Alyxa and Patrick

Alyxa's Proposal in The Florida Botanical Gardens

How We Met

Patrick and I met thanks to a mutual friend of ours, Jake. (Love ya buddy!) We were both in college and happened to be staying at the same place that summer before school started back up in August. I remember getting off of a late shift at work and meeting Patrick and a few of his friends for the first time. It seems silly to say, but the only thing that stood out to me about him then was that he was the only one who stood up and shook my hand. What started as a brief introduction turned into six long months of courtship. I was very adamant about just being Patrick’s friend. I didn’t think he was my type and after dealing with the end of a serious relationship, I wanted to spend the rest of the year focusing on myself. Little did I know, the universe had other plans. What I have come to know and love about Patrick is that when he wants something, he will work as hard as it takes to get it. Even if he gets shot down once, twice, or thirty-seven times in our case. Which is lucky for me because that is how this beautiful thing came to be.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in The Florida Botanical Gardens

(From left to right, Alyxa, Patrick, Jake and another friend of ours, Nick)

Thanks to Patrick’s persistence and compliance with being just “friends” we saw a lot of one another. We’d go to baseball games, help one another with our school assignments and went out nearly every weekend together. One night while playing cards with our friends, I looked across the table and there Patrick was giving me what we now call, “the look”. It sounds cliché, but he was staring at me so adoringly with his sparkling blue eyes and signature side smirk that made me feel like the only person in the room. It was then that something in me just clicked. We shared our first kiss that night and couldn’t stop giggling about the “FINALLY!” that came out of his mouth just after it had happened. We had our first official date shortly after. He picked me up in a suit with a single rose and treated me to a beautiful dinner right on the water. The meal, ambiance and my company that night was perfection. When we wrapped up our meal we drove to a nearby beach that had a beautiful view of the city skyline. With our toes in the sand he asked me to be his girlfriend and FINALLY, I said yes.

Where to Propose in The Florida Botanical Gardens

How He Asked

If you asked Patrick, he will tell you that it is practically impossible to surprise me. Which is in large part why our engagement is so special. Patrick picked me up on Friday after work. He recruited the help of my colleagues to ensure I finished anything I needed to right at 5 o’clock, so there would be no delays in getting me out the door. When he showed up, he said we were going on a trip, that he was going to drop off our dog, Sadie, and that he would like to get on the road by 7. I think I probably said “you’re joking!” a dozen times or so before it finally registered that Patrick managed to pull off a surprise without me knowing, successfully. As promised, he showed up at 6:54PM asking if I was ready to go. I wasn’t. I had so many questions. “Where are we going?” “Do I need a passport?” “What kind of clothes do I need to pack?” He told me a list of what to bring, said my passport wasn’t necessary and we were on the road by 7:24PM. It wasn’t long after we merged onto the freeway that I knew where we were heading – St Petersburg, Florida.

St. Pete has held a special place in our hearts from the time we started dating. It was the first place we roadtripped together and we try to visit at least once annually since we love it there so much. When we arrived, there was surprise #2. Patrick booked us a cottage right on the water. It was breathtaking. The day of the proposal was a day I couldn’t dream up if I tried. After sleeping in, we had breakfast in the courtyard and took bicycle cruisers around town. We shopped for some essentials and made our way to the soft, white-sanded beaches. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we read, listened to music, swam and just soaked up being in one another’s company. We wrapped up at the beach, had a delicious lunch, and when we got back to the cottage, there was surprise #3.

Patrick told me there was one place he was dying to take me to. He said to dress up in something I felt pretty in and that we needed to leave before sunset. Once ready, we get in the car and drive to The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida. We get out of the car and thanks to an impromptu rain storm, discover that we are the only people in the gardens. He pulled out the umbrella, wrapped his arm around me and guided me through the ornamental grounds before arriving to the Wedding Garden. It was then that the rain suddenly stopped and the sky shifted to shades of purple, pink and orange. We began walking through the garden and made our way under the pavilion where the words, “Love is the flower of life” by D.H Lawrence was written in large letters next to us.

He began to tell me about his true intentions of why he took me on this trip. That for five years he has wanted to do this in the most special way and that this was the most perfect way he knew how. He shared a handful of significant memories and milestones and told me that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

He got down on one knee, asked me to marry marry him and I said YES! We embraced and almost shocked, he said, “but you haven’t even looked at the ring!” I responded by saying “I’m looking at the most important thing!”

Proposal Ideas The Florida Botanical Gardens

That moment still sticks with me because it was so pure and telling of our relationship. We value one another most and the ring was just the icing the cake. Almost without warning, the rain picked up again, and our friend/photographer, Dorothy, shuffled us into her car where a bottle of champagne and glasses were waiting for us. We toasted and I, still in disbelief, could not make sense of what had just happened, and still can’t! When the rain did subside, there was surprise #4. We got out of the car and over a loud speaker was a playlist Patrick had made for us to slow dance to. The sun began to descend and we danced to four of our favorite songs that we had danced to so many times in the years we’d been together.

After what felt like the most perfect day, only got better when we arrive for surprise #5 – a romantic dinner for two at a restaurant in town. We were one of two tables in the whole establishment and had the best time. We laughed, cried happy tears and toasted to the journey that lied ahead of us. On our way home, we made an unplanned stop at the beach. With our toes in the sand and the moon shining right above us, I held on to my best friend in the whole world and knew in that moment that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Pretty great that I get to say that the only guy that shook my hand all those years ago is the same one who asked for my hand in marriage nearly five years later.

Special Thanks

Dorothy Edwards
Photographer