Photos by Kelsei Fraizer Photography
𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐚𝐥 𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝟏:
I think my favorite part about being a wedding + proposal planner in Florida (𝘪𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘥 “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘶𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘚𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦”) is that I also sort of have to be a meteorologist, too.
A fun fact about me is that if I weren’t a wedding planner, my second career of choice would be a storm chaser. I concern both my mother + girlfriend with my habits of visiting the beach anytime there’s a storm on the horizon.
𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙖 𝙖𝙩, 𝙅𝙞𝙢 𝘾𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙚?
I’m frequently battling the elements, especially with time sensitive events such as proposals. I stay on my Weather Channel app, constantly tracking the movement of systems + trying to determine if there’s a window of peace in whatever latest detrimental act of nature is sweeping through Florida.
In the most recent FBD love story, we had a proposal rescheduled not once, not twice, but three times due to inclement weather.
You see, Lauren + Valarie are already #FeliciaByDesignBrides. I’ve been working with them since the beginning of the year on their gorgeous spring wedding.
I helped L back in January of this year to surprise V with a proposal at a bridal expo in Pensacola. But of course, V wanted L to have the proposal of her dreams as well.
We meet every few weeks at a local coffee shop to sit down + go over their planning details.
In addition to owning a wedding planning company, I have a sister company, Barefoot Luxury Picnic Co.
So the original plan was for me to have their planning meeting set + change the location last minute to be closer to the beach due to one of my luxury picnics running over. We would then get L down to the beach to discover the picnic was actually for her, + V would pop the question right there!
(𝘐 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘢 𝘮𝘦𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘢 𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘴𝘰 𝘸𝘦 𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘺 + 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘸 𝘓𝘢𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘧𝘧.)
Unfortunately, the day came around + it was a complete + utter washout. Raining cats + dogs, big cracks of thunder, the whole nine yards.
V + I decided we would move the proposal to the following week, but that also meant I would need to “reschedule their meeting.”
And the photographer. And the charcuterie. And the florals.
It would have been kind of strange for me to schedule them two meetings that close together, so thankfully I was able to use the storms as an excuse, but I really did hate rescheduling on her last minute! All in all, we knew my uncharacteristic behavior would confuse L even more + be even funnier once she knew the backstory.
𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐚𝐥 𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝟐:
The next week rolls around + despite my best efforts of performing anti-rain dances in my back yard, we were under a TORNADO WATCH.
In retrospect, perhaps I misunderstood the sequence of the dance + actually performed a dance summoning tornados or other natural disasters. Really, I can’t be sure.
In any case, I knew I couldn’t reschedule the meeting again on my client + an incredible idea struck me.
We needed to do a walkthrough soon of their venue, Eden Gardens, to finalize the layout + details. It would be so completely perfect for them to meet me the following week at their venue + for the surprise proposal to happen there! And what a sweet memory to reflect on during their wedding.
I text Valarie my idea + she loved it.
𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐚𝐥 𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝟑:
The day rolls around + it’s slightly cloudy, a small chance of rain, but nothing we couldn’t work with.
I honestly told V that if she had to get down on one knee in the eye of a tornado, so be it.
I imagine the photos would be pretty cool, right? #DoITForTheGram
Eden Gardens is a state park, so most days it is open to the public. That made it a lot easier to have a luxury picnic hidden in plain sight.
What I assumed would not be so easy to hide is Kelsei Fraizer, the photographer who has shot some of their family photos, plus the proposal back in January. If L spotted her, she would know right away something was up.
KF lives in Pensacola, which is about two hours from Eden Gardens.
I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to hide her once she arrived, so I text V + told her to stall a little, be about 5 minutes late to our walkthrough.
𝗔 𝗳𝘂𝗻 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗩 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿. 𝗦𝗵𝗲’𝘀 𝘂𝘀𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝟯𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗹𝘆, + 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝗶𝗳 𝘀𝗵𝗲’𝘀 𝗿𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝗲𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗱.
So here L + V are, getting ready to leave for our meeting, and V is taking her sweet time. Obviously, this is starting to really confuse L who’s trying to rush her out of the house.
Then, just to ensure she was stalling her enough, V tells L she feels sick on the way to the meeting + she makes her stop at a gas station to buy Tums.
The part that really makes me giggle is at one point during the drive over, V is getting so excited she’s looking out the window + smiling. Remember, she’s told L she’s sick to her stomach, so the smiling for no reason at all really has L scratching her head.
𝗢𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗲, 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗴𝗼.
The luxury picnic is set up near the exact oak tree they’re going say “I do” under, KF is tucked away in a bush like a little ninja, + I’m walking them through the venue, just babbling away.
I even reference the cute little picnic + say that a photographer has been there taking photos. V asks if we can walk over to the ceremony space, so we make our way to the oak tree.
As we near the picnic, V takes L’s hand + pulls her over to it.
I was actually looking around franticly for KF, I couldn’t see her AT ALL + was worried she had moved somewhere else.
But as V got down on one knee, KF bursts from the bushes, snapping away. I think the girl was wearing a leaf suit or something because I honestly had no clue she was there. She may have even been crawling, army style. 𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩.
L was taken by complete surprise + immediately started crying. It was absolutely perfect, + 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙝 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙢 𝙞𝙩 𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙩𝙤 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚.
She was also so excited to see KF, who she actually didn't recognize immediately because she just became a brunette a couple weeks ago. (She's committed to the disguise life.)
After L got that gorgeous bling-bling on her finger, the two cuddled up at the picnic so KF could capture some photos of their gorgeous selves. We even made sure the charcuterie board had L's favorite moon cheese - which if you haven't tried, you absolutely must.
The photos of them under the oak tree are going to be so completely perfect on display at their wedding.
Highlight of the Evening: "You're Kissing Your Own Hand."
At one point, Kelsei had the girls alternating kissing one another's hands for some cute pics.
But V understands self love better than any of us do, + she was actually kissing her own hand in several photos.
But hey - you have to love yourself first before you can expect anyone else to love you.
Also, the fairytale-esque animals were paid actors, + can be added on to any of our proposal or wedding packages.
Venue: Eden Gardens State Park
Photographer: Kelsei Fraizer Photography
Florals: Hallmark Flower Shoppe
Charcuterie: Local Fancy PCB