March 8, 2021

ANDERSON, SC SURPRISE PROPOSAL | Our 2013 Engagement Story

Hey guys! I’m back at it, updating the blog a bit and thought I’d share something old, yet something very new to many. It may be a little sappy, but it’s super sweet! March 9th in 2013 was a special day because I was completely clueless and shocked when my, now husband, proposed to me in the best way. I’ve been needing to back this *original blog post/story up for a while, so I just added it right here. *originally written March 11, 2013

To this day, we’ve been married nearly 7 years. I wrote this post years ago, so here is my 23 year old self! Grab a coffee or popcorn and enjoy!

We’re ENGAGED! Say Whaaat!?

Brad proposed! March 9, 2013

My best friend Bradley Bien-Aime and I had been dating for 15 months now, and I think the world of him! He’s such a great person who brings so much joy, fun, and encouragement wherever he goes. He is also a man who is genuinely after God’s heart. We fell in love quickly, and with lots of prayer and wisdom we began to talk more about committing our lives to one another –engagement!
Apparently Brad had the ring he picked out and bought for the past three months now, since January 2013. He had just been waiting to ask at our right moment
Here’s how it happened:

I got a phone call from one of my favorite restaurants, The Gray House, this past Thursday. For those who don’t know, The Gray House is a unique, old victorian home that was refurbished and turned into a wonderful restaurant and great spot to host events. The owner, Kathy is a fabulous woman who has become a dear friend of ours. I couldn’t answer my phone when she called because I was at work! I was puzzled and anxious to get to my phone, so I immediately checked my voice mail when I got home. She told me that a close friend of hers was planning to surprise this girl he’s been dating for a while by doing a private proposal this weekend. He really wanted a photographer to capture her expression and the whole surprise, and Kathy thought of me to shoot it. She apologized that it was last minute and said that she could get someone else to do it if I couldn’t–but of course I was THRILLED to be a part of something special like that! Fortunately, my schedule for that evening was open! I told her I had one photoshoot that same afternoon, but I would rush there as quickly as I could that evening. Kathy then told me that because it was so last minute, I should bring Brad, and she would cook us dinner once the couple was finished. “WOW!…you mean I get asked to photograph and take part in someone’s special moment AND get treated to a free dinner date night with my man?! Yes please! Thank you Lord”…I began to ask Kathy details about this couple. She gave me their names and ages: the couple was in their early 30s. We exchanged arrival details and set things into place. I was ready! I even planned out some poses for the couple for after I caught the moment.

I told Brad about the awesome offer, and he thought it was amazing and a blessing that I got asked. He was Pumped about our free date, and he’s always glad to assist me on a photo shoot if he can. So we planned to be there together.
Finally Saturday gets here. The weather is absolutely beautiful and sunny; perfect day so far. I did a family shoot with an amazing couple and their baby boy, then hurried home to change for the shoot at The Gray House. Brad arrived later, dressed nicely for our date, and we packed his car with my camera gear and headed off. I was so anxious on the way there, blabbing about how this surprise would go down. “Where would we need to hide? When exactly should I start snapping pictures because I don’t want to ruin their moment?” Brad listened and encouraged me our whole ride there.
When we arrived, we met up with Kathy inside. The Gray House was empty and dark except for one remaining party. Kathy cheerfully greeted us and said “Are you ready!? Did you see the room?” I was so excited, I walked right past it.

There was the couple’s stunning, private room to themselves, being lit Only by the hundred or so candles that filled the room from top to bottom. Candles lined the floor and the side tables and mantles. It was quite warm in there! In the middle was a table for two with a beautifully lit centerpiece encircled with daisies and lilies. Positioned in the very center was a card labeled “1st Corinthians 13“.

I’m thinking, This guy did well! His girl HAS to know she’s going to be proposed to. It’s so obvious!

I was in complete work mode. While I’m preparing, I’m asking Brad, “What do you think about this picture? What about that lighting? Shouldn’t the girl be sitting in this chair so I can capture her face?…” I want these pictures to be perfect!! This is a big night. Meanwhile, Brad is as cool as a cucumber..

Next we go outside so I can test the light and pick the right places around the outside of the house. I’m using Brad as my model. He’s loving it. I’m getting anxious because the couple hasn’t arrived yet. We got there early enough, but I don’t want them to see us and blow the surprise.

Our waitress, Emily then brought us a menu to choose our meal for after the shoot. We picked a favorite–Amish Baked Chicken

Then our waitress came right back out a few seconds later with some really crummy news. She had an apologetic look on her face as she told us that this couple just had a major family issue, and the whole thing needed to be rescheduled! :@ They wanted to know if I was available next Saturday… 🙁
Brad’s disappointment was all over his face too. I was super bummed…all this excitement and preparation…and the couple can’t make it? The owner Kathy came out next, and she was a bit fuming mad because she and her staff took much considered time into decorating and preparing the front private room for the couple. She then said, “You know what? Someone needs to enjoy all this hard work. I told you two that I’d cook for you so come on in and enjoy that candle lit room! Good things happen to good people, and you guys deserve it, so come on!”

I don’t know what to think or how to feel?? WE get to enjoy this thing that was supposed to be intended for someone else. I honestly felt uneasy because I didn’t want to “crash” someone’s private room…? But at the same time, who would turn down a free, absolutely beautiful dinner date with someone you love… I felt like we were in a scenario from a Hallmark movie. Interestingly, Bradley was very calm and more accepting than I was about eating in this couple’s room. So, we seated ourselves. The waitresses hung around, and all of us were trying to make light of the situation. 
Brad handed our waitress his camera phone and asked if she could take our picture. While she has his phone, Brad starts sweetly explaining to me how he couldn’t ask for more than what was happening…
He proceeded to tell me and everyone listening how special I was and how much he loved me. He proudly stated that we had been dating for nearly 15 months. That exact night marked 15 months ago when he first asked my parents if he could date me. He concluded with watery eyes, a shaky voice and said, “She’s been my best friend, my sister in Christ, and now….I WANT TO MAKE HER MY WIFE”

I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT…I WAS TOO STUNNED TO CRY. At first, I thought he was playing around, but then he got up from the table. I realized that our waitress had been filming this all on his camera phone he handed her. Brad got down on one knee and said “I’m not joking. This was ALL PLANNED. Sydney Danielle Hendrix, will you marry me?” He pulled the ring out of his pocket, which I was too stunned to even look at because I was still so Shocked! I had my hands covering my mouth in disbelief; legs shaking; huge smile; uttering “Oh My God” over and over and over… Brad says, “Well what do you say??


He tricked me =D I was completely oblivious and distracted by this fake “photo shoot”. It was all planned by him and the staff of The Gray House. Of course my parents knew, and everyone involved deserves an award because this was the best, well covered, well planned surprise ever…

I couldn’t believe it was real. I’ve never been happier.

Of course we didn’t touch our food. Who could eat. We celebrated our moment together in that beautiful room, thanked The Gray House staff, and made our way home with phone calls to our family, shouting the great news.

owner ^ Kathy
When we got home, my parents had already decorated the living room with party balloons and a CONGRATULATIONS SIGN. We all celebrated with sparkling cider & Reggae music.

The top congratulations pics were taken by my former college roommates. We kept up that congrats sign in our apartment for fun for when good things happened during the semesters. We took a picture by it the night Brad asked me to be his GIRLFRIEND on December 10, 2011.
 We want to thank everyone who has expressed their congratulations, support, and excitement with us! We are so blessed to have great friends and family to celebrate with and partner in prayer heading into marriage… We greatly appreciate the love.

One of the best things a woman can do is Wait on God for that Right man that He has specifically for her ♥
I’m so glad I trusted in HIM, and listened to my parents!


I love the hearts inside!

I hope you enjoyed our engagement story. I may share more personal things on the blog every now and then in the future!

I love hearing couple’s proposal stories, no matter how simple, elaborate or quirky they may be. Popping the question is a big deal, and if you’re interested in working together, contact me!

comments +

  1. Brad says:

    I LOVE you so Much babe. Marrying you has been the biggest and best achievement and gift in my life! THANK YOU, for saying YES! -Hubby

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