August 31st, 2017
I’ve been meaning to share the story of Colby’s proposal to Kate that happened over Thanksgiving in Florida. It was so much fun to be a part of it (ie hiding in a bush taking photos of). I guess it was back in September, I was up photographing a wedding in Saratoga Springs and hanging out with my husbands family, when my brother-in-law Colby announced that he was planning on proposing to his girlfriend Kate over Thanksgiving in Florida! Our whole family and her whole family would be down there and it would be the perfect time and place to do it. The next 2 months flew by, while Colby asked for and received her parents blessing and made plans for the actual proposal (and we all tried to “play it cool” around Kate).
Fast forward to Thanksgiving week. Colby had decided that he would propose on Thanksgiving morning at Lookout Point, a beautiful little park on the water near the house in Osprey, FL. Now all he had to do was get the family heirloom ring from Kate’s mom without her noticing, and somehow get her alone amidst the chaos of 18 people coming for Thanksgiving Dinner. Colby and Kate arrived in Florida late Wednesday evening and the ring hand-off happened without a hitch. By some miracle Kate didn’t notice that her mother Mary was no longer wearing the ring. The next morning, Kate and her family arrived for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone in the know anxiously awaited the “signal” for Colby’s mom Christa to send them out on a BS errand. Colby finally went over and rubbed his mom’s shoulders, setting the proposal in motion. By this time all 18 people had arrived for Thanksgiving and it was quite chaotic. Christa asked Colby to run out and get some last minute essentials, like Grapefruit juice for mixing cocktails. Kate’s brother Morgan quickly offered to join him, which was not part of the plan! Mary quickly pulled Morgan aside and told him “YOU ARE NOT GOING, THINK OF AN EXCUSE QUICK”. Morgan bowed out saying he had consumed too many beers to go to Walmart. Thinking on her feet, Christa asked Kate to go with Colby instead because “she’s the only one that knows the right kind of juice to get”. It worked and they headed off to Walmart on their fake mission.
Meanwhile, my husband Taylor and I grabbed my photography gear and snuck out to our blacked out SUV rental car that was hiding in the garage. We didn’t want to alert any of the other guests that were not already in the know that something was amiss. We drove over and parked on a side street leading to lookout point. Colby texted saying he hoped we were in place, because Kate was “on a mission” to get the errand done quickly. I then texted them saying that a bunch of us had gone down to the water and spotted manatees and they should go check it out. It worked, and Kate agreed to stop by Lookout Point on the way home. We waited in our car for them to drive by. A few minutes later we saw them speeding by (nearly missing a head on collision with another car) before parking at lookout point. We slowly pulled up behind them and tried to figure out if they had gotten out of the car yet. Colby’s sun visor was down and from far away it looked like he was still in the car so we waited and waited. Then finally I realized that it was just the sun visor and start screaming at Taylor to “GO GO GO”. It was pretty much a covert military operation at this point as I tried to get photos of the proposal without her seeing me. We pulled up behind the only cover available, a large bush. I couldn’t see anything from the car, so I jumped out and hid behind the bush. My heart was beating a thousand beats per minute as I’m trying to look through the bush to determine if the proposal had happened yet. I finally spotted them walking along the shoreline about 100 yards away looking for the elusive manatees (and her wondering where everyone else was). Then they started walking in a different direction, so I jumped to the other side of the the bush to avoid being seen. Meanwhile, Taylor had gotten out of the car and was taking photos of me hiding behind the bush and I’m screaming at him to “GET BACK IN THE CAR”.
Finally I manage to see through the bush that Colby had dropped down on one knee. I jump out from behind the bush and snapped a dozen photos rapid fire. It was pretty obvious that she had said yes! I jumped back in the car and sped off before anyone saw me.
Back at the house, I gave a few inconspicuous thumbs ups, grabbed a much needed glass of wine, and we waited…. After what seemed like forever, Colby and Kate came through the door with Kate proudly displaying her new bling. Several people started cheering. Kate’s sister Kelly looked confused, thinking we were cheering over the arrival of the grapefruit juice. The look on her face when she finally realized what was going on was priceless. Complete shock turned to excitement and several tears were shed all around. The rest of the day was spent celebrating and planning the wedding!
I’m so glad I was able to capture this special moment. Best wishes to Colby and Kate on their next adventure!