Nathalie and Morgan's Beautiful Proposal at the Salt Flats

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How We Met

April 6, 2015 – I met a boy. I met a boy in an elevator. Not just any boy, but a boy wearing a bright yellow shirt. After finishing up a long day touring the MBA program at Brigham Young University, a boy entered my elevator with seconds to spare. I didn’t even look up, I was “busy” staring at my phone when I heard him say hello. I turned my attention towards him and instantly smiled upon seeng his bright yellow Polo shirt and cheerful face. He caught my attention. As we reached the ground level, we had discovered we both had ties to Annapolis, MD. We said our goodbyes and I thought that would be the end of it. Later that evening, though, I received a message via Instagram from that very same boy. The message went a little something like this: “Hey! It’s Morgan from earlier today in the elevator :) I noticed your name from the name tag you were wearing and instantly regretted not asking you for your number or anything after I left! Couldn’t just let a girl from Maryland go like that.”

The following day we went to breakfast before I caught my afternoon flight back to Maryland. I met a boy. I met a boy in an elevator, and it changed my life forever.

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How He Asked – by the groom’s accomplice, Sarah

It all started shortly after Valentine’s Day. I get a random text from Morgan, the boyfriend of my friend and right hand girl Nathalie. He wanted to talk. Knowing firsthand the whirlwind romance that had been brewing I was fairly confident I knew the reason for the formal call. So, without question I worked him into my planner sandwiched between afternoon bridal meetings and carting kids to evening activities. The call came at 7pm sharp and was exactly what I had expected, with one little twist. Morgan asked for my help in pulling off an EPIC surprise proposal. I believe his words were “Nathalie deserves something out of the pages of a magazine” As exciting as this was I was less than confident that a surprise of this magnitude would be possible.

Nathalie not only is a smart girl she also has complete access to everything in my life including email, phone, banking, Facebook, Instagram…. Literally, everything. In order to keep her from discovering our plans I had to change a few passwords, avoid contact with Morgan on social media and keep my phone away from her at all times. This was the easy part. The hard part was coming up with a proper surprise plan. How do we get Morgan and Nathalie to a picture perfect setting dressed to the nines and camera ready with a full photography team on hand? After a few covert text messages Morgan and I decided to stage a rouse. The rouse itself was an undertaking. It began by convincing Nathalie that I had been selected by Destination I Do magazine to collaborate on a series of editorial bridal shoots across the United States. Given the recent attention my studio, Intrigue, has received this was an easy sell. She bought the story “hook line and sinker,” getting excited for the opportunity to be involved just as I had expected she would. In order to be sure that there were no slip ups, I began telling others in my circle about this imaginary project with Destination I Do.

I began sharing details of the shoots with Nathalie and when I felt the time was right I started to ask her about the possibility of doing a shoot in Utah. Prior to this Morgan and I had discussed locations and I knew he gravitated towards the Salt Flats. So, as Nathalie told me of all the various beautiful natural landscape options available I was sure to amp up enthusiasm over her suggestion of the Flats. Meanwhile, Morgan was meeting with jewelry designers to create the most perfect custom engagement ring. With the ring ordered, Morgan was ready to set the engagement date. Remember, this all needed to be a surprise, so getting Nathalie to the Salt Flats had to be Nathalie’s idea. She and I began texting daily about the Destination I Do project and roughly 7 days from the date Morgan planned to propose, Nathalie and I hatched a plan to do an epic styled photo shoot on the Salt Flats. We spoke for hours about dresses, models, and flowers. This all seemed perfectly normal to Nathalie, as she has been by my side for many last minute floral adventures. In an effort to assure that she did not question any of the happenings, I included the photographer (Loi) in on the rouse and even got Courteney at Destination I Do to send a series of emails directly to Nathalie confirming timeline and social media strategy for the shoot. Everything was coming together perfectly with the exception of getting Morgan to the Salt Flats. It is a wide open area so if he just showed up she would see him from a distance and would know what was about to happen. Morgan and I went back and forth with just how to make this happen. We were at a loss with this part of the plan. Then, just days before the proposal he texted me with exciting news. Nathalie invited him to tag along for the day and also suggested that the two of them dress up and take Easter pictures after the shoot. This was just the break we needed. Now, they would both be arriving to the flats together, all dressed up, and the best part was that Nathalie was convinced the whole thing was her idea! With this last detail in place our plan was solid, if not perfect.

Upon arrival to the location, Nathalie was dressed in jeans and pretty, yet, casual attire. She didn’t want to change into her Easter Dress until after our editorial shoot. This attire just wasn’t working with our vision of the proposal. So, again we sprung into action with a revised plan. I hopped in her brother’s car giving Nathalie and Morgan some alone time and allowing Daniel, myself and his wife Melanie to speed ahead and stage the props on the flats before they arrived. We called Nathalie and let her know the model was delayed and suggested she take her Easter photos first. She abided and did a quick wardrobe change in a musty roadside rest stop that was less than ideal. In true Nathalie fashion it took her several minutes to get ready which played in perfectly. As soon as she made her way to our staged location I frantically explained that we were losing light and the model was about to arrive. I hustled her into the perfectly formed circle of greens and began swapping out bouquets as we tested the light for the photographer. Morgan waited patiently for his cue and when his moment came he asked to step into the circle to take a photo with his beautiful girlfriend. As soon as he took her hand we all naturally stepped back and didn’t hear the words that were spoken. We did however, see the response. Her hands began to shake and giant tears rolled down her face catching her dark mascara as the tears rolled past her cheek.

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She looked back at me and my co-conspirators in disbelief. Her face said it all. “Could this be real? Was this all just for me? Is this really happening?” This is a day that will go down as one of those great days in life. That image of the two of them framed by the distant mountains of the Utah landscape and surrounded by the blank pallet of the endless sea of salt crystals is one that will be forever etched in my memory. Him on one knee, arm extended, with ring in hand, her standing perfectly still eyes fixed on his.

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Although it is hard to see in this photo there was also a perfect little Mrs. box that Morgan had monogramed just for Nathalie. This was truly a remarkable moment and having been asked to be involved was an incredible honor. I have been thankful for Nathalie for quite a while and now I have become equally thankful for Morgan. He is more than a pretty face for Nathalie to bat her eyelashes at. He is a kind and giving man that went out of his way to assure his bride-to-be had a dream come true. (Now it is time to plan the wedding and this proposal has set the bar high.) And one final thank you to Melanie and Daniel for all of your help in bringing this together for Morgan and for making me feel like part of the family. Congratulations to Morgan & Nathalie!

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Special Thanks

Loi Vo Photo |
Photos