Just as the cherry blossoms were making their debut, Courtney and Andrew were able to have their Airlie engagement session with me. The weather was mild and pleasant and we had over an hour before rain began to fall. It was the perfect evening for an engagement session along with their two fur babies. And with Spring about ready to burst forth early at the beginning of March, Airlie was just perfect.
The first time I met with Courtney and Andrew was at Ava Laurenne Bride in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We met in the new reception space on the top floor of Ava Laurenne, Rendezvous. I felt like I knew these two for ages already! We had such interesting things in common and I knew right away it was a great fit. So I was so excited for their Airlie engagement session. I love the grounds at Airlie and I knew that this was a great place for them.
Courtney: While Andrew’s version of our proposal story spans over the course of a few days, my perspective was much shorter. The day of our proposal was his birthday, October 29th and we decided to go out to dinner. After we finished, we left to go home. We had driven separately to the restaurant because I had come straight from work. If we ever drive separately on our way home from somewhere, typically he arrives before I do and waits for me in the garage while listening to songs in his car.
That day was different. I pulled in the garage and noticed that he had already went into the house. I felt that it was weird, but brushed it off. When I walked in, the lights were off in the kitchen which made me a little nervous (I may or may not be afraid of the dark). And I could see dim and glowing lights coming from the living room. I walked in and he had turned on our hung string lights on the patio (right off the living room) which made the entire living room appear to be glowing. He said, “Let’s have a dance party for my birthday,” so he put on one of my favorite songs, “From This Moment” by Shania Twain.
I could tell how hard he was trying to be romantic and have this perfect (what I thought) birthday moment with me, but then a youtube ad came on before the song, which made the moment even more perfect because we laughed. Finally, the song played and it was perfect. I had told him on multiple occasions that growing up, I had always thought that “From This Moment” would be the song that I dance to with my husband on our wedding day.
When the song was finally over, he told me to pick the next one. His phone was the one playing the music, so I turned around to pick a song, but the only thing I could think to play was, “Single Ladies” by Beyonce because it is so much fun to dance to. So I turned back around to ask if he would be ok with dancing to that song, and when I did, he was down on one knee and to make it even more perfect, he had gotten our two dogs, Pepper and Pudge, to sit right beside him.
In that moment, everything faded away. It was just two people in the world, him and me. He told me that all he wanted for his birthday was to spend the rest of his birthdays with me. There was no jumbotron, no family or friends, or large public scene, but it was exactly what I wanted. Our little moment of pure bliss, just the two of us, that made us even closer. Looking back on that moment now, I am really glad that I did not chose “Single Ladies” to play!
Andrew: I really didn’t have a plan when I bought her ring in the summer of 2019. All I knew was I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, and truthfully, I had known for some time already. On my drives home from work, I would play “From This Moment” (one of Courtney’s favorite songs) for inspiration and brainstorm potential ways to ask for her hand. It took a little time to get a private moment with her family to ask for their blessing. Once I did, I knew the reality of my dreams was finally coming to fruition.
Where had the months of pondering led me? I still had no idea; nothing seemed good enough. As the end of October was upon us, I decided the how didn’t matter as much as the act itself. A few of our early dates were spent exploring some of the breweries in Richmond, perhaps that would be the perfect scene to begin our engagement. We decided to go for my birthday weekend to celebrate, or so she thought.
Preparing for the day, I put the ring box in my pocket. Much too bulky. Ring alone in my pocket; didn’t trust myself. Ultimately, I hid it in a sunglass case and cautioned Courtney, “Do NOT let me leave this anywhere.” Sweaty palms and a racing heart filled the drive down. When? How? Still had no answers. At some point, I realized a public proposal was probably not Courtney’s style. Jokingly, I told Courtney, “As much fun as it is to have you drive me around to drink alone, how about we go home. We can open a bottle of wine, maybe dance a little?” I mean, how could she resist?
As we pulled into the garage, I knew the moment was closing in. I took the dogs out, turned on some music…only to find Courtney fast asleep. The next morning, she apologized, but we agreed to a “redo” for that dance later that night. Perhaps fate wanted me to do better. I was off that day, so I was able to plan a more romantic evening. So I prepared dinner to be ready for her when she got off work. And it was pretty delicious, if I do say so myself! I told her I’d clear the table and meet her in the living room for that dance.
The moment had come. Taking a breath, I patted my pocket. Ring was ready to go. As a lover of Disney, I must say as I walked into the room, Sleeping Beauty came to mind. Slightly embarrassed, she apologized again the next morning, but I reassured her it was fine. Raincheck for that night. Third times the charm, right?
We already had dinner plans for my birthday but I was still wanting to avoid a public display and we had driven separately. So I rushed home afterwards. With her proclivity to fall asleep, I wasn’t taking any chances this time. I had already prepared a speaker and queued “From This Moment” on YouTube. Had all the blinds pulled up so the outdoor bistro lights shown through into the living room.
I ran inside, took the dogs out as quickly as I could and met Courtney after she parked. “You’re not falling asleep on me this time.” I guided her into the living and pushed play…aaaannd YOUTUBE ADVERTISEMENT! Okay…not ideal…killed the mood a little…but we had a laugh. And then, we danced. At that moment, life was perfect, nothing else mattered. As the song came to an end, I told her she had to pick the next song. With her back turned, I got down on one knee. And with our dogs, Pudge and Pepper, by my side, she turned around. Tears welled in her eyes. In my heart, I knew her answer. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned, but it was well worth the wait for the best birthday present I could ask for.
Wow guys! What a story! I so enjoyed getting to know Courtney and Andrew even more during their Airlie engagement session. And I can’t wait for their Morais Vineyards wedding later this year. Congratulations on your engagement and I am so honored to serve you! Keep scrolling for more highlights from their Airlie engagement session.
To see more Airlie weddings and engagement sessions, peruse HERE.