Real Proposals {Paris}: Shardae & William! –

Shardae and William met in 2005, their sophomore year of college at Hampton University, in a Humanities class. "We quickly became friends, and started to officially date in the second semester of our junior year, and we have been together ever since," said Shardae. William planned an epic surprise proposal in one of the most romantic cities in the world- Paris, France. Pictours Paris Photography  was there to capture the moment Shardae said "Yes!" to a lifelong friendship and marriage. The happy couple are planning a stateside wedding next August.

Bride: Shardae L. Hughes, 30, Speech Language Pathologist

Groom: William J. Johnson, 29, Management Consultant

Place of residence: Chicago, IL

Engagement Shoot Location: Paris, France

Wedding date: 8/6/16


Engagement story:

We arrived in Paris, France on April 3rd, 2015 for the first leg of a week long European vacation. The next morning, Will told me that we were going to a really nice brunch near the Trocadero that had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower. As we arrived at the location, Will had a surprise photographer already on site that captured our every move. Will positioned himself with an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower in the background, and then got on his knee and asked me to marry him. I was ecstatic and fighting back tears as I screamed YES!!! Lastly, the surprise photographer emerged to greet us; and then we had an engagement photo session right on the spot.

What was the theme for your engagement shoot?

There was no theme for the engagement, because Will completely surprised me with the proposal and engagement shoot. He is truly the “ultimate planner,” and had been planning the surprise proposal for months. If I could try to categorize the theme of the on-the-spot engagement shoot, it would be categorized as a “Fun / Candid / Parisian” theme.

Were there any memorable moments during the shoot?

During the morning of the surprise proposal/engagement shoot, it was raining and I didn’t want to wear heels to breakfast. Will told me that we had a tour which included breakfast that overlooked the Eiffel Tower. Will knows that I love to wear flat shoes, and he had a hard time convincing me to change into heels; but I’m glad that I eventually listened to him. Once we arrived to the “tour” location, he got on one knee and proceeded to propose; however, the ground was still damp from the rain.  As he asked me to marry him, I remembered telling him that he needed to get all the way down on his knee, rain or not.

 What makes your love special?

We have truly grown and matured together as individuals. We also value the meaning of love, and all that comes with it. We were juniors in college when we first started dating; however, we continued our relationship post college – through separate graduate schools and careers in different states.  At times, maintaining a long-distance relationship was difficult, but our love never wavered; and we knew that eventually we’d have an opportunity to pursue careers in the same city. It seemed like a long time coming, but the opportunity came, and 2 years ago we settled in Chicago. We now count the remaining days to our wedding, and loving marriage.

What are you most looking forward to about your wedding?

Marrying my bestie, and having all of our friends and family there to join in on the celebration.


Congrats to the happy couple Shardae and William. We wish you a wonderful wedding and marriage. 


Curated by our Wedding Features Editor, C.K. Alexander. C.K. is the creator of the Single Bride Blog and the  owner and founder of  Love Ink and Brownstone Bridal. Keep up with C.K. on Twitter here: @Love_Ink


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