The thought of proposing to the woman of your dreams can be intimidating. After weeks, months, or years of learning to deeply love her little quirks and profound opinions, you are expected to carry out one of her childhood dreams: the perfect proposal. But believe it or not, hearing her enthusiastic “Yes!” may be closer within reach than you think. Ask Alec Hall, a young man who, on September 29th, captured the magic of his love for Anna Shelnutt within a single, pulse-racing moment. His secret? A personal touch.

The couple met in their middle school years, but this story doesn’t begin with a mutual “love at first sight.” Alec was almost immediately enamored with this brunette beauty; Anna wasn’t so sure. Only after years of friendship and many afternoons on the neighborhood tennis courts did Anna find herself falling for Alec, too. Two years and four months after their first date at Stone Mountain on May 8, 2011, the couple knew that the rest of their lives would be best spent together.

Alec’s dilemma came when he realized that numerous sites would have been great for the proposal. Why not the tennis courts, where their relationship first took off? Or a hike up a mountain in Helen where a waterfall would await them? The possibilities were endless. But if you, like Alec, find that time and distance may be an issue, Athens and its surrounding areas offer plenty of memorable locations for that perfect proposal.

proposal1Alec chose Watson Mill Bridge State Park in Colbert, GA. He craftily incorporated small details that reflected their relationship: a pink tennis ball (cut in half, with the engagement ring tucked inside) to remember their adolescent afternoons, his mother’s wedding ring (Anna adores her). And just like any good groom, Alec made sure to have friends hiding in nearby trees, poised to snap pictures of the momentous occasion.

After Anna’s enthusiastic “Yes!” (see, I told you it would work!), the evening concluded with a picnic with close friends who had helped make the day possible. Several days later, Anna is still dreamily reminiscing. Although she now knows of Alec’s would-be plans, she says, “I couldn’t have pictured it any better.”

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