September 2, 2016
Tom and I work together and had never met each other prior to the first week of September. We both signed up for an activity called "Lunch Ninja" where a system pairs you with another co-worker with the hopes of meeting more people in the office!
Lo and behold, our calendars scheduled us for a lunch on September 2 when I saw an email from him to the office requesting a photographer. I responded since I knew he would be my lunch buddy soon and said I did photography.
With excitement, he explained he planned on proposing to his girlfriend, Janelle, that Friday. Oh my gosh! I've always wanted to photograph a surprise proposal, but never had it work out with my schedule. Janelle's favorite spot in the city is Buckingham Fountain, because of its intersection in the heart of Chicago and the lake.
Throughout the next few days, Tom strategized and I helped support. Janelle's best friend, Katie, brought the largest, most beautiful bouquet of flowers to my apartment on Friday afternoon to surprise Janelle with once Tom proposed.
Steven and I stealthily acted like tourists and hid behind recycling bins as we gathered intel from Tom that he had successfully picked up Janelle from Chase, where she works. They then enjoyed wine at the Chicago at a nearby patio before strolling towards the fountain. The rest is history!
Read Tom & Janelle's perspectives of the day below :)
TOM: There were so many thoughts running through my head on the big day. I was both excited and nervous at the same time. The first thing I checked was the weather and just as forecasts predicted (a first for Chicago), it was going to perfect on Friday (75 and sunny). Second thought was regarding clothing. The plan was to meet Janelle in the loop after work, grab a drink, and go for a walk near the lake, so whatever we wore to work was going to be our outfits for the special day. I was able to dress up and avoid suspicion by making up a white lie that I had a meeting with my director. As for Janelle, she's beautiful and always looks amazing for work so I wasn't worried about that.
During the day, I couldn't really focus at work and took about 10 walks around the office. It was reassuring to have lunch with Ivana to finalize our plans for the big surprise. I left work in the early afternoon to meet Janelle at Chase tower and we decided to grab drinks at the Chicago Athletic Association. As we were grabbing drinks, I was able to stealthily confirm that Janelle's best friend was able to drop off a beautiful bouquet flowers to surprise Janelle with at Buckingham Fountain, which is the where Ivana and Steven were secretly hiding out waiting to capture the big moment.
After we finished our drinks, I was feeling amazing as we left the Chicago Athletic Association ring-in-pocket holding hands and heading toward Buckingham Fountain. As we approached, we noticed the fountain was roaring higher than we've ever seen it before. This was the perfect diversion tactic, since I initially told Janelle that we were going to walk to the lake, which was a block the other way. As we approached the fountain, I found the spot that Ivana identified as having the best views for photography. I grabbed Janelle's bag off her shoulder and took my backpack off and expressed my admiration and love for Janelle. I got down one knee and the rest is history!
I want send a special thank you to Ivana and Steven who captured this moment and stuck around to take pictures afterward. Everything went as planned and we love that we have beautiful pictures to relive the moment forever.
JANELLE: My perspective on the day is short as I was completely surprised and blown away with such a beautiful proposal! It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon in Chicago and I have never seen Buckingham Fountain shooting as high as it was as we walked up. I actually commented on it and asked Tom if he thought might be broken, now moments from proposing he was totally non coherent, so I said "Hello do you see this fountain?!" As we walked up to the railing Tom took my bag and set it aside, told me in so many wonderful ways how much he loves me, and then asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. From there everything was truly a blur of love and happy tears; we couldn't be more thankful to Ivana and Steven for capturing it all so beautifully! We will treasure these pictures forever.