Our story: The proposal

Alicia Ann Daw is a film & digital wedding photographer who specializes in New York City and European destination weddings. With over 15 years of experience photographing weddings, she's spent two decades globetrotting to over 37 countries and working with clients around the world. She delivers images that are effortlessly romantic and chic, telling a story about the start of your heritage in a way that will leave you in awe.


It poured. Long, fat drops of water coming from the heavens. Except that these weren’t the kind of drops that fell North to South. They flew East to West. You know the kind, the ones that are determined to soak you to the bones regardless of how pretty your umbrella and rainboots are. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why he kept insisting that we go to New York City on THIS day. All week the forecast had predicted this very weather, as well as the day before and after being sunny and warm, but he insisted. He claimed that the rain would keep the crowds out of the city on one of the busiest weekends of the year. Obviously. Because those people knew better than to walk around when it was freezing cold and pouring East to West. I kinda suspected that *maybe* he was up to something, but I dismissed that thought, not giving way for potential disappointment.

Then he pulled to to get me and I hopped into his truck. Almost immediately after acknowledging that my hair had zero hope for the day, I noticed he was dressed up. So in true Alicia form, never being one to shy away from what’s on my mind, I said “um…why are you so dressed up?” to which Adam somewhat defensively replied “What do you mean? I always dress up when we go into the city.” Um, no he doesn’t. We still are in disagreement on this point but, suffice to say, him dressing up made my suspicions pique just a tad more. But again, I dismissed the thoughts, not giving way for potential disappointment.

We took the train into the city and, in general, had a relaxing morning. On the way in, I Instagram’d a photo of the weather with a caption that said “Can someone PLEASE tell me why Adam is insisting that we go to NYC today, of all days?”, which immediately begged for my phone to blow up with comments about “ohhhh, I bet I know what he’s doing!”, “He’s probably going to propose to you!!”, etc. I kinda laughed under my breath and wrote back to all of them claiming that I was certain he wasn’t going to propose, after all, he was wayyyyy too calm to be doing that. And besides, there weren’t any bulges in his pockets. Trust me, I checked. He also didn’t have a plan for the day and I was certain that if he were going to propose, he’d have a pretty strict itinerary for the day, including exactly what train we needed to be on, where we were going to eat, and what we would be doing for activities. But instead, he kinda nonchalantly asked what we should do and where I wanted to eat. Somewhere along the way I said “Let’s stop by South Street Seaport. I love it there and since we don’t have any other plans we can walk around there for a bit.” He agreed and said we could go there and then possibly the 9/11 memorial which neither of us had been to.

We arrived into Grand Central station somewhere around noon and headed over to Juniors, one of our favorite places to grab something quick in the city. After Juniors Adam suggested we grab a Starbucks to walk with, something that is not our of the ordinary for him, as he has often talked about “walking” with a drink in various places that we’ve visited together. We got our Starbucks and made our way to the subway station to head down to South Street Seaport. This is the part where the story gets interesting. And the part that I am sure Adam will wish I omitted but, nevertheless, one of MY favorites parts of this story.

Shortly after we got on the subway Adam began talking about how his stomach is “churning”, a term he uses frequently when he needs to use the restroom. I rolled my eyes knowing what inevitable ensued. You see, Adam can’t go to the bathroom just anywhere. He is extremely particular. Many of you are probably thinking “So am I, I tooooally get that”. But here’s the thing, so am *I*. But Adam? Adam is in a category of his own. He needs a restroom with four enclosed walls, because stalls aren’t private enough. These enclosed bathrooms also need to not be standing alone because he can’t go to the bathroom knowing somebody else might potentially be waiting for him outside the door. And, obviously, it need to be clean. Exceptionally clean. So when he said his stomach was beginning to churn, I thought to myself “Well, there goes out day because we are going to spend the next 3 hours trying to find a public bathroom in NYC that lives up to his standards”. I suggested he wait until we got to South Street Seaport because, if I remember correctly, the bathrooms there lived up to his standards. That wasn’t working for him. Apparently he needed a bathroom PRONTO. Like as soon as we stepped off the subway. He asked if the subway stations had bathrooms and I was like “Are you serious?!?!? Most don’t but even if they did you, of all people, are NOT going to want to use it.”. But he was desperate. Clearly. We got off at Wall St. and our mission was to find a bathroom ASAP, because his stomach was apparently “really churning” by this point. As we walked by this atrium/cafeteria/entryway of some sort, Adam went into the bathroom. Less than a minute later he walked out and said “I just can’t. The conditions aren’t right. Let’s just go to the Seaport. I think I can make it”. I rolled m eyes and then we picked up the pace as we walked a few blocks to the Seaport. Little did I know, the whole stomach-churning, bathroom episode was just a cover, because he get away for a second to get the ring which was DUCT TAPED TO HIS LEG!!!

We arrived to the Seaport, where the light was just absolutely gorgeous. As he held my hand and we walked on the old wooden walkway I looked up, smiled and said “See, this is why I love it down here. it’s just so peaceful, calm, and a picturesque spot that you wouldn’t normally think of being in NYC”. He looked down and said “Yeah? Is that the only reason you love it?”. A bit confused I said “Um…yeah?” at which point he said “Well I’m going to give you another reason.” And there it happened. Much to my surprise he got down on one knee and proposed. I don’t remember anything he said. I’m pretty sure there was an “I love you” in there, and he swears he actually asked me to marry him, but all I remember was being absolutely in shock. And covering my face (more on that in the next post about the ring) and repeating “Are you kidding me right now? Are you freaking kidding me? Is this really real?!?!” which, ironically is the exact same response my sister had when her husband proposed to her.

I finally uncovered my face and opened my eyes to see the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen in my life, and the exact one that I had been hoping for, but was so worried Adam wouldn’t ever get.


He stood up and, although I’d like to say we romantically embraced and he kissed me, it was actually quite different. He stood up, rather stiffly, and began looking around. In the sky. At the birds.And the boats. At the people walking around us. He looked everywhere but at ME. I looked at him and said “Aren’t you supposed to kiss me right now?”, so he bent down and gave me a super quick peck on my cheek. WHAT THE HECK?!?!? He was still extremely distracted, looking all around so in between checking out my ring I looked up at him and said “Adam!! Are you even happy about this?? You just proposed to me and now you aren’t even looking at me!” and he responded with a muffled “Yeah..um..yeah.. HEY! Do you know those people up there?”. I quickly glanced int he direction he was pointing and said “Um, no…and then looked at him again and hugged him. He was like “Are you sure? Because they are taking our picture….” So I looked up again and said “I don’t know, they are probably just some creepy strangers. People do that all the time.” He turned me around and said “Are you SUUUUURE you don’t know them??” at which point my dear friend Angie to off her hat and signature sunglasses (she was all in cognito with her getup and sniper camera/lens), and I kinda flipped out…obviously not expecting her to be there. THAT was the reason he was so distracted, because he didn’t see them anywhere so he thought they missed the whole thing. I haven’t said much to Adam in regards to what I wanted for a ring, or my idea of a nice proposal (beside to not-so-subtle Facebook posts of awesome proposal stories and videos), but one thing did tell him is that I really want him to have someone photograph it. Adam kinda has a mind of his own (obviously) and generally doesn’t listen to “petty demands” like that from me, so I wasn’t sure he would get anyone because he is private and doesn’t like his picture being taken and… yada yada yada.

After some shrieks of excitement, lots of hugs, a couple introductions (even though Angie and I are good friends I had never met her husband and she had never met Adam), I looked at Adam and said “So what this the plan the whole time?” and he replied “Yup! Everything from juniors to Starbucks to the bathroom to here was all part of the plan. It just worked out well that you suggested part of it”. I smiled and said “So is there anything else planned?” and, in true Adam Mr.-romantic-of-the-century form, he said “Yup. We have reservations in 15 minutes for the 9/11 memorial.” Wait. Read that again.


Like, he proposes he to, I’m on cloud 9, wanting to shout from the rooftops with excitement….and he takes us to reflect on on of our nations largest tragedies, in a place where my phone is supposed to be turned off!!!! Oh, the irony. He claims that was all part of the plan too. So, in true Alicia form, I broke the rules. Because, let’s be honest, people needed to know. So the text messages and phone calls began and, thankfully, none of the security guards made me shut my phone off.

So that’s the story. And one that I hope I’ll never tire of telling.

Now a little backstory. From the time I was a kid, I’ve always loved the Seaport. It has long been one of my favorite places in NYC. From there I’ve written many heart wrenching journal entires. I’ve spent time there reading my bible and connecting with God. And it’s always been a place where my soul finds peace and rest. When I was about 13 years old, I wrote this journal entry (which I unearthed as soon as I returned home):

Dear Diary, (don’t judge. I was 13)

I seriously love this place. South Street Seaport. I should probably take a picture and put it in here but I think my memory will be good enough. And beside, I think I’ll always come back here whenever I visit New York. But being here today, I decided that I would like to someday get engaged here. It’s the most romantic place I’ve ever been (clearly this was before I had travelled anywhere other than New England and Oklahoma) and I just think it would be so amazingly awesome to have my Prince Charming ask me to marry him here. But, that’s at least 5 or 6 years from now (Ahahahahaha!!!!! Just slightly off. You know, by 10 years) . I wonder if I could get my best friend to tell my boyfriend that this is where I want to be proposed to, or if I will have to tell him myself? But I think it’s kind of tacky cause a guy should be able to come up with his own ideas and own way to romance me. Anyway, I love this palce. And I would love to tell all my kids (pretty sure at that time I planned on having 8. My, have times changed) that this is where their father asked me to marry them. But until then, I’ll just enjoy it alone.

YouTube Preview Image

  2. Cynthia Batista says:

    Beautiful!! Congratulations!!

  3. YAY, YAY and YAY!!!!! Congratulations!!!! Great job Angela!!!! 🙂

  4. lauren says:

    congratulations on your engagement! what an awesome story and of course, a perfect location! 😉 *

  5. Russ Michaels says:

    Kris and I still love telling our engagement story. Adam did it RIGHT! Congratulations to you both, and welcome to our funny little family. Wait. You were already in.

  6. Sarah says:

    So happy for you! Congrats and enjoy every bit of the excitement! xo

  7. Nicole says:

    So in love with this story!! Simply amazing, romantic, comical.. so perfect :)Congratulations, again!!!

  8. Jessica Chavez says:

    That was perfect!!!! SEnding you many hugs Alicia!! Angie did a beautiful job capturing the moments!!! xoxo

  9. Lisa says:

    This story is incredible. My absolute favorite part is that he taped the ring to his leg so you wouldn’t feel anything in his pockets. Now THAT is true love. Best wishes to you both!! (I got to this post from Agnes & Greg’s engagement photos; I am a friend of theirs)

  10. Chelsea Tademy says:

    Love everything about this! Thank you for sharing and can’t wait to see wedding pictures!!!! 🙂

  11. Sarah Stehman says:

    Such a great story. Congratulations!

  12. Mary Prouty says:

    I KNEW I would love this story! Goosebumps and teary eyes! So wonderful it was photographed too! Congratulations!!!!!

  13. FINALLY! I love the proposal pictures, they are so cute! Congratulations to you both!

  14. Willow Cramer says:

    So so happy for you!! Love the story!! Adam did a great job and loved that it matched up so great with your dream!!!

  15. Bethany Cox says:

    Congrats!!!! So cute!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes i needed ALL those exclamation points)

  16. Darcy D'Amato says:

    Great picture!

  17. Debbie D'Amato says:

    Wow! great picture

Leave a Reply