I’m going to start by saying I probably (and by probably I mean definitely) included wayyyy too many photos in this post! But can you blame me?? MY LITTLE SISTER IS ENGAGED!!! I am so over the moon excited! This was such a special day for my family and I was so honored to get to capture it all. I wasn’t even planning on photographing the whole evening and therefore didn’t bring my flash setup for when it got dark, but these photos are SO special to me and I am incredibly excited to share them!
For weeks and weeks, my sister thought Ryan was planning me a birthday party at my aunts house…when in reality, I had been helping Hayden plan a surprise party for HER at my aunts house…it was the perfect coverup for a surprise proposal and engagement party. She didn’t see it coming at all. I like to think that my skills from my acting days in high school paid off for this.
Hayden decided on asking her at my aunts house in the first place because it’s been a place that’s been special to my siblings and I our whole lives. We moved a lot growing up, but this is one place that we came back to year after year to hang out on the water and spend time with family. We’ve spent many holidays here and my aunt has always encouraged us to bring our friends here for a weekend away! This is also where Ryan and I got ready for OUR wedding and had our first look and portraits taken! It’s the most beautiful property with a big pier leading out to the river, a gorgeous barn, and a little pond next to the main house…the little pond is so picturesque and I knew I’d be able to find a good place to hide to capture the moment without Geli noticing…
Sooo this past Saturday we set the plan into motion! Geli and Hayden came over to our house early in the afternoon to hang out with Ryan and I before “my party”…since they already know they’ll be living in Richmond soon, we wanted to give them a tour of some of our favorite spots! We took them to our favorite bakery in church hill, a park, and to see Belle Isle…then I started mentioning that we should probably get over to my aunts house to set up for “my party” before “my friends” would arrive! I asked Geli and Hayden if they’d be willing to pick up a Chick Fil A nugget tray we had ordered for “my party” while we picked up a pie for the party to save time…thankfully she agreed and they headed to Chickfila while we headed straight to my aunts house to make sure everything was set!
Our mom had been preparing food and decorating for the surprise party all afternoon and our family and all of Hayden and Geli’s friends were already there hiding in the barn when we arrived! My mom and I covered the dock with rose petals that Hayden had purchased to make it even more special and then my aunt helped me find the perfect hiding spot to capture the shot from her balcony! She turned on some Michael Buble music to play over the speakers outside and not long after that Geli and Hayden pulled up…They came up to the door and I heard my aunt ask them if they’d be willing to wait to help her carry some stuff down to the barn for “my party”…they agreed and that was Hayden’s cue to lead Geli down to the dock!
I was siting in my hiding spot and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing as I watched the moment unfold through my lens…after several minutes he got down on his knee and I’ve never taken so many pictures in a row…it was so beautiful!! A few more minutes went by and then Hayden pointed out that I was there to capture the whole thing! I ran down to them and gave them the biggest hugs!! Then I suggested we take a few more portraits while the light was pretty…
I lead them down towards the barn going on and on about how the light was going to be so pretty for photos by the river and as we approached the barn, all of their friends and our family jumped out to surprise her!! It was so much fun to see all of their friends and our family so excited for them…then it was party time!! We toasted the happy couple and then Hayden shared the sweetest video that he made for Geli documenting the whole process of planning the proposal leading up the big day. It was the cutest video! Then we had to take a few more of their very first engagement photos by the water and some family photos as it was getting dark…then we all got to pray over them! It was so beautiful and an amazing testimony of God’s grace for us all.
Geli and Hayden, to say I am excited for you doesn’t even begin to cover it!!!!! I love you both so much!!! I am so proud and happy for you and can’t wait to see where God leads you guys as you prepare to get married. I know He is going to do mighty things through your marriage!
I don’t even know how to end this post because there are so many incredible things I could say about my sister. She is going to make the most beautiful bride and I can’t wait to see her become a wife!! She is strong and compassionate and so much fun. She cares so deeply for people and her desire to share God’s love with others is truly inspiring. Hayden, I know you already know this…but you are one lucky guy to get to marry her! I know you are going to take such good care of her and I can’t wait for you guys to live right down the road!
I hope you enjoy my favorite photos from this special day! Aaaand let the wedding planning begin!