December 28th turned out to be one of the best day’s of my life, thus far! (though I expect another one in 2012 to be even better!) Doug had been running around like a crazy man while wrapping up last minute details for his brother Kevin’s welcome home party. Kevin had just returned home a few days before from his year tour in Iraq with the Army. We are beyond thankful for his service, and really wanted to welcome him home properly. Leave it to Doug to throw a good party — he had been planning the party for several months, and we had several surprises throughout the night planned for Kevin as well(and apparently for me too!). I was so proud of him for all of the effort and ideas he had arranged.
Our good friends Kirk and McKenzie Coco own NOLA Brewing and were generous enough to offer their space for the party. Doug also had arranged an acoustic set for Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth to come play for an hour, and a brass band to wrap up the evening. Luckily our fellow colleague, Chris Williams with Zoeica Images, offered to come and take pictures of the party, and we also had Joe Taravella with Studio Vieux Carre on hand to do some video throughout the night. (View the video of the proposal HERE.) Of course, I just thought Joe was there because his friend was supplying the acoustic equipment. Boy was I wrong!!
Venture with me through the photos below — first are just some images of the overall set up for the evening.
And then this is when the fun for us really started. I had not seen Doug very much at all to this point, and we were already half way through the party! We had both been busy greeting family and friends throughout the night. He’s my social butterfly so I hadn’t thought much of it. I was just super flattered when Fred got on the mic and said that Doug wanted to dedicate a song to his lovely girlfriend CheyAnne. This was when he finally came to join me as we listened to “New Orleans.” The lyrics go something like, “Take me back to New Orleans, and drop me at my door — I might love you yea, but I love me more.” I was laughing with Doug (probably the shot right below) telling him that it wasn’t the sweetest song to dedicate, but that I get it. We had both always loved this song since we were in college in Kentucky. He always told me that he loved me, but that there was no where else in the world he wanted to live than in New Orleans, and after school he planned on moving back. Lucky for him, and me, I fell in love with the city as well. So given the history of the song — it was neat that he dedicated it. I thought that was the end of the sweet moment for the evening. Not even close!!!! Just after I told him I get it, he left my side and went over to the microphone and interrupted Fred LeBlanc in the middle of his song!!!
I’m still amazed that it took me so long to realize what was really happening — it took a good 60 seconds I’d say. Initially when he cut in, I was thinking, “What the hell is he doing, I know he hasn’t had that much to drink?!” He tells Fred that he feels that the songs lyrics need some tweaking. And Doug begins to explain to everybody the history of the song between us. The first picture on the left below is when I’m still laughing at him wondering what’s going on. In that photo you can see one of my very best friends already crying because she was in on the whole thing! And the one on the right is when it starts to sink in that, yes, this is really happening!! It wasn’t until he pulled out a piece of paper from his coat that it hit home. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. After explaining to everyone that he couldn’t imagine living in Nola without me, and professing his undying love for me — he said the lyrics should go something like, “I might love you yea, but I do love YOU more.” Wow!!!
I made my way over to him at this point, as he was quite choked up through the whole thing. I’m still in shock that I did not actually cry, I’m one of the biggest saps ever. And especially if he gets emotional. I think the excitement just completely took over. It’s funny because in the pictures I have some cry faces, and I was extremely choked up inside, all the way up to my throat, it just never manifested into actual tears. I mean, really, I have been waiting for this eight years! (not the actual proposal that long, but we have been together for 8 years.) Of course, the few images below are where he actually got to one knee to ask me to marry him. Note that he’s almost as tall as me on one knee!! :D
I’m shaking here, and it looks like I’m looking at the ring, but really, I didn’t even see it until about five minutes after when he asked if I had looked at it yet. I had been wearing a ring on my left hand that says Believe, on the inside part, in the power of believing. I’ve been joking for months that I was believing that I’d be wearing a very pretty ring on that finger soon! It finally worked! lol. So Doug actually had to take that ring off first before he put mine on. All I knew in that moment was that it fit like a glove!!
Of course I said YES!! And then the kiss happened…..
And then the pick up. He always picks me up when he hugs me because he’s so tall, but this one turned into a spin after as well. Looking back on it now, it really kinda felt like that fairy tale ending that I’m usually crying over in chick flicks.
See?! This look below pretty much says, “You are my amazing knight in shining armor , my dream come true.” I couldn’t have imagined God blessing me with a better partner to spend my life with. Douglas never ceases to amaze me – I’m thankful on a regular basis for the love that we share with one another, and the way that we honestly get each other. He’s truly my best friend, and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in our lives. Oh, and I can quit calling him boyfriend and “man-friend” (compliments of Sex and the City), and finally call him fiance! We’re having fun with that word thus far — I apologize in advance if we wear it out.
Below is Doug’s brother Kevin. I had to run over and give him a huge hug of thanks for allowing us to share in his night. Doug and him had talked about the whole idea when Kevin was in on his two week leave in September. I knew that Doug wanted to surprise me, and I certainly wanted to be surprised. But this night had never once entered my mind. Which made it absolutely perfect!! Kevin — thanks again for allowing Doug to pop the question that night! We love you!!
Doug with his brother Kevin
To the left is Ansley, one of my bff’s here in Louisiana (also Doug’s cousin), and also one of my lovely bridesmaids. To my right is Nicole one of my very best friends since high school. She lives in Alabama now with her husband, but they had made plans to come in for Kevin’s party and to spend New Year’s with us. I found out later that she knew about it for awhile as well. Doug had been calling her asking her advice on certain things because he couldn’t talk to anyone else. He also had to have the ring shipped to her because it wasn’t supposed to be ready until Christmas Eve, and we were returning from Kentucky that day. Nicole looks so proud of Doug here in this moment. I love it!!
Now it was time to let the celebrating begin. The party at the brewery ended with the brass band Kinfolk, but we took the after party to the Foundation Room at the House of Blues. To the right, our first picture together. I had to switch sides so that my ring would show!! lol! :) Btw, the smile on my face did not subside for at least two or three days. :D
Us with Fred LeBlanc before he left for the evening. Thanks Fred!!
Without further ado — if you’ve made it this far, you’ve already glimpsed the beauty below. Doug and I went ring shopping a few months ago. We took a day off and went several different places in one day. We found a ring we loved at Aucoin Hart, but there were a few things we would tweak. Well, Doug did just that, and this is the perfect ring for me. I love my birthstone, which is the garnet, so we had already talked about adding that. We also really liked the millgrain on some of the rings we had seen –seemed to make it sparkle more, and give it a touch of vintage. I’ve already had someone tell me it looked vintage, which I adore, because that’s the feel I wanted. I certainly wanted something different because we take pictures of wedding rings ALL the time, I wanted something unique.
I must digress from the story at hand for a moment to tell you how wonderful the customer service was at Aucoin Hart. Luis took EXCELLENT care of us both times I was with Doug. And of course Doug raves about the full experience through the making of the ring. I mentioned earlier that we had visited several other local stores, and Aucoin Hart’s service far exceeded most of the places we visited. We felt very comfortable right away, which is so critical with such an important decision staring you in the face. Thanks again Luis! You are wonderful!!
In our search, I really loved the fleur de lis on the setting, but I didn’t think they’d be able to squeeze it in on this particular ring. Twenty minutes or so after the proposal, Doug ran up to me and asked if I had seen them. I had not yet, so I squealed with excitement to learn they had made it fit!
We have this old camera in the studio so I wanted some pictures of the ring on it. Seems only fitting, right?
Well folks, there you have it. The beginning of our journey to another very special day in the not too far future. We have already settled on a date — April 7, 2012. Doug even had a few things in motion behind the scenes. (I know! What a great guy, huh!?) We will be sharing our plans and details as we go. We’d love to help our clients in any way possible as we learn even more behind the scenes info of planning, and ladies I may be asking you questions as well. My ultimate goal is to keep the planning fun. I’ve seen small glimpses into the stressful parts already. I want to keep it fun though, so that I can tell all of you what to do when you get stressed. I’ll do my best! Thank you for sharing in our story, I can’t wait to hear each of yours!! Such a truly fun and exciting time!!!!! And thank you Douglas William Keese for making all of my dreams come true!! I love you baby!!