The Gardens of Malmaison Wedding from Hawes Photography
January 3, 2012
The only thing that can really, really top a fantastic wedding would, of course, be a fantastic wedding following a ridiculous cool proposal. This couple got engaged in a hot air balloon - in Switzerland - but I won't steal the grooms story. Make sure you read that below. The St. Louis wedding that followed was nothing short of spectacular, photographed by Hawes Photography. Make sure to visit the gallery for more after you've read all about the popping of the question!

St. Louis Wedding

St. Louis Wedding 2

St. Louis Wedding 3

St. Louis Wedding 4

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St. Louis Wedding 7

After dating Miss Katie Woodard for about two years I was thinking it is time to ask her to marry me. We started dating near the end of college and neither of us had any expectations for our relationship. We quickly realized though, that we were falling in love. After I graduated college I started a job in Oklahoma City, while Katie was working in St. Louis. She was trying to find a job in OKC about the time that I decided I was going to propose. I kept leading her on that I only wanted to get married when I was 30 or older so she thought that it was going to take forever. So when I planned a trip to Europe she had no clue about what I had planned for her.

We first flew into Liverpool from Oklahoma City. Our second day we went to the beloved Paris. She wanted to go for quite some time now, so I thought it was the perfect romantic time to take her. We strolled along the Eiffel tower at night, the Louvre during the day and had an amazing time exploring the city together. The next day we were going to Switzerland and this is when I started to get nervous.

After arriving in Geneva, Switzerland we took a scenic and very beautiful train ride to Vevey, Switzerland. The train ride curved throughout the mountains surrounding Lake Geneva. We stayed in the small quaint town of Vevey and strolled along the lake and had a great dinner overlooking the lake and the mountains. Now, since I had been leading Katie on for quite some time about not getting married until we were 30, I decided I should drop some hints before I asked her (the next day). So I brought it up somehow and then said well it might be sooner than you expect, which I thought was a huge hint but I guess she never got it.

The next morning we took a train to a small town of Chateau d'eau and tried to find the little hot air balloon house. We arrived and got all set up for a ride at 2 o' clock. The whole trip was very beautiful, blue skies, and about 65 degrees throughout England, Paris, and Switzerland. This day was no exception. We ate a meal outside right before the balloon ride. While Katie was inside looking at the place I took the ring out of the bag I had been carrying as quickly as I could and put it in my pocket.

So we drove to the take off site and started to fill the balloon up to take off. We both jumped in the balloon and it started to ascend above the ground. This is when I started to not think about the proposal so much but I was thinking about how high I was and how I could die if I happened to fall out (scared of heights syndrome). Now my mind was going crazy. I was nervous about the heights and extra nervous about what I should say. We had a private reservation in the balloon so it was just me and Katie, plus our balloon expert who didn’t speak much english. I figured that we should enjoy the ride before I decided to ask her to marry me.

The Alps were truly stunning. I will never forget being 3000 meters in the sky and looking across to the Alps, Lake Geneva, and the beautiful green Switzerland. We were pointing out the sites and mostly in awe of what we were seeing. It was quite an adventure. So while we were at the top of our flight I decided it was time to ask her. I was ghostly pale and Katie kept looking at me and laughing. She was making fun of me because she thought I was scared of the ride and being that far up in the sky. While part of that was very true, I was more nervous about whipping the ring out and falling on one knee. So that is exactly what I did.

I wasn’t sure what to say, all I could think of was I love you and I want to spend my whole life with you. So I said that while going down on one knee. After doing all this I could very well see that she was in complete shock. All she could say was "ohhhh my gossshhhhh, are you kidding, NOOOO, are you serious?" This happened for about five minutes while I on the other hand was sweating up a storm and wasn’t sure if that was a yes or a maybe or a I don’t know. After the complete shock reaction I received I was thinking to myself that maybe I should have done this different. Maybe an easy going talk three months before the proposal about getting married should have taken place, and maybe we should have gone ring shopping together, and maybe I should have planned it better. The shock reaction was not convincing. Katie spend the rest of the ride convincing me that she would have married me a year ago!

This whole time we started our decent to a field below the mountains. So we finally landed and then had champagne while sitting in this beautiful scenery. Afterwards we talked for hours about everything that had happened while spending two more days in Switzerland. Looking back on it, it is sufficient to say that the surprise was everything I wanted it to be in the end. The balloon ride symbolizes our marriage to come; romantic, fun, and adventurous.

Photographer: Hawes Photography / Floral Designer: Sisters Flowers / Event Designer & Planner: Erin Schulte, Exclusive Events / Invitation Designer: Ellie Snow / Cake: Jilly's Cupcake Bar / Wedding Gown Designer: Enzoani / Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: J.Crew / Ceremony + Reception Location: The Gardens of Malmaison / Shoes: Cole Haan / Menswear: Express Men