GADSDEN, Ala. (WIAT) — Abby Lindquist had her suspicions when she and her boyfriend, Josh Mather, recently headed from their home in Mobile to Noccalula Falls in Gadsden.
The couple loved to hike and fell in love with Noccalula when they first visited the waterfall back in April. And after dating for the past year and a half, Lindquist was certain she would be getting engaged during their next visit on July 10.
“When Josh saw how much I loved the falls, he made up his mind that he would propose behind one,” Lindquist said.
But after noticing how calm Josh was being and packing the backpack they took, and not finding a ring, Lindquist let her guard down.
“I texted my best friend Selena and told her I was wrong and he was way too relaxed to be proposing that weekend,” she said.
The couple then spent the next few hours hiking the trails at Noccalula before finally heading to the waterfall. Lindquist tried to take some selfies of her and Mather behind the falls but they didn’t pan out the way they wanted.
“Josh then told me, ‘Hey, go try over there and see if you have some better light.’ When I turned back around, he was on one knee pulling the ring off his keychain,” Lindquist said.
Her now-fiancé had hidden the ring inside an extra shirt and moved it to his keychain when he went to use the restroom before the hike. Lindquist said yes and the two were officially engaged.
According to Lindquist, the original plan for the proposal was that Mather would get down on one knee in June during his birthday weekend and his sister and brother-in-law would be there to take pictures. But tragedy struck when Mather’s father had a heart attack the week before his birthday.
So, their engagement happened later than originally planned and without anyone to take photos of the special moment. Or so they thought.
Unbeknownst to the couple, photographer Brandi Smith was in Noccalula Falls that day with her family. Smith decided to take a break at the waterfall and let her husband walk ahead of her. It was then she saw Lindquist and Mather trying to find the perfect selfie lighting. She recognized what was happening and snapped several photos of the candid proposal.
“Had I gone I would have missed the shot. There is nothing better to describe this than a gift from above,” Smith said.
Unfortunately, Smith was unable to wait for the couple to make their way over to where she was resting and wasn’t able to share the photos. So Smith posted them to her travel blog’s Facebook page, A Perfect Occasion, in hopes that the power of social media would connect them.
Despite over 3,000 shares on her original post, the couple could not initially be found. In yet another twist, Lindquist and Mather had decided to stay off social media for a week in order to celebrate their engagement with friends and family. Lindquist said they decided to post about it on Saturday night.
“When I woke up Sunday morning, I had messages from three different friends telling me, ‘Hey, someone has been trying to find you guys! They got pictures of the proposal!'” she said.
Lindquist reached out to Smith and was able to get the photos of their special moment. She said she and her fiancé are in love with them.
“They are absolutely perfect. It was such a total God moment for us,” she said. “It was like God’s engagement gift to us.”
Despite the positive feedback Smith got from Lindquist and Mather, some people view her capturing the intimate moment as intrusive and even illegal.
“I knew in my heart this couple would love these photos. I run a business that plans events and I know how magical pictures are for my clients. I was in the right place at the right time and the way everything lined up shows that,” Smith said.
Lindquist agreed with Smith and was happy to have Smith there for it.
“They were so appreciated. We are very thankful to her for taking them and taking the time to share them,” Lindquist said.
The couple is planning to have their wedding sometime next February. And now, they will always have something to commemorate the magical moment.
“It just blows me away how good God is. We totally got the best of two worlds. A super sweet and precious private proposal and some incredible shots of the engagement,” Lindquist said.