I don’t even have the words to express how grateful I was to be a part of this proposal!!! You may recognize Allyson, as we photographed her sister, Emily’s wedding back in 2020. I’ve known Emily & Allyson since we were kids – we lived across the street from each other, and our parents worked together. We grew up together in a tight-knit neighborhood and spent pretty much all of our time together. I remember babysitting Ally!! I also remember their parents taking us on road trips in the back of their Ford Explorer and the joint family vacations and block parties we would have every summer. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood involved Allyson and her family, so it was a joy to be the one to photograph such an important memory in her own life.
When Ryan reached out about his proposal, I was SO EXCITED! Allyson and Ryan met after Allyson relocated to Tulsa for work, so this was my first time meeting Ryan! Getting to know Ryan the last few weeks while he was planning this was an absolute pleasure, and it’s so obvious how much he cares for Allyson. He mentioned they would be back in Florida visiting her parents for her Dad’s birthday and wanted to propose while she was home. He knew he wanted the beach, so we made it happen!
Since Allyson knows immediately when someone is lying to her…we needed to come up with a plan to not only get her to the beach without suspicion, but also come dressed for the occasion. How do you trick a detective? I don’t think you can, but we were going to do our best attempt 😂 😜 I told Ryan I would fake a model call and have her sister, Emily, make sure she saw it and hype her up to do it. Occasionally, when I get a new camera, lens, or want to attempt something new or try a new location…I will have a model call. Basically, I offer a free session to someone in exchange for their time while I test out new equipment or location (whatever the scenario is). This was my only real option to get Allyson where I needed her, when I needed her, and in decent attire….so we faked it and asked for thoughts and prayers 😂
I told Ryan to put on a small fuss when she approached him about “free photos” and give some pushback so she wouldn’t catch on. I’ll never know if he deserved an Academy Award or not, but I’m sure he did a good job 👏 We were able to coordinate their outfits, get Ally a manicure and have her show up looking like a million bucks, which is all any gal wants on a special day like this one. Plus I knew she’d likely kill both Ryan and I if she wasn’t dressed for the occasion.
Leading up to the big day, we noticed the weather didn’t look too promising. Since they were in town for a certain amount of time, this was going to be a rain or shine occasion lol! As we scrambled around the days leading up trying to find a Plan B due to possible thunderstorms, we were SO relieved when the skies cleared up for the perfect beach proposal for them. No one deserved it more than these two! I reached out to basically anyone I knew with any knowledge of Jacksonville for help with ideas on how we could pull this off if. It wound up pouring on our drive up, so we stopped at a possible Plan B and prepared for the worst…..BUT we thankfully didn’t need to use it and I’m so happy it turned out the way that it did.
The only hiccup was an overzealous bystander who tried to run up to them mid-proposal. I had to signal her to stop or else she may as well have put the ring on her own hand ✋ I left her in one of the photos below so we can collectively laugh at my misery in trying to remove her from a bunch of photos LOL. She saw us taking photos for a while beforehand and still felt the need to approach them knowing she was ruining their photos 😆 She was very cute and genuinely happy for them, though. I guess that’s worth mentioning 😛
The end of the session had me straight up blackout from laughing so hard. I had joked about them getting in the water and Ally was READY FOR IT. The waves were pretty lame so it didn’t create much of an effect, so they got in a little deeper into the water. Ryan went to dip Ally and THEY. BOTH. FELL. IN. and I actually laughed so hard I passed out. Like straight up blacked out, fell on the sand, don’t remember how I got there kind of deal. I continue to laugh as hard when I look back at these too 😂 These are priceless, and while there is only 1 photo of evidence on this blog, there will likely be 30+ bloopers in their gallery when I’m done with it haha!
Ally, I couldn’t be happier for you! To think many moons ago we were running around Robin Ct barefoot, dunking each other in the pool, and playing “house” in the basement (that sounds creepier than it needs to), now I’ve had the opportunity to watch you grow up, do what you love for a living and get to see your happiness with Ryan, I am so proud of the woman you’ve grown up to be. You’re so special to me and I’m just so grateful and happy to be a part of this 💛 Ryan, thank you for trusting me with such an important milestone in your lives. I cannot wait to see what life has in store for you both <3
Congratulations Allyson & Ryan!!! 💍❤️ It’s now time to plan a wedding!!!!