Paul and Lisa’s Proposal in Sarasota

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How we met: Lisa and I both attended the University of Florida (Go Gators!), but we fell in love in Tampa and began dating while I was attending law school and getting my MBA. Lisa was attending medical school in Tampa, but she liked to study at our law library because it was quieter and closer to her home. So, what better place for two bookworms to meet than the library, right?

Despite many grueling weekends in the library and never-ending study dates, Lisa and I also managed to enjoy traveling, sporting events, live music, fishing, and just about anything that involves the great outdoors. Specifically, Lisa loves being on the water. So, I wanted to wait for the perfect day on the water to ask her to marry me.

How he asked: One month prior to popping the question, I came up with an elaborate story and told Lisa about a special party that my family invited us to. The party was a “member/guest event” at a yacht club in Sarasota. Little did she know, this event was entirely made up and all of her family and friends were gathering at my parents’ home near Casey Key to surprise her after the proposal instead.

After we got all dressed up for the “party” and drove down to Sarasota, I called my mom upon our arrival. My mom made sure to state over the phone, “your father and I are running about 20 mins late.” She was in on my plan the whole time and knew exactly what to say to help keep the surprise. In order to kill some time, I asked Lisa if she would like to drive out to the yacht club harbor on Sarasota Bay to see the sailboats and spot the giant fish that like to swim by the rocks. She agreed and we began to walk out to the water. With my camera in hand, I began to snap some pictures of the scenery and “fish” that were supposed to be by the rocks. I then told Lisa to look out towards the water for a picture.

When I asked her to turn around, she saw that I was down on one knee. I proposed by the rocks as the sun was shinning down on both of us.

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To add more excitement to the mix, I flew my younger sister (Carolyn Rush) down from Washington D.C. to help photograph the moment. Carolyn just so happens to be an amazing event photographer, and she captured the whole day on film. During my proposal, my sister was secretly hiding a couple hundred feet away and was snapping photos getting the perfect shots of Lisa’s reaction.

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After the proposal, I had a bottle of champagne chilled and we were ready to celebrate at the club. While we toasted to the happy moment, my sister drove home to let all of Lisa’s family and friends know that we would soon be on our way. Lisa had no idea that we would be returning to my house full of all of her loved ones waiting to surprise her again!

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After the second surprise, we all ate, drank, laughed, and had amazing photos taken throughout the evening. It truly was the perfect day. The weather was incredible and an incredible sunset over Sarasota Bay was an ideal ending to an already beautiful celebration.

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Photos by Carolyn Rush Photography

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  • Arthur Griswold

    Adorable! What a beautiful couple. Modern day prince Charming.

  • Brittany

    What a beautiful story!!