It was love at first sight for Emily Walker and Elijah Hasemeyer, but dating for the past year hasn't been an easy road. For about half that time, their relationship has been long distance, because both Emily and Elijah are in the military.
They were introduced by a mutual friend and fell in love, but after boot camp Emily went to Texas and Elijah was deported to Africa for six months.
As the six months drew to a close, Emily wanted to get couple photos taken together during their brief reunion. She reached out to a local photographer, Heather Carter.
"Hi Ma'am! I know this is such a short notice, but would you happen to have any openings in August (after the 10th)?" Emily wrote in an email to Heather's company, Sophia Belle-Photography "My boyfriend is getting back from deployment, and we just found out his leave got approved. I really wanted some pictures from you before we both leave again."
She scheduled the photo session, but what she didn't know was that Elijah had a different plan up his sleeve, and secretly started emailing Heather behind Emily's back.
She was clueless to their conversations, but found out exactly what Elijah was up to during the photo shoot.
During the shoot, the photographer handed Emily and Elijah chalkboards and told them to write down what they loved most about the other person. Heather did this in response to the first email Elijah sent her. It said:
"Hey this is Emily's boyfriend and I know she set up a session for when I come visit. I'm wanting to get ahold of you because I'm meaning to propose while I am there and I would like to do it during the photo session if that is OK to do. I figured it would be the best time and I don't think she would expect it at all."
The photographer had started making plans as soon as she received the message.
Now that the couple were both holding their signs, the big moment had come. Elijah was nervous during entire shoot, knowing what was coming.
"I was nervous," he said. "I was super excited. I just wanted to get to that picture to finally do it."
Emily wrote on her board, "You never gave up on me." Elijah wrote, "Will you marry me?" Heather told them to turn around at the same time, and captured the incredible moment when Emily processes what is on his board.
The photographer Heather said even she was overcome with emotion during the shoot.
"Yep. I cried when he did it. Yep. I cried when editing it. Yep. I cried while watching the video. This couple is definitely an inspiration," she wrote in a Facebook post.
The photos of this special event have since gone viral, and Heather said it's because of how inspiring this couple is, and their shared willingness to serve their country.
"I don't think the pictures would have gone viral had they not been the kind of people they are," she said. "These two, they have this amazing love for each other, but beyond that they have a shared deep devotion to their country... to my country."
Emily and Elijah plan to get married before either of them get deployed again. Congratulations to this sweet couple.