Whenever I think about milestones with my husband, our engagement inevitably comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong; our wedding was amazing, but our engagement? Our engagement was magic.
Gabe and I were in the Bahamas, staying at the Atlantis resort for a work trip. I had already thought about and dismissed the idea that we might get engaged while in the Bahamas. While it’s an amazing place, we were on a business trip. Since many of you don’t know my husband, let me just say that Gabe takes his work and his professional life VERY seriously. He is an exceptional businessman, and always treats his work relationships and activities with a high level of respect. This trip in particular was really important, because so much of the senior leadership team was going to be present. No, there was no way he would propose when we had an image to maintain and impressions to make. I was there to make him shine, not to be the center of his attention. While beautiful and fun, the Bahamas were all business for us.
We spent the first several days going to parties and events, leading up to the big gala awards banquet on the second to last night of our stay. Getting ready for the banquet that night, Gabe was exceptionally nervous. It didn’t surprise me, though. We had been asked to sit with the CEO, and we were one of only four couples given that honor out of the over 500 people there. No wonder he was nervous!
As we entered the reception before the banquet, I whispered to Gabe that I wouldn’t be drinking until dinner. I didn’t want to be “that girl” at the CEO’s table! Nevertheless, Gabe asked me if I wanted a drink at every single bar we passed (and there were bars dotted down the hallway every 20 feet or so)! After we passed several bars, walked outside, and came back inside, Gabe finally left me at a tall cocktail round, saying he needed to use the restroom. I still remember smiling as he left, thinking how precious, but unnecessary his nerves were. Gabe is excellent at engaging with people, and I knew the CEO would be no different. Little did I know his nerves had nothing to do with the CEO!
Less than a minute later, Gabe was back at my elbow, asking me if I wanted to go for a walk before dinner. I was startled that he came back so quickly, but grateful for the suggestion. Crowds overwhelm me, and the chance to get away briefly before the night engulfed us was welcome. As we reached the end of the hallway, Gabe stopped and spun me around to face the way we had come. It felt like the paparazzi, as the event photographer and videographer began filming and snapping shots. Then my whole world narrowed and grew silent. All I could see was Gabe, and all I could hear was his voice.
Somehow I had enough presence of mind to set my clutch down on the nearby console table, and listen as I heard the man I love say what I’d waited my whole life to hear:
“Ashley Register, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”
I barely got out a choked “yes” through the tears that had started flowing before diving into Gabe’s arms. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew there was a ring in a box, but surrounded by his arms and the flash of cameras, I just didn’t care.
A few moments later, Gabe managed to disengage from me just far enough to slip the most amazing ring I’ve ever seen on my finger. After thanking the photographer and videographer, we slipped off for some real time by ourselves. I snapped the “I said yes” selfie I’d been thinking of for months, and we called my mom. Fortunately, Gabe had insisted I have my phone set up to call home “just in case” my family needed to get a hold of us, as my dad had been in the hospital earlier that week. It was hard to have had my dad sick, but what a perfect cover it gave Gabriel for wanting the extra service on my phone!
The rest of the night was a blur. We were toasted at the opening of the banquet, and at the end they had spliced the video footage of our engagement into the slideshow highlighting the events of the week. After dinner, Gabe and I spent the evening sitting above my favorite aquarium at the Atlantis, sipping champagne and quietly fielding the “congratulations” as they came.
The morning after, we had a beach party that I dared to wear my ring to. I just couldn’t take it off! Not so soon after having it on.
I love my love story. The Bahamas are such a beautiful place, and I love that they are now part of us, and we can go back to them and relive our memories for a lifetime. And I love that Gabe managed to completely surprise me!
Our engagement shoot came a few months later, and I’ve scattered a few of those images below for your viewing pleasure! (Note: If you’re recently engaged, getting married, or just looking for someone to capture a special event, our photographer Andrea was amazing! Check out her website here).
Thanks for reading, and becoming a part of our story, too!