“Months ago, probably in the middle to the end of August, 2020, I sat down with my mom and best friend Jenna to look at rings. Felipe and I had been talking about marriage so I figured I should tell my best friend and mother my preferences for a ring if Felipe consulted them. I told them a family ring would trump all other rings due to the meaning behind it. But if he didn’t have a family ring and wanted to buy one, I told Jenna and my mom I wanted an emerald with diamonds surrounding it. My mom and Jenna gently (and correctly) told me that maybe an emerald as the primary stone wasn’t the best fit; it’s a soft stone and I’m not the most graceful. So we looked at rings with a diamond as the primary stone with emeralds surrounding it. At least they had some options to pass along to him if he consulted them.
I spent Christmas with Felipe’s family in Boca Raton. They own a house in Key Largo and during one of the days when we were in the Keys, we took a day trip to Key West. I hadn’t heard a peep from my mom about Felipe asking about a ring so I figured I was just going to tell him what I wanted. At lunch that day, I told him the same thing I had told my mom and Jenna- family ring took priority and emerald with diamonds or diamonds with emerald if he was going to buy one. He smiled and dutifully listened.
Felipe’s birthday is February 18. A few weeks ago he told me that what he wanted for his birthday was to cook for my family. He is a really good cook and is so giving, so it made sense to me. When we were in New Orleans February 10-14, he sent my mom, Albert, Alex (and Christine), Nick (in London with Amberley), my aunt Annie whom he met several times due to her staying with us off and on during the pandemic, and Jenna an email inviting them over for pabellón (a traditional Venezuelan dish) on February 20.
Cue the snowstorm. Felipe didn’t lose power apart for a few hours but his heater struggled to make it. Poor guy sat in his apartment for days in layers of clothing to keep warm. Then Fort Worth went under a boil advisory which affected the portion of Fort Worth where he lives. He had mentioned how he may not be able to make it to the store to buy the needed beef. I told him it really was no big deal if we rescheduled but he needed to let people know because we were all up in the air given the weather conditions. He found the beef, so the lunch remained on schedule.
That morning I threw on jeans and a pretty casual grey sweatshirt. I looked in the mirror and thought, “I should maybe try a liiiitle harder for his birthday.” So I put on a nicer pink sweater and even put on earrings!1I went to the Dollar Tree (y’all, they have nice mylar balloons for only $1 each!) and got 3 birthday balloons for him and stopped by the liquor store to buy a 6-pack of his favorite beer. He got to the house and showed up at the door wearing the Perlis Mardi Gras polo I bought him for Christmas and my favorite hat of his. I opened the door when I saw his car pull up and as he walked to the door, I gave him shit for wearing his Mardi Gras polo out of season. He sweetly asked if it was a faux pas and I shrugged my shoulders telling him that I didn’t wear my Mardi Gras polos out of season…
1Jenna told me the next day that my mother suspected he would propose that day. She also told Jenna she was concerned I would not have brushed my hair. Fair.
We started preparing lunch, I gave him his birthday card (one of the better birthday cards I have given in my life, by the way), and I went to put on my slippers- I didn’t want to get food crumbs on my socks. Then he told me I could open my belated Valentine’s Day present. It was an unwrapped Polaroid camera still in the box with a card from him taped to the outside. I opened the card and read his sweet note. The card had a blue heron on it, which has sort of become a symbol of God’s providence in our relationship.2 Felipe writes me the best cards; he is a romantic. I quickly read through the card and was able to decipher most of it, save the end because his handwriting was a little hard to read. But it was all very sweet so I told him thank you and gave him a hug and kiss.3He went on to say he thought it would be a good idea for us to take pictures with the camera of friends who visit us and put their pictures with a note from them as our guest book. I thought that was a great idea! Thomas, my nephew, got a Polaroid camera for Christmas. He assuredly has used all the photos and I had my doubts that my brother, his father, would have purchased new film for him. I told Felipe we needed to hide the camera from Thomas because he was coming over for lunch and would want to take all the pictures.
I boxed up the camera and started taking it to my room. I got to the entry way of our house on my way to my room when Felipe said, “Well, don’t put it away quite yet. We might want to take a picture.” “Okay,” I tell him as I set it down on a table in the entry way. I turn around and he got down on one knee and said, “Elena Doskey, will you marry me?” I think I excitedly said something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh! Yeah. YEAH!” and exclaimed about how beautiful the ring was. I gave him a hug and kiss. My mom had walked into the living room. I looked at her and said, “He just proposed! We’re engaged!” Albert came into the room and was so pleased to hear the news. It was perfect. Not a lot of fanfare. A private moment. My family around to celebrate.
My mom took a Polaroid of us- it came out blurry. Jenna took one of us later- it was too dark. I wouldn’t have it any other way- organic and authentic. Not one of the Polaroids. Let it be known I Not 20 seconds later, my aunt Annie showed up. I told her the news and promptly told her she could tell no one until Alex and Christine and the boys and Jenna got there and until we had called Nick. We called Nick on WhatsApp. He didn’t answer and called me back. I answered standing next to Felipe as he was cooking arepas and held up my hand and said, “Yo! We’re engaged” as Felipe chimed in, “I did a thing!” Nick looked genuinely surprised and said, “Excuse me?!” and realizing it was real, wished us so many congratulations and asked to wait to hear all the details until Amberley got back from putting Charlotte to bed. We called Felipe’s parents and shared the good news with them; his brother was in the background of the call so we figured he heard the news. We tried to call Felipe’s sister; she didn’t answer. We tried her husband and he did pick up. I showed him the ring and his jaw dropped with excitement, although I think he was most excited he found out before his wife. We swore him to secrecy, that he couldn’t tell Felipe’s sister until we talked with her. Alex and Christine got to the house and Alex was putting some things on the kitchen counter when I held my hand up in front of his face. Dead serious, he squints his eyes and furrows his brow, and asks, “What?” wondering why the hell I am holding a hand in his face. I move my hand in front of his face again and say, “We’re engaged!” He replies, “Oh. Congratulations!” Nick and Amberley called back and no more than 30 minutes after we hung up with them, Nick had champagne and one of my favorite bottles of bourbon delivered to the house. We spent the rest of the day feasting and calling loved ones.
So about that ring…Felipe officially asked my mother for my hand at a coffee shop in Dallas on October 12, 2020. He had gone home to Boca September 10-14, 2020 for his godson’s First Communion. Turns out that during that time, Felipe secured a family heirloom ring he was going to use to propose. His mother told him he was welcome to the ring his maternal grandfather Cuco gave his maternal grandmother Yayi for their 25th wedding anniversary. He had the ring with him when he asked my mother for my hand. My mother and Jenna had not told Felipe anything about the type of ring I wanted. And what did the ring look like? An emerald. With diamonds surrounding it. Providential, indeed. And about the ring box…Felipe is serious when it comes to his playlist curation on Spotify. He has a playlist for every month which then get compiled to playlists for each year, going back to 2012. When we first started dating, like the gentleman he is, Felipe would pick me up (he still always opens the door for me) and he would let me play DJ using his Spotify account, totally messing up his Spotify algorithms. We decided to make each other playlists of about 20-30 songs that meant a lot to Felipe made his playlist for me and I, well, am still working on mine. I remember listening to his playlist at work with my headphones in pre-pandemic. All of the sudden, the most beautiful song came on. It had a late 1920s, early 1930s feel, with big piano, changing time signatures throughout, and the most beautiful lyric. It was “Si me pudieras querer” by Ignacio Villa, better known as “Bola de nieve.” He had the ring box engraved with the date of our first date (12/03/2019) and lines from the song, “Despertaste nueva vida en mí/para ser faro de mi querer…Si me pudieras querer/como te estoy queriendo yo,” which roughly translate to, “You awakened new life in me to be a beacon of my love…If you could love me as I love you.”
And about that proposal…On December 15, 2020, I texted Felipe and told him I had a dream the night before that he proposed and that it was ridiculous. My dreams are always ridiculous. I ended up telling him about the dream…There were people dressed in inflatable dinosaur costumes out in the front yard of wherever we were. A friend from college came and picked me up in a car, wearing the same outfit and bright red lipstick she was wearing in her Facebook profile photo. She took me to some beautiful outdoor setting where Felipe proposed and when I turned around, my family was there. Felipe told me later in the day after he proposed that his original plan for that day was to recreate that dream. He legitimately had ordered an inflatable T-rex costume from Amazon the week prior but it didn’t arrive in time because of the Texas snowpocalypse of 2021. He didn’t want to delay the proposal any longer. He told me he had wanted to propose 4 previous times but didn’t for various reasons. He finally decided he didn’t want one day to pass after his birthday without being engaged to me. Two days passed. Close enough.”
*A few special coincidences:
“When we first started dating, the first card I bought and sent Felipe had a blue heron on it. Unbeknownst to me, around the same time when Felipe was in South Florida with his family for Christmas, the first card he bought for me with the intention of giving it to me on our first anniversary (we both knew early on we wanted to be in for the long haul) had a blue heron on it.”
“So what did the last lines of the card actually say? “And while Polaroids are not known for their clarity, the past year and change has put something into an incredibly sharp focus for me. And that that is that I want to spend the rest of our lives on Earth together.” Oh yeah, and he sprayed the card with his cologne- one of my favorite smells.”
Elena and Felipe are such a sweet and adorable couple together. It has been such an honor documenting this Fort Worth downtown engagement session and getting to really know them has been a sheer delight. Fort worth is very special to them and even though they will have their wedding in downtown Dallas at St Monica in Dallas and wedding reception at The room on Main, they opted for the Fort Worth side for this session.
As we walked around I really got to hear their story of how they met, but also how he proposed. The special emerald stone was Felipe’s grandmother and given to him as an heirloom for the day he would propose. The beautiful story about this is, Elena unknowingly always wanted an emerald stone for her engagement ring. It was all meant to be!
I loved walking the streets of Sundance square with these two and ending the engagement photos at the Fort Worth water gardens. I hope you enjoy sifting through a few highlights from their engagement portrait session. I can’t wait for their October wedding later this year.
If you’re newly engaged, getting married and are looking for more tips and advice on your upcoming photos, continue to check back on our blog. Visit our website here if you’re interested in booking a Dallas wedding photographer , or destination wedding photographer , fort worth wedding photographer for your upcoming wedding. Check out more of Alba Rose Photography’s work by clicking over to our portfolio.