Elle + James | Bald Head Island engagement session

How did you meet? James: Elle and I had known of each other for about 5 years or so, and had several mutual friends. We had spoken a little but never really talked. Then one day we were set up on a semi blind date by two of our buddies. When Elle walked in I took one look and knew immediately that she was out of my league. She looked at me and thought I was a little rough around the edges, giving her buddy the "I'm not interested" nose scratch, mostly due to my smoking. So the pressure was then off of both of us. Which was probably the best thing that could have happened, because we were much more candid with one another. We were able to see who we really were behind the first impression jitters. After talking and laughing that night, we obviously left more curious about one another than we had started. We talked the next day, and so on, and so forth, all the way to now.

Tell us your proposal story! James: This is written from the groom's perspective, so here is the behind the scene action. As soon as we started looking for rings I immediately started thinking of the perfect proposal. It had to be unique, coastal, and a surprise. I am not a very spontaneous person, so this was difficult. Where I work is about an hour round trip each day, so for about three months I devoted that time to decide the perfect scenario for our engagement. It hit me one morning around 5:30 a.m., and was completely what I was looking for. So I contacted Elle's whole family, as well as my own to put my plan into action. Everyone was extremely helpful in organizing to get both our families, soon to be one family, all at the exact same place, at the same time without Elle noticing. The day of I was so nervous, I couldn't be around Elle for more than 15 minutes without getting excited like a little kid with a secret. We had told Elle we were having a family portrait made and the photographer was running late, so her sister dragged Elle with her for a walk down the beach. While they were walking we set up the whole family at the beach house overlooking the whole show. I threw 3 cups of liquid courage back, scribbled "Elle will you marry me?" in the sand and waited. A few minutes later, they returned and the plan went down as smooth as I could have ever expected. Elle was surprised and happy as I had imagined she'd be. Our whole family then went to Swansboro for dinner to celebrate! 

Elle: I did not make that day easy on him at all. I tried to get him to take me out on the boat because it was a gorgeous day. He avoided me pretty much all day by staying inside watching TV while I was on the beach. In all honesty, I didn't know James had that in him! He pretty much thought completely out of his norm and thought what would make me happy. The beach, our family, and good dinner. He nailed it! As soon as he popped the question he pointed up to the cottage and I saw our family walk down with balloons. Family that made the trip that evening and he had in a holding tank, so to speak, so I wouldn't see them. I did not want that night to end. It is a day I will never forget!

What has been your favorite part of being engaged? James: I like watching Elle in action. Elle is very much a go with the flow person. She wants for nothing, and her biggest concern is usually if everyone else is happy. She is taking action, and making this OUR day. I'm am very proud of her for that. 

Elle: I like planning for the future with James. I've known for 12 years now that he is the one for me but I'm not big on change. I like what I like and find comfort in that. I have realized with each passing year that James is the only person that I could imagine changing and growing with! There are lots of homemade forts in the den in our future! :)