of us. I’m a picture freak, and not ashamed to admit it! I know that Tom isn’t comfortable with me asking people to take our picture, so I began to worry about whether I would get any pictures of us all dressed up, and with that, I had a bright idea! I did a quick search for photographers in Blackhawk or Central City, and came up with a professional photographer that lived in Blackhawk. I’m *extremely* picky about photographs taken of me, and I really liked her work, it was a sign! I emailed her to get more information, and presented it to Tom. He rolled his eyes again (even though he tried to hide it) and agreed that we could get our pictures done. Yay!

Now I had my wonderful evening all planned – a night in Blackhawk, dinner, a beautiful gown, a tuxedo, and a photo shoot before the opera. I was BEYOND excited, and SO happy!

July 17th came, and we drove up to Blackhawk. Tom was asking me questions about photography and “moments” on the way up, but because of my work, I wasn’t surprised – it was nothing out of the ordinary. One question he asked in particular that I thought was a little strange though, was “do you think that having photographs of special moments cheapens them at all?” I thought that he might be nervous about being there in those moments for others, because he hadn’t second shot for me yet. I told him “oh heck no, I want pictures of everything!”

I was able to get a free upgrade at the hotel, so when we got there we spent some time just relaxing together in the jacuzzi, before we had to start getting ready. Neither of us are really gamblers, so we weren’t there for the gaming, but it was nice to get away and relax a bit! Tom got ready first and headed downstairs so that I could get into my dress. I didn’t want him to see the dress before it was time to go, so he was under strict instructions the weeks before not to peek under the plastic. As I was finishing getting ready, he came back up to the room, and we both saw each other as he walked in. He looked amazing, and SO very handsome, I will never forget the way he looked. He smiled immediately and told me I looked beautiful, and we both helped each other with the finishing touches.

As we were walking down the hallway and through the casino to go into Central City, people stopped to look at us and told us we looked great – and we knew it! I truly felt like a princess!

We drove to the opera house and parked, and wandered around, looking for a place to eat. The Teller House is right next to the opera house, so we went inside and found that there were two restaurants. Again, we had quite the crowd because of how we were dressed, and I was completely fine with that! An older couple, Dan and Debbie, were very happy to talk with us, and convinced us to dine upstairs with them. They were so gregarious and just loved us! We walked upstairs and looked at all of the beautiful furniture and decorations, but then decided that the menu downstairs looked more appetizing, so we went back downstairs, leaving Dan and Debbie to dine together.

We ate dinner, and I fixed my makeup, looking forward to having our photos done! We walked outside and immediately found Greta Dawn, the photographer. She told us that if either of us had any ideas for pictures, to let her know and she would take them. We had an hour, and we walked around Central City. She took a TON! Tom was making fun of me because I was smiling so big, he said I was a natural, but when it was his turn for solo pictures, he was QUITE the ham!

We continued walking down the street, and stopped about two blocks away from the opera house. Greta wanted to take some pictures with the buildings in the background. Tom said that he had an idea for a picture, and Greta kept encouraging him to say his idea, but a ton of people walked past right then, and he said never mind. So we walked another block down, and he said “Wait I have an idea…” and reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small box. I immediately started crying, and he knelt on one knee and said “Brooke, will you marry me?” I was crying (the ugly cry I’m sure) because I was so happy and surprised, and hugged him while he put the ring on my finger. He asked me if that was a yes, I said “of course!” and he just held me while I cried.

He picked out the ring himself, and it is so amazingly perfect. It is exactly what I love, and he did such a great job. And even though he jokes that he didn’t have to plan ANYTHING to pull off this proposal, the whole thing was very thoughtful. He knows what a photo freak I am, so he planned to ask me when the photographer would be taking pictures. He knew that I wouldn’t want my makeup all messed up for all of the pictures, so he waited until the end of the photoshoot to ask because he knew I would be crying.

He said that he ran the idea by several women at work, and got a thumbs up from all of them. That is something that struck me on our first date – because he did the same thing, he asked the women at work. He may not have done the planning with the photographer and hotel, but he put a lot of thought into making sure that it was a moment that I would never forget.

We hugged the photographer, and walked back up to the opera house for the show. We ran into Dan and Debbie again, and when they found out that Tom had asked me to marry him just then, they were VERY excited, and pushed crowds out of the way to get to us and say congratulations! Dan said “I get to be the first to kiss the bride!” and kissed me on the cheek. Dan asked Tom if he could make a big announcement of the news, and Tom said “no that’s okay” and I said “YES!” He yelled out to the opera house that we just got engaged! I called Ryan first, and she was squealing with me, we were both jumping up and down!

We left after the first act because both of us were so hot and uncomfortable in the opera house, but it was perfect timing because it was at a very romantic and lovey part of the opera. We drove back to the hotel and started making calls, friends and family were very excited!

The photographer even put something about us on Twitter: “Just finished a portrait session in Central City & the guy proposed! I had no idea… beautiful surprise. I loooove my job!”

We spent the night wandering the casinos, and ended up back in the room, relaxing. I called Tom my fiance and he said “oh that’s right, you’re not my girlfriend anymore.” I responded with “that’s right and if you call me your girlfriend I will be offended, just so you know” and winked at him. ;) He said that fiance was such a long word to use, and started calling me his bride instead. I asked if he was really that lazy, he said yes! But the truth is, I love it when he calls me his bride. Hearing him say that gives me butterflies in my stomach, and I don’t think that I will ever get used to it or bored with it!

Everything was perfect!

Pretty awesome, right? I love hearing these stories. That is one of the first questions I always ask my brides: How did he propose? It’s so fun to get all girly and excited with them!

The photos were done by Greta Dawn Photography – and she did an AWESOME job! She didn’t know that he was going to propose, so it was a surprise to her too, and she was able to catch everything! No pressure, right? She was great!

This is one of Tom’s favorites, he jokes it’s because he’s turned away from the camera!

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The big moment. People ask me all the time if this was staged for the photo, and it wasn’t. This is the actual moment when he asked me to marry him.

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Oh yeah, hot, right? But still a favorite!

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This is another favorite… we were moving all over the place and it made it hard for her to take a photo, but I love it!

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Brides or brides-to-be or past brides (meaning married women!) How did your guy propose to you?