It was a beautiful day in Chicago. The riverwalk was bumping. Literally. There were so many people strolling around, waiting for boat tours, and just having a grand ol' time. Laughter and chatter filled the air. It was like music to my ears. The sun cast a radiant glow as it glistened off the river. It truly was the perfect place to be. Especially because I wasn't there to people watch or admire the boat tours. Amidst the hustle and bustle, there were two people who stood out from the crowd—Liz and Pat. I watched from a distance as they lovingly embraced each other. Their backs were facing me as they overlooked the river. She occasionally rested her head on his shoulder. And he pulled her in closer. They were giggling. They were whispering. They were enjoying every second of those moments together. And then I saw it. It was as if time stood still. Liz covered her face with her hands in shock. Tears of joy streamed down her cheeks. She looked down at her hand and back up at Pat. She still couldn't believe it. Rightfully so, because it was only moments before that Pat had dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him! Pat grinned back at her and gently kissed the side of her head as if to seal their newfound commitment with a tender gesture. It was such a sweet moment that carried on for a good bit of time until they both gathered themselves.

I cannot express how much I love this moment with Liz and Pat. I say that lightly because I of course LOVE the fact that I witnessed Liz saying "YES" to forever. And I LOVE the fact that Pat instilled my help in surprising her (Pat, we did SO good). But there's something so special about the moments that follow. Maybe it's the fact that the magnitude of the proposal was not lost on either of them. And the fact that their emotions were running high as they processed the magic that was unfolding. Or because the moments that followed were so raw and unfiltered. Honestly, it's probably all of the above. And I love that because all it shows me is how much Liz and Pat love each other. Think about it... Pat went to great lengths to surprise Liz. I'm talking sending me photos of what they were wearing so I could easily spot them and strategically taking phone calls so she wouldn't accidentally find out. And Liz, couldn't control the happy tears or stop smiling the entire time we were together. Liz and Pat share such a romantic love. It's the "do anything for a smile" kind of love. It's the "not afraid to show affection" kind of love. I would argue that Liz and Pat are the blueprint of what love truly is. They are genuinely happy people and I'm sitting here like a goof just smiling thinking about them. Spending the evening running around the riverwalk with these two felt so natural. It was like I was honestly celebrating the engagement of two of my closest friends. They are so welcoming and vibrant. So sweet. And so incredibly easygoing. All I know is that these two have a beautiful future together and I am so incredibly honored to have been a tiny part of their story.

So, Liz and Pat, it's been a while but congratulations again! Pat, thank you for your genuine kindness and trusting me to help you surprise Liz. Thank you, Liz, for your radiant joy and letting me continue to photograph you two after the moment! Thank you both for simply being you. For sharing your happiness with me. Thank you for making my job so incredibly easy by being so head over heels for one another. And thank you for the reminder of the power of love and the magic that unfolds when two hearts unite in a lifelong commitment. So thankful for these memories with you two. And I'm wishing you nothing but the joy and happiness you felt this day everyday from here on out. Cheers to you both and this next chapter!