This Orlando engagement session was a first for me in the fact that it was a surprise to Abbie! She thought that we were just doing a regular couples session, but she didn’t know that Cody had contacted me to tell me he was going to propose to her during the session. I have to admit I was pretty nervous because I didn’t want to do or say anything that would ruin the surprise moment.

We had a secret signal that I would give him towards the end of the session at the beautiful Mead Botanical Garden. Sounds like a perfect plan, right? Well, two minor glitches happened when I arrived early. There was a wedding going on of course, because it is such a great wedding venue. However, the wedding photographer was doing shots on the bridge where we were supposed to shoot the proposal. The second problem was there were dark thunderous clouds approaching. I do usually check the weather but these afternoon storms seem to pop up unannounced.

I had to rework our plan and somehow let Cody know this “in code” so Abbie would not get suspicious. I tend to sweat anyway in this Florida heat, but the beads of sweat that were accumulating on my forehead were from nerves. LOL! I’ve photographed weddings and other intense assignments as a photojournalist before, but for some reason, this was getting to me. You know the feeling when you spill the beans about a friend’s surprise party by accident? Well I do, probably too much, which is why I knew a lot was riding on this one.

We worked quickly because of the light rain and I was able to communicate with enough time to Cody on when to reach for the ring. And just like we had planned, I was able to capture the genuine look of surprise on Abbie’s face. It really was an amazing moment, obviously for them and for me too that I was able to carry it out. So, I guess I can add to my list of skills, the ability to plan and execute the perfect surprise engagement session. Check out the “moment” here and the others from their session.

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