Will + Mary Kate ~ Surprise Engagement!Clinton Presidental Library

It all started with an innocent conversation with my cousin, William.


“Hey, what’s up?”

“I might be interested in some pictures.”

“Perfect! What kind of pictures are you needing?” (knowing William, I have no idea where this could be going. Then he drops the bombshell.)

“Pictures for Mary Kate and me. I saw that ad you posted and though it would be nice. But then I thought halfway through it could turn into surprise engagement pictures.
“YES YES YES!!! That would be SO much fun! I’m totally down. 🙂And then I proceeded to do an inside happy dance. Because I was at work and I couldn’t give anything away. Have I mentioned I love surprises?!
I remember two years ago when Mary Kate asked me if I would want to do their engagement photos when the time came. I’ve been waiting since then. I was ready. William was over at our house the weekend before the surprise engagement session, and we spent a few minutes planning out how he was going to propose.
Mary Kate also had been making it a little difficult to keep it a surprise. Apparently, she even asked William, “You aren’t going to propose during this photo session, are you??”
William had a mutual friend drop a hint that William would be proposing at Pinnacle Mountain. So, next thing William knows, Mary Kate is asking to go to Pinnacle. He pushes her off and says they will go the weekend after the photo session. Sneaky. 😉 Now we are all in the clear and Mary Kate has no idea that he’s really going to be proposing a week early.
I was even a little sneaky and got a video of the proposal happening. If you want to see that, go here! I brought Josie along with me, like I always do, to hold the reflector during the session. But today she had an even bigger job. She was carrying the ring. William called me 30 minutes before the session, just a little worried about how he was going to carry the ring in without having a huge bulge in his pocket that would give it away. So, the backpack idea was born. They were going to change clothes halfway through the session (also brought about sneakily, since the original mini session Mary Kate  *thought* they were doing didn’t include a change of clothing. William simply told her he was going to treat her and would pay the extra to get a change of clothing in the session) so Josie was told to carry the backpack full of clothes for them to change into later. She was a bit of a packhorse this day. She’s the best.
Anyway, William sent us a picture of the pocket the ring would be in. Josie’s job would be to walk behind us for a little bit in order to get the ring box out and hold that underneath the reflector. Mary Kate had a pose she wanted to do that was perfect for getting the ring to William:
After we got into this pose, Josie slipped behind William and handed him the ring surreptitiously. And then it happened.
I think we surprised her.
Mary Kate was definitely in shock for the first couple minutes. A huge grin wouldn’t get off her face, and she was a little distracted. 🙂
We drove to the Capitol Hotel to get some classy shots, and it was perfect.
I may have gotten in the middle of the road in Downtown Little Rock to get this shot, but, hey, I’m still alive to tell the tale. Who says the photographer life doesn’t have it’s own set of dangerous thrills??
Behind us, a trolley pulled up and gave us a few toot-toots. The driver opened up the door and said “You guys are beautiful! You both look great! You weren’t just proposing were you?”
We laughed and said it actually happened just a few minutes before. He said “Congratulations!” and then off he went after giving us a couple more toots of the horn, and everyone on the trolley gave us a wave.
We laughed about it and kept on walking. William remarked that it would’ve been cool to ask for a picture on the trolley. I had the same thought, but didn’t know how that would’ve worked since they were in the middle of the road. We turned the corner and got a few more shots, and here came the same trolley.
William ran up to the trolley driver and he opened the doors. “Can we get a couple pictures really quick?”
“Yeah, real quick!”
What!? I couldn’t believe it. Best trolley driver ever.
Mary Kate and William ran over to the trolley and the driver put it in park and ran out of the way. I snapped away and then we all ran back to the sidewalk after yelling our thanks to the driver.
We definitely gave his passengers a story to tell. 🙂 It’s not every day they have an engagement session happening on their downtown ride!
I asked William and Mary Kate to answer a few questions for me, and as I read over their story, I could see William written all over it. And if you know anything about him, you will too.
“My first impression of Will was that he was a goofball.” 100% agreement, right there. “We met at FC and I had a meeting with a scary guy to change my major right away. I asked my friend to watch my laptop bag in the STUD and he was in there playing ping pong with his sister, Olivia. Before the meeting, he came over and started to chat with Rachel, who was my friend and also who I had asked to watch my laptop bag. He started messing around with Rachel, who he knew from bowling class, and then Rachel introduced us and he messed with me a little bit. While I was gone at my meeting, though, he stole my laptop and posted something about me wetting the bed on Facebook. (Naturally, because what else would he do?) After I took the post down immediately after seeing it, because who wouldn’t be mortified, and posting something about it in the place of that awful post, he talked with me until almost 1 am in the comments section of the post. The rest is history from there.”
William’s first impression of Mary Kate was during the same freshman orientation group. He was instantly attracted and knew this was someone he wanted to meet.
Their first date was on Mary Kate’s birthday.
“The night before my birthday he told me to be downstairs and ready to go at like 6 or 7 in the morning, because it was a Sunday and he wanted to do something before Church. Not realizing that he would be taking me out, I asked what he considered ready. He said not to worry about a shower or anything, but just come downstairs. So that’s exactly what I did at 7 am and he came around the corner in his sisters car (because he didn’t have car at FC that year). He tells me to jump in and he took me to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. It was so cute that he wanted to surprise me, but I felt like a total idiot sitting in Dunkin Donuts in my PJ’s!”
“But my favorite date of ours so far has to be when he told me to be ready to go at like, 6 pm, and he would pick me up at my apartment. This was just last year, here at UCA, so I knew we were going somewhere in Conway or Little Rock. But he wouldn’t tell me where we were going. So I just wore something super comfy, which happened to be a super cute white sweater. When he showed up at my door, I opened the door wearing my white sweater. He told me I had to change and that my sweater was completely unacceptable. Totally bewildered, I went to change really quick because I was like, starving at that point. Soon we were on our way and we ended up across town at Whole Hog Barbeque. I quickly understood why he felt my white sweater was completely unacceptable.”
William’s favorite date is a little different. 😉 His favorite memory is going to the gun range with a couple friends. They all shot up to 15 different guns, which was also the first time Mary Kate shot her first gun.
One of my favorite questions to ask is for each person to tell me their favorite thing about the other. There is never only one. William and Mary Kate are no exceptions.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I have one favorite thing about him. I love the fact that he pushes me out of my comfort zones. Before I met him I had never seen a gun in real life, ever even considered trying sushi, or gone to Wal-Mart at 2 am. But after dating him for 3 years, I have not only shot a gun, I’ve tried sushi and gone to Wal-Mart at 2 am more than once. The biggest thing I like about him is the fact that he balances me out. My crazy Type A personality that needs to plan out every hour of every day is definitely balanced out by him. Sometimes he makes me a little late to stuff and he’s made me okay with that (for the most part). Anyone who knows me also knows I’m like, attached to my phone all the time for school stuff or yearbook stuff or newspaper stuff, but he isn’t afraid to literally take my phone away from me and turn it off so he can remind me to slow down and enjoy people and not work 24/7.”
William told me, “Honestly, the list is too long to write. I could go on forever about her smile, laugh, personality, and so much more. We’ve been dating for 3 years and so far, asking her out has been the best decision I have ever made.”
I’m so excited for the both of them as they begin on a lifelong journey to love each other as Christ loves the church. I was beyond thrilled that William asked me to be a part of this special moment, and I can’t wait to welcome Mary Kate into the family. However crazy it may be.
My first impression of Mary Kate was a vivacious, bubbly, petite individual that knew how to fill a room with her laughter and voice. She loves kids, and she and Josie hit it off every time they are together. Almost anytime I see her at church, she’s got a flock of young girls all around her. She’s the definition of fun and always looking for a good time, and way more comfortable being silly than serious. And I love that about her. 🙂
William? I’ve known him since day 1. I have lots of stories (mostly embarrassing) that I could tell. But I won’t. Although it’s really hard to pass up that one birthday party story… (Remember which one, William??) We even have video proof of what went down that night. I’m saving that for when I might need it. 😉 William has always been the cousin that is up for pestering the younger siblings, but they love it. He’s always ready with a joke or prank to pull on someone.
Mary Kate is gracious enough to let the Pierce family call her MK. (I think we’re the only ones who call her this??)  William is gracious enough to let me call him William after all these years, when all his friends call him Will now. Thanks, guys. 😉
Go see the rest of their engagement session in the gallery!

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