From the photographer, Samantha Eckhaus of Corner House Photography:
Tampa Riverwalk engagements in downtown are always a blast, especially when you have a couple as sweet as Tori and Courtney. My couple’s story began when they met at Courtney’s parent’s house on St. Pete Beach in early April 2006. Courtney had seen Tori out and about, and convinced their mutual friend to make sure she came to the get together. Little did Tori know that she was on her way from Orlando to St. Pete to be set up on a “blind date.”
Courtney knew from laying eyes on Tori that she was convinced she would be marrying her one day. The two kept in touch over the summer, as Courtney made a commitment to her convictions by driving to Orlando every week to spend time with Tori. Shrimp scampi dinners and hanging out in Orlando together turned into officially dating when Tori moved back to Tampa.
As we know from their beginning, Courtney fell head over heels for Tori the moment she laid eyes on her, but truly, her favorite thing is the “way she can find the good in everything.” As Courtney explains their love, Tori “inspires me to be the best version of myself possible and believes I can achieve anything I put my mind to.” Tori’s love for Courtney began through seeing Courtney’s dedication to her and their relationship. As she explains Courtney’s dedication to her and others, Courtney is “also one of the most caring and passionate people I know, but in a quiet way, she really cares about the people in her life.” Oh and of course, I could not forget to mention Tori’s favorite trait of Courtney, her humor. I must say that Courtney had Tori laughing the entire engagement.
As their love grew for one another over their ten-year span of dating, Courtney knew it was the right time to pop the question. When chatting about their double-digit anniversary, Tori brought up the idea of doing a cruise getaway, but Courtney told Tori that she wanted to plan their celebration instead. Looking back, Tori noted, “I realize now that should have been my first clue, as I plan all our vacations, so as skeptical as I was, I agreed. Best. Decision. Ever.”
June 11th came around quickly, but Courtney was ready and prepared. Dressed up and ready to head out, Courtney brought Tori to Tampa’s downtown Riverwalk for a surprise boat ride. Riding around in the boat, admiring the scenery around them and skyline of the city, Courtney pulled out the ring from her pocket and asked Tori to marry her. As Tori reminisces, “I couldn’t believe it; I think I asked if it was all a joke about 100 times before saying yes! We are both Tampa natives and love it here, so being out in the middle of the city was really the perfect proposal location.” While Tori though the surprises were over, they had just begun. Pulling up in the boat to Jackson’s Bistro for dinner, the two began to hear cheering from a huge group outside. Looking over to see what the commotion was all about, Tori realized that the group was over their closest family and friends – yet another fun surprise Courtney had planned. Tori began joyfully crying, completely blown away by Courtney’s thoughtfulness and how she was able to keep it all a secret!
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