My Proposal Story


September 10th, 2017 : Our Proposal Story

Photos taken by Kelsie & Joe Crockett, edited by Jo Johnson


I feel as if I’ve told this story a zillion times in the last year but I realized I had never told it on my blog. It only took an entire year for me to share all of these gorgeous images that Kelsie and Joe took, and to tell the incredibly sweet story of Matt pulling off the biggest surprise of all time.

I think this story is best told partially from Matt’s perspective and partially from mine, so I’ve asked him to tell his side of things, starting with…

Getting The Ring

Matt: When I bought the ring I had planned to have it shipped to a buddy in Arkansas. The only complications were that I waited until the week of our engagement to keep the fact that I was planning to propose a secret, but I hadn’t moved to Arkansas yet, and was still living in St. Louis. Jo was meeting me in St. Louis to fly to Salt Lake City, so being a problem solver by trade I tasked my best friend with meeting up with her while she was photographing a charity event and hiding the ring under the driver seat of her car. Thankfully he did a great job and she delivered it to me completely unaware.

Jo: This is one of my favorite parts of the entire proposal. I delivered my own ring to myself. Dude. He pulled that off and I still have no idea how. His best friend had my wireless speaker and just texted me the day of the charity event to give it back. I didn’t think anything of it and handed him the keys when he showed up but was too busy to actually talk to him, thankfully. Matt informed me later that Ross was EXTREMELY nervous he was going to ruin the whole thing.

Picking the Spot

Matt: Two things about me that will give this story a bit of background. First, I’m a creature of habit, I can eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day and not think twice about it. Second, I have a tendency to go with the flow when it comes to my social calendar. The combination of these factors and the fact that Jo and I had kept a pretty open dialogue on our plans to get engaged in the near future meant that my ability to surprise her were pretty limited. If I suggested we go to to the car wash, she would immediately wonder why I was proposing at the car wash. So when Jo planned a trip with Kelsie and Joe to do a series of photo shoots in Utah, I figured it was my best opportunity to catch her off guard. I spent months telling her that I wasn’t sure if I could come along, that I hadn’t gotten the ring (accurate right up until the day before the trip), and that the proposal just wasn’t going to happen yet. I didn’t even tell Kelsie and Joe about my plan until the week of the trip! In terms of a specific location for the proposal, I didn’t really know when and where we’d be going until we got there, so I picked the place that Jo seemed most excited about going (the salt flats) and had a two minute strategy session in a bakery with Kelsie on the logistics the day before we went there.

The Actual Day

Matt: We’d been shooting at least twice a day for the three days we had been in Utah, and that day was no different. We woke up a couple hours before sunset to get pictures on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. Seeing as we’d done that several days in a row, I’m pretty sure a sizable part of the day was dedicated to lunch and an afternoon nap. That, and driving an hour and a half to meet the couple the photographers had planned a photoshoot with to get Jo out on the salt flats.

Jo: I had NO idea that the photoshoot with this couple was a ploy to get me out to the salt flats. I thought Kelsie and Joe were just being super nice letting me crash their shoot and experience the place I was most excited about in Utah! Also, Matt didn’t act weird at all…literally nothing about the entire week made me think it was time. This morning I was getting ready with Kelsie and I told her that I thought he was going to propose sometime this Fall and I was getting so excited and she played off her inside knowledge like a champ. I have no clue how they did it.

The Proposal

Matt: The salt flats were pretty awe inspiring, and while I had planned a few words to say in the moment, I don’t think I managed to get any of them out (a fact that Jo really likes to remind me of). Her initial reaction to me asking her to marry me was to turtle her head into her jacket, which I definitely wasn’t prepared for. One of the clearest sensations was that between the adrenaline, the nerves, and the surreal blue and pink sunset on the salt flats, it felt like we were walking on the surface of the moon.

Jo: Kelsie and Joe asked if they could take a few shots of us at the end of the our photoshoot with their clients and I thought nothing of it! The sun had slipped behind the mountains and the pink sky was next level. Matt started to get on one knee and I immediately looked at him and said, ‘They didn’t tell us to sit down, Matt!!’ followed by me realizing what was happening and then complete blackout. The only thing I remember is Matt being so choked up that he couldn’t get his planned words out and just managed a, ‘Will you marry me?’ I don’t think I responded or reacted. I just dropped to the ground in shock. It took about an hour before anything hit me, which means that the surprise was real and I loved that.


Jo + Matt

lifeJo Johnson