I opened up my email on November 24 , to something that made my entire year. This email was exactly what I was looking for. In fact, if a few days had passed by, I was going to be advertising for it on my Facebook page.
This is what it read
“My wife is a photographer and loves your work. We plan to wed next fall (though she doesn’t know it yet). Please advise on what dates you have left . thx Darrell”
So what’s the big deal right? Well, as I have mentioned, I love LOVE. I love everything about it. I feel so blessed to be a part of it in so many ways. Something I have wanted to do since I became so involved in the wedding industry, is capture something really special between a couple.
But how to go about it? Lets face it, most of my fan base are females so how was I going to get into the head of all these men out there?
In comes Darrel.
I simply replied back to his inquiry saying that he really needs to trust me and suggested my crazy plan to him. We immediately stated planning a date to meet and get this going. Shawn and I went out to meet Darrel one day in a very special location. Darrel and Courtney are building a house just southwest of the city. What better place to propose than a plot of land that is going to mold their future.
So we scoped it out, found some great places to hide and take some sneaky pictures. It was all falling into place.
Now for the details; Do we jump out after? Do we do a mini engagement session after? NOPE! I don’t work like that. One of my favourite things in this world are surprises, so this one is going to be a big one. I suggested that we stay hidden, don’t tell her at all and then give her a very special picture wrapped up under her Christmas tree this year.
Darrel loved the idea.
December 22 came along very fast. Today was the day. We headed out to meet a very calm and collected Darrel. Shawn and I got into position, took some pictures and got everything good to go. We were convinced we were in ninja mood and ready to rock this hidden session.
What was once a very calm Darryl, soon turned into a very nervous Darrel. It was absolutely adorable.
Darrel drove to the front of their land to pick her up and bring her to the location we had picked out. Darrel had told Courtney that just needed to meet up with some developer men about their land, sneaky hey.
The minute they stepped out of the vehicle, this is what I hear
Courtney~ “Did you see that? There is something over?”
Darrel ~“No, I don’t see anything!”
Courtney ~“Really?You don’t see that? It’s something black, through the trees?”
Darrel~ “No, I don’t, hey listen I am trying to tell you something here~”
Little did Courtney know, that something black in the distance was ME! WOW, was I shaking! A million and one things were running through my head. “Oh no, did I just wreck this? What do I do? Do I shoot, do I not shoot, do I risk it, do I tell her I’m here? Oh man! This is something that is going to happen so fast and something that you don’t get a second shot at, don’t wreck this Nicole!”
Off in the distance (thank goodness for the 70-200) I could hear his beautiful speech that he was giving so I knew the moment was going to be gone before I knew it. So the minute I heard YES I stood up snapped about 10 photos and crouched back down in my position. I had no idea if they were in focus, or if the exposure was right. All I could do is hope at this point. I also still had no idea if she actually saw me, or could see me shooting now. I just hoped that it was still as magical as we had hoped.
As I listened to Courtney cry, and peeked at them hugging through the brush, tears poured down my cheeks. This moment wasn’t about me,and had absolutely nothing to do with me; yet I felt absolutely incredibly proud. Proud of who I had become, and what I have been a part of. I was in love, with LOVE and reminded why I do what I do.
Off they went, to meet their families for lunch. Darrel text me a little while later saying that they officially decided there was a black wolf in the bushes, and that she knew nothing.
Darrel and Courtney, I wish you nothing but love and happiness on your new journey. Thank you for allowing me to be there for your most special moments. I hope you treasure them for years to come.
Want to hear Courtney’s version of the story…
It started at least a week before, when Darrell told me I had to meet him out on our property on the 22nd to meet some people who wanted to seismic test out there. Because it was 2 days before Christmas Eve and we were having people over on the 23rd, and my mom only had the 22nd off work to prepare for her Christmas dinner, I told him I didn’t think I could go because I had too much to do. He said that was fine and never pushed me to go but somehow, as the day got closer, me going out there just stopped being a question and became something I was doing. And the time we had to be out there kept getting earlier and earlier. So on the 22nd, I rushed out of the house at 9 so that I could stop at my parents house to drop off some presents before heading to the property. Darrell called me at shortly after 9 and said he was still at work, but leaving soon and to call him when I got to my parents, since the seismic guys were going to be there a little before 10, so we needed to get out there. I got out there at a couple minutes after 10 and Darrell was parked outside our property waiting for me. He told me to park my car and get in his since he didn’t think my car would make it through the snow. I asked where the seismic guys were and he said they had run into devon for something. I was still just thinking it was about the seismic stuff, so I wasn’t really questioning anything and so when he said they had started clearing a spot they wanted to test and he wanted to show me where it was, I was still figuring that was what we were out there for. So we pulled around to a spot on our property, got out of the car and walked to a spot that I thought was cleared by seismic guys. At this point, something in the bushes caught my eye and I told Darrell there was a wild animal in the bushes. And it was pretty close to us, so he should go honk the horn on the car so that it would go away. And maybe it was a wolf, cause it was black, and too small to be a deer. And didn’t he see it, right there? Darrell kind of deflected and said ya, he saw it, and then he grabbed my shoulders so I would face him and stop looking at the “wolf” and then he took my hands and started saying the most amazing things ever (it’s worth noting that at the beginning of his speech, I was only half paying attention because I was still convinced this wolf was going to jump out of the bushes and attack us) and then he got down on one knee and went to reach for the ring he had buried in the snow and originally pulled up just a handful of snow, but then he found the ring and asked me to marry him. I was bawling, and that whole part is kind of a blur, but then I said yes and hugged him in the snow (and then he told me his knee was getting kind of wet) and all of a sudden we were engaged! We got back in the car and drove away, and I asked him if it was his friend Derek hiding in the bushes cause we always joked that Derek would be there when we got engaged. He told me it wasn’t and we laughed and went home to tell my parents the great news. It was the most amazing day. On Christmas Eve, Darrell and I were both knocked out with the flu, and were missing Christmas with my family and decided to exchange gifts early. We opened stockings and all our other gifts and my final gift was a picture that Nicole did up from the photos she shot of our engagement. I was completely speechless and in awe. I asked who shot them, and he told me Nicole and that she was the “wolf” in the bushes. I haven’t been able to stop looking at them since. I couldn’t have asked for a more fantastic photographer to capture our special moment and I am beyond blessed to be marrying such an amazing and thoughtful man. My engagement beyond surpassed my wildest dreams.
I am so lucky.