As the waves crashed outside the lovely Ocean Place Resort and the sun began to set, I knelt down behind a service entrance divider with Patrick, who flashed me a nervous smile as I fine tuned my camera to the recent adjustments of the light.
“You’ve got this. Don’t worry, Brynlee is almost in position. Wait for the signal!” I told him as I smoothed the Will You Marry My Daddy? bandana across his adorable puppy’s harness.
“I know, so I’m just going to say the plan out loud one last time, just to be safe.” He responded, and began going over the plan we had carefully created together.
“So first I will come through the restaurant door on the left side…”
Before I continue this story, I want to say that surprise proposals are some of my absolute FAVORITE events to shoot. Besides the beautifully raw and touching emotions these moments always bring out of my clients, no two proposals are ever the same, therefore no two proposals can ever be planned the same way, aside from the core 3 elements, thats why I love them!
As an artist, proposal shoots provide me with an exciting opportunity to not only meet the groom-to-be for a consultation (this is step one), where I learn all about their respective love story, how their relationship has grown and bloomed to have arrived on this doorstep to the next chapter of their life together, and of course the most important element of all: how he plans on popping the big question!
This brings me to step two in the proposal shoot journey, and my personal favorite: the planning session! Full disclosure, the Mission Impossible theme was TOTALY playing in my head the whole time. Before the big day, I spoke with Pat to find out what his vision for the proposal was, and met with his two accomplices in this secret mission, Delaney and Kris, Brynlee’s sister and mother, to walk the location and plan out staging of key elements, as well as to troubleshot potential speed-bumps, such as a hiking path or service door only being open certain days of the week.
The day of the mission arrived, and with it step three! I met Pat at the rendezvous point an hour before Brynlee was supposed to be meeting her mother and sister there for some quiet drinks after work. Pat and I walked the pre-established route, I showed him which angle to best approach her from so that I could get the best shots of her reaction, we assigned family members to be designated dog-wranglers to ensure Pat’s hands would be free to present the ring, and then we sat back to wait.
After a surprise parking delay, Bryn and Delaney could not get seated for drinks right away, and the designated family-members were held up meeting us to take the dogs, and most of our original timeline had gone out the window, I could see Pat begin to get nervous. He just wanted to ask the love of his life one simple, momentous question: will you marry me?
“…and then I will go down on one knee.” Pat finished his recap of our initial plan, I advised him of the the necessary adjustments he needed to make to accommodate the changes to our timeline, chiefly, how he should angle his body to catch the most of the beautiful, fading light on Brynlee’s face, and then we received the signal from Delaney, and it was mission go time.
The rest of that beautiful night is captured below.
To any of my fellow secret agents out there who would love my help in planning a beautiful surprise proposal, you can shoot me a secret message to my spy headquarters here!