We always tell our couples that the engagement season is special. There’s never another time like it. All the joy and anticipation leading up to the wedding. Learning even more about each other, even if you’re learning you don’t agree on indoor or outdoor ceremonies hahaha. There are people congratulating you at every turn. You have a million engagement photos to share, to print, to use as save the dates. Instagram and Facebook posts with them are flooded with comments. It’s a season to bask in the joy. At least that’s how we felt when we got engaged. So that’s how we want you to feel, it’s why we send you gifts, it’s why we remind you to have date nights amidst wedding planning. But most of all, it’s why we ask about your proposal story.
The proposal is a once in a lifetime thing. The emotions you feel when you see him get down on one knee, nothing compares. The shock, the overwhelming happiness, the “cannot be contained” grin. It’s all so strong. We love watching our couples as they tell us how he asked. Reliving the moment always brings a smile to their faces as they sit on our couch. It’s forever imprinted in their minds.
You know what’s great though? When that moment is captured by photographers so you don’t just have to envision it, but can flip back through and see it happen all over again! Being able to share this moment after the fact, with everyone who wasn’t there to see it, that’s even more fun than sharing engagement photos. Of course we love engagement photos, we get to hang out with you for an afternoon. But they’re planned. You’re prepared. You know what to expect. Proposal photos are a whole other story. While you can prepare for, and if need be even re-do engagement photos, there is no preparing for or re-doing a proposal. Not if you want to get that genuine emotion. It’s a moment that can never be repeated.
Since you may have never heard it, we thought February would be a great time, since it’s the month of love and all, to share my proposal story! I’d told Amy a few times I wanted photos of the day I got engaged (yes, I told her this for years before I was even close to it…photographer at heart) and I am SO glad she talked with Erick to plan for a time she could shoot it. So instead of just telling you about it, I get to share the moment with you!
It was November 1st. I was COMPLETELY surprised. Which can be tough to do. Amy had arranged a fake photoshoot to trick me into going to Lake Wintergreen. She went above and beyond. Seriously. So far as to even create a fake email so I would see the back and forth planning. Yes, she emailed back and forth with herself 😀 At the time she was living in Maine with her in-laws so I had said yes to doing this portrait shoot by myself. Erick and I had been at my parents house and he’d agreed to come with me as he knew the couple. In my mind, it all made sense! We only had one car, and we were going back to my apartment after so it just made sense for him to come. He was calm, cool, and collected the whole time…which I hadn’t expected he would be!
I had my camera, I was dressed relatively nice for this “shoot”, no sweatpants thankfully, and we walked down the lane just chatting. If you’ve never been to Lake Wintergreen, when you come out of the path from the trees, it opens up to the above view. Amy had told the “couple” to meet us there because it was a great spot with the water. But as we came out of the trees I saw a blanket, a basket, and another blanket. Erick says “Oh, maybe this is hers.” I’m looking around trying to find the couple and it’s completely empty. As Erick walks over to the blankets I start to scold him, hahaha. “Don’t touch that. We don’t know if it’s theirs! Even if it is, don’t touch other peoples stuff!” He wasn’t listening and I was so confused.
As soon as he lifted the second blanket though, I knew what was happening. I’d seen his guitar a lot. It’s a pretty unique one, as far as guitars I’ve seen, and I recognized it right away. I remember pausing, that shock rolling over me in a wave, before starting to smile. I sat on the blanket across from him and he opened the basket. Inside was a book. I was still shocked into silence, nervous energy making me shiver. I promise it was excitement. Mentally I was looking for Amy. I hadn’t seen her anywhere. She lived in Maine! Was she even there?! He told me to open the book and started to play his guitar. Guys, I just about melted into a puddle right then and there. He’d written me a song and in the book he’d written out the lyrics with little illustrations. It was the cutest (don’t tell him I called it cute) thing ever. The song was perfect. It was all about us, it had an inside joke in it, and it was just perfect. The whole time he was singing I heard clicking and my smile grew even bigger. Amy was here, somewhere, hiding with a camera.
The end of the book had a photo of him from his Tinder profile and said “swipe right?” YES, we met on Tinder! That’s a story for another day haha. Under the photo he’d cut a hole in the book and there was a ring box. He took it out and we stood up. I don’t think I even let him get fully down onto one knee before I was saying “YES”. I was so excited. I couldn’t stop smiling. As soon as he put the ring on, and we kissed and all that, I looked around towards where I heard the clicking…
I knew Amy was out there but I literally could not see her despite staring right at her in this photo. I wish we had a photo of her. She was decked out in camo gear, a full ghillie suit, and had even covered the camera in leaves so as to not be seen. Following the proposal was a lot of “OMG, you drove three hours from Maine just to shoot this, to then drive home again?!” and “I can’t believe this. I had NO IDEA” and “You tricked me with a fake photoshoot…again!” (yes, she’d done it once before. Now I second guess all shoots hahaha). Then we took a few more photos capturing the special moment, and those gorgeous colors. Go Erick, choosing the best fall foliage day ever.
I am forever grateful for these photos. Forever thankful for a sister who does anything with me to “get the shot.” I cherish them more than I ever thought I would. I look back on them every year in November, so thankful that I’ll never forget how amazing it all was. I remember more about the moment because I have these photos. I was so zoned in to what was happening I missed things like the beautiful trees and the way Erick smiled too. When we have kids I’ll get to share not only the memories but the exact moment it happened. Our engagement photos will be fun to share and those are the photos I have hung in our house, but these will be loved forever.
This part is for the guys…in case you are sitting on your couch thinking “How do I even go about planning one of these?” (Ladies, leave it open on your computer if you need them to see it 😉 )
Behind the Scenes with Amy: Goes a little like this…
Erick reached out to me and said something simply along the lines of “I’m going to propose to Kay.” On the outside I was all like…”Oh yea. Cool. When you planning that?” But on the inside I was all “JOY. Let’s get this party started! Dancing around thinking of bridal showers and bouquets and sparkly shoes.” The first order of business is deciding WHEN. When is good for you, your photographer…and actually most importantly the one you’re popping the question to. I say most importantly because the date has to make sense. You can either plan it because the ACTUAL date means something to the both of you…and she’ll think you’re just going out on a special date cause that day is already special OR that day needs to make sense for activity you are telling her you will be doing that day.
THIS is where it got complicated with Kay.
As you may know we’re a pretty organized team. Kay knows what she is doing on a specific day months in advance…and the kicker is that I create most of her schedule. Yes, she creates her personal schedule…but I plan the shoot dates and input it in our shared google calendars so she knows she can’t do anything else on that day. This is where we had a combination of easy proposal scheduling mixed with tricky shoot planning. She is also very intelligent therefore does not get tricked into things very easily. So…I created a Gmail.
This alternate gmail -shoutout to Jess for letting me use her name- became my alter ego for a few weeks. I was Jess, hoping to get some gorgeous fall photos with her boyfriend. I had a VERY limited schedule and couldn’t do anything during the week. Also I had visited this lake before so I wasn’t going to meet Kay in the parking lot…I would just meet her at the opening near the water. (I’m surprised Kay didn’t question this aspect. Ha. We always meet our couples in the parking lot.) I confirmed timing -with myself- making VERY sure to leave some lag time between email responses. Jess is a teacher…so of course I probably wouldn’t be responding at 10:00am. As Kay mentioned above I was living in Maine so I REALLY couldn’t have this shoot rescheduled halfway through my drive. Haha.
Erick had his planning done on his side too. Song written (which I assume he had been working on for a while.) Lyrics written in a book with the ring box hidden inside. He just needed to agree to Kay doing a shoot on a Sunday afternoon and tagging along.
The rest of the setup was easy. I borrowed my brother in laws hunting gear and assured walkers and joggers at the park that I was NOT actually hunting. And then I nestled myself in the leaves, wrapped camo tape around our 70-200 lens and waited. Erick said he would text me when they were walking down the path…But I couldn’t look at my phone…I was hidden too well. 🙂
And then there they were. Strolling down the path, Kays camera on her side ready to shoot some fall photos. And Erick -honestly- walking along pretty normal (even though the nerves were probably flying high.) She did indeed yell at him for touching everyones stuff… and then with a big smile began looking around for me. I knew she knew what was happening and I knew she knew I was there. ha.
The rest of the story is quality memories and some good laughs at my outfit.
So gents. Here’s the quick wrap up if you didn’t want to read the whole story. 😉
- Choose a location that makes sense. As in, you go there all the time, or its a favorite place of hers, or would aid in your pretend scheduling.
- Choose a date that works for all parties, and you can easily wrap multiple reasons around why it has to be that date -again…its not something you can reschedule easy.
- Choose a photographer that doesn’t mind kneeling in squirrel poop in a ghillie suit if that is what it takes to get the shot. 😉
- Enjoy it. It is literally a moment you can never redo. Not to put the pressure on -just to remind you to take in every moment. Smell her perfume, remember her sweater, look at that smile spreading across her face. Look at her. The surprise is priceless.
~Amy and Kay ~