I love photographing weddings. I mean seriously love it. Every moment is so important, so special, so once-in-a-lifetime that each shot has its own significance- it’s a placeholder in time while life rockets by. Weddings are the only jobs that feel so sublimely weighty; except for proposals, that is.
My camera and I would never get to a wedding without those moments when one person in love decides to ask their partner to spend the rest of their life with them. Unlike weddings that require months of planning and organization, proposals are a far simpler display of love but with the same crazy emotional high that one gets when they say “I do”. I’ll never forget the rush I got the first time I (literally) hid in the bushes to capture a man proposing to his girlfriend. Now that I’ve got a number of proposals under my belt, I still feel the same rush every time. I get to wear multiple hats- photographer, planner, spy, actor, and bouncer- working hand in hand with that lucky someone ready to take the next step in their relationship. Each time I get a call to capture a proposal, I feel like I’ve hit the photographer’s jackpot and immediately start coming up with sneaky ways to get that special someone to a scenic location for the big moment.
I was contacted by Jesse a few months ago when he was ready to pop the question to his long-term girlfriend, Heather. He said that New Orleans was a big part of their relationship and while they lived in California, he knew that he must propose to her in the Crescent City. We decided on the Artillery Park overlooking Jackson Square as his proposal spot and planned out how he would get her there. On the day of, Jesse was so nervous but I knew everything would be flawless just how we planned.
And it was.
And she said YES!
Afterwards, we wandered all over the Quarter together to shoot some seriously gorgeous engagement photos. I enjoyed getting to know Jesse and Heather so much that I really didn’t want to head home when we were done shooting! They were so adorably in love and had an honest, real-life love story that makes the rest of us realize that we too can find that special someone one day.
I wanted to do something a little different with their blog post. I wanted to share their story not just through the eyes of a photographer who captured the moment boyfriend and girlfriend turned into fiancés, but through their own eyes. I asked Jesse to tell me their proposal story in his own words. So here you have it! Jesse and Heather: A french Quarter Proposal.
“My family has a long history in New Orleans, and the city holds a very special place in my heart. My Dad was born and raised in New Orleans, but decided to leave in his early twenties and explore what else was out there. He found himself in California where he met and married my mother, and where he raised me.
As a child my dad would send me down south for summer break, and I really felt like I was right at home with my family in New Orleans. I spent a quarter of my childhood in New Orleans, and made so many amazing childhood memories in the city that I call my second home.
As an adult I continued to spend as much time as possible in New Orleans. After Katrina, in 2006 when they reopened the Superdome I started a new tradition of coming every year for the Saint’s home opener. Yes, that’s right; I was at that famous game and have been at every Saints home opener since!
I met Heather in 2008 when we were just 24 and 19. We began dating, and despite my greatest efforts, I fell in love with her. I decided that for her 21st birthday it was time we take our first trip together. I wanted to introduce her to the city that I love so much, and after a nearly undefeated season for the Saints, and an impending trip to the playoffs, I decided to take a chance, and booked a trip for us to the then unconfirmed third round of the playoffs for the saints. The Saints prevailed, and there we were at the NFC Championship game where the Saints earned themselves their first ever trip to the superbowl, and it was so special to have Heather by my side for that moment.
As a diehard Saints fan since I was a little boy this was one of the happiest days of my life, and I swore that Heather was my good luck charm! I knew from that moment on that Heather was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Ever since that first trip together Heather has found herself building the same bond that I have with the city of New Orleans. New Orleans holds a very special place in both of our hearts and we have been back numerous times, so many times that we have lost count!
I chose to propose to Heather in New Orleans, because of the love we share for the city, and because of the magical feeling it ignites in us both. Love and magic surely were in the air on September 19, 2015, the day that I made the love of my life my future wife. I knew that this day would be the most special day of our lives, and I wanted to have it captured forever. I wanted to find someone special to share this moment with us, and someone who could preserve it in time. Finding Lady, was like finding Heather, a dream come true. Lady was everything I could have asked for, and everything I didn’t even know I was looking for. She has an amazing eye for beauty, and an amazing connection with the city. She was able to capture the most beautiful moment of our lives, in the most beautiful city in the world, in the most honest, magical and memorable way. She was amazing to work with and the photos speak for themselves. It was the best decision, with the exception of asking Heather to marry me, I have ever made, and I would strongly recommend Lady to anyone!
As with most relationships we have had our ups and downs but just like the great city of New Orleans we always come back stronger and forge an even stronger love after the storm. As we embark on the beginning of the rest of our lives together, we are so grateful to have had Lady Robin Walker along to ensure that our moment not only lives in our hearts forever, but in the hearts of our friends, family and future children who are all able to share in our love through the moments captured by Lady that day.” – Jesse Braniff