Morgan Leigh Boberg

FIVE TIPS TO ACE THE PROPOSAL

The proposal can be one of the most daunting tasks about the entire wedding experience for the man.  Because we all know that as soon as word gets out, the first question that will be asked is, "How did he ask?"  It's become a part of our YouTube culture these days to see over the top proposals like "Isaac's Live Lip-Dub Proposal" or the even more over the top "Justin and Emily: The Proposal".  While these are super impressive, you don't have to know a choreographer or be a movie producer to give her a proposal that she'll remember for life.  Here's my story and Five Tips to Ace the Proposal.

#1  KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS

This tip is not only super useful for the proposal, but also a really great tip for your relationship and the health of your future marriage.  Hopefully you’ve been listening.  Hopefully you know her as well as you think.  Although you may have grandiose ideas of an over the top public proposal (I know I did), that’s not going to land with her if what she really wants is a romantic private proposal.

I knew that Morgan would want friends and family to be involved in some way, but nothing that was super public where she would be put on the spot.

#2 - GET HELP

If you read yesterday’s, “Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring - 25 Days…” you’ll notice a trend here.  I know what I’m good at and what I’m not.  When I’m not, I partner with an expert that is!  Enter again, Krystel and Karina from Couture Events.  These ladies are incredibly talented at design and coordination and I knew that in order to pull off my plan, I would need their help. 

Over coffee in Little Italy one afternoon, I explained to Krystel that I wanted to setup an inspiration shoot much like the one that Morgan and I met on.  I thought it would be really special to have Morgan back in wedding dresses and me behind the camera for what would be the most important day in our lives so far.  At the end of the shoot, I would setup Morgan for the classic bouquet shot, get down on one knee to take a photo of the flowers, then switch my camera for an engagement ring from my camera bag.  Krystel was thrilled and jumped at the idea!

We found the date that would work and booked the shoot.  I knew Morgan’s schedule was open, so after a couple months went by, Krystel reached out to her to ask if she wanted to model for our “Boots and Bowties” inspiration shoot.  The title of the shoot was a 'wink' as Morgan is a country singer and I wear bowties to all the weddings I shoot.  I can remember Morgan getting off the phone and hesitantly asking me, “Hey, Krystel asked me to model for your shoot in November.  Are you okay with that?”

I tried my best to nonchalantly answer, “Yeah, that would totally be cool,” but then had to leave the room because I couldn’t hide my smile for long...

#3 - LAND THE PLANE

This part is going to be different for everyone, but for us it was absolutely perfect!  John, my assistant from the shoot that Morgan and I first met on was in town and came along for the day.  When John and I arrived at The Estancia Hotel, Krystel and Karina were already almost done with table decor setup on the Olive Lawn.  They freaking nailed it and I was completely blown away!  So many amazing vendors were a part of this and I cannot thank them enough!

David Manning and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal The Estancia
David Manning and Morgan Leigh Boberg table scape The Estancia
David Manning and Morgan Leigh Boberg florals The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg cake The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg wedding cake The Estancia

Morgan’s call time was a bit earlier, so I dropped down to the bridal suite to visit her during hair and makeup.  Erin Luce was doing her amazingness as always and Morgan looked stunning.  It was such a surreal experience to look at her, knowing that she didn’t have any idea what we were really there for, and realizing that soon she would be my fiancé.  Before I totally blew the secret with my uncontrollable smile and teary eyes, I slipped out and waited for her on the lawn.  When she arrived, I was speechless...

David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal images The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal Couture Events
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposal farm table rentals The Estancia

It was so incredibly fun shooting together again, but then Krystel gave me the cue that it was time.

David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposes at The Estancia
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg proposes one knee The Estancia

Just as I had planned, I got her into the perfect spot so that John could get a shot, and I got down on one knee to shoot the bouquet.  I nervously took a few shots of the bouquet and then put my camera down to my side.  The moment I did that, she immediately realized what was happening.

David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg Reaction to proposal
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg Reaction to proposal

I had planned all of these amazing things to say, but the gravity of the moment blanked my mind and I could do little else but smile.  I managed to get out a few sweet words before I asked, "Morgan, will you marry me?"

David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg Reaction to wedding proposal
David Manning Photography and Morgan Leigh Boberg Reaction to wedding proposal

She said yes, kissed me and then immediately hugged me.  It was a few minutes and still hadn't put the ring on yet though!  I had to remind her that she got to wear it now!

David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg

Then I told her to turn around.  She asked why and I said, "Just turn around."  When she saw our parents walk out from behind the hedge, she lost it.  It was the most special moment.

David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography proposes to Morgan Leigh Boberg

#4 - HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER TO CAPTURE IT ALL

Obviously I'm a little biased on this point, but your lady will THANK YOU for thinking of this!  I've hidden in plenty of bushes to secretly shoot proposals so many times and after the question has been popped and I come walking up, the newly engaged always turns and thanks her guy for thinking to hire me!

In this case, our photographer in the bushes was my friend and amazing photographer Sara.  She was there to capture it all and after the tears subsided a bit, we did a little mini-shoot around The Estancia to get some pictures of the two of us newly engaged! 

David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg
David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg

#5 - HAVE AN AFTER PARTY PLAN

You found the ring, planned the proposal, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry you; you're done right? Not if you really want to do it right.  This "after party" can range from just the two of you on a rooftop romantic dinner, to a full on party waiting for you, but have a plan of what you're going to do afterwards.  Have a way to soak in the moment and capture all of the excitement in that night!

With started off by having dinner and drinks with just our parents at The Estancia, but I had a little something extra planned for later that night back at the house.

David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg

A huge thank you goes out to all of our friends and family that showed up that night and partied the evening away with us!  We are so thankful to have all of you in our lives!

David Manning Photography puts ring on Morgan Leigh Boberg

Some of the highlights from the Red Photo Booth that we had running that night :)



CHOOSING THE PERFECT ENGAGEMENT RING

Alright gentleman, the next few posts are for you and this one is all about the engagement ring!  Ladies reading this, you may want to share these posts with a certain gentleman in your life... *wink wink*

You've found that special woman that you want to spend the rest of your life with and now it's time to find the ring that she will wear for the rest of her life.  Wow, huge moment!  I went through this with a lot of help from my family, a good referral from a friend, and a ridiculous amount of research online!  Definitely learn the Four C's of Diamond Quality, but there's a few things that every guy needs to do right away!

Talk to her.  Get help.  Find a jeweler through a trusted referral.
 

If you haven't already talked about what sort of ring she likes, then you better start dropping little questions now.  This decision is huge and she should be a part of it.  I understand the desire to have the whole thing a surprise, and you definitely still can, but if you're comfortable enough to talk together about marriage, then you should be comfortable enough to talk together about what type of ring she wants.  She's the one that will be wearing it for the next fifty or so years!

Mine was a bit easier because I got a huge hint early on!  Just a few months into dating, Morgan and I were at the mall and dropped into a few jewelry stores (avoid these stores when you buy).  We obviously weren't seriously looking and just sort of having fun, but then Morgan saw it... the one... her dream ring.

Morgan Leigh Boberg engagement ring David Manning Photographer

About three months into dating, Morgan and I visiting a jewelry store for fun

It was so amazing to watch her light up and her jaw absolutely dropped when she put it on.  This dream ring came at a price though; like I could buy a pretty sweet car for that kind of price.  Then my jaw dropped.  I knew and she knew that I would be getting her something quite a bit smaller and not quite so nice for when that day finally came, but we were totally wrong...

I got help, and I found a great jeweler through a trusted referral.
 

Help came in the form of my mom talking me through a lot of info on buying a diamond and help came in the form of a great referral from my good friend Jeff.  Through him, I found The Diamond Source in Old Town.  Jeff always said that when I was ready, that we would have lunch, eat tacos, drink tequila, and visit his diamond guy.  Best choice ever!

David Manning Photography San Diego Engagement ring
David Manning Photographer San Diego Diamond

Looking at raw diamonds with Jeff that first day at The Diamond Source

The Diamond Source is an incredible family owned business that creates all sorts of custom jewelry.  They made me feel completely comfortable and walked me through everything.  Another huge point was how upfront they were with me.  I found out that buying jewelry can be like buying a used car with negotiations going back and forth (you'll find this a lot at those mall jewelers).  Fanny at The Diamond Source was totally upfront, I told her my budget and she told me what they could do for me. Easy and comfortable.

Months after we had seen it, I went back to the original jeweler that had Morgan's dream ring, took some photos of it on my phone and brought them The Diamond Source.  They then custom made her ring with the raw diamond that I picked out.  Long story short, not only did I get Morgan's dream ring for HALF the price, but Morgan's is slightly larger and more importantly, a higher quality diamond!

Morgan Leigh Boberg engagement ring
Morgan Leigh Boberg seeing engagement ring

And here's the reaction every guy is hoping for when she sees the ring

I wanted so badly to give Morgan her dream, but I thought it was completely out of my reach.  By figuring out exactly what she wanted, by getting help, and by getting a great referral from a trusted friend, I was able to get Morgan her perfect engagement ring.  Your story will be different and your lady's dream ring will be different, but with these three tips, you can make sure that she gets her dream too!

PS- INSURE THE RING IMMEDIATELY!  As soon as you have that thing in your hands, get it insured.  I went through Jeweler's Mutual and they gave me a great rate.  The Knot has some good info too so you can learn more about it.

David Manning Photography Morgan Leigh Boberg engagement ring

Morgan's dream come true

***COMING NEXT: "FIVE TIPS TO ACE THE PROPOSAL"***

HOW TO MEET THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE

Wait.  That's the greatest dating advice that I can give to anyone that's unsure or wondering when they're going to find Mr. or Mrs. Right.  When people ask about Morgan and I, one of the first things that we say is, "It was just really obvious to us," and that's true.  About two or three weeks into dating, we both sort of looked at each other and knew already that this was our forever.  It was as obvious as, "What color is the sky?"

We've all been there before with past relationships and thought, "Could this be it?" and even thought that maybe it was, but somehow knew it wasn't right.  Don't force it.  Wait.  Because as cliche as it may sound, when it's right, you know immediately.  There's no second guessing or doubts.  Someone will ask you what color the sky is, and you'll say, "her."

Below is the story of how we met.  It's a unique one and something neither of us could have seen coming.  Even in our story, we had to wait.  About six months passed between us meeting and us being ready for each other.  Neither of us tried to force it and then out of nowhere, the sky turned blue.  


The photo shoot that changed everything...

Morgan and I met on an inspiration wedding photo shoot.  I was the photographer and of course she was our gorgeous model for the day.  These photo shoots are a collaboration between photographers, coordinators, florists, dress designers and more to create a shoot that would then be published by a national wedding magazine or blog.  This one actually got picked up by the Wedding Chicks blog

The funny thing is though, we almost never met.  For months Krystel from Couture Events, the coordinator that designed the shoot, had another model scheduled.  Three days before the shoot, the model backed out and we were panicked.  In her panic, Krystel put up a post on Facebook just hoping that somebody knew someone that could possibly come model for us.  An acquaintance that Morgan briefly knew when she was 15 and working with a mutual music producer tagged Morgan in the post.

Krystel selected Morgan and she was now our model!  The days before the shoot were very busy, so I never even had time to look into who our model was or what she looked like.  When I walked into Krystel's office the day of the shoot, I was blown away.  Morgan was already halfway through hair and makeup and the first thing I noticed was her beaming smile.  I think that's what most people first notice, because when Morgan smiles, she lights up a room like I've seen few others able to do.  I introduced myself and tried hard to keep my cool.  I chatted though some details with Krystel and Karina, got to hear a little bit about the fact that Morgan is a country singer, and then slipped out with my assistant to head to the Seaport Village carousel where we would start our first location.

I'm pretty sure one of the first things that I said when I got in the car was, "Holy crap that girl is gorgeous!"  John replied something like, "Yeah dude, this is going to be insane."  We Googled her immediately and listened to a few songs of her songs online as we drove.  Minds blown!

The shoot went incredible and sparks flew all day.  We were just fast friends and found an ease with each other immediately.  Looking back, we always laugh how the first day we met, she was in wedding dresses all day long.  It was pretty easy for me to picture the possibilities!

After the shoot was over, we both sort of lingered by our cars and when the moment came, I asked if she might want to go surfing and grab lunch sometime soon.  She said that she would love to and to find her on Facebook so we could set it up.  Our lunch date was a really funny and full story on its own, but the short of it is that Morgan surfed without a wetsuit (and froze), talked at length about the real possibility that mermaids exist (I laughed a lot), and our conversation over California burritos ended up lasting hours and left my cheeks hurting from smiling so much!

From there we stayed friends.  The timing wasn't quite right, but we both knew there was something very special in each other.  We kept in touch randomly through the months with a few texts here and there to check in and see how life was going.  She would update me on some little city she was playing in or how weird a hotel her band was staying at was.  One of those people that wasn't right in front of you, but always sort of on your mind somehow.

Then in December, Morgan texted me and said she wanted to hangout and get some "David Manning wisdom".  Our first night hanging out together we were both getting over being sick.  It was by no means a date, so we decided to pickup sushi from one of our favorite spots and just hangout at my place with some whiskey and our guitars.  We talked into the early hours of the morning, mainly about how much neither of us wanted to be in a relationship for a long long time, played songs for each other and in that night realized just how special this friendship we had really was.  I'm not sure that I've ever smiled so much in my life.  She is the most incredible woman that I have ever met and that night I began to fall in love with the woman that will become my wife.

From that night, it has been an incredible adventure filled with surfing, bike rides, rollerblading, mountain hikes, lake trips, and so much more.  The most important thing though and the basis of our love for each other is that friendship that we found in that very first day.  

She's my best friend and I cannot wait to marry her.

Here's a behind the scenes video that Anthology Films shot that first day...

 

And of course the photos from the shoot...

 
 
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Carousel smile
 
 
 
 
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Seaport Village Carousel
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Estate Events
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Inspiration Shoot
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Funny cookies
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Wedding Dresses
David Manning Photographer Morgan Leigh Boberg San Diego Wedding dress