Derek & Sammy: An Outer Banks Proposal

August 2, 2016
Kate Pullen

A surprise proposal… over the past 12 years we’ve shot everything from beach portrait sessions turned proposal, to climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse incognito to capture that one moment. Yet, Derek’s proposal stands out …



We arrived at Lone Cedar Cafe in Manteo, where Derek planned an intimate dinner with Sammy. After finishing dinner, Derek excused himself to use the restroom. He headed down the stairs to a waterfront arbor where event planner, Heather, and her assistant Jackie, had styled a romantic candle-lit scene.


A few minutes after Derek left the table, the host approached Sammy with a photo album. “This is for you,” he said. “I don’t think this is mine,” she said as she looked at the book. Then, as she opened the pages, she realized it was a timeline of her love story with Derek.

Sammy read the last page in the book, “Come outside for a romantic surprise,” and tears began to fall.


She left the dining room, which by this time was full of excitement.


Sammy was escorted by waitstaff down to the back garden. Her way was marked by signs… “The wait is over…my heart is yours…you are the love of my life.”


As Derek placed the ring on Sammy’s finger, I heard windows open behind me. A crowd of guests and staff was standing at the windows cheering. She said, “Yes!”
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Derek led Sammy over to a quiet area surrounded by live oaks for a champagne toast.

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At the end of the night we all felt more like friends than people who had just met. We had been brought together, each one playing his/her part, to make the start of Derek and Sammy’s journey to marriage special. Derek hadn’t met any of us before the evening. He trusted strangers thousands of miles away with the details and that we would come through for him. We were honored by that trust. It gave us renewed hope in community, love, and romance.

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The team 


Written by: Kate


Lone Cedar Cafe

Heather Events

Daniel Pullen Photography

Music: Triple Scoop Music

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