The Surprise Proposal
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The Surprise Proposal

I always told my boyfriend that he could never keep a secret from me. How wrong was I?

Jason and I were only about a week into our relationship when people started asking when we were getting married. We were a perfect fit. When I entered the qualities I wanted in a guy into's search engine, his was the only profile that came up. I was nervous about ever putting any marriage pressure on him, especially since I'm a wedding photographer. My whole life is weddings! After two and a half years of dating, we began talking marriage and met with a jeweler to design a ring.

About six months later I went to Paris to photograph a couple on their honeymoon; Jason came along to help. I'd been hinting that it would be incredibly romantic if he proposed there. He said no way -- we didn't have the ring yet and even if we did, he'd never risk taking it overseas. Still, I hoped he'd surprise me. On the flight to Paris I asked Jason what he was looking forward to most about the trip, but all he said was "I don't know." A few hours later I got an e-mail from the jeweler telling me that the ring was finished and we could pick it up. My heart sank.

Jason and I spent the next day shooting the newlyweds, Abby and Zach. By the time we finished that night at the Eiffel Tower it was about 20 degrees, and Abby was freezing in her strapless dress. Before I could pack up my gear Abby asked me if I'd like a picture of myself with Jason -- you know, since the setting was so pretty. I said no because she needed to get warm but she insisted. I yanked Jason in front of the camera for a quick pose, but instead he got down on one knee and said, "Do you remember asking me what I was looking forward to most about our trip? Well, it's this!" And then he said those four words every girl wants to hear: "Will you marry me?"

Few people have a photo of the moment they got engaged. I can't help but grin every time I look at it. That, right there, is pure joy.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, March 2012.