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The Twelve-Hour Engagement

Kevin Korman surprised his fiancée, Angela, with the wedding of her dreams—a few hours after he proposed.

By Tori Phelps | Photography by Jacqueline Ward Images

In a now-classic line from When Harry Met Sally, Harry Burns declares, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Kevin Korman knew the feeling, and he was head over heels in love enough to do something about it. He decided to create a gift for his beloved, Angela: a fairy-tale wedding that illustrated his absolute devotion. How did she react? Just take a look at the pictures.

Love at First Sight

The couple, now living in Freeport, Florida, met by chance at the 2013 Digital Graffiti art festival in Alys Beach. They weren’t complete strangers, though. Angela, a transplant from a small town outside Nashville, was busy juggling a career as an accounting and human resources director at a law firm and raising her daughter, Eleanor. She made a brief foray into online dating, an unremarkable experience—except for an invitation by a chef named Kevin to meet for coffee. She politely declined, believing the hour-long drive between them was too far.

Soon afterward, Angela accompanied some friends to Digital Graffiti. While moving through the line to grab a bite to eat, she looked up and locked eyes with the festival’s executive chef. She knew instantly that it was the guy from the dating site; more than that, though, she knew her life had changed. “It hit me,” she recalls. “There he is. He’s the one—the one I’ve been waiting for. The one who’s been waiting for me. Maybe it was the strobe lights or the laser beams reflecting off the walls, but I swear I saw fireworks.”

In spite of—or maybe because of—the jolt she felt, Angela was hesitant to fall into a relationship that she instinctively knew would be it. Kevin had no such reservations. He was enamored immediately, but by the time he was able to break away from his duties to search for her, Angela was gone.


Fate wasn’t done yet, though, and the two met again a few months later. This time, Angela stopped fighting it. “I couldn’t keep running, and there wasn’t any reason to,” she says.

From that day forward, the two were inseparable. Dates to local haunts like George’s in Alys Beach and Seagar’s in Destin turned into trips to New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington, D.C. Each time they booked a flight, Angela was sure that Kevin would pop the question on that trip. When the couple returned to Digital Graffiti in 2014, Angela was confident an engagement was in the works that night. One year from their first, brief meeting would be the perfect opportunity, she reasoned, even wondering if he would write the proposal on the side of a building. He had kept assuring her, after all, that his proposal would be amazing.

However, no ring appeared on any of those trips or even at Digital Graffiti. Angela knew it was coming because Kevin kept asking if she had picked out a dress yet. Trying to do her part for their eventual nuptials, she spent hours scouring the Internet for the perfect gown, rings, venue, etc. She was driving herself crazy trying to make decisions, but the truth was that she didn’t care about the details. “Kevin and I had both been married before,” she explains. “We’d had the traditional weddings—and the less-than-spectacular marriages. I wanted to do everything the opposite of that. I didn’t want a shower or a registry; I didn’t want anyone to walk me down the aisle. I just wanted to live happily ever after with the man who changed my mind about love at first sight.”

One year from their first, brief meeting would be the perfect opportunity, she reasoned, even wondering if he would write the proposal on the side of a building. He had kept assuring her, after all, that his proposal would be amazing.

Unbeknownst to Angela, Kevin had spent five months planning their dream day. During the course of their many discussions about how, when, and where to tie the knot, he recognized that his beloved was overwhelmed by all the decisions to be made. “I decided I would take the stress out of it for her so she could just enjoy the day,” Kevin says.

Angela did notice that he was very interested in her research. She had made a wedding playlist on her computer, which Kevin put on his phone so “he would have something to listen to while he was at work,” he said. Then there was the wedding ring she ordered for him with her fingerprint engraved on it, which he said he was “putting away” so it wouldn’t get lost.

Frankly, he was running out of excuses for his behavior. But then, finally, the big day arrived.

A and K letters

A Magical Proposal—and Wedding

September 14, 2014, started out like any other day for Angela, except that she felt groggy, thanks to too little sleep the night before. Kevin thoughtfully brought her a cup of coffee in bed. It was a little strange that he also brought her a bottle of nail polish—the color was called “Got Engaged.” Stranger still, he picked out a dress for her and said she an hour to get ready to leave.

The sleep-deprived fog cleared enough for her to understand that something special was going on. The proposal, she thought giddily, scurrying around the house. In the car, she tried to guess where Kevin was taking her. The airport? One of their favorite restaurants? The beach?

Their destination was a private pier in the picturesque community of WaterColor, which held a picnic brunch Kevin had prepared the day before. He had arranged for Jackie Ward from Jaqueline Ward Images to hide nearby and photograph the day’s events, and for Storied Films to capture the whole day on video. Multiple cameras caught what turned out to be the amazing proposal that Kevin had promised.

Mr. and Mrs. chairs

Angela was still reveling in the morning’s events when Kevin guided her into a waiting limo, handed her a note and a journal, and bid her farewell. This was the first of four stops she would make that day, each with a gift and a note that hid the words “borrowed,” “new,” “old,” and “blue.” (The journal represented “borrowed.”)

Angela realized she was in the middle of more than just a proposal; the cameramen in the bushes helped her arrive at that bit of insight. Still, she only thought that Kevin was surprising her with an engagement party later that night or a bridal photo shoot, so she sat back and enjoyed the ride.

The next stop was Vivo Spa Salon in Rosemary Beach, which had opened just for Angela that day. She got another note and jewelry (something “new”), including her choice of pearl-encrusted bobby pins or an antique hair clip. Also waiting inside was Angela’s best friend, whom Kevin had flown in from Nashville. “I cried hard,” she confesses. “It got ugly.”

Angela realized she was in the middle of more than just a proposal; the cameramen in the bushes helped her arrive at that bit of insight. Still, she only thought that Kevin was surprising her with an engagement party later that night or a bridal photo shoot, so she sat back and enjoyed the ride.

After getting their hair and nails done, the pals were whisked to Fonville Press in Alys Beach, where Kevin had prepared lunch. Joining them at the coffee shop were Angela’s sister from Tennessee and Kevin’s sister-in-law from Maryland. While enjoying the salads and dips Kevin had left, Angela finally stumbled upon the journal page that spelled out his plans for a proposal and wedding in the same day. At that point, Angela’s sister gave her another note, along with their late grandmother’s gloves (something “old”), which Angela had long talked about wearing at her wedding.

With a new understanding that today was, in fact, her wedding day, Angela and her group headed to a room Kevin had reserved in Alys Beach. The special guests waiting here included the couple’s mothers; Angela’s daughter, Eleanor; and a friend ready to apply Angela’s makeup. Eleanor had the last note and a bouquet wrapped in her great-grandmother’s blue handkerchief (something “blue”).

Also in the room was the dress Angela had bought several months earlier with the intention of customizing it to her taste. As the secret wedding date approached and Angela continued to take apart and remake the dress, Kevin’s anxiety had ratcheted ever higher. Luckily, Angela’s mother had convinced her daughter to complete the final alterations the night before the secret proposal.


Most of the women left the bride-to-be alone when it was time to get ready for the ceremony. In those quiet moments, the enormity of what Kevin had accomplished hit her. “I thought about how selfless he was to take all the stress of planning a wedding off my shoulders and execute my vision without burdening me with what could have been a never-ending list of details and worries,” she says. “It was truly the best wedding present my husband could give me.”

Kevin, however, was still wrapped up in those details. As his fiancée was enjoying a day of pampering all over town, he and his sous chef, Cody Smith, were preparing an eleven-course meal and putting the finishing touches on the three wedding cakes Kevin had made. Meanwhile, Kevin had enlisted the help of good friend Elizabeth Sinnott of Elegant Beginnings to coordinate setup at the pavilion where the ceremony would take place. The decor included everything Angela had ever mentioned or stashed on her Pinterest wedding board.

“I thought about how selfless he was to take all the stress of planning a wedding off my shoulders and execute my vision without burdening me with what could have been a never-ending list of details and worries. It was truly the best wedding present my husband could give me.”

Most of the women left the bride-to-be alone when it was time to get ready for the ceremony. In those quiet moments, the enormity of what Kevin had accomplished hit her. “I thought about how selfless he was to take all the stress of planning a wedding off my shoulders and execute my vision without burdening me with what could have been a never-ending list of details and worries,” she says. “It was truly the best wedding present my husband could give me.”

Kevin, however, was still wrapped up in those details. As his fiancée was enjoying a day of pampering all over town, he and his sous chef, Cody Smith, were preparing an eleven-course meal and putting the finishing touches on the three wedding cakes Kevin had made. Meanwhile, Kevin had enlisted the help of good friend Elizabeth Sinnott of Elegant Beginnings to coordinate setup at the pavilion where the ceremony would take place. The decor included everything Angela had ever mentioned or stashed on her Pinterest wedding board.


A fierce storm delayed the sunset ceremony for a bit, but even Mother Nature wouldn’t dare mess up their perfect day. In exchange for the delay, she delivered a dramatic nighttime backdrop filled with twinkling stars.

All that was left was to get married.

The vows. The kiss. Dancing. Toasting. Course after course of spectacular food. It was a magical evening for the newlyweds and their delighted guests. At last, for the first time in weeks, Kevin got to relax. He had spent the previous night hosting an unveiling dinner for everyone involved in the plan, during which he admitted that they hadn’t come into town for a surprise engagement party, as they had been told, but instead for a surprise wedding.

“For a very long time I was the guy who didn’t believe in marriage or relationships. I surely didn’t believe in love at first sight. Angie changed all of that. As corny as it sounds, it was like I found my missing half.”

Most grooms would be hesitant to spring a same-day wedding on their brides, but Kevin knew Angela wouldn’t miss the months of stress-laden wedding prep. His main concern was about getting the details right for her. “Would she like the shoes I picked? Would she be upset that she didn’t get to be involved in the decorations? In reality, almost all of the details were chosen by her,” he says, pointing to her Pinterest board and his sneaky questions. “I was hoping that the effect of the whole day would outweigh any small details that were missed.”

Angela certainly had no complaints, calling the culmination of her husband’s hard work “unbelievable.” It was the least she deserved, says Kevin. “For a very long time I was the guy who didn’t believe in marriage or relationships,” he confesses. “I surely didn’t believe in love at first sight. Angie changed all of that. As corny as it sounds, it was like I found my missing half.”

Though not much in life could top Kevin’s stunning surprise, Angela gave it her best shot. On Christmas morning, she surprised him with the news that they would welcome a new baby this August.

Thus, the fairy tale continues …

— V —



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