Nine years is a long time to date someone. It’s more than enough time to get to know someone, to understand the way a person thinks, to learn to anticipate a person’s next move. Date someone for nearly a decade, and you might start to believe there can be no more surprises.
That’s pretty much how Caroline Thompson felt about her longtime boyfriend, David Richards, who surprised her not once but twice where their engagement and wedding were concerned. “I always thought there was no way he would be able to surprise me,” she says. “We are best friends. We’ve known each other for so long.”
A week after the eighth anniversary of their first date—homecoming of their sophomore year of high school—the couple were walking and talking at Rio Roca Ranch, David’s mother’s property in Palo Pinto County, about an hour from Fort Worth, when David brought out a photo book and handed it to his girlfriend. “On the last page was a picture of a ring box,” Caroline says. “I was looking at it, and by the time I looked up, he was on his knee, asking me to marry him.”
The wedding took place on June 7, 2014, at that very same ranch. Caroline and David stood framed by trees on a bluff overlooking the Brazos River, the blue sky as their backdrop, and said “I do.”
The bride’s vision for her big day was “traditional with an understated elegance that played off the natural beauty of the ranch,” she says.
A few flowers was all the decor needed to dress up the outdoor ceremony. The reception was held in a tent filled with a few more flowers (peonies, hydrangeas, roses) and soft, natural furnishings. Guests joined the newlyweds for dinner and dancing, which is where David’s second surprise for Caroline came in.
After the traditional first dances—Caroline with her dad and David with his mom—“David jumped up and gave a speech. He told the story about how the song ‘Baby Doll’ was our first dance sophomore year,” she says. “And then there comes Pat Green strolling into the tent.” Caroline could not believe her eyes. “Apparently David planned it right after he proposed and kept it a secret,” she says.
The Texas-country musician sang a few songs and then left. The party didn’t end there, however, and the band played on. Guests danced until nearly 2 a.m. Which wasn’t really a surprise at all.
“David jumped up and gave a speech. He told the story about how the song ‘Baby Doll’ was our first dance sophomore year,” she says. “And then there comes Pat Green strolling into the tent.”
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