Justin and I met about one year ago through a local chapter of the national networking and business-development organization, Master Networks. Justin and his parents own and operate Apple Valley Car Clinic in Apple Valley. After having lived in the Twin Cities for going on 10 years, I was pleased to FINALLY find a trusted mechanic! It's awesome to be their customer and friend.
Justin always talked fondly of Laura and that they'd be getting engaged soon. He wasn't quite sure how he'd pop the question, but one thing was sure--he wanted me there to photograph it all.
Justin's mom, Karen, found Next Chapter Winery and thought we had to check it out as a potential proposal location since Justin and Laura like wine and they'd be entering the next chapter of their relationship. They also just so happened to make a "Minnesota Blushing Bride" wine which could be incorporated somehow too. Justin and I went down to New Prague to map out and create the master plan. Everything was beautiful and the manager, Jackie (whose parents own the winery), was so incredibly welcoming and helpful!
Justin decided to tell Laura that there is a photographer in his networking group who is portfolio building and looking for a couple to model for a practice session (which was perfect since Laura didn't know me and had no idea that I'm long past the portfolio building stage). I played along, even sending a nice email thanking them in advance and giving them details about how to prepare for the session.
Since one common source of stress related to photo sessions is wardrobe selection, I always invite L. Photogis to send me snapshots of their clothing considerations to get a second opinion. The day of the session, Justin texted me snapshots of Laura wearing two different black dresses. I knew right away which dress would be better and why, but it felt so different providing the recommendation because I WAS DECIDING WHAT LAURA WOULD WEAR WHEN SHE'D GET ENGAGED! As someone who remembers exactly what she was wearing when she got engaged, I didn't take lightly the recommendation for Laura. It's serious business, folks! :)
It was raining the afternoon of the proposal so we moved to our plan B, which was to hold the proposal in the tasting room. Laura walked in wearing her simple black dress I recommended and Justin had the ring in his pocket. The three of us chatted (for what Justin felt like was an eternity) about the supposed terms of the session and I had them fill out the contract.
I took a couple of test shots of them and then told them that I'd gotten them a little thank you gift for being my models. That was Jackie's cue to deliver a special bottle of wine to Laura.
In prep for the proposal, Justin purchased a bottle of Next Chapter's "Minnesota Blushing Bride" wine and wrote on the label "Will You Marry Me? Check Yes or No." Those words were extra special because when Justin and Laura had decided to be more than just long-time friends, Justin handed Laura a note asking her to be his girlfriend and to check yes or no--just like the George Strait country song "Check yes or no."
She read the bottle first, realized what was happening, admittedly entered a state of shock and then turned around to see Justin down on one knee.
There was a bachelorette party being held in the tasting room and they all starting hooting and hollering when they realized why there was a photographer there and what Justin was up to. For a minute, I think there were more emotions flowing through the room than there was wine :) Laura said yes and admired the ring Justin had picked out on his own after secretly checking out a Pinterest board Laura had been keeping.
As if the proposal itself wasn't shocking enough, Laura then learned that both her and Justin's parents had been hiding behind a curtain watching the entire proposal!
It was an absolute honor to capture SO MANY hugs, tears, and joy-filled faces. All of them were just beaming with pride!
By the time the proposal was over, the rain had let up so we went outside for a little engagement photo session.
Once we finished taking the shots Justin and I had planned, we went back in the tasting room where their parents had wine and gifts waiting for them.
A big thank you goes out to:
Laura--You're going to be one of Minnesota's most beautiful blushing brides!
Justin--I just couldn't be happier for you!