Planning a surprise proposal takes a bunch of planning, coordination, and some skulduggery! The attention to detail, no matter how small, is critical because there are no do-overs.
David had a clear vision for his proposal: a great starting point for me. Plan ‘A,’ he would propose outside their vacation property, The Village at Potter Pond, a gorgeous location.
During our early conversations, I had suggested that the Rhode Island State Pier and surrounding area may be an excellent alternate location for the proposal. Of course, I was looking at this from the point of view of a photographer, considering the direction of light (if it was a sunny evening) and the picturesque backdrop. David asked me if there were gaps in the pier planking, and immediately, I was horrified at suggesting the State Pier because ‘what if’ David dropped the ring! My bad, let’s stick with Plan ‘A.’
The challenges for a surprise proposal shoot are:
1) Keeping it a secret up to the point of the proposal.
2) Hatching a devious plan for a location and time to propose.
3) For the photographer to be unseen in the moments leading up to the proposal -no giveaways, and not always easy.
David did a fantastic job keeping it secret as Carly was joyfully surprised; she said that she was expecting a proposal at some time but “not tonight!”
David and I coordinated via text. His plan was for Carly and himself to go to the Matunuck Oyster Bar for dinner because they would be both nicely dressed. The dinner reservation was at 7:30 pm, but he informed Carly that it was earlier.
We settled on 6 pm; at that point, David and Carly would exit the property, walk towards Potter Pond and then propose. Perfect, now my challenge would be to remain unseen.
With rain in the forecast (between 5 pm and 7 pm), that would rule out the use of a strobe, ugh! Fortunately, the weather forecast is not always correct, and today the weather gods were in David and Carly’s favor. No rain, but a bit chilly and, importantly, no difficult sunlight.
When I arrived at the property, it was clear that there was nowhere to hide, and a strange man standing with a camera with a telephoto lens may not have been viewed favorably. David and Carly’s neighbor popped out to ask if “I was birding,” and at that point, I decided to enroll her in the ‘grand scheme.’ She was delighted to assist, and took her glass of wine, sat on her deck looking at the target property.
I hid around the corner, and she would give me a visual signal once the couple exited the property. It was perfect. She also phoned her neighbor to inform her why a strange man with a camera was on her property.
David kept me up-to-date with their progress via text.
I took a few test shots to set the camera up, made some adjustments, and I was good to go.
As David and Carly opened the door, I received my visual cue and took my position as the couple walked towards the pond; David dropped to his knee, pulled out a beautiful engagement and ring, and proposed.
The smiles tell the remainder of the story.