A Sentimental Proposal Inspired by the Bride's Grandparents
July 7, 2017
Mid Atlantic
Classic WeddingsOutdoor Weddings
This Groom-to-be absolutely nailed the proposal. While watching the sunset at their favorite spot, Chris handed Hilary a note with a semaphore message on it. Despite not knowing how to read semaphores, the Bride-to-be knew immediately that it read,"Will You Marry Me, Hilary?"...It was the same way her grandfather proposed to her grandmother almost 70 years earlier! With her grandparent's proposal note framed and hanging in a special place at home, Hilary could not imagine a more special way to begin this new chapter in their lives. Their classic, formal engagement captured by Lissa Ryan Photography is as cute as their proposal story, so see it all right here.
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From the Bride-to-be... We met at a group dinner (he was a friend of a friend) and then went dancing after. I remember being charmed by his East Coast, clean cut appearance and the fact that he could twirl me on the dance floor. As soon as we met, everything felt different. I'm not very much of a romantic, but all these cliches were coming true, and he was so genuine and amazing – like no one I had ever met before.

The first five months of our relationship was getting to know each other long distance. He lived in Florida, and I lived in California. We belly laughed together on the phone through calls and texts. His charm was so strong, even from across the country. Looking back, I'm so glad we had that time. I think it gets lost nowadays. With technology and this fast paced world, we don't take the time to stop and just talk. Chris soon moved out to California and we were able to start our future together!

Chris proposed at our favorite sunset spot in Corona del Mar, CA. It was a Saturday night, and he got me to dress up a little by fibbing that we were meeting some friends for dinner after. Otherwise, he knew I would wear my traditional 'yoga pants, sweatshirt, hair bun' to our sunset jaunt. He also had our sneaky, amazing friends hiding in the bushes to take some candid photos, so we have the whole thing documented. It was a sunset like any other, then he handed me a piece of paper with a semaphore message spelling out 'Will You Marry Me, Hilary?' I knew instantly what it was (and I don't know how to read semaphores), because it was the same way my grandfather proposed to my grandmother almost 70 years earlier. He was deployed on a ship and sent her a hand written, hand drawn semaphore message to propose. We have always loved that story, and I still have the piece of paper he sent to her framed and in a special place. So here we were, in present day, with a new message printed from a computer, sharing the same joy and invitation to spend our lives together. He made all of my dreams come true that day, and he totally nailed it. We were able to share the night at a surprise party with close friends and family after the sun went down. It was (to date) the best day of my life!

It's actually hard to sum up the vision for our wedding because we have a lot going on. The ceremony will be at the USNA Chapel – it's a formal and very beautiful spot. Then we're going rustic for the reception at Hemlock Farm in Edgewater. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE barns and anything country. So on our big day, there is a range of Navy dress whites to hay bales. To connect everything together, we're incorporating a lot of vintage and industrial elements in a tent to give it some rustic glam. I'm working with Adriana Gorman of Adriana M Events to plan, and she is amazing. I'm so confident that the scatter of ideas in my head will all come together in the coming months.

Planning from California has actually been great. I have been stalking social media for ideas and have found amazing people to work with! Aside from the look and feel of the decor, we just want to have fun and set up the night to enjoy time with our people. We love to dance, love to laugh, and love to let loose. Can't wait to see everyone we love in one space and celebrate!