This is Mary Austin, Chance’s wife, here. In the past few years, Chance has really started loving capturing surprise proposal photographs. But not everyone knows that three years ago we had our proposal captured for us as well! Having been on the receiving end of these photographs, we know how special they can be for a couple. I wanted to share a little bit about our proposal story, to show from my perspective why I am so thankful that Chance had this special moment captured by a photographer!
Chance and I met when we were attending school together in a small mountain town in North Carolina. We dated for a few months, and spent a lot of time reading together and talking on this one big flat rock on a river. My roommate and I also had a couch in our room at school, where Chance and I were sitting when he first asked me if I would be his girlfriend. He decided to use both of those elements, the rock and the couch, in order to propose to me.
He set up a dinner out with friends at a nearby restaurant. Our friend told me that she wanted to get dressed up to make it a fun night, and that I should get a little dressed up too. I’m glad she did, because otherwise I probably would’ve been dressed very casually. We ate dinner together, but Chance kept saying that he felt sick and eventually spent an extended amount of time in the bathroom…well, we decided that we would pay for the check and go for a walk outside until he was ready. I just felt bad that he was sick, but was enjoying our walk outside by the river. Little did I know that he had long ago slipped out the back door of the restaurant and, with the help of friends, had changed his casual clothes for formal ones and shaved off the shaggy beard he had been sporting for a few months.
Meanwhile, I was on our walk and about to say, “Oh, Chance and I have a rock we sit on back here”, when my friend pointed to something in the tree I was walking right past–“Wait, what’s that?” I did a double take and saw a beautiful handmade sign that said, “Mary Austin, meet me at our rock”. In that moment I realized suddenly that this was the proposal and it was all really happening! My head got strangely fuzzy and everything started feeling like it was a dream. I then saw a bouquet of paper flowers, which Chance is adept at making, and wandered down the path towards my love. Somewhere in this dream I vaguely saw Chance’s friend, photographer Irish Grzanich, crouching across the river as I walked towards Chance and saw him sitting on my couch (a few miles from its original location) squarely in the middle of our rock. A few words later he “popped the question”, and we were able to share a special moment together that felt private even though a few friends were hiding around nearby and our photographer was capturing the moment for us to always remember!
I for one am so thankful that Chance took the extra step to get Irish to photograph our proposal. He had her fly in from California to North Carolina in order to get the shots he wanted. I love seeing the “behind the scenes” photos of Chance getting ready for the proposal, when I was still in the dark about what was going on. And as I said, my head got really fuzzy and everything started swimming around me–I don’t think I would be able to remember very many of the details (What was he wearing? What was I wearing? Was it light or dark? What did the set up look like?) if it hadn’t been captured on film for me. Because it was, I now love breaking out our proposal photo book to show new friends, or to relive the moment again and again for myself.
All of this is why we love being able to provide proposal photographs for soon-to-be engaged couples. It may not be for everyone, but for those guys who think their girlfriend would love to have one of the most romantic memories of their lives captured, and shared in some way with their friends and family and future generations, it can be such a priceless gift.