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Hey guys! I’m Natalie—a creative entrepreneur building businesses and mobilizing tens of thousands in the spirit of community over competition. Left brain meets right, and east coast meets west, I run on equal parts coffee, brains, & heart. I’m an educator, writer, and community builder who helps entrepreneurs create businesses that thrive.

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I’m Engaged! | Our Proposal Story

11/28/11

Engagements, Personal

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DATE:

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Today’s blog post is a little different. Today I won’t be featuring another couple’s engagement or wedding – but a very special and very personal moment in my own life. It’s a long post, but filled with our proposal story and one of the most incredible moments in my life. There is another post over at Bayside Bride that Krista put together – filled with her photographs!

There is a lot to share – so without further ado:

Snowy Proposal Kiss

Back to the Beginning

It all started almost six years ago, when I met this sweet boy named Hugh at the St. Johns College Boathouse at my first day of practice at the Annapolis Rowing Club in our sophomore year of high school. We joined the team by chance – a very spur of the moment choice that turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Our first “dates” were spent running laps around the football field, rowing in the Severn River, and traveling to regattas on the weekends. I remember those days so clearly – sun speckled and filled with long afternoons on the Chesapeake, where we became close friends and learned so much about one another.

We were barely over fifteen, only teenagers, but inseparable from the moment that we met. The first days of dating turned into months of growing up together, and falling even more in love. Somewhere along the way – those months became a year, then two years and before I knew it, we were in college, getting ready to go into our senior year, talking about the future, and dreaming of this very moment.

A few weeks ago, I asked my dear friend Vida Carson if she would take a few portraits of Huey and I around Philadelphia! It had been years since we had a picture taken together and I wanted to capture these moments before graduation – not knowing what Huey had already been planning for weeks – I thought this would be our last time to hop in front of the camera before the year ended. Vida did an incredible job capturing our love and happiness in every single frame from the shoot. I can’t stop smiling every time I look at her blog post!
Natalie Franke Proposal Story

Natalie and Huey Proposal
Fast-Forward to last Thursday: Our Proposal Story

A few weeks ago my grandfather mentioned wanting a painted oar to hang at our family’s beach house and my family had been talking about buying the oar as his Christmas gift ever since! It sounds like a silly thing, but my family loves all things nautical and having a big love for Annapolis and the Naval Academy – decorating a wall with an oar isn’t too out of the ordinary! Therefore, it seemed completely plausible when my uncle called my house on Thursday morning with a story about oars for sale at the boathouse – the rowing season was over and they were getting a new set for the spring. If we wanted to get my grandfather an oar for Christmas, we had to go today to tag the one that we wanted.

So my family left a little early and we all piled into the car together on our way to Thanksgiving lunch. When we pulled up to the boathouse, my sister refused to get out of the car so I reluctantly offered to tag the oar, jumped out of the car (in my quite unstylish crocs – clearly oblivious to what was about to happen) and Huey followed me to find the oar. But of course – there was no oar, instead he had a ring in a little blue box.

Right as we walked towards the boats, Huey pulled the ring from his jacket pocket, grabbed my hand and said, “Since this is the exact spot where we met, I thought it would be the perfect place to start this next step of our lives together.” Suddenly my heart was racing, I could feel my eyes welling up and my hands starting to tremble.

He got down on one knee, shaking, smiling, and asked me to marry him.

I’m not sure if I could even say yes in words, tears pouring down my face – my answer came in the form of a giant hug and sobs of happiness! And after crying in his arms for what felt like forever, I could hear the clicks of a camera and looked up to see one of my best friends in the entire world – Krista Jones – capturing the entire moment on camera. Huey and Krista had been conspiring for months to keep me in the dark with the help of both of our families.

I am so excited to be able to share these moments in photographs that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. I can’t thank Krista enough for documenting this moment for us – she is the best friend and business partner that a girl could ask for!

Annapolis Rowing ClubAnnapolis Proposal PicturesTiffany Proposal Pictures AnnapolisSt. John's College Proposal Tiffany Proposal StoryTiffany Embrace Engagement RingSt. John's Boathouse Engagement

My mom, sister, and uncle – who had been waiting in the car came running out to celebrate!

Tiffany Embrace Engagement Ring

I came across one of Huey’s letters to me from our seven month anniversary where he wrote, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to marry you. I want to share every moment in my life with you – you’re my best friend, hero, and my one and only love.”

The letter is dated November 20, 2006. Five years and four days from his proposal.

For those of you who know Huey, you know that he loves with his entire heart. He is selfless, compassionate, and strong. He knows me better than anyone in this world – and loves me for who I am. Seeing him get down on one knee – asking me to marry him – will forever remain the most incredible moment in my life. Huey, you are my best friend – my soul mate – my entire world. I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together. I love you more than words can ever say.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

For those of you who are curious, we haven’t set a wedding date just yet! We’ll be waiting until after the holidays to start planning. I just want to soak all the excitement in & take time to enjoy this special moment before diving into any plans! Also, be sure to check out the post that Krista put together on Bayside Bride today!

We are so blessed to have two incredibly supportive families and friends who have helped to make this entire proposal a reality and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for keeping the secret, for helping Huey to coordinate the plan, and for making everything so perfect. We love you all so much!

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COMMENTS +

  1. Shella

    November 28th, 2011 at 7:17 am

    So beautiful! And how lucky that you have it all captured forever in pictures! Congratulations to both of you 🙂

  2. Chrissy

    November 28th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Those proposal pictures blew me away… Congratulations Natalie! And that Tiffany ring, oh my god! I can’t wait to see it in person! WOW!

  3. Bridget, Matt & Riley

    November 28th, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Congrats, congrats, CONGRATS! What a beautiful post, Natalie. We are soo happy for you and Huey! How exciting it is to read your post when just a little over a month ago you were telling us you two had been talking about getting engaged at our engagement shoot. I can’t wait to see that gorgeous ring in person in June!! (A little Bridget side note.) 😉

  4. Rebekah

    November 28th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Ahh tears welling up. I’m at work… how could you do this to me? This is so precious and I am sooo happy for you two!!

  5. Jen

    November 28th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Your story and the pictures literally brought tears to my eyes! Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness and love. A beautiful ring for a beautiful couple, timeless and true! Congrats again!

  6. Wendy Wade

    November 28th, 2011 at 9:02 am

    This is SO great! I just love the story of you two and know that life will bring you both much joy and happiness! Congratulations!!!!

  7. Stephen

    November 28th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Love everything about this! AMAZING!

  8. Armin

    November 28th, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Great story Natalie, awesome awesome awesome! Congratulations again!

  9. Char

    November 28th, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Your story just made me cry 🙂 I’m so happy for you two! Congratulations xx

  10. Lauren @ ELD

    November 28th, 2011 at 9:36 am

    What a sweet, sweet post Natalie! You two are so adorable and I’m so excited for you! Definitely just soak it all in and enjoy being engaged! Congratulations again! 🙂

  11. Caroline

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Oh my Lord, Natalie! Love the story behind these photos. You both seem so incredibly perfect for each other. And your smiles are to die for!!!

  12. Joseph

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:32 am

    MASSIVE congratulations, looks like you’ve got yourself a true gent there!

  13. Lauren H

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    A million congratulations Nat and Huey!! You guys are so incredible and you deserve every ounce of happiness that comes your way. Mazal Tov on your engagement and best wishes on an amazing life together 😉 :)!

  14. George L Koroneos

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Congrats. These photos are truly spectacular. I sometimes think proposal photography is a bit cheesy. But when I see work like this, I remember that you will have these moments forever. Best of luck on the wedding planning.

  15. Maria

    November 28th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I die! So amazing! EEEE! I can’t stop smiling FOR you 🙂

  16. KyAnn

    November 28th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! 🙂 Beautiful proposal story and pictures! So happy for you!

  17. KyAnn

    November 28th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    CONGRATULATIONS!%20%3A)%20Beautiful%20proposal%20story%20and%20pictures!%20So%20happy%20for%20you!

  18. Serena {Love By Serena}

    November 28th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    This post is absolutely lovely + precious + beautiful. (Tearing up…)

    So, so, SO happy for you two. Hugest congratulations! <3

  19. Erika {Borrowed&Bleu}

    November 28th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Aww, you have me tearing up, Natalie! Congrats to you and Huey! I love that your family was there to share in your excitement, and Vida and Krista both did a wonderful job capturing the two of you.

  20. Katie

    November 28th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I know it’s been forever, but I just had to leave a comment to tell you how happy I am for you! You’re going to be a bride.. And is your engagement ring the Tiffany Embrace? It’s always been my favorite. Amazing job Huey!

  21. Sachin Khona

    November 28th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Whoa Natalie! Congratulations 😀

    Wishing you all the best for the future!!

  22. bree [capitolromance]

    November 28th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    CONGRATS NATALIE!!! What a beautiful proposal story. Something special about those high-school sweethearts ;-p. Best of luck with the wedding planning!!

  23. dan

    November 28th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Congrats! A wonderful story and great images to go with it!

  24. Brian Kraft

    November 28th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Congrats! That’s so amazing!

  25. Andrea

    November 28th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Congratulations again, Natalie! Engagement is a FABULOUS season of life! Can’t wait to follow your wedding planning 🙂

  26. Tyler

    November 28th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    soo rad! congrats!

  27. Kelly S.

    November 28th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS! Reading your story literally brought tears to my eyes… the way you write about Huey truly shows just how much you love him. High school sweethearts are the best and that Tiffany & Co halo engagement ring, girl – he has great taste!

  28. Heather

    November 28th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    CONGRATS Natalie!!

  29. Mike

    November 28th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Congratulations!! That’s so awesome that you have photos of the proposal! Best wishes to you both!

  30. Maryn

    November 28th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Congrats Natalie! I know we haven’t met yet, but I definitely teared up reading this. It is so precious and special. So happy for you!

  31. Julia

    November 28th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Congrats Natalie!!! So happy for you! Can’t wait for a wedding pictures post! You will be such a beautiful bride! xxoo

  32. Kelly Grace

    November 28th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Congratulations Natalie!! The pictures are all so beautiful and the story is so amazing. Best of wishes to You and Huey spending the rest of your lives together 🙂

  33. Alicia {The Charity Wedding}

    November 28th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    SO Thrilled for you! Congrats!!! Happy Planning!

  34. Faye

    November 28th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Congrats Natalie! What a beautiful proposal! Best wishes to you and Huey! Hope to meet you soon while you’re still in Philly 🙂

  35. Vida Carson

    November 28th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Congrats, Natalie!

  36. Jenna @ Heartcarry Press

    November 28th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    So so happy for you both! Your proposal story is unbelievably sweet- wishing you the best for everything that comes next!

  37. Kate - Modernly Wed

    November 29th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Congratulations! Such a great proposal story 🙂

  38. Mini-Session Sneak Peek | Quiet Waters Park - Natalie Franke Photography » Natalie Franke Photography

    December 1st, 2011 at 6:49 am

    […] also wanted to say thank you so much for all of the sweet words of congratulations on getting engaged! My fiancé and I (I’m still getting used to saying that – hah!) feel so blessed to […]

  39. Lisa

    December 27th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Oh Natalie, I have tears streaming down my face at your sweet story!! Congratulations lovely, and I hope your first month of engagement has been incredibly blessed and joyful! xoxox

  40. We’ve Started Planning | A Wedding Whirlwind

    January 16th, 2012 at 7:08 am

    […] every way… Huey is my best friend and is still surprising me after almost six years together! Our proposal on Thanksgiving was absolutely perfect, and before I knew it – a month had flown past and it […]

  41. Chris Radley Photography

    January 18th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Really love this beautiful story. Love the story and the photos

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