Flippen Park is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen. Apparently a bunch of other people think so, too, because I arrived there to meet Austin and almost couldn’t find a parking spot along the street in historic Highland Park. There were dozens of cars crowding the park and nearby homes. Once we got out of our cars, it only got worse – the gazebo and pond were littered with high schoolers and their parents running around taking pictures before the homecoming dance. At one point, one of the photographers was literally in the pond. It was nearly impossible to get a good shot without seeing all the chaos in the background.
If you feel a little bit of panic just reading this, then you know for sure that I was too. The good news – this happened during our location scout the week before the big day, but can you imagine if it had been the real deal? What would you have done? What if there wasn’t a backup plan in place? Or what if you didn’t have someone there to help navigate the situation? I’ll jump into a lot more of this tomorrow on the Lunch Break Blog, but this is exactly one of the reasons why it’s important to work with a proposal photographer who knows what to look for, how to adjust, and what questions to ask. Thank goodness this wasn’t my first rodeo (but my 18th!)
Austin and Riley have the cutest #houseboysuccessstory (as dubbed by one of Riley’s best friends, Reagan Lutter! I love that!) Austin tells their story best, so I’m excited to let him share in his own words how this all went down!
“During our sophomore year, I was working in Riley’s sorority as a houseboy, and we never really talked. I later found out that Riley knew me as the guy who was always whistling in the kitchen when I was working (she’s not a fan of whistling). Besides this, I saw her around the house every once in a while and at church, but again, we never got to know each other during sophomore year. During the summer between our sophomore and junior year, I was at a party and one of our mutual friends showed up. She also lived in the sorority house during our sophomore year, so we were catching up on how the last year was. We got to talking, and somehow I made a comment wishing that I would have gotten to know Riley a little bit more. We had quite a few mutual friends and everyone spoke so highly of her. As I was telling our mutual friend about this, she laughed about this and basically told me “you can always try next year”. This party was at the beginning of the summer and I didn’t really think anything of this conversation again. I came back to Norman at the end of the summer to help work rush at Riley’s sorority. One night I was out with some buddies who were back in town early, and I got a text from our mutual friend saying that Riley would be interested on going on a date. I immediately panicked. I forgot all about us talking about this earlier in the summer, but during some down time at the sorority house, our friend talked to Riley to gauge her interest and told her that I’d like to take her out and get to know her. A few days later, I asked Riley out, and the rest is history!
I knew Riley was the one on December 3rd, 2016. I know it’s kind of crazy to be so specific, but December 3rd, is the anniversary of my father’s passing. I generally try not to think about this much, but I was aware the date was coming up and this year was the 5 year anniversary. At this time we were dating for just over two months, and during our first few months of dating I remember we had some talks about this, but I honestly don’t remember ever telling her when it happened. On the morning of December 3rd, I walked out of my apartment and found a gift bag sitting outside of my door. In the bag was some of my favorite coffee and two notes. The first note was from Riley, saying that she was thinking of me more than normal that day, and the second note was a note from our college church (St. Thomas Moore), saying that she got the upcoming mass dedicated for my father. I read these notes in my car, and immediately broke down. Again, at this time, we haven’t been dating for too long, but I was blown away that Riley went through all of this effort to make sure I wasn’t alone or feeling lonely on this day. From this day forward, I knew that Riley was special, and I knew that I wanted to marry her.
Riley is the most selfless and caring person that I’ve ever met. She never hesitates to go out of her way to make sure that everyone else knows that they are loved. Being around her makes you want to be the best person that you can be. Every single day with her is an absolute blessing, and I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to have found her. The last four years with Riley has been more than I could have ever asked for, and knowing that I get to spend a life time with her truly makes me the luckiest man in the world.”
This one is my favorite because of the look of sheer excitement and relief on Austin’s face – we were pretty nervous about someone walking into the shot during the proposal, a dog running through the pond, or little kids running through! Thankfully it went off without a hitch! Sweet high school friends there to help celebrate the future Owles! These girls got Riley all ready and helped us pull off the plan to get her to the park without her knowing a THING! She was completely surprised to see Austin waiting for her when they pulled up!