Patrick's Surprise Proposal to Christen | Raleigh Engagement

Patrick and Christen have become all too familiar with the whole “long distance relationship” thing. Christen is currently living and working in Indiana, so when Patrick took a job in Raleigh, NC and relocated there earlier this year, they already knew what it would entail and how challenging it would be. The two are basically professionals when it comes to Skype dates, but were already planning ahead to get Christen in the same city as him, ASAP—even if it meant detailing out wedding plans and living arrangements before they were engaged. After all, it’s a little tough to propose with a physical engagement ring through a computer screen, right?

At the beginning of this month, they had a North Carolina rendezvous planned and neither could contain their excitement. They both knew it would be special—in-person time is not to be taken for granted. Christen decided to surprise Patrick by arriving early to maximize their time together. …Little did she know, Patrick had a few surprises he had been working on for her, too!

A few weeks before her visit, Patrick shared his proposal plans with us {and didn’t stop smiling the whole time}. The two love outdoor activities together, so he knew it would happen on a hike, but he also filled us in on a few secrets. Because in-person visits are so rare for them, Christen may be expecting some kind of proposal, so Patrick wanted to keep her on her toes and in the realm of “unexpected.” Christen knew that Patrick used to play the guitar quite a bit, but she had never witnessed him playing; she often begged him to bust it out and sing for her. Over the last few months, Patrick had actually dusted off that guitar of his and had been doing some song writing, without letting Christen know (possibly the only perk of being long-distance). Because he also knew she valued photography so highly and would most likely want this special moment captured, Patrick made sure Chad and I would be there to photograph the whole thing, hidden-ninja-style in the woods. After scoping out Umstead State Park with Patrick a week prior and discussing all of the hand-off details, Chad and I were SO ready to be a part of such a special surprise.

When Sunday, September 6th arrived, the plans went off without a hitch and even the looming rain held off. Patrick and Christen enjoyed a leisurely afternoon after church together, ending with a “spontaneous” nature hike through the woods on a gorgeous, summery evening. A half-hour in, she had no reason to think this were anything out of the ordinary since Patrick didn’t seem to have anything with him. When she first laid eyes on a blanket and guitar case romantically sitting out on the river’s edge, her look was one of curiosity—until she suddenly realized it was Patrick’s guitar and this set-up was for them! 

Chad and I remained hidden, photographing the whole thing from a distance and trying to contain our emotions as we watched it all unfold so sweetly and perfectly. She teared up as he serenaded her with lyrics and music of a song he had written especially for her, and you can imagine her reaction when he set his guitar down in exchange for a hidden ring box. Although I’m not exactly sure what he said to her from down on one knee, I do know she responded with a joyful, overwhelmed, resounding YES!

These images are the truest “engagement photos” we’ve EVER captured because they are so genuinely “in-the-moment” and real. There was no posing required for this documentary Engagement Session that included such a thoughtful, surprise proposal. Patrick, you sure know how to make a lady feel special. You truly made this moment one that will NEVER be forgotten by Christen! Our deepest thanks for allowing us to be a part of it. Congratulations, you two!

…Only a little while longer until you trade long-distance for a forever together!