how to propose to your loved one …

Welcome our guest blogger

Today we are so excited to feature a guest blogger, previous bride and client, Madelyn. She had a sweet little wedding last year and we were so pleased to be a part of it.

She married an amazing guy who planned an awesome proposal. But we’ll let her tell the story. -pfe team

Hello lovely people! My name is Madelyn Pike (which is a name this new-wifey is still getting accustomed to!)

A quickie bio about me: I’m 23 years-old. I live in Newburgh, Indiana and I work in recruiting. Things I love include weekend trips, monograms, Chipotle, and I’ve never met a day planner I didn’t like. I firmly dislike alarm clocks and the gym.  My husband’s name is Tyler; I married him because he’s the most charismatic person I’ve ever met, makes me laugh every single day, and looks good doing it. 

Tyler and I married in June 2015 with the help of planning…forever events. During the planning process, I was asked to contribute a guest-blog. Unfortunately, I never found enough time to write. But now that we’re happily wed, I’m ready to reflect on this whirlwind of a planning process!

Proposal Photography

Tyler proposed in downtown Newburgh on June 22, 2014. Being the closet-romantic that he is, Tyler arranged a photographer to capture the most exciting surprise of my life! Having photos of this special moment is something I would recommend to anyone. Like all good things, it’s over in the blink of an eye! And like engagement and wedding photography, Proposal Photos are a way to relive the thrill all over again.

To make capturing your proposal a success, below are some tips for both fiancés-to-be.

1. Work with professionals.

In a pinch, having a close friend or family members snap pictures on their phone works. But 98.5% of the time, those photos will lack the artistic merit of a professional photographer. Do some research, ask for referrals, and find someone who has the experience and portfolio.

If you don’t have the time to research, or don’t know what you’re looking for, contact a wedding planner who specializes in all things wedding. #pfe does offer engagement planning services. They will stay behind the scenes and let the proposer take all the credit! 

burk pike proposal photos 1

2. Have a creative story.

A week before Tyler proposed, he asked me to accompany him to dinner with his parents the following weekend. Later, he mentioned it would be at Victoria National Golf Club. On Sunday, we had an early lunch and he suggested grabbing an appetizer downtown before dinner.

This was all a set-up; a series of nonchalance that ultimately led to my open calendar, appropriate attire for a nice dinner out, and growling stomach. The idea of a proposal NEVER crossed my mind, which added to the surprise. If you’re a prankster like my now-husband, the game of tricking her will be half the fun!

3. If this is a surprise: Be yourself!

If you don’t own a tie and your idea of a fancy restaurant includes the word “Roadhouse,” I do not suggest using a fancy dinner to lure her out. You might as well wear a shirt that says, “Something special is happening tonight!!”

IF you really want it to be a surprise, strategize a plan that fits your girlfriend and your personality as a couple. This is another way that a professional planner can be an asset. For example, I have a friend who is an athlete.  Her boyfriend took her to Indianapolis under the pretense of attending a Colts game. The tickets didn’t even exist, but she didn’t mind when he dropped to one knee at Monument Circle.

burk pike proposal photos 2

3. Encourage a mani.

Part II of that story deserves a certain emphasis. Earlier that day, Tyler noticed my week-old nail polish was chipping (a rarity for me.) With a joke, he called me out. I painted my nails that afternoon. I have never been so grateful! I would have been so mad at myself looking down at my shiny new ring on un-manicured fingers. 

Disclaimer: If your girlfriend couldn’t care less about something like her nails, don’t mention it. Drawing attention to it will only make her suspicious. 

4. Choose a photogenic location.

The last thing you’ll want is a neon McDonald’s sign in the background or random crowds of strangers walking right through your photos.  Start by finding a reasonably low-traffic spot, if possible (obviously you can’t expect to avoid crowds in Central Park or at the Eiffel Tower.) Again, hiring an expert will help you find the perfect spot to pop the question.

burk pike proposal photos 3

5. Consider public versus private.

A public proposal is a fun and vibrant affair. Passerby’s will stop to watch and cheer when they hear, “Yes!” and if your friends and family are present, they’ll love witnessing your happiness firsthand. On the flipside, you can’t beat the quiet intimacy of a private proposal, and the chance to keep it a secret between just the two of you for a little while.

If you can’t make up your mind, do a little of both! My best friend’s now-husband proposed while they were walking along the river in downtown Newburgh. When she said yes, he led her up to Café Arazu where both sets of parents where waiting, having secretly watched from afar.  They were able to have a private and romantic moment and immediately celebrate with their families after.

6. Have a Plan B, C, and D. Maybe even an E.

My husband suggested this one! I have literally just found out that he spent over a month planning how he would propose. I am shocked, but also not surprised. It was truly perfect and makes me feel so special that he put this amount of thought behind it. His advice is to think of it as a game plan (or to hire someone to do that for you.) Then don’t panic if it doesn’t go according to plan; just go with it. It will be perfect.

photo credit: Abby Wendholt

happy proposing! 

plan your engagement photos …

We’ve always been an advocate for engagement photos and have talked about it frequently on the pfe blog. Our engagement photo is still hanging on the wall of our bedroom, 22 years later. We are often amused at how sweet and young we looked.

a few tips before you book your engagement photo session …

  1. Be yourself. If you area casual person, wear your favorite clothes and colors that make you feel good. Don’t try to be formal if that’s not you. Go to places that are meaningful to the both of you. A restaurant, grocery store, cafe, whatever. Be you!
  2. Don’t be intimidated. There are a lot of creative engagement shots on Pinterest and all over the internet. You, be you.
  3. Book your trial hair and makeup appointment. You’re going to pay for this service anyway, why not book those appointments early in the day and take your engagement photos later in the afternoon?
  4. Time of the year. Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten your engagement photos until only a few months before your wedding IF the weather hasn’t been cooperating. It’s not that big of a deal.
  5. Several outfits. This is not necessarily something you have to do, but consider taking some clothing options to make the most of your session. So you can have a lot of different looks.
feature photo credit: equinox photography

plan on!

engagement photo …


Here is my real engagement photo, circa 1993. Thank goodness engagement photo sessions are much more personal, interesting and plain entertaining.


Please laugh. I am. My favorite parts of this photo?

  • Love the pose. #zzzzzzzz
  • My teased bangs. I rocked some bangs.
  • Long red, fake nails.
  • The pearls. I was totally into huge, faux pearls.
  • My husband’s shirt. We’ll just label it #whatwereyouthinking
  • I LOVED this blazer. It was double breasted and classic.
  • Hair is naturally curly.
  • We look so young. And Fresh.

Your thoughts?



so you’re engaged!

Congratulations on your engagement! This is such an exciting time for you. Trust me when I tell you the only other time in your life where you will receive such joy and attention will be when you have your first child. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The immediate reaction to getting engaged is to text thirty of your besties to let them know the good news and to start shopping for your dress!

Whoa! I would suggest the following (and this advice will be brief):

1.  Discuss your wedding budget. Where will the money come from? Are both sets of parents helping? Please don’t book vendors until you know this magic number.

2.  Start a rough guest list. There will be four lists: bride, groom, bride’s family and groom’s family. This will give you a general idea of the number of potential guests you may need to accommodate before you start shopping for a ceremony and reception venue.

3.  Set a date, but keep it flexible if possible. If you don’t have your heart set on a particular date then you will be open to more possibilities for securing a location.

4.  Talk to each other and openly discuss your wedding. What’s the style you want to have? What do you want your guests to experience? What are the top three things that are important to each of you? Both of you speak up and be honest with each other. You both want to feel comfortable with the choices that you will be making as you move forward.

5.  Make an appointment with a wedding planner. I know this sounds self-indulgent … but really, this is the best time if you are going to hire a wedding planner. Starting from the beginning and using the experience and knowledge that a planner brings to the table will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Again congrats! We are so very happy for you and your journey to begin your lives together. Yes, we love weddings.

ps Call us, maybe? 812.250.2382 or staff (at)

plan on!


elopement :: is it for everyone?

Elopement is a personal choice. I understand why some would want to do it. In fact, the truth be told, my husband and I were planning a sort of elopement before we got married. It was a situation that my parents were not exactly thrilled (although they have since recounted that decision) about me marrying my husband. There was not the support that we wanted, and I would not be deterred. I married at 25 years old, definitely old enough to make my own decisions.

we were going to elope

We had planned on marrying at a resort in California with only our maid of honor and best man. Everything was set.

Then my mom went back into the hospital. It all changed. I realized that family there to support us was paramount to leaving and getting married and bringing back photos.

So, in four short months, I totally changed our plans (thank goodness I was a corporate event planner at the time, NOT a wedding planner, but I had the skills).

In the end, it was the best decision and my family was totally on board with being present and enjoying seeing us taking our vows. Because we paid for our own wedding, it was small (which is what I wanted) and exactly what we had wanted (that’s what you get when you pay for your own wedding).

The reason this all came to mind, I was watching the Real Housewives of Orange County this week (don’t judge me). Vicki’s daughter went to Las Vegas and on a whim, got married to her boyfriend. Someone who Vicki barely had met in the past and didn’t know.

Immediately, I went to my son (who is about to turn 16 years old and was a little confused at the conversation), and informed him how incredibly disappointed I would be if he eloped. He promised he wouldn’t.

Not because I want to throw a lavish wedding, like many of our clients plan. But because I would be hurt to the core not to be present at his nuptials. He is my only child. I have to be there. Whether I like the person he has chosen, or not. If he is old enough to make the decision, I want to be there for that important event of his life. Weddings ARE about family. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes … it’s not that good.

learn from me

This is not to put down others who elope. But please, take into consideration everything. Changing our wedding plans was the best decision we ever made. My father walked me down the aisle, both my brothers were present, my husband’s sister was there and our true, personal friends. It made all the difference in the world … as we move to celebrate our 19 years of marriage this July 4th. I’m grateful that I had the perspective, in time, to make the right decision.

featured photo credit:

plan on!