proposal day.

Since the wedding is a month from today, I thought it would be appropriate to post some photos from our proposal day. Nate asked me to marry him in the middle of June this year during my families summer vacation together in Charleston, South Carolina. He definitely SHOCKED me with the proposal since I didn’t think the ring was being made until after we returned home from the trip. He left for the day on a “boy’s outing” with my brothers but what he actually did was pick up my best friend from the airport whom he flew in from Ohio. They skipped around the city together getting “proposal supplies” while I was obliviously getting lunch with my mom and sister just a couple blocks away. We went to meet up with the guys near the water when I turned a corner to find all he had surprised me with. Oh, did I mention he flew in my favorite photographer of all time from Alabama to capture the whole thing? Well done, fiance, I can’t believe I got my entire family, best friend, favorite photographer, the beach, an anthropologie dress (I mean, come ooooon, how is he real?), and flowers covering the side walk of a street filled with houses that look like they painted there just for our delight. It was perfect. But really, my mom told it so much better. Here’s her journal entry about the day that she was kind enough to let me use in this post. My mother is poet as you’ll realize when you are reading her take on the sunny day Nate asked me to marry him. Thanks, mama : )
A warm sticky blue day in Charleston. Cobbled streets and window boxes brimming with blossomed beauty. The charm of the city is inescapable today. A softness to the air and a joy permeates.
We walk and muse and exclaim loveliness on each block. Jillian and Andrew lag behind as Jenna and I move ahead. She lingers and I grow anxious. I know something that she is unaware of. I know around a tree lined corner a few blocks in front of us , dappled in afternoon sun, her life is about to change.
We stroll and I tremble. These plans have been lovingly laid by a dashing suitor who waits. I have dreampt and prayed on this day. I have longed for perfection and feared it would not be. And now, a block away, under clouds of white against skies of blue- I dare to believe this sweet moment will be. Water St. meets Church St. and we are just one turn from proposal day.
My boys appear- Gary, Mike , Matt and Nicholas. All of us now- on this ancient sidewalk that will hold new memories. Smiles on beloved faces- little Nicholas is actually gleaming in delight and in the chaotic dance of anticipation I am glad I did not miss it. I ponder this little face and tuck it away. More pondering and things to tuck await so I step on in a fragile euphoria- for the blonde beauty that has sparked this day of love has yet to behold her troubadour as he stands among perfect petals placed on the ground to form a heart of delphinium and hydrangea and lovely lillies. It settles soft on my spirit that the handsome man has chosen flowers that my curly haired girl has romped in through my gardens as she grew to be his curly haired girl. The joy increases and I think I cannot take more into my heart and then it happens. My girly sees her beau and takes in immediately what this dazzling smile and lovely bouquet and ring of flowers mean. And she runs to him. As if choreographed by a 1940’s film maker. She takes off in sweet abandon – long lovely strides and hair flying and glittering in the sun and I whisper a soft thank you to God for all of the times I have in wonder beheld that corn silk hair in sun. “Lucky me” I think. No, blessed me.
He smiles. His whole face smiles. And I tuck that away too. The face I prayed for as I held my pink and precious baby girl. My heart sings a song of thanksgiving for I did not ever conjure being here to behold the face of my daughters soon to be fiancé as she throws her arms around him and he slips to one knee. How gracious and generous is this dapper fellow on one knee.
We get closer- but not too close- we see but do not hear. The words are his and now hers and we hold our breath as life takes the sweetest turn for Jenna Elisabeth stouffer and Nathan Mitchell Cook. And we, her family and best friend, were granted front row seats to the first day of the betrothed life.
We all hold back-giving them this sacred moment and watch as he slips a ring onto that hand. That little hand of my little girl and again I whisper a thanks for being the one chosen to hold and protect that hand for this day. I feel it slipping away and I am so filled with absolute glee that I turn my face to heaven and in my heart- I let it go.
With peace and gratitude I watch that now ringed hand become the hand of his future wife and I worship God for his gift of Nate and this day. I know to the core of my being that I am standing in grace and I receive it wholly.
As my girl turns to us- tears flow and we step in -Lauren too- we join in the jubilee. Passersby take pictures and I would too for this is the good life- the gift moments and we all want to preserve it.
And then God decides to show off a bit more and a gentle breeze sweeps through. And there under the live oak trees , as the Spanish moss dances above us- we join hands. My beloveds. All together on this old welcoming street. We encircle the lovebirds and the new fiance girls father prays a blessing over them. Eyes closed but not mine. I will not miss this. I look to heaven with tears and praise and then I take in every cherished face and my cup runneth over. This is pinnacle. This moment, planned by God as he formed me and thought me into being. A gift to all certainly. But to me, the mama of this bride to be- it is more and it is treasured. It has been given and I have received. “Oh my soul bless the lord and all that is within me praise his holy name”.
And then as all things do this side of paradise- it comes to a close and we must walk away. So full, how could I want more? But I do. I want to stay in this spot of life longer. Don’t want to see it end. I linger and muse and tuck away and take pictures and try to hold onto the magic a bit longer.
But God is good and on this glorious day in this enchanted city he whispers to my spirit the truth and grace of this moment. “Walk on in this beauty I have created for this is a beginning, my child, not an end.”
after we celebrated, we got to take some engagement/proposal photos, here are just some of my favorite from the bunch : )
thanks for these amazing photos W and E Photographie, check out their website here. And their blog post about our proposal day here !