Haven and Monte's 'Meet Cute'

Haven said she’d been waiting for this moment for 37 years. But in order to truly appreciate her proposal story, you first need to understand how she got there. I've captured countless heartwarming moments, but this one was truly unforgettable. So get ready my friends, as I share a love story filled with nostalgia and the hope of a love, rediscovered.

It all started in February of 1986. Monte, a high school senior, spotted Haven (sophomore) in the school gym. The two of them chatted casually about their bracelets but Monte had noticed Haven long beforehand. He was known for his charm and confidence, but there was also a side to him that earned him the reputation of being a bit of a jerk. Despite his flaws, there was something undeniably attractive about him. Haven couldn't resist. As they spent more time together, she found herself falling for him. Their relationship blossomed, and over the next 2.5 years, they experienced the joys of young love.

They shared dreams of a future together, believing that their love would conquer any obstacle that came their way. Monte had even gave haven a promise ring. However, life had its own plans. Like many a young and dumb high school boys, he made some decisions that hurt their relationship. They broke up and life took them in different directions.

35 years later....

Monte randomly bumped into Haven at a restaurant. After their short reunion, he ‘slid into her DMs’ and apologized for the pain he had caused her during their youth. His sincerity touched Haven's heart. She could tell that he had transformed from the brash young man he once was into a compassionate and thoughtful person. As they reconnected and reminisced about the past, old feelings resurfaced. Obviously, the bond they had shared all those years ago had never truly faded.

When it was clear he’d been granted a second chance at true love, Monte reached out to me for help to document his proposal. He was bubbling with excitement (he’d purchased her engagement ring 6 months prior!) but wasn’t sure how to make the most of having a photographer with him when proposal time came. So naturally, the hopeless romantic in me sprung to life! I was thrilled to assist him in planning an unforgettable moment for Haven. After lots of texting and several conversations, we decided to stage the big moment in the atrium of the Gaylord Texan Hotel.

Popping the question (and champagne!)

I purchased and stashed champagne flutes and bubbly so Monte wouldn’t have to come up with an excuse on why he was walking around with sparkling Rosé. That afternoon, Monte and I exchanged pics so we’d recognize each other from afar. I’d also sent a 10 second video showing which path to take and where Monte should pause before getting down on one knee. Since Haven didn’t know anything about me, I had the advantage of looking in their direction as they walked around the atrium.

Once they crossed my path, I followed them from a short distance, staying just far enough away to avoid Haven’s peripheral vision. As they neared the proposal spot, Haven could hear their song ‘A girl like you’ playing and thought, how serendipitous. I’d placed a speaker beneath a bench 20 minutes before their arrival and was playing the song from my phone. She eventually spotted the speaker but by then, Monte was expressing his love. Her eyes were glued to him from that moment onward.

As he spoke, a small crowd of hotel visitors paused to watch the scene from the bridge above them. I held my breath as Monte got down on one knee but it only took mere seconds for Haven to say yes. As they shared a celebratory kiss, the small crowd erupted into cheers. Before I approached the happy couple, I played Etta James’ “At Last” so the two of them could bask in the moment together, just like Monte and I planned. It was like a scene from a movie.

The miracle of love

When I asked her why she’d accepted Monte’s proposal, Haven said she'd been waiting for this moment for 37 years. She said yes because Monte is one of the most unselfish, loving, kind, gentle-hearted people she knows. He serves her emotionally and makes sure she feels adored. While Haven described her love for Monte, his eyes filled with tears. So did mine!

Sometimes love needs time to find its way back to where it truly belongs. Haven and Monte’s love story speaks to the resilience of the human heart and the power of forgiveness. They’re committed to living life to the fullest, making the most of the time they have left… together.