Surprise Proposal at Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford, Illinois

Abigail and Jason are just a couple of high school sweethearts who just didn’t know it at the time! :) They knew each other throughout high school and college but never dated despite the fact that both their moms worked together and discussed this idea. :) After college, Abigail moved back home to Lincoln, Illinois to work as the Program Coordinator at Lincoln Park District. Well, part of her job is to network with other community organizations and then alas her and Jason were reunited at Lincoln Rotary Club. They began dating and the rest is history. Whenever they would talk about their plans for the future, Jason would always tell Abigail… I will not propose until 2020, I will not propose until 2020. So this is always the thought that Abigail had in the back of her mind.

The couple enjoys regular date days together. They love to explore local wineries, go to wine tastings, and enjoy going on walks with their pug puppy, Penny. They are simply the perfect match. In fact, I did photos for Abigail’s family in December and their mom was confident enough to print off a giant family portrait that INCLUDED Jason. When I was chatting with her she said, “Some people though it was presumptuous but the moment I met him, I just knew.” *CUE ALL THE TEARS*

Well, I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from Jason and he was asking me what I thought about photographing a proposal. I told him I would be HONORED. I had loved working with the Neece family in December and it would be my pleasure to do it again. Well, he began to tell me his plan of proposing to her at “The Farm” In Petersburg, IL. and then heading over to Hill Prairie Winery for what she would believe to be a short engagement session but instead be a surprise party! We planned everything perfectly. Where to stand, where to face, lighting, where to have her turn, where I was hiding, how to dress, literally ALL THE THINGS were thought of.

Well…. as many of you know Tropical Storm Gordon caused a torrential downpour last week. And the beautiful garden at the farm where he planned on proposing got FLOODED… and on top of that, he didn’t find that out until the morning he was supposed to propose!

Jason and I had many back and forth text conversations about what plan B would be trying to be ever so careful that Abigail didn’t overhear or question anything. So, I told him I would get to Hill Prairie Winery an hour before him to scout out a good location and then text him the instructions. So, I got my umbrella, all my gear and put on my rainboots and headed that way.

While he was driving to the winery I was sending him photos of where to park, where to bring her, etc. I was so, so nervous and yet so, so excited! (Come to find out from Abigail that he told her he was “checking his fantasy football draft.” :)

Once they arrived, he headed down to the spot between the two ponds as instructed. I was hiding behind a giant bush. He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him and she said YES! She was shocked! I mean, have you ever seen a happier Bride-to-Be? Her expression was priceless and she just kept saying, “It’s not 2020 yet… It’s not 2020 yet…” Jason did it! He pulled off the PERFECT surprise proposal! A perfect day, for a perfect couple, making the perfect story that they will enjoy telling for years to come! Thank you guys for trusting me to capture this once-in-a-lifetime memory for you!

After the proposal I took a couple photos of them and then instructed them to go inside the winery so we could get some photos inside. Little did Abigail know this was just a little white lie to get her inside so she could enjoy her SURPRISE party that her fiancé had planned for her! He literally thought of everything. And as if that isn’t enough surprises for one day, he gave a toast during the party and announced to Abigail that he had already bought the tickets for them to take a surprise trip to Portland, Oregon together!

Congratulations Jason & Abigail! Cheers to you and the lifetime of happiness to come!

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