My little brother Jesse and his sweet girlfriend Kiersten got engaged in Charleston over Labor Day weekend, and it was the most incredible proposal! He asked me a few months ago if I would come and take some pictures of him proposing, to which I wholeheartedly said YES (of course)!! Jesse picked Charleston because it's Kiersten's favorite place, as her family travels there almost every year. That combined with the fact that Charleston is the most beautiful, charming, Southern town I ever did see, he really could not have picked a more perfect spot!
Jesse's original plan was to propose in private (with me hiding to take pictures), and then our families were going to meet afterwards for dinner to celebrate!! Not going to lie, I was getting pretty giddy about the thought of wearing camo and a baseball cap and sneakily hiding in the bushes, but his plan slowly changed into something even better. As he started working on the details of the proposal, he came up with the idea to send Kiersten on a tour of Charleston, incorporating both families into his plan.
He gathered us all together really early Saturday morning to go over his plan, and we were all pretty tired, but very excited!! Especially when we saw just how much time and hard work he put into his plan! This guy not only planned a tour of Charleston, but he also wrote Kiersten a letter for each year they had been dating, along with pictures of the two of them for each of those years. He planned for a couple of family members to be at each stop to hand her one letter, give her the details on where to go next, and act as tour guides to take her to the next destination. He printed out colorful, detailed maps with directions printed out for everyone. One of the best parts was the survey he created for the end, asking her questions such as how to rate how helpful her tour guides were hehe! :)
Since I was on photography duty, I was lucky enough to be a part of the entire tour, starting with Kiersten seeing her brother and his wife in a hotel lobby! It was such a joy to be able to witness all of the emotions flowing throughout the day! She was completely and totally surprised, as they had driven all the way from Ohio to be there! Kiersten later said that once she saw them in the lobby, she knew Jesse had planned something very special.
Kiersten's older brother and wife walked her to the next stop, where my sister and Kiersten's younger brother were waiting with the next letter!
And then we were off to the next stop, where we got to see my cute three boys waiting with the next letter! Which was kind of wet, because well, we have two little boys...
Then we headed off to the next stop, where my parents were waiting! This was also pretty amusing, as we saw my dad poking his head around the corner long before we got there! :)
When Kiersten saw her brothers, they both did an amazing job convincing her that her parents couldn't make it down from Ohio and told her that they were filling in her them. Jesse wrote in the letter my parents gave her that he would see her in one more spot, so she was fully expecting to see him waiting at the next spot. Little did she know, the biggest surprise was ahead - that her parents were waiting for her! It made for the sweetest and most emotional part of the day!
And then we were off to the final stop, where Jesse was waiting by the waterfront to propose. After each stop on the tour, the family members headed down to the waterfront, so everyone was able to watch the proposal from a distance!
We celebrated afterwards with a nice dinner with both of our families, and then we headed back to the waterfront for some family pictures!
And then I got to take a few pictures of the happy couple! I wish we could have gone ALL over Charleston (you all know I can take pictures all day long haha!)
I think it's safe to say we all left with full hearts!! I am so thankful to have been a part of the weekend, to have a new sister joining our family, to have another aunt for our little boys, and for all the excitement of wedding planning that is to come! Oliver is especially excited to be able to call her Aunt Kiersten now. When Thomas tried giving the two year old version of what marriage is all about (marrying the person you love and want to be with forever), he asked, "Will you marry me, daddy?" :) He also said "When she is married I will call her Mr. Kiersten because she will be a Mister." So, you know, we're still working on understanding the whole marriage thing! ;)
Anyways, I am just so impressed by Jesse and all the work he did to plan for such a special, memorable proposal! It was so sweet to see the romantic side of him come out, and I know it will bring the two of them joyful memories for many years to come, as well as for both of our families. Not only that, I am so happy that he found a girl that he loves enough to do all of that, because that means she is pretty darn special!
I may not have gotten to hide out in the bushes, but I can live with that since the actual proposal was even better than the original plan! :) Congratulations, Jesse and Kiersten! I can't wait for all that is ahead!!