Friday was a memorable day for several people. It was memorable for me, because I got to photograph an actual, real-life, wonderful propsal…100% stealth and concealment style. And it was a memorable day for Mark and Chelsey…because they were the lovebirds who got engaged!!!
Mark and I became friends as RA’s of Livingston Hall (best dorm at Huntington University), and through our time there as co-workers, we realized we were quite a team. Thanks to Jesse Brown’s good ol’ “StrengthsQuest” book that analyzes your abilities and the type of person you are, Mark and I quickly came to find out that he is a great “Ideator,” and I’m quite the “Activator.” He’s great at coming up with ideas, and I’m great at putting them into action. So…knowing the history of our teamwork on past hall events, when Mark got in touch with me about photographing his proposal…I knew it was going to be nothing less than perfect. Mark had come up with an amazing plan that winded through the bike lanes and waterways of our great city, and I think Chelsey will agree with me when I say, perfect, it was.
The dreary Indiana drizzle cleared up just in time for Friday’s extravagant adventure. The day started with a big breakfast for the two of them, where Mark gifted Chelsey with an adorably “sporty” outfit for their bicycle ride on the Indianapolis Canal. I was situated on a bridge overlooking the canal, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. But let me tell you something. When you’re standing on a bridge, staring at everyone walking below, with a 70-200mm zoom lens around your neck….inconspicuous is difficult to be. I was almost certain someone was going to call the police on me for spying or just being altogether quite shady. But we were lucky. 🙂
Mark and Chelsey approached quickly, and I tried my best to hide behind the lightposts and columns of the bridge on Ohio Street. I was SURE Chelsey would see me…but dear precious Chelsey…was just so oblivious, enjoying the perfect day with her man. They looped the canal twice, allowing me to get a few sweet photos of them riding together….Mark even convinced Chelsey to do a little bike-riding-hand-holding…smooth move, Mark!! 🙂
As soon as they disappeared from my sight, I hopped in my car and headed over to Highland Park on the east side of town. It’s a tiny park, with a huge view of Indianapolis. The absolute perfect spot for a proposal! However….what the park had in great views, it lacked in hiding spots for photographers being stealthy. I mean, I pretty much had nothing to work with. Luckily there was a slight slope, so I spread out my blanket and waited. A couple homeless people asking me what the heck I was doing later, and Mark and Chelsey rode up, ready for chapter three of their lovely day together. Mark set up a quaint picnic, complete with Arnold Palmers (pretty much the signature drink of anyone who has ever lived on Livingston 3rd…or attended Huntington University). They enjoyed their picnic, then it was up and adam for all things park activity. You know…handstands, frisbee, football. They did it all! And finally, after Mark was satisfied with Chelsey’s mad football skills, it was time to pop the question. 🙂
Knowing Chelsey….I expected the infamous Melvin “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” as soon as he got down on one knee. But, lo and behold, as Mark opened the ring box and asked Chelsey to be his wife, the park was silent. Chelsey backed away from Mark, did several pirouettes, took a few steps back toward Mark, then a few away again, and then finally headed toward him with open arms. I couldn’t help but laugh aloud when I finally heard the “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE,” the perfect cue letting me know that Chelsey had accepted Mark’s proposal. The next few moments were absolutely precious. They hugged and laughed and hugged some more and it was obvious that Chelsey was still in shock that she had just been proposed to! I let the two of them enjoy the moment, and then as soon as Mark’s blood pressure returned to normal, I got the thumbs up to come out of my hiding place. I sneaked up behind Chelsey, and with a big “CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!” almost gave her a heart attack. 🙂 She dropped to the ground and I could see her brain connecting all the dots from the morning. When she collected herself, we took a few “Just Engaged” shots, and let me tell you, it was the most precious thing ever. Both Mark and Chelsey just couldn’t stop laughing and hugging, and the joy radiating from the two of them was such a beautiful thing to see.
Chelsey and Mark started dating the summer before Mark and I worked together, and I remember officially meeting her as Mark’s girlfriend for the first time and thinking, “Wow, she couldn’t be any more perfect for Mr. Mark Wiley!” Mark, thank you for your friendship over the years, and for allowing me the absolute honor of witnessing this life changing moment. And Chelsea, thank you for not calling the cops when I creeped out from my hiding spot, and for letting me share in your first few moments as an engaged woman. It has been an absolute joy watching your relationship grow, and I am just tickled, I dare even let out an “EEEEEEEE,” at the thought of your future together as husband and wife. God Bless you both and I wish you all the best in the wedding planning process! 🙂
And now….the photos!!!!
A perfect, Indiana day
Heeeere they come!!!
Mark’s sly smile at me as they rode past….he even managed to give me a thumbs up at one point without Chelsey knowing!! Haha 🙂
The Canal was gorgeous that day…the colors were breathtaking!
Chels being her silly self…taking a detour!
Ohh yea, there it is…the smooth hand-grab! Way to go, Mark!
Settling in at Highland Park, with a spectacular view!
Starting things off with their picnic…Arnold Palmer’s in hand 🙂
A little football for the gentleman…
…And a little flirting for the lady! 🙂
Ah, it’s almost time!
Haha I love this….Mark peeking under to see Chelsey’s face…precious!
I take it she said yes?! 🙂
Back down on the knee to situate the ring perfectly…
And…time for this secret agent to identify herself!!
Haha, her reaction was so sweet and perfect!
These next few photos make my heart all warm and fuzzy…happiness just radiates from the two of them!
Connecting all the dots from the morning as Mark explained his sneaky scheme!
Mark must be thinking, “Phew, glad that’s over!!” And Chelsey, “Oh Mark, you’re sooo dreamy!!!” 🙂
Chelsey showing off the most special ring she’ll ever receive! Get it girl!!
These can go on the fireplace in the future home of Mr. & Mrs. Wiley 🙂
Congratulations you two…I love you both dearly!