Emily and Ken

How We Met

Ken and I met in 2012 not long after I moved to Greenville South Carolina with my parents and my brother. My parents were building a house, so we had to rent a condo nearby until it was finished. Our condo was located in a beautiful gated community called Thornblade. It was surrounded by beautiful trees and nature trails. Early one morning my dad and I decided to take our new English bulldog puppies, Barney and Fred for a walk. As we made our way down the path I noticed a large English bulldog in the distance. This instantly excited me, as a dog lover and especially because it was an English bulldog!! Still staring at the bulldog, I noticed the dog was heading our way, that’s when my eyes drifted up towards who was holding the leash. “Oh he’s real cute” I thought to myself. Then, instantly regretting not putting more effort into my just rolled out of bed appearance- haha. They made their way over near where my dad and I were, and my dad immediately struck up a conversation with him. At this point I was knelled on the ground holding barney so he wouldn’t run away. I wanted to introduce myself but, I couldn’t seem to get a word in, and I was also extremely nervous.

My dad talked to him for a few minutes more and then he went on his way. Still sitting on the ground holding Barney, I thought to myself, “of course, the first time I see a good looking guy here, my dad gets in the way” I laughed to myself. For the next few weeks I was hoping to run into the cute guy with the bulldog. Every time I would head out for a walk it seemed my dad wanted to join, and of course whenever my dad would come, we would run into the guy with his bulldog. Every. Single. Time. And every time, my sweet dad would talk his ear off. (And, for the record my dad had no idea what was going on, that I was hoping to have a formal introduction with this man, preferably without him there.) Unfortunately every time we ran into him, I was once again left kneeling down in the grass holding onto the puppies so they wouldn’t run off. Finally, I figured out what time the cute guy and his dog would usually be outside. I thought to myself, “I just have to run into him -without my dad so we can finally be formally introduced!”. I had this gut feeling that all we had to do was meet. Then, one evening my parents had just left for dinner, and I was on the balcony when I saw him come out with his bulldog. I quickly grabbed Barney and started to walk down to the trail.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Ocracoke Island

As I was headed down they were walking back up the trail heading my way. “Please notice me”, I thought to myself. Before I knew it they were walking directly towards Barney and I. I was so nervous. “Hi!”, he said. “ Hi!” I said, “I’m Ken”, he said reaching out to shake my hand. “I’m Emily”, I smiled. I kneeled down to pet his dog, “What’s his name?”, I asked. “Tugboat”, he said. I laughed. After talking a little while longer, we then exchanged numbers and went our separate ways. Four days later I received a text from Ken that read: “Hi Emily, my company is hosting a silent auction cocktail dinner for the Make A Wish Foundation next Friday, would you like to accompany me?” Of course, I graciously accepted! I was so excited; I couldn’t believe it! Friday night came and I had bought a red dress for the date. The doorbell rang and there he stood wearing a black suit. He drove us to the event, and we had the most amazing conversation, excellent dinner, and watched James Brown perform. A few months later Ken asked for me to be his girlfriend. I guess in the old days they would call this “going steady” haha. and now The rest is history!! For the last almost 4 and a half years we’ve spent our time traveling many places, hiking mountains in between eating excellent food and simply enjoying each other’s company. It has truly been the greatest adventure. I would not trade life with him for anything.

EmilyBurke and Ken's Engagement in Ocracoke Island

How He Asked

The Outer Banks is a place that is very special to me. It is my second home. My family and I have vacationed there practically every summer since I was born, it was actually where my parents honeymooned! We have always stayed on Hatteras Island, but every day would find ourselves taking the ferry over to another Island called Ocracoke, for its secluded beaches. So after all these years, we all decided we would stay all stay on Ocracoke Island for the first time, since we like spend most of our time over there anyways. I had been dying to have dinner on the beach, but it had been rainy and cloudy our first few days.

Finally, June 27, 2017, it was a beautiful day not a cloud in sight. I made dinner and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert (our favorite). I packed everything up along with a blanket and my new camera. I wanted to take some photos of us on the beach and since we were planning to go out after, we were already somewhat dressed up, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity for a little photo shoot. Unbeknownst to me I wouldn’t be taking our photos…

Where to Propose in Ocracoke Island

Once Ken packed up the car we headed out to the beach. We laid the blanket down, up slightly on the dunes. We ate pretty quickly as I was starving (per usual). After taking in the view and staring at the beautiful sparkling ocean I turned to Ken and said “Strawberries?!”. He hopped up to get them, at which point I stood up to capture this picture of the seagull that kept fling around us. (the seagull, who would come to make several appearances in our photos later)

As the shutter of the camera went off , behind me, Ken says, “Okay, which one do you want? ” I turned around, and dropped the camera. There Ken was down on one knee holding open a wooden box with a marble top that was engraved “Will You Marry Me?”. Inside were the chocolate covered strawberries and in the middle, a ring box opened with a beautiful ring inside. With the goofiest biggest grin, I had ever saw come across Ken’s face he said, “Will you marry me?” Shocked at what was happening, my hands covered my mouth, and I replied, “What? is the real!!?” I began to tear up. I was so full of joy!! “Is that a yes?” Ken asked. I nodded my head while wiping a tear away saying “YES!! YES!!” We embraced and kissed for what felt like forever and it was a moment I will never forget. I was going to marry the man of my dreams. Then a few moments later…

…..Ken motioned towards the sea grass and said “Look over there and smile!!” When I looked over I saw Caroline Jarvis, the photographer who had photographed our family a year prior, waving hello. He told me she had been there the entire time hiding in the sea grass and had just captured our entire proposal! We then stood there for a while taking in the moment…After some time Caroline came over and said, “Surprise!! Are you ready for your engagement shoot!?”

At one point during the shoot, Ken wrapped his arms around me and whispered in my ear “remember this moment.” It was as if those words echoed into my soul and I can still recall that exact moment as if it were happening right now. It was as if the world stopped and it was only us. What a feeling. This day was in every sense of the word, perfect. A perfect proposal on a perfect day, the water, sparked in a way I had never saw it sparkle before and with the seagull that appeared in practically every photo, it felt like a sign from above, and we couldn’t help but feel like it was all meant to be, it was magical.

After, we headed to where my parents were staying to tell them the good news. On the way there I learned that the proposal had been 6 months in the making! Ken is and always has been the most thoughtful man I have come to know, so to learn he had been planning this for half a year was very, Ken! :] I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I am living the life of my dreams, with the man of my dreams. I am forever grateful Ken is the one who will be by my side throughout this life.

Special Thanks

Caroline Jarvis
Photographer