Engagement Story Contest 2011

Vote for your favorite story here!

It’s that time again! Now is the time of year that if you didn’t receive that ring for Christmas or New Years, you’ve got Valentine’s Day teasing you with possibilities. So to encourage all those on the fence about when to pop the question, the time is now! We are holding our annual Engagement Story Contest! This year we’re focusing on engagements on Valentine’s Day and earlier. We’re talking the big holidays and the small ones. Did he propose on Christmas in front of the whole family or on the beach in Aruba, just the two of you? Were there roses filling your apartment? A candle-lit dinner? Or something that called back a joke from your first date? We want the scoop!

The rules:

You cannot have entered previous years.

You must have your story submitted to in the comments section by February 16 (I’m giving you Valentine’s couples a spare day to just glow before you have to get to the business of spilling the details).

You must include your email address (not in the story itself, but in those little boxes that ask for information so I can get in touch with you and tell you when you win. It won’t post online).

Your story must be true.

You CAN enter for someone, however, the couple in the story gets the prize, and please be sure they won’t be all upset that you shared their story for all the world to see.

You don’t have to be located in Knoxville. We love to travel and do a lot!

Be creative. A poem or a link to a video of the proposal is great. If you have pictures, you can email them to me and I’ll include them. If you don’t have a video or photo of the actual proposal and you aren’t the poetry type, that’s fine too. But a picture of the two of you would be swell.

What do you win?

First prize gets a $500 couples session!*

Second prize gets $100 off any booking!*

Third prize gets $50 off any booking!*

Looking for inspiration? Here are previous contests to give you some ideas:

2010 Contest 2010 Winner

2009 Contest pt. 1 2009 Winner #1

2009 Contest pt. 2 2009 Winner #2

2009 Contest pt. 3 2009 Winner #3

And an idea for those looking to create a great engagement story!

*We travel a lot and may be on our way to your town, however, if we don’t currently have a trip scheduled to you, you can come to us, we can meet you somewhere fabulous or we can come to you. The First Prize portrait is free as long as you pay for our travel. Second and Third prizes may also have travel costs if you are outside the local Knoxville area, and we are not planning a trip to your town.


~ by rebeccaclaire on February 3, 2011.

9 Responses to “Engagement Story Contest 2011”

  1. […] & Steve won an engagement session in a previous Engagement Story contest. I was in St. Louis this summer and we headed over to Forest Park right at dusk. We had a great […]

  2. On August 21, 2010, Jon Harrington proposed to Becki Phillips in Bellingham, WA at the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema surrounded by friends and family (and 400 random strangers). Jon received his diploma from Western Washington University early in the day and suggested we take our families (who were in town for his graduation) to the outdoor cinema. Before the movie began, raffle tickets were handed out. A staff member stood on stage and announced the winning ticket – MINE! I walked up and he told me I had won a bouquet of flowers… and a video. At that moment, a video made by Jon began playing out our story together on the side of a building in front of me. The video ended with Jon asking me to marry him in the very spot I was standing.

    The video of the live proposal can be seen at:

    The video that played out on the side of the building can be seen at:

    Of course, I said YES! I then turned around to find all of our friends hiding in the background to congratulate us! It was an amazing night and long overdue – Jon and I have been dating for over 4 years and everyone has been waiting for him to pop the question!

    We’ll be getting married in Portland, OR on August 13th, 2011 surrounded by the same family and friends (minus the strangers) that witnesses the proposal.

  3. My story starts 4 1/2 years ago in Knoxville.

    Jason was trying to get over a relationship and I was trying to end one. We met…and for me, it was love at first sight! I never really believed in that until that moment. Jason was a really good friend of my older brother’s. I had no idea Jason existed, and Jason had no idea that Brent, my older brother, had a sister. Thanks for talkin’ me up, Bro!

    Jason and I started dating…a month and a half later…pregnant! During my pregnancy, our parents were giving us a lot of grief about not getting married. We wanted to get married for the right reasons…not just cause mommy wanted us to. We desperately wanted to make our relationship to be successful, not just because of our child on the way…but for ourselves. We, basically, had to get to know one another. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I have to get to know the father of my baby. Well, needless to say, we got to know one another…and it was totally worth the past 4 1/2 years we spent together. He is a wonderful man, father, and partner…and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

    Jason proposed to me 3 1/2 years after our son, Logan, was born (Oct.29, 2010). We wanted to make sure we were ready, not just because we had a child together. Being a child of divorce, there was absolutely no way I was going to say “Yes” if I wasn’t ready to take the plunge. Well, let’s just say I had been ready for a while. Once again, love at first sight. Hee hee.

    He asked me to marry him while eating out for my birthday. He was so nervous (I could tell something was up). He said that he was sick to his stomach all day. Too cute.

    Our parents were relieved. Thank God! No more stigma from the parents!

    So, that’s my story. It may not be as romantic as some…but it’s mine.

  4. It was Spring 1998 in Las Vegas, Nevada when we met. We were working at Office Depot together. I was working in the Copy Center as he was working in the Customer Service Counter. Immediately there was an attraction between us. We first started talking after a store sales meeting. We both didn’t have to work that morning and walked to our cars right after one another. I said, “nice car” and smiled at him as he was getting into a ’96 Mustang (which was red and happen to be my favorite color and vehicle.) I was 16 years old. For weeks we would flirt across the store with phone calls to each others department when we worked the same shift, which wasn’t often as I was still attending high school and he was working a full time shift. We had a lot of overlapping shifts and got very comfortable with each other.. and so it began.

    For weeks we would talk regularly and would go to dinner and a movie, like what a normal young couple would do, but then the age got a little in the way. I just turned 17 and he had just turned 22. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada brought a lot of strain on us as a young couple at an age that he could go out places and I was clearly restricted. Family would mention it regularly that I was too young, but I had fallen in love and it hadn’t worried me of the difference in our age, but the it took a tole on James. We had to part ways, and so we did… For a year I tried to work things out between he and I but the age was a big factor when living in a town that restricts anyone under 21… and so upon graduation from high school, I left Las Vegas and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to be closer to family.

    As the years had passed we were always on the other side of the phone with one another. Throughout the ups and downs of normal life, we always remained best friends. Always hoping for a better time that would bring us back together. For years we tried to rekindle what we had so many years ago, but when we were both ready something would happen to deviate us both away from our most hopeful desire, to be back together. Life has thrown us some curve balls and sent us in an array of discouraged times. In 2005, I gave birth to a little girl, Isabella; and James had almost been married before, thank GOD that didn’t work out or I might have lost him. In Spring of 2010, it had finally taken it’s toll on me. I finally said, “Enough is enough”… that in itself scared James. He was afraid of losing something that he had wanted all this time and never realized it…. So he wrote me a very long email and expressed every feeling, every event, ever story I hadn’t heard about over the 11 years we’d known each other and literally spilled his heart out to me. So, being that I hadn’t seen him in 9 years, I asked for him to give me one thing and one thing alone for my birthday and that was for him to drive and meet me half way between Alabama (his residence currently) and Pennsylvania (my residence) and he agreed. We drove over night both calling every hour to check status of each other (the drive alone was 7 hours) and met up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Immediately the emotions followed us. That after 9 years, his and my spark was still there burning brightly. We stayed the weekend together and learned that the love we had for each other was still very strong, but the weekend ended and we both had lives for which to return.

    Life changes in an instant and the dreams that come true are those that you wish up, but this is nothing I could have ever thought would come true… 11 years of waiting and to admit, it’s been worth the wait…

    Over the last 6 months, James has come up for Halloween to spend time with us. He met Isabella for the first time and fell in love with her. He had played video games with her online and spoken with her regularly so the initial introduction was like they were always destined to be good friends. She adores him as he adores her, but again the time came where he had to return to Alabama. So, for the few months between Halloween and Christmas it was hard. As the holiday season comes to its peak I was truly missing him and wanted him here so bad. Well, to my own surprise he had been planning with my family, my ENTIRE family to come up for Christmas to surprise myself and Isabella. On the eve of Christmas Eve I got him from work to receive a phone call… and the phone call went as follows:

    James, “Hi Babe”

    Julie: “Hey, whatcha doin?”
James: “Sitting on Santa’s Sleigh trying to make your Christmas wish come true”

    Julie: “What?, That’s not funny James”

    James: “Go look out your window”
Julie: “What? Why” (as I was shaking at this point)

    James: “Do you see me waving?”

    Julie: “Um, no”

    James: “Look down at your brothers car”
Julie: “OH MY GOD”

    At this point in time I threw the phone on my bed and was running through the house yelling at my brother, and was all but crying when I finally found shoes to put on and ran out the door. James was standing on the porch and I was clearly surprised and so happy to see him. Over the past few months he had planned down to every detail, including the interception of my Christmas package to his house by my brother Matt. James had officially surprised me for Christmas and given me the best present ever for Christmas, himself, so he dropped to one knee and right there, with my slippers and bathrobe on and snow falling all around us, he asked me to marry him and I said “YES!”, the date has been set for November 11, 2011 and we can’t wait. It’s been a long wait but 100% worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing.. seems it’s the way it should be.

  5. Sometimes, even the best-made plans are derailed by the heat of the moment — and, sometimes, those detours are even more beautiful than the initial, overall plan. Engagements, of course, should be well-planned and pre-concieved — it’s nice to offer the love of your life some symbol or token when you ask them to consider permanently uniting their life with yours, and you should also have spent some time contemplating whether this is the right move for you in your own life at this particular moment in time. That being said, life is a complicated and spontaneous creature, and you need to be able to recognize and accept when the “right moment” presents itself, even if it’s not exactly the way you planned it.

    In September of 2009, Thomas and I had been dating for a little under a year. Not only were we madly and passionately in love with each other, but we’d also both gone through a great deal together within the course of that year. I was a single mother, an older woman, and an emotional and financial wreck; seven years my junior, Thomas helped me navigate through healing and recovery with all the grace and wisdom of a seasoned sea captain weathering a treacherous storm. We were lovers, companions, and the best of friends, and in the September of 2009 — in the midst of crowds and chaos of Boomsday — we realized that we were slowly becoming a family, as well. Despite my moody and panicked snappiness on that sweltering Sunday evening, and despite his carrying of an exhausted ten-year-old girl on his back for miles across downtown Knoxville, Thomas decided on that Labor Day weekend that he wanted to ask me to be his wife — completely unbeknownst to me, at the time.

    We’d been planning this “night out” in the middle of September for a while. My daughter would be staying with her father for the weekend, and we wanted to go back to the restaurant where we had our first date, and then we wanted to wander around World’s Fair Park and have drinks in the bar up in the Sunsphere and just have an evening where we did nothing but enjoy each other’s company. A week or so prior to this outing, Thomas had gone out and purchased an engagement ring, and had started carrying it around in his messenger bag — again, I was absolutely clueless. His plan, as he related to me later, was to propose to me in the Sunsphere, where I would be surrounded by the panorama of the city I loved, and which had been a special and beautiful place for us several evenings in the past.

    However, as we were sitting in Bonefish restaurant, drinking wine and enjoying our delectable meals, I kept looking around at the restaurant and remembering when we were last there — on our first date, when I was so incredibly insecure and unsure of myself, and where I was amazed that talking, sharing, and joking with someone I barely knew came so second-nature to me. I related these feelings to Thomas as I thought them, rattling off about how lucky I was, how happy I was, how much I loved him, how glad I was that he had come into my life, and how now — this, right here — was an absolute perfect moment, surrounded by the ebb and flow of the life around us, being there together with delicious food, amazing wine, and the brilliance of each other’s company. I just wanted to *be completely* in that moment, so I breathed deeply, closed my eyes, and basked in all of it.

    “Look down,” Thomas said.

    I opened my eyes and looked down into the seat between us. And there was a sparkly thing in a little black box.

    “What is that?!” I gasped, not daring to believe the obvious, half-expecting Thomas to tell me this was a weird 10-month-anniversary gift, or that he saw something on display at a jewelry store and thought of me, or even that he just wanted to see how I would react and this was some sort of an elaborate prank.

    Instead, he asked me to marry him.

    And I said yes. Or, rather, I gasped “yes” as I grabbed and kissed him and sort of fell into a babbling display of tears and shrieks of excitement. It’s a wonder we didn’t get kicked out of Bonefish, to be honest. But my heart was filled with love and amazement and happiness and disbelief, and all of that emotion just wasn’t going to be contained in any traditionally civilized manner.

    Needless to say, I couldn’t finish the rest of my dinner.

    We drove to World’s Fair Park, went up in the Skybox bar and celebrated with champagne as we watched the beautiful Knoxville skyline and listened to the Rolling Stones and Twittered and changed our Facebook status and talked and kissed some more. Afterward, we wandered around World’s Fair Park, danced in the amphitheater, kissed on the bridges, and laughed. I kept looking at my ring and smiling, and I continued to ride that wave of joy well into the night — and then into the weeks, months, and years of our long engagement, which will finally come to a close this upcoming 3rd of June, when we will legally and officially seal and acknowledge the cooperative partnership and loving family that we’ve nourished and created in the time between that single eventful evening and today. And even if that evening did not go completely according to Thomas’s original plan, I cannot imagine any scenario or method more perfect, intimate, and meaningful than the way the evening unfolded — than the way I agreed to become the future Mrs. Thomas Alley.

  6. I first met Neena on April 16, 2010 during a production of her dance company at Markham Theatre. Neena is a leading Indian Classical Dancer and Assistant Artistic Director for the largest Classical Dance Company in Canada.

    I had never attended such a show or visited the theatre myself. We began to see each other after that and the relationship progressed very well. About 10 months later, I was thinking strongly of proposing but wanted to do something memorable. I got the idea that I wanted to propose to her under the guise of a show that I had created, and I wanted to do it at Markham Theatre where we first met. I was able to rent the theatre out for the proposal. I made up posters and booklets for the play ‘Six Questions’ that designed! I made a video that was this play, which ended by asking her to come on stage.

    I made it professional by sending out posters and making program booklets available at showtime. I enlisted the help of her friend who taught me how to propose using the hand gestures that are used by Indian Classical dancers during their shows.

    Neena arrived to an empty house, but the usher was amazing at getting Neena into the theatre and sitting her down. The video played and she came on stage at the end. I came out and shocked her with my dance moves and she said yes!

    We have it on video!

  7. […] Engagement Story Contest 2011 […]

  8. […] Send your friends and vote yourself. Voting closes midnight February 28! You must vote on the official Rebecca Claire Photography blog! […]

  9. […] everyone is a winner because they all have great stories. But we have a winner in our poll of Favorite Engagement Story. It was a heated race. I don’t know that I’ve ever had that many votes cast before. I […]

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