This blog is just a bit overdue. I proposed to Leslie Harding, my girlfriend of three years on December 16, 2009. Here is our story. I guess before I take you right to the proposal night, I'll give you a little history of about us. December 16th 2006, I was hired to shoot Brad & Rachel Bate's wedding. I had zero connections with Rachel before I met her, after that night, things changed. Rachel and Brad are both from Arkansas, however not all of their wedding party was. They both attended Harding University in Searcy where Rachel met and became suite-mates with Leslie. Leslie was born in Texas, raised in Nashville Tennessee and only choose Harding because of the name. Just kidding. I think she decided to go to Harding because it's a great school, either way...I'm sure glad that she did, because if she had gone anywhere else we may have never met each other. Leslie and Rachel were suite-mates for one year, and I guess they hit it off pretty good because when Rachel decided to get married in December, she asked Leslie if she would be a brides maid in her wedding. The story gets better I promise, and like I said I'm sure glad certain things happened the way they did.
So, December 16, 2006 my best friend and I were gearing up for what I thought was just another wedding. The day started off fairly normal, bridal prep, ceremony, formal pictures, and then the reception... this is when the night got a little different for me. Now when Leslie tells you the story, it started with the rehearsal. She spotted me the day before and in her words "had her eye on me". Not to say that I didn't even see her, but I wasn't exactly there to pick up chicks. Haha. Those who know my fiance' know she is a go-getter, and once again. I'm sure glad she is, because if she didn't take the initiative that night to let me know she was interested, then I may have not written this blog post. Long story short, as the reception went on, Leslie and I talked in between shots. I gave her my number and it went from there. We dated long distance for two and a half years. While she lived in Nashville, then Memphis, and now here in Little Rock.
Proposal night: December 16, 2009 the date we first met 3 years ago. This took a little bit of sly workings because Leslie somehow always seems to know when I'm up to something. I did have help too. My friend Geoff Duncan drove up to take the photos and help with lighting the candles. Flynn Smith who worked inside the Pavilion in the Park helped me get in after hours and let me move some things around for the set up. Brad and Rachel had their reception here in the Pavilion in the Park, so I figured that would be a great place to do it. Geoff and I started setting up the candles and rose pedals while Leslie was still working. After she got off, I left to go pick her up. I told her I wanted to take her out to eat for our "anniversary" but first stop by "our place" for nostalgia and I also told her there was a geocache hidden there and we could try to find that. I planted a geocache with a fake ring, a love note, and a photo of us. After she found it and she was still in a state of confusion I brought her inside where the flowers and candles were ready. I did my thing and she said Yes of course!
We did a quick little photo shoot with Geoff, and then joined my entire family and some close friends who were waiting for us at dinner. Funny thing was, they thought I was throwing Leslie a surprise birthday party. Haha, so it was a very surprising evening. I guess that's the way I roll when I propose. Thanks everyone for reading all of this. Enjoy the photos! Sorry ladies I'm off the market. -Leslie, I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you, Eli.