When I sit back and look at my first encounter with “Byrd” I have to shake my head at its irony. I had just moved back from France and started high school in Georgia. It was the first day of freshman orientation and David and I were put in the same homeroom due to our last names. They called our names one by one to hand out welcome packets and I don’t remember anything from that first day except what I was wearing, where I was sitting, and the boy named, “Byrd.” I heard that name being called and thought, that’s an usual name and chuckled to myself a little bit. ( I don’t live this down EVER with David now). He says the joke is on me because it will soon be my name! But, that was it. I was a quiet band kid with a close group of friends and David Byrd was a popular, outgoing, athletic student who everyone knew as, “Byrd”. We ran in different social circles and graduated high school without ever having said one word to each other. Oh, and our homeroom class and teacher was the photography department!
In 2009, during my second year of college, David wish me a Happy Birthday on facebook. That year, for the first time, I decided to thank everyone individually for wishing me a Happy Birthday. This turned into a private message between the two of us making small talk and David leaving his phone number. Before, I knew it I was meeting up with him to take a ride on his motorcycle. Smooth, right? Totally worked on me, because my first impression of David was that he was adventurous. Total match up for me and my love of travel and adventure! The next date, we stayed out and talked in my car until the sun came up. After a couple of months, David surprised me with the chance to travel back to my hometown in Paris, France, Four months in and we traveled to France and Spain, learning so much about each other. I showed him around my old town in Paris and shared a piece of my life that I usually only get to share in pictures. I kept thinking, I can’t believe I’m here with “Byrd.” No way in high school did I think the two of us would one day travel Europe together! I had told David that I would be leaving for a year to study abroad, But, that didn’t matter to him. Only 6 months of dating, and I took off to England and we worked at our relationship with an ocean between us. The year I left, David was already in the process of transferring colleges and it just so happen to be the one I was attending In Georgia. But, I left for England and he came into the University of North Georgia for his first year. But, when I got back we were able to attend together!
I wanted to share this long backstory, because David’s proposal takes it all the way back to that first facebook post and that was THE most perfect way to propose, helicopter or not. The whole proposal felt like something out of a movie and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world that he would organize something this spectacular, just for me.
Shelby, my best friend, has been around to witness absolutely everything for David and me since the very beginning. So, being the caring best friend that she is, she took me to get my nails done for my birthday. Such a great cover up. David surprised me and said he would be taking me out that night. I said to him, Oh that’s so great because I honestly wasn’t going to plan anything for my birthday because I have been planning so much this year that I really just wanted a break. David tells me to dress nice, bring a small camera and that’s it. So, we pull into an airport and he says, surprise! We’re going on a helicopter ride! SURPRISED moment number 1 of the evening because I had come up with some guesses in my head but NEVER this one! Shelby told me to have a drink for her because she is at home folding laundry and getting ready for the week. Of course, I text Shelby about this surprise and say, What?! I am shocked! This is amazing! And then, who walks into the airport?! Shelby and Brandon! SURPRISED moment number 2. Shelby said, we wouldn’t miss your birthday! So, the four of us jump into the helicopter and take a tour of the city, which was amazing. The views were fantastic, the sights were stunning, and I am in la la land taking a bunch of pictures. We start to approach the top of a building. SURPRISED moment number 3! I couldn’t believe we were landing, I was not expecting that AT ALL. We are escorted out of the helicopter onto a helipad of the W Hotel with the city lights twinkling below and all around us.
David hands me a letter that says, I love us on the front. This letter contained the original “Happy Birthday” facebook post from 2009. He said, “Seven years ago, I said the two best words of my life. I said, Happy Birthday to you! Little did I know what that would turn into. We’ve traveled the world, tried new adventures together, and even have our own hashtag #BreauxByrd! These seven years have been filled with amazing memories and I hope to continue them! So, let me now say the four best words of my life! P.S. They say that a friendship that last years will last a lifetime!”
He got down on one knee and asked those four words, I got so excited that I said yes and hugged him tight before bothering with the ring! Then, we put it on and I couldn’t stop staring at it. I LOVE my ring so much.
Not only was this proposal an adventure and absolutely epic, but his letter, and what he said was so heartfelt because it was our beginning, our love story, coming full circle to a moment that would lead to our forever.
AND out of nowhere, sneaky Allison Pedigo and her husband, Rock pop up and had been photographing the entire thing. I LOVE our photos and it takes me back to a moment I wish I could live in forever! David picked the best photographer and friend to be there for us that day.
And the fact that he got Shelby and Brandon to be there too….that was really special since I had witnessed Shelby’s engagement as well.
We jumped back into the helicopter and flew over the city at night. Although, I kept staring at the ring! We landed and headed to dinner where five of our closets friends were waiting to surprise me with a birthday party. They surprised me, but they were the ones who were ultimately surprised because they had no idea about the proposal. I flashed my left hand and everyone threw up their hands like it was a football touchdown and the neighboring table joined in on the “Congratulations” too! Our friends reactions were the best and saved a lot of phone calls! 🙂 Shelby even arranged for Natalie and Kat to be on Skype form London when we entered the restaurant so they were “there” too which was really special to me.
Last surprise of the evening, David already had bags packed and took me back to the “W” Hotel for a getaway that night. The hotel had a card, champagne and strawberries waiting for us.
My fiancé (still feels strange to say that!) and my best friend really went above and beyond and I feel so blessed.
My mom made the greatest post about me dressing up as Princess Jasmine A LOT when I was younger. She related my love of travel and wonderful new heights to Jasmine and Aladdin’s infamous carpet ride to “A Whole New World.” Regarding the proposal, she said, “There WAS that magic carpet ride after all. So, David being the prince that he is, made sure Abby’s birthday celebration was of the storybook kind. You know…every turn a surprise, unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings. And Oh! The ring, shinning, shimmering, splendid!” She continued on with the lyrics from the song and I had not thought about it this way before. She shinned a whole new light on this proposal and that meant SO much to me.
Huge thank you to all of our friends and family who have showered us with love and well wishes, not just this week but for the past 7 years too. It has meant so much to us.
Now, off to plan a wedding….. 😀
All Helipad Photos of Proposal (Including City Shots on the “W” Hotel grounds) professionally shot by Allison Pedigo.
Rest of the pictures taken by me and friends 🙂
Our friends are the best!
Obviously, I had a little photo shoot with my ring. I can’t stop looking at it! I just LOVE it.
David and I have already felt SO much love in the one week that we have been engaged. Thank YOU So much friends and family. We love you all!
Abby Byrd is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Atlanta specializing in joyful film photography