Tamara and Sam met on an online dating site. Tamara sent Sam a message complimenting a picture of her riding a velociraptor and Sam responded with a question about an unusual crime that had happened near Tamara’s hometown. Sam later told Tamara that she had actually logged in that day to delete her profile, but saw Tamara’s message and thought she was cute and funny so, on a lark, she shot her a response. Their mutual weirdness won out, they exchanged numbers, and started casually texting. Soon, it was daily.
After a few months of talking and texting, Tamara went to meet Sam. Their first IRL meeting was at a mall Chipotle. They ended up just walking around the mall a few times because they were not sure what to do and all of the tables were full. Tamara gave Sam an early Christmas present that made her cry and Sam officially asked Tamara to be her girlfriend while sitting on a bench in front of the Cheesecake Factory and they had their first kiss, which was made somewhat awkward when an elderly woman sat down directly next to them to be their audience.
For their first “official” first date Tamara spent a weekend with Sam and she took her to all of her favorite places: the Flying Biscuit, LUSH, and the Little 5 Points Institution Charis Books and More, which just so happens to be where Tamara proposed to Sam years later.
Sam and Tamara decided together that they wanted to get engaged. Tamara teased Sam mercilessly about waiting for a ring and how Sam had to follow “butch tradition” by proposing, but Tamara decided early on that she wanted to be the one to propose.
According to Tamara, Sam has always been the fearless one. “She was the one who asked me to be her girlfriend,” said Tamara “She was the one who asked me to move in, and the person who has given me the confidence to do things win my life I’d always been too afraid to try. I thought it only fair I take the lead this once.”
For her proposal, Tamara made a book with pictures of them and little tidbits about their time together. She asked one of their friends, who works at Charis Books & More, to display it in the little shop. Tamara took Sam on a trip to the bookstore to “check out their new stock” and Sam caught sight of the book on the display shelf. They sat down together to look through it and on the last page, Tamara wrote about starting the next chapter of their lives with a picture of her hand with an onion ring – an inside joke. Tamara then pulled out the real ring and proposed. Through tears of joy Sam managed to say, “Yes!” and they celebrated by eating their weight in shrimp at Red Lobster.
Unbeknownst to Tamara, however, Sam was also planning a proposal. On Sam’s birthday, the couple headed to the iconic Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, Ga. They decided to dress in character as Ruth and Idgie from “Fried Green Tomatoes.” They planned to take some cute selfies and enjoy a picnic that they packed. While they were eating their lunch, Tamara thought that she saw someone trying to photograph them behind some trees. Sam nervously denied this. The “hidden” photographer eventually came over and introduced herself as a photography student and asked if she could snap a couple of photos for a class. Tamara said sure, excited at the prospect of free pictures, but she got even more excited when Sam opened the jar of honey she’d brought to reveal her stunning engagement ring. Sam had made a secret compartment in the honey jar so it would not get all gooey! The “student” was actually Raven Shutley, an Atlanta-based photographer. What Tamara thought was going to be a few selfies turned out to be a full engagement shoot and a surprise proposal.
And if you were wondering, dear reader, Sam cried again.
Tamara and Sam’s favorite thing about their engagement shoot was having a photographer who encouraged a lot of really cute, funny, and sweet moments between them rather than just focusing on certain poses. She gave them directions like: “tell each other what you are most proud of about the other, sing a song together, or kiss your favorite place on your partner with your eyes closed.” These interactions let the moment feel natural and made them comfortable in front of the camera.
Sam and Tamara both planned big speeches during their proposals, which did not actually end up happening, but that did not matter at all.
“I proposed to Sam while she was wearing leggings and a Furby t-shirt and we took our engagement pictures in the middle of a South Georgia summer where even your elbows sweat,” said Tamara. “But we love the photos that came out because we are so obviously in love and having a good time. I hope that our wedding will have similar vibes.”
When you find the right person to spend the rest of your life with all of the little details do not matter.