I truly cannot even attempt to describe to you this elf-meets-fairy-magical-surprise proposal. It’s impossible. To this day I have never photographed anything so magical. I wanted to share it with you all to remind you of the beauty and magic that’s alive and well in this stressful, overwhelming world. Keep reading to be taken through the incredible story of Betsy + Cristin’s surprise fairytale proposal that was recently featured in Enchanted Living Magazine!
The Love Story: How it All Started
Now it would be unfair of me to try and tell this story all on my own. Which is why I couldn’t without the help of the actual humans involved in it. Especially with the insane talent, Betsy has for storytelling. Instead of trying to tell it to you, I’ve taken a few excerpts that Betsy wrote for their Enchanted Living Magazine feature story to make sure you can fully understand the magic of Betsy + Cristin’s partnership.
“It all started with yarrow, an inauspicious herb with feathery leaves that I had spotted during our first outing together. We bent down to look at it together, keeping our distance as I told them of yarrow’s many healing properties, how it could staunch bleeding, calm a histamine reaction of bee stings, stimulate digestion, calm the mind, and more. They stared in rapt attention over the top of their mask, soaking it all in.
. . .
It was on the day that I introduced them to yarrow that I realized that there would be no half measures with them. If I were to allow myself to love them, it would be the all-consuming kind of love, the kind that soaks into your bones and stays there.”
Throughout the featured story, Betsy gives us a beautiful glimpse into the time period before they shared their feelings for each other, and slowly takes us on the journey to their engagement.
I cannot even explain how stunningly Betsy wrote this story. Please take the time to read the whole thing here if you’re a sucker for a magical love story like I am.
. . .
The Surprise Fairytale Proposal at Fort Worden
A plan set perfectly in place
Once again I am not able to do this story justice through my own writing. Here are some of Betsy’s words to show you how she set her proposal plan in place:
“The yarrow was important. This humble herb can be found all over the world. From arid high deserts to coastal rainforests to cracks in the sidewalk where it tenaciously thrives. It represents consistency, constancy, dependability. The kind of qualities that build the foundation for the kind of commitment I was dreaming of. More personally, to us it represented the first time we met in person. The day I first realized my love for them, and our first official date, a picnic in the park in a patch of—you guessed it—blooming yarrow.
With the rings safely tucked away in a pair of socks, I called up my favorite photographer to see if she could do a surprise engagement photo shoot with us. I told my love that we would be modeling for a photo shoot for this very magazine, intending it to just be a ruse. Then I called Enchanted Living’s editor, Carolyn Turgeon, and joyfully shared my plan. She was delighted at my joy and at the whole idea! We packed our outfits and piled into my car for a trip to the coast. Everywhere we stopped, we noticed yarrow. At the campground on the way there, growing through the cracks of the wooden patio we had dinner on, even gracing the edges of the rocky beaches we beachcombed on in the evening.
We started our photo shoot by foraging ingredients for our little fairy feast. Juicy blackberries, wild fennel, and a little bit of yarrow. I served them course by course, reading the mystery inscriptions on the plates as we went. As my love enjoyed their dinner, I slipped away and hid the rings inside a shell we had gathered beachcombing the day before, then surreptitiously slid it to the photographer and winked. She knew the plan.
After dinner, we went out to dance on the beach, the wind tugging at my dress as we switched off leading and following. I played our favorite songs, the ones we danced to in the kitchen at home. Then the music paused as I grabbed their hands and told them just what they meant to me. How I had been falling for them for as long as I had known them and that being with them felt right in a way nothing ever had before. I knelt, picked up a “random” shell on the beach, opened it to reveal the rings, and I asked.
After a fair bit of sudden crying and jumping around, leaving me in a state of panic, they exclaimed, “Yes, yes, of course, yes!” Even just writing down these words as I remember that magical day is bringing tears to my eyes now. When I had been in long-term relationships before, I had always believed that love and marriage were much more practical things, that nobody would be perfect, and I could probably be happy with a number of people. It was just chance and timing that would determine which would be my husband. I didn’t realize that there was someone out there who would make me believe in soul mates and that one day they would be my wife.”
The magic created by The Wondersmith (Betsy!)
Now that you’ve wiped the tears from your eyes after reading that beautifully-told proposal story from Betsy. It’s time for your jaw to hit the floor just a little bit more, because not only is Betsy a talented writer: she’s also an incredibly talented creator. She made everything for this proposal, from the food to the rings to the PLATES.
Here’s what she had to say about the process of creating these rings herself:
“I pressed yarrow leaves into clay to use as a press mold for my special metal clay. I set stones in more metal clay and assembled them into matching rings. Pink sapphires in theirs and olivine in mine, because it reminds me of their eyes. Months went by as I crafted our rings in secret. I fired them in the kiln at the local arts center, burning out the binder and sintering the metal together. Then I polished them until they sparkled. I used a patina to enhance the yarrow leaf pattern on both.”
And the plates:
“Unbeknownst to anyone else, I had also crafted a set of dishes portraying the dreamy colors of yarrow blossoms and an engraving of delicate yarrow leaves and flowers sprouting in the center. On top, I wrote our love story in real gold luster, translated into my own Wonder Language. I prepared a simple but delicious meal to share.”
Truly one of the most talented people I have EVER met in my lifetime. What an honor to photograph all the magic she brought to life for Cristin. Head to Instagram and follow Betsy @misswondersmith to make sure you don’t miss out on all of the wondrous creations she comes up with!✨
Betsy’s viral Tiktok
The whole world needs to witness this magical love story! So Betsy made a TikTok that ended up going viral, showing off the highlights of the surprise proposal. Give it a watch here and pull those tissues back out.
If you want to see all of the stunning details of this proposal and read even more of Betsy’s gorgeous writing (which, I assure you, you do). You can see the entire featured story here, on the Enchanted Living Magazine website. Plus check out their Instagram @faeriemagazine for more magical creations.
Watch the Proposal Film
Finally, I filmed this proposal in addition to photographing it! There’s just something about films that capture moments in an entirely different way than photographs. Watch Betsy + Cristin’s proposal film below to witness a real-life fairytale love story!
If you’re looking for a photographer to capture your own surprise proposal, get in touch with me here and let’s create some magic together!