The couple: Lindsay Docherty and Andy Rachlin, from Philadelphia.
The ring: My ring is a sparkling round diamond in a low-profile halo setting on a thin band of white gold with diamonds running down the sides.
Because I'm a wedding photographer, I have seen hundreds of rings, so Andy knew that I had definite preferences and that the best way to find them out was by going with me to look.
Ring shopping together was one of the most awkward experiences of my life! It was so uncomfortable pointing out this meaningful, expensive piece of jewelry that I wanted him to buy for me. We must have been looking for a few hours, seeing nothing that was "it." He took mental notes of elements that I was drawn to: round, halo, very thin band with stones down the sides, low profile.
Not long after that he had to go to a "work conference in Pittsburgh," and drove down to DC to meet with Cindy, a very close family friend who worked in a jewelry store. She was one of his mother's own bridesmaids and was tragically dying of cancer. She sat with him for hours as they picked the stone and designed the ring, and it ended up being the last piece of jewelry she created before she passed away.
The proposal: On the one-year anniversary of our first date, Andy picked me up from Suburban Station so we could go to dinner where it all began: Tinto.
It was a chilly January evening, and he told me that a cop had shooed him away from idling near the station exit, so we had to walk to the parked car. I was laughing and cursing him for putting me in this situation as we jogged down the street for warmth "towards the car." As we crossed 15th and Arch, he said, "Actually, the car is in here," and led me up the front steps to Le Meridien. I was amused, assuming he was just being cute and had gotten us a hotel room for our anniversary. I was not expecting a proposal so soon.
He opened the door and led me in. My company's photobooth was set up in the suite. Confused, I turned around to find him on one knee with the ring extended. I couldn't even speak, I just nodded vigorously and collapsed into his arms.
Knowing that I love photographed proposals but would want more privacy than that, Andy and his sister had snuck my photobooth out of the house and set it up in the hotel that day. It was the best of both worlds. Sadly, he had picked up one of my older, broken cameras for the booth, so it was all in vain—but it's the thought that counts.
We cracked open the champagne and went to a later dinner at Tinto to revel in the excitement. Soon after the proposal, we drove to DC to show Cindy the ring and celebrate with her.
The band: We actually already got our bands from Philly's own Bario Neal, because we wanted to use an independent jeweler and loved their company philosophy. Mine is a white-gold band with diamonds and sapphires. Andy's band is a hammered rose-gold band with one sapphire inside the band. All of the sapphires came from a bracelet that belonged to my mother.
Read other PW Reader Ring stories here.
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