There were two proposals, Chelsea, give us yours!
C: I had initially got the idea in my head that I would propose on New Year’s Eve in 2019, but I had never looked into engagement rings and was completely unsure of what kind Shelbey would like, so I decided to do more research. Also, I did not want to put Shelbey in the difficult position of telling her parents we were engaged, knowing their unapproved stance on our relationship.
Fast forward ten months. The timing felt so right to take this next step. I found a beautiful ring and decided to propose after Thanksgiving, so my family could surround us.
Just as we had left, it dawned on me that I had forgotten the ring in our apartment before leaving for our hometown three hours away. I had to lie and say I forgot my wallet.
My sister helped with distracting Shelbey so I could place candles on the floor in the shape of a heart. I proposed in front of the Christmas tree (because Shelbey loves Christmas), and even though Shelbey swears I never actually asked, “Would you marry me?” she still said yes.
Tell us about the ring; how did you go about finding the perfect engagement ring?
C: I purchased the ring from Zales. I actually went into the store looking for diamond earrings for Shelbey as an anniversary gift and decided to look at the rings. I was nervous to tell the sales associate I was planning to propose to my girlfriend, but she was so helpful.
As soon as I saw the ring I knew it was the one.
I left the store without purchasing the ring because I couldn’t believe what it actually meant: that I would propose to the love of my life. I sent a picture of the ring to my mom, to which she replied: “DO IT.” I went in and bought it the next day.
How romantic! Shelbey, you followed it up with a photoshoot turned proposal – give us the details!
S: I always knew I wanted to propose to Chels, even though we playfully argued about who would actually be the one to ask throughout our entire relationship. I set up engagement photos with my amazingly talented photographer friend the same day I bought Chels’ ring.
I wanted to propose on camera after I read her a letter, but I wasn’t sure how to do it without raising her suspicions. Ann helped me concoct the perfect plan. I told Chelsea that Ann had assigned us “engagement photoshoot homework” and that we had to write each other letters about why we love each other so much we want to get married. She obliged, and we read said letters standing back to back on Mt. Bonnell in Austin, Texas.
I was so nervous, but why??? What was she going to do? Say no after she had already asked me to marry her??
She said yes, and we got some incredible photographs to remember the moment with.
And, Chelsea’s engagement ring – how did you find that?
S: I also purchased Chelsea’s ring from Zales. She had been telling me she wanted a classic, horizontal, emerald cut ring. I went to check out what they had. They had some gorgeous rings, but they were out of my price range. I was walking out empty-handed when I spotted a ring that screamed Chelsea’s name. It was sparkly, which was unlike her, but it was square and not too girly. I sent Chelsea’s mom a photo, and she gave me her blessing, telling me she thought she’d love it.
What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?
C & S: It means that we are committed to loving each other through the good and the bad, the unfolded laundry, and the cold, bedtime feet.
Tell us about wedding planning; how is it coming along so far?
C & S: So far, so good. We have booked our venue and our photographer for our spooky, chic Halloween wedding in 2021.
Choosing our photographer was easy peasy. Shelbey has known Ann for a couple of years now and has seen her photography evolve. Ann is so talented that we picked her before we even picked a venue!
As for other vendors, we’ve been perusing Instagram and Pinterest mostly to find the right fit for us.
Our wedding will be in Manor, TX, at The Grand Lady on Halloween of 2021.
C: I hope that our wedding goes smoothly. I hope everyone has fun. I hope I don’t cry a lot, but I hope I look good doing it if I do cry.
S: I hope that we are surrounded by people that love and support us and that our love shines bright. I hope that I don’t let the fact that my parents aren’t apart of my wedding ruin mine and Chelsea’s day.
It sounds incredible so far! Is there anything else you’d like to share?
S: As most people know, being gay is not easy. It has been tough to see my parents struggle with accepting me, as though this one little part of my life defines me and totally alters who I am. It doesn’t. I am the same me that they raised. I know others’ in our community have it way more challenging, but it gets better; it gets easier. You just need to build an army of supportive people around you.
I am so thankful for my two brothers, Justin and Reid, and my two cousins, Loren and Jackie. Without the four of them, I am not sure I’d still be standing.
Chelsea and I are so lucky to have so many people that are so supportive of both of us. Her family has welcomed me with open arms, celebrating my wins and mourning my losses as their own. I am incredibly thankful to be a part of her wonderful family.
I cannot wait to become The Storms in 2021 officially.
Photography by Ann Mark