Truth be told, I don't even know where to start with these two. I've known Laura for what feels like forever. We've spent long car rides together, talking about anything and everything. We work together on occasion (and have a ton of fun in the process). When she was ready to hit the dating scene, we were all here for her. Then she met GM. Seriously, I'm not sure there is a better match out there than this. This guy is a pilot, a boat captain, owns his own business...not to mention that he adores her and her son. This little family has grown to fit together so well that it seems like it's always been this way.
So, when GM called me up looking to plan his proposal, I WAS SO IN.
So here's the story.
I'm sure he had this in the works way before I was involved, but a little over a month ago, he calls me up wanting to plan a portrait session on the Dorothy Lee. The Dorothy Lee is a stunning dovetail boat that was built in 1934 and was owned and restored by Laura's late father, Jerry Friedel, before it was donated to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Laura has naturally always had a love for this boat and the memories of her father that are connected to it. GM's plan was to propose on this boat, but the whole thing had to be a surprise. So with a fair amount of coordination, he arranges to captain the boat himself. As subtly as I can manage, I casually mention to Laura that we do a photo session aboard the Dorothy Lee. With Laura on board with the idea, we set up the rest of the plan. We would set out on the Dorothy Lee, just to do a normal photo session. Then, we would go to Foxy's for a drink later. At GM's prompting, I set up a secret surprise party for Laura at Foxy's at dusk, so that we got back from the session, all of Laura's friends and family would be there to receive the fabulous news! The day of the session, we leave aboard the Dorothy Lee, proceeding like any other photo session. We have fun playing and laughing with GM, Laura, and her son, then drop her son off with GM's mother (who also had no idea what the plan was). Then, we set out for the middle of the harbor.
The sun is starting to turn just the right shade of gold. GM and Laura cut the engine, put on a little music, and start to dance. The breeze is blowing lightly, the air is nice and cool, the water is still. At the end of a long embrace, GM rearranges and casually produces a small box, holding in his hand behind her back. As naturally as breathing, he lowers himself to one knee. I believe the look on her face in the images says it all. We are all so taken by the moment, no one sees the series of nicely sized waves heading our direction. The boat starts to rock, causing us all to stumble into a nearby seat. With his arms wrapped around her, GM slides the delicate ring on her finger. This ring holds the same stone as the ring that Laura's father used to ask her mother to marry him decades ago. And even though Jerry is not here to see it himself, I know that he would have loved every bit of this night.