Proposals and Engagements

Sonora + Drew’s Vineyard Proposal–Auburn, AL

I’m doing something a little different this week.  I don’t usually blog year old photos but this seemed like a special enough occasion. Sunday marked the one year anniversary of one of my favorite days and probably the biggest surprise I’ve ever helped pull off!  Last year, on April Fool’s Day, I got a call from my best friend’s boyfriend. My heart raced as I answered the phone, knowing it was one of two things. Either something was terribly wrong OR Drew was finally going to propose! Thankfully, it was the latter and the best part, he wanted to make sure we got it on camera.

Over the next month, we worked and plotted to plan the perfect moment and keep it all a complete surprise. My part in the plan was to casually ask Sonora if she and Drew would model for me, I needed some updated springtime photos for advertising. This was nothing out of the ordinary, if you know me, then you undoubtedly recognize these two from a lot of my work! Secondly, I had to introduce the idea of shooting at Hodges Vineyard & Winery in Camp Hill, AL., the spot Drew had chosen to pop the question. We knew the idea would have to come from me or Sonora might be suspicious if Drew started coming up with random, elaborate plans. She took the bait and Drew played his part as the cooperative but not totally enthusiastic boyfriend being taken along for the ride.

The morning of April 29th, Luke and I arrived in Auburn to meet up with Drew and Sonora for brunch before the trip out to the vineyard. I’m not sure who was a bigger bundle of giddy excitement, me or Drew. We both did our best to keep our calm faces on and off we went. By the time we pulled into the parking lot, I was a nervous wreck, I couldn’t believe we might actually pull this off! I’m pretty sure I had never kept even the smallest secret from Sonora, much less something this big for a whole month! I knew Drew was just as nervous and anxious so we got right to business before either of us managed to ruin the surprise.

Check out the photos below with a little play by play of how it all went down. I may or may not have been shaking and teary eyed through the whole thing!

As soon as I got out of the truck on the property I scoped out the spot Drew had described and, as casually as possible, suggested we head over to grab a few test shots (because lighting, duh. And I COULDN’T take any chances at messing that up!). He looks pretty calm and collected, huh? Yeah, he wasn’t! Hehe.

Did I mention that the key factor in our brilliant plan was Luke and his goofiness? As soon as we got them in place he ran up and made a big, elaborate deal about how they were standing all wrong! “No, no, no Sonora! Look, turn around and let me show you!”

Luke grabbed her arm and spun her toward him, going on and on about something silly while Drew quickly grabbed the ring box and got down on one knee! Eeek!!!

This is my favorite moment. It’s the perfect photographic representation of all of our planning coming together. This is the exact moment we had hoped for and I think we pulled it off flawlessly! I love that you get the whole picture and keep in mind this is the very last second where Sonora still has absolutely NO idea what is happening….  Luke paused and got really serious and said “are you ready?” I think there was a split second of hesitation from Sonora at the sudden change in his demeanor and she answered him, eyebrows raised, “yes…?” and then he turned her around…

…BOOM! Que the joyful tears! I may actually be tearing up at this very moment, reliving it all! I love her face as the whole thing hits her and she realizes this was all a plan to get her to this very spot at this very moment! She definitely was not ready! And my precious friend, who rarely ever cries, had tears streaming down her face.

Yep, that just happened! And just like that, they were engaged. I think we all breathed a sigh of relieved satisfaction and shared a big group hug as Sonora composed herself and took it all in.

Then we actually had that little photo shoot we had planned and tasted some wine from this awesome vineyard, hidden in Camp Hill, AL.

Are they not the most beautiful people?! Oh and we LOVED Hodges! They were so great and have the most beautiful property and awesome, Alabama wine! If you are an Auburn area friend, go take a little drive down the road to visit them!

Well friends, that’s all for this week! Now that I am no longer planning my own wedding and am officially Mrs. Kelley (Woohoo) we are back in full photography mode with lots of exciting things coming to the blog! Stay tuned!


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