At this point in my photography journey, I have been lucky enough to capture quite a few surprise proposals, but Katie and Lauren's proposal was extra special with a double surprise. So much magic and love between these two. Read on for the full story and to find out what made this proposal extra special.
"About this time last year (October), I had recently gotten out of a bad relationship, which led to me doing some very quick apartment-hunting. After couch surfing for a few weeks, I found a perfect little unit in a neighborhood near downtown St. Pete. As luck would have it, my new apartment building was directly next door to a couple of my close friends.
After I had gotten settled into my new place, my neighbors (Jess and Toni) hosted a game night at their apartment. When I walked in with my bottle of wine and whichever board game I had grabbed, I said hi to everyone, and was also greeted by the huge, goofy, amazing smile of someone I hadn't met before. This was the first time I met Lauren - she seemed so happy and overjoyed to be in that room and immediately came and gave me a hug.
A couple of months went by, and Lauren and I continued getting to know each other in the context of our group of friends. We'd all go out to the movies together, get drinks, and we did an escape room once (which, I found out later, was specifically planned by Lauren to be lab-themed because she knew that I am a huge nerd, and this was her way of very sneakily flirting with me). The thing was, I don't think either of us had the confidence to tell the other that our friendship was slowly turning into something more. Heck, we even tried to date other people during this time - all the while trying to ignore the fact that we'd be better off together.
But FINALLY, last New Years' Eve, all of that changed. Lauren's birthday is on NYE, and she, Jess, Toni, and a couple of other friends were planning on going out downtown to celebrate. I was trying to decide on plans for the night, and I remember Lauren texting me "think of what would make you happiest to start the new year." So, naturally, I tagged along with the group. When it came time for the ball to drop, Lauren and I looked at each other during the countdown, and I knew I had made the right decision on how to spend the night. As cliche as it was, our first kiss was on New Year's Eve!
From that moment on, we were pretty inseparable - she became my best friend, my lover, my partner, and the person I knew that I didn't want to ever be without. We've been traveling, rock climbing, camping, hiking, adventuring, and going through all of life's curveballs together, and I knew that she was my soul mate... I never really believed in that type of thing until I met her. She makes me laugh until my stomach hurts, supports me so selflessly, and she loves me in the most honest and genuine way. I remember the moment when I thought "wow, I am so incredibly in love with this woman, and I need to marry her".
We had planned a week-long trip to go to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park at the end of August, and I knew that would be the perfect time to pop the question. With the help of an amazing photographer/Zion guru, I chose to set up a surprise proposal during a sunrise hike at Canyon Overlook in Zion. The morning of the hike, I pulled Lauren out of bed at 4 am to get to the park (this girl did not even complain... she's an angel). The plan was (unknown to Lauren) to meet Arika in the parking area near the trailhead so that she could hike out in front of us to be ready to capture our moment. The entire plan felt like a sting operation - the night before I barely slept out of excitement and nervousness.
After driving to Zion and seeing that Arika had begun hiking in front of us, we made our way in semi-darkness up to the overlook. When we finally got to the top, I was amazed at how breathtaking the views were, but my mind was completely consumed by the question I was about to ask Lauren. As I led Lauren near the edge of one of the viewpoints to pop the question, I tried remembering what I had rehearsed in my head, but instead chose to say what I was feeling in that moment. I stood there, holding her hands, looking into her eyes, and asked her to marry me as I pulled out her ring. She gave me one of her giant smiles (the kind where her eyes disappear), said "Yes!", and I slid the ring on her finger.
After I put the ring on her finger, she surprised me by saying, "I have a question for you, too...". She pulled a ring out of her pocket and proposed to me at the same time! I will never forget all of the joy, happiness, and love at that moment while watching the sun come up over the canyon, lighting up the park below. This had turned out to be the best day of my life so far!
The rest of the day was spent hiking The Narrows and celebrating being newly engaged. I cannot be more thankful for how perfect everything turned out, and I know that it wouldn't have been possible without Arika's help." - Katie Rosar