Proposing on the Southern Belle River Boat
Mike took Allison to the Southern Belle River Boat last year for Valentines Day. They had such a good time that when it came time to plan this year’s Valentines Day, they decided to do the same thing! They weren’t going to be able to do it actually on Valentines Day so they decided to do it on the February 4th weekend. Mike took over the planning and told Allison that he found a great groupon deal to buy the Southern Belle tickets (in hopes that she would think it was a little sketchy). Fast forward to February 4th and Allison’s family, Mike’s family, and some of their closest friends gathered on the Southern Belle River Boat on the second floor. Mike had rented the entire second floor just to celebrate with these family and friends after he proposed. There were beautiful center pieces, adorable little “she said yes” decorations, a delicious buffet, and the perfect gift table. Around 6:55 pm, Mike and Allison boarded the ship. They were seated on the first floor of the ship and Mike kept complaining about being so thirsty but none of the waitresses would serve them anything to drink. Allison was getting suspicious because Mike was acting so distant and weird. Then at 7:00 the ship undocked and the captain came on the intercom to give a safety announcement. At the end of that announcement, he said that he needed to see “Grimes party of 2” on the captains deck because there was something wrong with their tickets. Allison is really wondering about this groupon purchase at this point. A lady comes and escorts them up to the captains deck. It is at this point that Mike starts telling Allison how in love with her he is. He pulls out his phone and reads 1st Corinthians 13, then gets down on one knee. Allison shrieks with excitement and says “yes, yes, yes!!!!”. He puts the ring on her finger and they launch into a huge, sweet, hug! It was so amazingly adorable. And although it was a little tight in the captains deck with the captain, myself, two videographers, and Mike and Allison, we were able to get some amazing shots that really showed this perfect moment.
Celebrating on the Southern Belle River Boat
At this point, Allison still has no idea that there is a group of people waiting below deck to celebrate with them. But to give the videographers some time to get down below with all of their equipment, I stall for about 5-10 minutes to take some “engagement-ish” photos of them. It was pitch black outside and I couldn’t set up my off camera flash because the breeze from the boat moving would have knocked my umbrella flash over. So really this was more for stalling purposes and it allowed Mike and Allison to have some time for themselves to really soak in the moment. After we were finished, I went below deck ahead of them, and when they came through the doors, the whole family was standing there clapping and screaming and whistling. It was SO much fun! Allison threw her hands over her mouth and had tears in her eyes. She welcomed each guest with a hug and retold the evening with all the tiny details. The rest of the cruise was filled with smiles, hugs, dinner, formal portraits, gift opening, and so much love. Mike really did SUCH an amazing job at putting all of it together. Coordinating with over 30 people to drive in from other cities just to celebrate this moment with them. It was so beautiful.
I am so thankful that I was able to be there with them. Just 4 days before this proposal, I was delivering the photos for Allison’s sister’s wedding that happened on January 7th. I had not planned on taking on anymore sessions only because I was 37 weeks pregnant. At this point Baby Grayson could come along at any moment. In fact, I even reached out to some other local Chattanooga photographers that I am friends with to make sure they were available in case Grayson did decide to come before February 4th. Thankfully he didn’t because it was SUCH an honor and SUCH a pleasure to be there with them. Now, I’m really not taking anymore portrait sessions lol… well that’s what I keep telling myself anyway.
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