Craig had reached out to us several weeks ago about documenting his surprise proposal to long-time girlfriend, Rita. He had seen a proposal session we did with super cuties, Jim & Keri, on our blog and decided he wanted his own happy moment captured in photographs.
Craig had chartered a small boat to take him and Rita on a sunset cruise around the waters off Chatham Harbor, past Stage Harbor Lighthouse. His plan was to have the boat drop anchor off a secluded island near Harding Beach Point, so he could get down on one knee and ask the girl of his dreams to marry him.
We were, of course, totally sold on the idea and super excited to pretend to be on the same tour, there to photograph the seals and sand bars……..all the while, cameras ready to capture the moment when Craig proposed. We spoke with Helaine & Tom, owners of Chatham Boat Tours, to go over the plans and make sure everything went off without a hitch.
The day finally arrived last week and we were so looking forward to meeting Craig & Rita, but a little nervous about the secrecy of our mission. Happily everything went according to plan and a completely unsuspecting Rita say, “YES!!”
Standing on the beach, pretending we were super interested in a dead seal that had washed ashore, we watched intently as Craig led Rita down the beach. Noting our readiness, he pointed to something down the beach and when Rita turned to look, he took a step back and dropped to one knee. Watching her expression as she turned around was awesome, particularly after having heard so much about Rita & Craig and his plans to propose.
Craig had spoke lovingly of their relationship….sweethearts since high school. He talked about the ring, which had been picked with meticulous care, and told us they were celebrating their ten year anniversary with plans to visit Falmouth with friends, who would conveniently back out a few days earlier, so Rita wouldn’t be suspicious that the trip was anything extra special.
But, special it was indeed….and I’m still not sure who was beaming more after the proposal…Craig, Rita or me. It’s just so awesome to get to be invited into such a personal, intimate moment for a couple. And, getting to be around that kind of happy, new love never gets old!!
I just love the expression on her face as Craig readies to ring on it!
And with a kiss and a promise….a happy new future emerges.
Getting a close look at her new hardware….
It was funny to be within earshot as Craig explained that Andy & I were in on the surprise and were actually there to photograph them…..
We left Captain Tom & Helaine for a little walk around the island, heading straight for these cool dead trees that had, at some point, been growing along the shore.
We hadn’t met Craig or Rita before, so it was fun to get to know them better and see how they are together. It is obvious that these two love each other very much and that this next chapter will be a very happy one for them.
Seeing decaying tree roots along the beach was an unexpected and happy surprise…much like the proposal!
Roots….they’ve already become pretty well established for Rita & Craig…and we look forward to seeing what sprouts up next for these two lovebirds.
Ahhhh……does it get any better?
I was slightly obsessed with the cool roots on the island.
After some time to soak in the magnitude of what had just happened, our newly engaged couple headed back to the boat.
But, first a quick stop in the lush beach grass for a bit more canoodling.
Happy. Happy. Happy!
As the sun set, it took the tide with it, leaving our boat stuck in shallow water. We all jumped out to lessen the load, and Captain Tom & Helaine pulled the boat to deeper water. It made for a fun photo opportunity of our lovebirds taking an unexpected dip. I love this next photo because it feels a bit like a metaphor for marriage, where it’s not always smooth sailing, but how you deal with challenges can make all the difference in how you weather unavoidable obstacles. The big smiles on these two beautiful faces tells me their future looks bright!
Helaine had decorated the boat and had some chilled champagne waiting for the happy couple…
And into the setting sun they head…with kiss and a smile and a wedding to plan.
Kicking back and enjoying the ride…
Back on land, we headed to Main Street, Chatham, where Craig & Rita wanted to celebrate with dinner and some phone calls home, to share the happy news.
Awwww…are they sweet or what?! On the boat ride back, Craig & Rita shared with us that they had both attended Beth Sholom Day Camp in New York as kids. “But, we hadn’t really known each other, since the young boys and girls did not interact too much.” Craig told us. But, in the summer of 2004, they finally met, having made the switch from campers to Counselors in Training.
“It was actually love at first sight for me,” Craig told us. “We initially started flirting, since we went to rival junior high schools.” Their school rivalry continued through high school, and they officially began dating the summer before their junior year of high school, two years after first meeting.
Their relationship continued to grow through college, despite their schools being a four-hour drive away from each other. Last fall, they moved in together to a flat in Manhattan. And, now they will begin planning their wedding. We are secretly (or not so secretly anymore) hoping that as we did for Jim & Keri’s CT wedding, that Craig & Rita want us to be there to document their next happy milestone too!
Roses are red, violets are blue, we were there for the yes, and would love to be at the wedding too. A bit lame, and shameless….I admit! But, these two are just so stinkin’ cute!
Dinner was calling and the light nearly gone from the sky, so it was time to bid adieu to our newly-engaged, new friends. Hugs were exchanged and we said, goodbye. They turned to leave and we watched as, finally alone, they shared a moment. Perhaps my favorite photo of the day.
Craig, thank you so much for choosing to share this special moment with us. It was both an honor and an absolute privilege! And, Rita….there was a lot for you to take in, and we so appreciate your warmth and openness to us. We have no doubt you already are well aware of this, but you are a very lucky woman. Thank you both so very much for allowing us this peek into your lives and we wish you both many, many more happy years together! With big love & hugs, Christine & Andy xo