Kelsey is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We grew up together in the same small town and were friends all through high school, college and after. So when Shea told me that he was going to propose and wanted me there to take pictures of it, I was beyond ecstatic! I casually asked Kelsey if she would be willing to let me take pictures of her and her boyfriend to help build my portfolio. She happily agreed, not knowing just how special that day was going be. Over the next couple of weeks we put together the perfect plans for capturing the proposal. Finally, the day came and we all drove to Shea’s parents house on Anna Maria Island.
Once we got to the beach we quickly realized that the bugs were going to be a problem, so Shea hurried back to his parents house to grab some bug spray. Kelsey was so cute.. as soon as he left she turned to us and said “Okay, so there’s zero chance I’m getting proposed to today”. She then went on to tell us that they had been talking about getting engaged for a while now, and was expecting a proposal at every special occasion. Christmas time, their anniversary, and Valentine’s day came and went, but they were still not engaged. She had thought for sure this would be the perfect opportunity to propose, but was sadly disappointed when she watched him get dressed with no ring in his pockets. I tried my very best to act sympathetic and assure her that she wouldn’t grow up to be an old spinster, and that one day she would be married. **Side note- anyone who knows me knows that I literally could not tell a lie to save my life**
Shea eventually came back a few minutes later and we walked to the boardwalk to start taking pictures. The weather forecast said it was supposed to be cloudy with a high chance of rain, but the sky was just as beautiful and blue as could be. Shea spent most of the next hour goofing off and making Kelsey laugh, and Kelsey looked just flawless through it all. As the sun began to sink lower in the sky, I think Shea and I both began to realize one fatal flaw in our plan. We never came up with a signal for when he was supposed to pop the question! I could see Shea starting to look at me more often, as if asking “should I do it now?”. The beach was fairly crowded so we had to keep moving… but finally, we were able to find a small section of the beach with no people. I think I said something along the lines of this being SUCH good light and “this is the PERFECT time to do whatever you guys want now” with a little wink.
I then watched as he knelt down on one knee before my best friend. I couldn’t hear anything they were saying over the sound of the crashing waves, but I watched as Kelsey threw her hands over her face in complete and utter surprise. Her happiness began to overflow in tears of joy, and they hugged and kissed each other in front of the golden sky. Shea slipped on the beautiful diamond ring he had designed just for her, and in that moment, the two of them shone much brighter than the sun. We then went on to take pictures for the remander of the sunset with Kelsey and Shea as future husband and wife. It was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever been a part of, and I am so grateful that I was there to freeze it in time for them to look back on forever. Love you, Kelsey and Shea <3