Laura + Matt Get Engaged

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I love being a part of proposals. They are always so exciting, and usually one of the best moments in the lives of the people you are with. Loving the people makes it even better. I am so glad I was able to be a part of Matt and Laura’s big day. It was so magical and perfect. From hiding in the bushes (sobbing happy tears) snapping photos, to jumping around in celebration afterwards – being tricky and lying to my sweet Laura was all worth it to see Matthews plan come to together. I love you both, and I am so excited to keep doing life with y’all.  Matt and Laura agreed to share their parts of the story – enjoy the photos, video, and words from the lovebirds!

“September 28, 2014 will always be remembered as the day the man of my dreams got on one knee and asked me to be his forever. However, the story of our engagement began years earlier as I sat in a 5th grade classroom doing a research project on Oregon. I was moved by the beauty in the magazine cut outs and even then as I stared in wonder at photos of Crater Lake, the Lord whispered in my heart that this place would one day be life changing for me. Nothing more than a feeling that somehow this place would mark a turning point in my life.

Fast forward many years to present day. About a month ago, I was offered an Instagram photography job with Holiday Inn where I would travel across the northwest, from Vancouver to Klamath Falls, to take photos of my adventure and guests in the hotel. Little did I know that Matthew was working diligently behind the scenes to make sure I got the northwest route and that it ended with Crater Lake. As I was planning my trip, he was exchanging emails and making conference calls with the crew at Holiday Inn & 247 Laundry Service, pitching his idea for a fairytale engagement story. They loved it & all was set in motion.

The very last day of the 5 day road trip, Abby & I were planning to visit Crater Lake for a photoshoot of our own. Matt had been working for an outfitter in Colorado since August which meant I hadn’t seen him in two months. Before we headed to Crater Lake, Abby surprised me with this beautiful Free People dress & a note from Matthew telling me how sorry he was that he couldn’t be there but that he wanted to make sure I looked beautiful that day and to take a billion photos to share with him later. My thoughtful man.

Abby & I got dressed and rushed out the door for the 1.5 hour drive to the top of Crater Lake. I was still clueless. We took our time racing to the top, hopping fences, laughing, twirling & taking hundreds of photos. The drive was intoxicating. The day was perfect. I wished more than anything that Matt could be there but was enjoying every moment with one of my closest friends on a journey to the one place I’d wanted to visit since childhood.

Abby gave me directions to the highest point, Cloudclap Overlook. We finally made it & Abby excitedly hopped out of the car but not before giving me directions to take off my beanie, jacket, tights, glasses and hair ties around my wrist. Then she skipped off telling me to meet her over the wall and would be recording a video for Matt because he wanted to see my face the first time I viewed the lake.

As she ran off, I sat in the car battling my thoughts. On one hand, I was so hoping to find Matt over that wall. On the other, I was preparing myself for disappointment in case he wasn’t. I had dreamed of being here my entire life & didn’t want to take away from the experience, even if it meant seeing Crater Lake without Matt.

I took a breath, stepped out of the car  & as I took my first step the clouds started rolling over my feet & the fog started to rise, covering me. The atmosphere immediately became silent, almost mysterious but so full of peace. That’s when I knew. I approached the wall & looked over into a clearing a few hundred feet away and made eye contact with the most handsome man in existence, holding a huge bouquet of white flowers. And that smile. If you know Matthew you know exactly which one I’m talking about. I froze. I couldn’t move. He does that to me. Finally he broke the silence by saying – ‘Get over here!’ So I did!! Hopped that stone wall & ran into the arms of my best friend.

He led me through the trees towards a picnic he had set up overlooking the lake which included mini donuts, my favorite caramel candy, mixed berries & lavender lemonade. I asked to see the lake but the cloud cover was so thick we couldn’t see it. This still makes me laugh. The only thing I had wanted to see was already in front of me anyway. He took my hand & brought me back to the blanket, a Crater Lake edition Pendleton monogrammed with our new initials. He thought of everything. He always does. We sat down and I can’t remember much of what he said at all except when from across the way Abby yelled – ‘Laura!! Stand up!!!’ So I hopped up as the love of my life got on one knee to ask me to be his wife with a ring that had belonged to his great grandmother. I danced. I jumped. I screamed and twirled and got a ‘Yes!’ out somewhere in the middle. Then, as the clouds rolled over us, we kissed.

…and our forever began. “

“Well I guess my part in this story begins in Colorado. I had taken a job working for an outfitter and was planning to be there for a total of 3.5 months. After 2 weeks of working and  being away from my love and everything else in the world I had come to the realization of how much Laura really meant to me and how I wanted to start the rest of my life with her as soon as possible!!

So Ideas starting flowing and new excitement began to build as I thought of different ways to propose to her. About a week after my realization I heard from Laura. She told me all about this holiday inn job offer and at first it dashed my hopes. She would be taking all her days off that I was hoping to use in my already started engagement plans. After hearing more about the job opportunity I encouraged her to take it even if it meant I would have to make it happen at a later date and time.

That night I remember talking to God and saying Lord I put all of this in you’re hands you know the perfect timing for all of this and instead of me trying to make it all happen on my own I trust in you and know that it is all in you’re hands anyway. Right after that I had the idea to write the marketing agency that was contacting Laura and pitch the idea of her getting engaged and being able to make it apart of their story. I mean who wouldn’t  want to use a romantic and epic love story in their promotion! haha Thats when the emails and conference calls began. After a about a month of planning everything was set. She would be sent to the northwest and Crater Lake and they would fly me up to portland! So a little over a week before the set date I quite my job and headed back to Tulsa where I would catch my flights to Portland. There were so many little details that went into the planning I mean the dress, blanket, letters from close friends, mini doughnuts even figuring out how to get the ring from my family in New England to Oklahoma and then out to Oregon. Just to name a few. At one point Laura was helping to transport the ring and didn’t even know it! haha

I was never really nervous until I got to Crater Lake and realized that it was all really happening and I would see the love of my life in just a few short hours and ask her to be my wife. After finding the perfect spot and setting up I took a moment to reflect on what was about to happen and what a total God set up the whole thing was. I mean everything from beginning to end I could see his hand on.

As she walked thru the clouds and came into view my heart skipped a beat a months worth of work and planning and anticipation now coming to its ultimate goal and point.

I had never seen a more beautiful woman in all my life. “

horseback riding on the beach

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Life should be lived doing the things you dream about.

While we were in the bahamas, I was able to cross something off my top 100 – horseback riding on the beach! It far surpassed my expectations! We hadn’t paid for a private tour, but when we arrived, we were the only ones there, so we were able to enjoy the ride with just one another, and our extremely entertaining guide, Wayne. Wayne told us stories of 50 Cent, Julia Roberts, Nicholas Cage, and other celebrities who had gone on the tour with him. He had as laughing and telling our own (less exciting) stories. The horse I was riding, Sunny, was the only girl horse at the ranch, and she had a major crush and Jordan’s horse, who had behavioral issues. It made for a very funny trip. When we got to the beach, it was absolutely breathtaking! The water on that side of the island was calm, which meant you could see the bottom clearly for(what seemed like)ever. We saw two sharks which sparked a lively discussion between Wayne and I about how sharks are misunderstood due to their misrepresentation by the media (he agreed! Though, we do both respect the fact that they are dangerous and should be treated with caution) the whole morning was so fun, and I strongly recommend going on a ride with them if you are ever in the bahamas. Horseback riding on the beach was so incredible! It was just an amazingly magical experience. If you ever have the chance, you should do it!

my perfect outfit for riding included :

We The Free Every Girl Henley from Free People

Palazzo Pant from Victorias Secret

Rose Island & Nassau

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This weekend J and I are relaxing in the Bahamas. We started out our first day with a boat ride to Rose Island where we sipped on rum punch in the shade (is it a sign of age, or maturity that we now have no desire to get super tan, but would rather keep our skin healthy?) and I laughed at Tina Fey as I read Bossypants (thanks, Meredith). It was such a nice day and I am so glad we chose to go there. Upon arriving back to the hotel, we both crashed hard (the first day of a vacation is requires extra sleep). Our second day, we were supposed to go deep sea fishing, but chose to sleep in, order room service and beach bum the afternoon away. Around sunset we hopped in a cab to drive into Nassau. Our cab driver was quiet, and hip, and impressed that we were venturing off Paradise Island to see Nassau. We listened to some early 90s hip-hop that Mr. Driver rapped with and bounced to while we enjoyed the view through the overwhelming sent of “peachy peach” (I do not suggest peachy peach as a car freshener). Once in Nassau, we ate at Candies Fish Fry on a colorful picnic table under some palms amongst several locals waiting for Conch Salad (it smelled AMAZING) and then grabbed (it took 46 minutes) a coconut to sip from and walked down Junkanoo beach and enjoyed the sunset. Sitting on the beach I looked around and realized we appeared to be the only tourists around. Just the way we like it. The day ended with snuggling up in bed and watching How To Steal A Million, which I could watch indefinitely. So far, this trip has been absolute perfection!

Cannon Beach

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The older I get, the more I treasure good relationships.

 On Monday, we all hopped in cars and drove to the coast. The drive there was filled with delirious laughter, and breathtaking pacific northwest views.  As we started to get close to Cannon, the fog started settling over the trees – I had a sunny evening in mind, but this was way better. Feeling cold on the tip of my nose and fingers after months of summer weather was refreshing, and made the thought of going back to warm Portland to de-thaw in a warm bath much more exciting. Walking down the beach with Gabby, Lauren and Alex made for more laughs – I love those babes. We took photos, as we often do, and then met up with the fellas for more adventure. The misting rain picked up, and the shivering began – but we were determined to get to the less crowded part of the beach, which meant rolling up our pants and wading through thigh deep (seriously cold water) after running through a flock of birds, and writing love letters to our missing Laura in the sand, we had to jog down the beach to make it back to town so Matthew could catch a flight home. The numb feet from the cold, and the beach run were all worth it – the views on the right side of the beach were so breathtaking and magical – it felt like a magical land, and the fact that it was difficult made it that much more special to have gone. After a delicious dinner around a fire, we got back in the car and quickly fell asleep like kids after a long day of play. These people make me laugh, make me want to be a better me, encourage me to live bigger and brighter, and are just all around amazing. Thank the Lord for people like this.

Arizona

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Arizona is such a diverse state – desert, beautiful forests, and snow peaked mountains. I love driving through there and snapping photos from the passenger seat, or stopping on the side of the road to capture some scenery. This was taken during a road trip that ended in Colorado. This was right before the sun set somewhere in Arizona – this evening is still so vivid in my mind, we had been on the road all day, and still had several hours to go – I remember looking to my right and seeing this stunning mountain that the sunset had painted the most glorious colors. Being able to capture the beauty of that moment made the rest of the drive much easier.

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Big Sur

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For our one year anniversary, J and I took a road trip to the west – Arizona, Las Vegas (twice), San Francisco, Colorado and a impromptu two day drive along the coast that included Big Sur. I am so incredibly happy that we made Big Sur a part of our trip – it is so incredibly gorgeous. California is one of the loveliest states, and Big Sur was simply breathtaking. We stopped on beaches filled with seals, cliffs with stunning views, and gorgeous fields overlooking the ocean. Everything was so full of life and beauty! I can’t wait to visit Big Sur again.

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