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Before I Do


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photo | Brittany Jean Photography


On a Tuesday in September, both Taylor and I had taken off work because we were getting ready to leave on a short vacation the following day. He told me not to make any plans because he had a fun-filled day of surprises in store ahead of our trip. I was immediately suspicious.

Being the selfless person that Taylor is, he obliged when I asked him to spend the first few hours of the day taking newborn photos for my co-worker who recently had a baby but couldn’t afford a photographer.

That afternoon, he took me to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants and treated me to a couple’s massage. The real surprise was yet to come.

As the sun was setting, Taylor took me out on a private boat on Lady Bird Lake right in the heart of downtown Austin. He drove us around the lake– just the two of us. As romantic as it sounds, the event was somewhat comical. Neither of us really knew how to drive the boat and we had some close calls with a high school rowing team that was zooming all around us during their rowing practice. Their coach even yelled at us through a megaphone across the lake because we were such terrible boaters! When we finally reached a calm spot in the lake, he stopped the boat and pulled out a bottle of wine. I was shocked to see it was my favorite wine from my favorite winery in Tyler, Texas. Kiepersol wines are hard to find in Austin! I lived in Tyler for 3.5 years right after the start of our relationship. The entire city of Tyler and Kiepersol winery have very special places in our hearts because that’s where our love really grew. I’ve saved the Kiepersol corks from every bottle of wine we’ve ever opened because they print sweet sayings about love and friendship on each cork. The corks are in a vase in our living room. When he opened the bottle, he asked if I wanted to keep this cork, too. “Of course!” I said, opening my palm to accept it. I was completely shocked when I looked down to see a custom message on this particular cork. “Marry me?” was all it said. I burst into happy tears. Taylor got down on one knee with trembling hands and a quivering voice and made a speech that I wish I could remember. I think I must have blacked out from the joy and excitement and rush of emotion. Through the tears I managed to squeak out “yes!” and he put a stunning pear-shaped diamond ring on my finger.

When we got back to the dock, friends were waiting for us. They’d been on the shore the entire time capturing the moment from afar. We went to dinner and spent the night at a beautiful new hotel downtown. Our room overlooked the spot on the lake where he’d proposed. It was the perfect day.