He had it all planned…every last detail. They were heading to the beach for a quick picnic lunch with all their kids before Brady’s baseball game but…where were the kids? And why didn’t they drive with them to the beach? “They left early because they wanted to do a scavenger hunt around Cape May” says he. And if she asked, “where was the picnic food?”, he was ready with an answer “I arranged to have someone caterer it and bring it to the beach.” She did wonder why he suggested she shower and change before they left. “He always says I’m beautiful and I wondered why he thought I needed a shower before a baseball game”. Still…Heather had no clue.
When Heather and Bill arrived at the beach, Sam, Yvonne, Brady, Ashley and Jack were hiding amongst the beach boxes and were excited. Ashley and Jack’s dad was proposing to Sam and Brady’s mom and they were all a part of it. Each of them made a poster with their own personal message of congratulations and were waiting for the cue to come running out. I, meanwhile, had borrowed a kid on the beach to pretend that I was taking his portrait as I spied Bill down on his knee softly talking to a puzzled-looking Heather. I waited for my cue. The expression on Heather’s face was priceless as she realized there was a diamond ring hidden in a little wooden house that represented their future home. Then, the surprise of all the kids running out from behind the boxes each wearing a shirt that said Will – You – Marry – Us – ???
Heather later told me in her own words:
“I’m still recovering from Bill’s shock-and-awe campaign. I think it might be just starting to sink in. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked to tell the story of how he pulled it all off: sneaking off on the red-eye to St. Louis to ask my daddy for his blessing (even though he’d never met my parents before); choosing the most perfect ring that took a month to make; talking to all of our kids and asking for their help; planning the proposal (props and all); speeding past me on the expressway in NJ after picking up the ring and getting busted because he was supposed to be waiting for me at his home in PA; stretching the truth too many times to count so I wouldn’t be suspicious; juggling all the variables such as the weather, our very flexible photographer, a sham scavenger hunt and picnic on the beach, an unscheduled baseball game, and ME; and having the most perfect song on the radio as we pulled up to the beach (ok, the song wasn’t planned…which is why it was so perfect). I was surprised. I was shocked. I am still in awe that this man loves me so much.
Thank you, Mary Pat, for being there to capture the most amazing surprise of my life. You were so stealthy that even you were a surprise! “
Heather and Bill later told me that just as they pulled up to the beach that a song played on the radio and the words were “she’s gonna be my wife?”. Just a coincidence? I believe it was a sign…a sign that this beautiful family is meant to be together.