We arrived to the sunny state of Arizona on the first of July. When we landed in Phoenix the air was famously hot and dry, I was in my new happy place! We jumped in our rental; a black convertible Ford Mustang, and zipped away excitedly. On our way to Sedona we made a few photo stops to “oooh and ahhh” at the beautiful landscapes that were completely foreign to us New Englanders.
We’ve admittedly had a whirlwind romance, we fell in love fast and HARD. While much of our relationship has taken root amidst the waves of uncertainty that the Pandemic has brought, we’re blessed to have built a foundation that is solid like a rock. I share this because something was different on the flat sprawling roads of Arizona… I wasn’t sure if it was the change in scenerey, the freedom or just the vaction vibes, but something definitely felt different! The sun beamed down on my crazy hair blowing in the wind, and he kept looking over at me with the biggest grin. My heart was happy and full.
When you’re a photographer planning a trip to one of the most beautiful places in the US, you follow every hashtag that place has on Insta. That is how Andrew and I found Hailey Golich, the wonderfully talented Sedona based photographer. Hailey is amazing, she photographs adventurous couples in the most gorgeous of locations, and her work is always glowing with warm Arizona light. We decided to have her capture a few portraits of us, at a location called Merry-Go-Round rock, as this was our first big get away together and the scenery was undoubtably something we would want to hang on our walls. Little did I know Andrew ( who was in cohoots with Hailey) was planning something a little extra…
We met Hailey and our Jeep driver at the base of Merry-Go-Round Rock. The terrain to get to the top was rocky, uneven and loose. Our driver was experienced in rock crawling and the Jeep had been modified for precisely this kind of excursion. As we climbed higher and higher we watched the views become more and more scenic.
When we reached the top, we hopped out and stepped onto the rock surface that was dusted in red sand. The serenity here was unlike anything I have ever experienced. There was a stillness in the air, accompanied only by the quiet breeze. As a few birds began to sing and we laughed as our driver joked “cue the song birds”.
Andrew took my hand and guided me to the ledge where we could get a better view. The ground before us plunged downward just a few feet in front of us… below the cliff side was a canopy of green trees that contrasted against the red rock in the most beautiful way. The sun was beginning to dip in the sky, casting my favorite soft golden light. There we were, together on the edge of this rock, standing in this moment, completely at peace… nothing else mattered.
I could hear Hailey calling to us to turn for a photo, when Andrew started to speak… before I knew it he was down on one knee and he was holding the most beautiful engagement ring in his hand. I trembled with excitement, the rock that we were standing on suddenly felt much more like jello. He looked at me with his big brown eyes as he asked me to marry him… I wrapped my hands around his face as happy tears streamed down mine. Thoughts of joy, thankfulness and complete content swirled around my head. I said “Yes!”. As he stood, I threw my arms around him and he pulled me in close…. I sobbed into his shoulder for a good minute, or was it more? Hailey and our driver were calling to us… “did she say yes???” Of course I did!
Once I composed myself and congratulations were shared, we began what I now recognize was a proposal photo shoot 🙂
We explored the winding edges of Merry-Go-Round Rock, and Hailey captured the most beautiful portraits of this special occasion for us. We were both so giddy, I couldn’t stop smiling! The best part about these photos… My daughter Ariana thinks we went to Paradise Falls… you know, like the one in UP?! Maybe we did… After all, Carl promised Ellie that they would retire at Paradise Falls, and I’m pretty sure Andrew and I now know where we want to retire. Either way, “adventure is out there” and I am so excited to explore each moment with my new adventure partner.
Photo Credit: All Profesional Portraits courtesy of Hailey Golich Photography