Tom’s brother, Ben, proposed to his girlfriend, Lana, this past weekend. And we were in Panacea, Florida to document it and to help celebrate. Because most girls (and some guys, admit it!) want to know how people get engaged, I thought I would share a quick recap.
Ben and Lana met when they were 18 and attending Valdosta State University together. They became friends and had a group of mutual friends they would hang out with that year. After their freshman year, Ben decided college was not his thing and moved back to Covington to work for his dad with plans to one day take over the business. Lana continued her time in Valdosta. But all of the group of friends still stayed in touch with Ben, and the friendships didn’t die out despite the distance. (Like all that alliteration?)
Fast-forward a few years to late 2009, and Ben and Lana find themselves hanging out with friends…and decide they are both interested in making this friendship something more. They began dating, and knew very quickly that this was it. They had known each other for years, so they didn’t feel like they needed to date for a long time. They wanted to get married in 2010. So they begin to make the long treks each weekend to spend time together as well as to get to spend time with each others’ families.
Five months in, and they get engaged. This is how it went down:
A little while ago, Lana gave Ben 101 hearts, each with a different reason on it that she loved him. She said to him that she would bet he couldn’t come up with that many reasons why he loved her. He said he could do WAY better than 101 reasons. Right before he popped the question, Ben reminded Lana of her challenge. He said that in the couple of months since, he had thought of more and more reasons each day. But it would take too long to write them all down because the list doesn’t seem to end. So would she spend every day for the rest of their lives just letting him tell her the reasons?
And of course, she said yes.
I have to say that I consider that one of the sweetest proposals ever. It is so sweet, so genuine (you should see the way they are around each other), so perfect for them. And that’s what makes a proposal special- asking in a way that fits the couple.
So what about the rest of the story?
Ben had invited his family, her family, and several of their friends to help him surprise his bride-to-be by being at a local restaurant, Angelo’s, to celebrate the proposal. He had a pretty big turnout. But before that, he had to propose. He had asked me and Tom to help document this special event but to remain unseen.
Tom’s parents have a condo in Panacea, and the next door condo houses some sweet friends of theirs, Don and Sandy. They were kind enough to sneak us into their condo, let us change for dinner there, and to go out on their balcony to hide behind some lounge chairs to take pictures (me) and to stand behind the sliding doors to the balcony to take a video (Tom) as Ben proposed on a dock over the water. Then they snuck us over to Angelo’s without Lana seeing so that we could document her reaction when they came over for dinner and she saw all of those people waiting to congratulate them.
Amazingly, no one spilled the beans, and Lana was completely shocked to first be engaged and secondly to see everyone there ready to celebrate with them. There were a few tears and a lot of laughter as parents, brothers, and friends made toasts to the newly engaged couple.
It was a beautiful night, Ben did a great job, and Lana said yes! =) We are so excited to have this sweet, funny, beautiful girl joining our family. She is such a prize, and I couldn’t be happier to have her as a sister-in-law. Tom and I have always been very close to Ben, and the woman he was to marry was of great interest to us. I will never forget the first time that I met Lana, I told Ben later, “You need to marry that girl. I wouldn’t mind being related to her. She’s pretty awesome.” Of course, he was like…19. So that was not on either of their minds back then. But I was engaged and thought in marriage-mode. And, look, I was right! =)
Tom and I were more than exhausted after that weekend. We got up and drove the dogs to a kennel in Conyers on Saturday morning, then we drove to Florida. We immediately changed, took pictures/video, went to Angelo’s, took more pictures, ate, hung out a bit, went to bed, got up very early Sunday morning (6:30 for me), drove to Covington, spent time with my family while my sister, brother-in-law, and their new baby were in town, drove to Conyers to pick up the dogs, then drove back to Suwanee. In two days. Exhausted. But worth it. I wouldn’t think of trading being a part of Ben and Lana’s engagement night or seeing my family on Sunday just for a little R&R.
Here are a few shots from the night Ben and Lana got engaged. Keep in mind that these were taken from quite a distance with a non-telescopic lens, then cropped.