October 19, 2018
It’s not every day I get to photograph a surprise Kansas City engagement proposal, but this one is even more special because it is my own sister’s engagement!! I know this is a long story, so hold on tight…
When I got a phone call from Michael, I instantly knew something was up because he had never called me! With a slight tremble in his voice, he told me that he would be proposing to my sister and that he wanted me to be a big part of it and to document the story. So we started devising a plan. He wanted to propose to her at the Country Club Plaza, an iconic outdoor shopping center and restaurant haven in the heart of Kansas City, famous for being the “City of Fountains.”
We then brought my sister, Kat Collett, who is the owner/hair stylist/makeup artist at With Love Salon, in on the deal. Mike knew that Beth would only want the proposal to happen when all of her sisters were in town, but with me living in Arizona at the time, we knew that me coming to town would be a dead giveaway. So Kat, who had a trip planned to St. Louis the next day to celebrate her own wedding anniversary, said she would actually be leaving early that afternoon, to remove any cause of suspicion. One of our mutual friends “invited” Beth to a formal event (that was actually happening) that evening at the InterContinental Hotel on the Plaza. So Kat did her hair and makeup and helped her pick out a gown that morning “before she left.”
When she was getting dressed, I got a call from our friend (who I put on speaker) who said he had an extra ticket to the gala that night and asked if I wanted to go, so of course, I obliged. A few hours later we headed down to the Plaza… me being the awkward third wheel, haha… and I told Michael I wanted to stop at the shopping center to get a jacket at North Face (for my daughter… because they didn’t have them online… we don’t have coats in Arizona… blah, blah, blah, I made something up, LOL!) and so he dropped Beth and me off. At first, she refused to leave the car so I told her I wanted an opinion on what color to get, since she was being stubborn, and then Mike said he would drive around until we’re ready to get picked up.
So then, we’re walking around North Face and I’m just being ridiculous trying to come up with anything and everything to get her to stay in the store while he was getting set up. I mean, C’MON, I live in “the devil’s armpit” (as Mike likes to call it) in blazing hot Arizona, so why on earth would I need a coat, leggings, or anything else sold in that store during winter time?! I was just waiting for the phone call from our sister, Kat, for the go-ahead. So FINALLY she calls and says the code word, “we are just getting to St. Louis!”
So I took Beth outside by the fountain and told her that I wanted to take a few pictures of her since she was all dolled up. All of a sudden, my mom and dad came around the corner and surprised her with a single-stem red rose, a folded note saying, “Joonbug, I know you have been waiting for this moment…” and she got emotional knowing what was about to happen. We proceeded to walk down the sidewalk, where members of our families popped out from around corners to hand her another rose and a handwritten note. About a quarter of a mile down the path, and several notes later, we came upon the infamous J.C. Nichols fountain, where Michael was standing with half-a-dozen more roses. He got down on one knee and pledged his love and his forever to my sister. Gahhhh!!! How amazing is he?!
I’m so incredibly happy for you both and it was an honor to have been a part of your love story so you can remember these wonderful moments for the rest of your lives!
Want to see Elizabeth and Michael’s wedding photos?
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Pure in Art Photography is a Wedding Photographer, Engagement Photographer, Boudoir Photographer, Portrait Photographer, and Destination Wedding Photographer based in Tucson, Arizona. Serving Arizona, including Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, Vail, Green Valley, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Flagstaff, Sedona. Available for destination travels worldwide. Featured on The Knot, Wedding Wire, Best Tucson Weddings, and Tucson Bride & Groom. Graduate from The International Academy of Wedding Photographers.