Thanks to some expertly sneaky planning by the groom-to-be, a weekend jaunt to Orlando turned into the surprise of Haley's life - and some of the happiest moments in it, too! Dave enlisted the help of Captured by Elle Photography to document the moments and memories of the proposal in downtown Orlando.
Haley and Dave met through their roommates in college, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh; he was working towards his doctorate in physical therapy, and she, towards her bachelors in nursing. The two quickly realized their ties went back much further than that, though: they'd grown up in small suburbs of Youngstown, Ohio, about 15 minutes from each other. Says Haley, "On our first few dates, we swapped stories and came up with multiple occasions (basketball games, bonfires, etc.) that we'd both been at but somehow didn't meet each other!"
Last month, the couple booked a weekend trip down to Orlando to visit Haley's sister, Kelsey, and her boyfriend, Luke. Dave started his planning in a pretty crafty way: in order to make sure Haley didn't find out what was going on through texts or phone messages, he enlisted the help of Haley's family. They coordinated with Elle, finding the locations and setting up the day for the big proposal. Haley thought they had dinner plans in downtown Orlando for Dave's birthday, with a stop for drinks at one of the bars around Lake Eola Park: "Kelsey and Dave kept suggesting that we 'walk around the park for a bit.' It was 55 degrees outside and I was chilly! I kept asking to go inside but was turned down multiple times! The signs were everywhere that something fishy was going on, but I was completely clueless!"
After Luke and Kelsey made up a story and left the two alone, they settled on a bench overlooking the lake: "Dave started talking about how fun the trip was, how beautiful the park was, etc. Then he said, 'But you know what would make it so much better...?' He then pulled the ring out from his sweater and got down on one knee and I was shocked!! I kept saying 'Oh my gosh oh my gosh!'"
“Elle was so amazing to work with. She made it so much fun, we were perfectly comfortable with her, and of course the pictures turned out beautifully! We absolutely love our pictures and I am ecstatic that I get to look at them and relive that moment over and over!”
After she said yes, the two turned to see Elle and her assistant, who had captured it all. They finished up with a lap around the lake and a downtown stroll for pictures. Haley still didn't know about the surprise to come....
"Once we got to the restaurant in the middle of downtown, Elle posed us for a picture to distract me. When we were done, I turned around to find my mom, sister, and brother in law standing behind me! I teared up all over again and was thrilled to see them! I couldn't believe it!! I was so happy to be able to celebrate that night with them. My heart was so filled with joy I could burst. We had dinner that night with everyone and then continued our celebrations through the weekend. Dave did such an amazing job. Everything was perfect, and everything was a complete surprise!"
The two are planning a destination wedding for October in the Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Says Haley, "Much of the planning has already been done quite quickly! We've been able to just enjoy being engaged to each other and look forward to a beautiful day with our family and close friends!"