a couple in front of the castle hill inn after a surprise proposal

Anthony’s Surprise Proposal to Kristina at the Castle Hill Inn

Anthony's Surprise Proposal to Kristina at the Castle Hill Inn, Newport

Anthony’s Surprise Proposal to Kristina at the Castle Hill Inn, Newport

Mother nature has a habit of injecting herself and disrupting our plans, as she did for Anthony’s planned proposal, but plan B turned out to be better than plan A.

Anthony planned a trip to Newport over the July 4th weekend with a beautiful agenda for the proposal day. It involved a boat ride, a surprise proposal and mini-engagement photoshoot on Goat Island, and a surprise dinner with their immediate families.

We had a solid plan.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature, as she often does, decided to mess with things. As we entered the one-week-to-go window, the weather forecast called for storms throughout Saturday. Anthony and I discussed the weather, and we were both optimistic that the weather would change by Saturday but agreed that we should have a plan B ready and waiting. On Friday evening, he had reservations on the lawn at The Castle Hill Inn – a great Plan B! I blocked out my calendar for Friday and Saturday and suggested that we speak on Thursday when the weather window would be more stable.

When Thursday rolled along, we had the worst possible forecast scattered thunderstorms all day. It may be okay, but it may not; the forecast gave us no comfort. We had a chat and decided to go with Plan B (The Castle Hill Inn); it just made sense. After our call, I created an annotated map of Castle Hill to give Anthony an idea of what he was walking into; he had never been there before. It had instructions on how to find the spot for his proposal. In addition, I sent him a link to Phil and Melanie’s proposal at Castle Hill the prior week to give an idea of what he could expect from the shoot.

We were all set!

The time for the proposal was 5:45 pm; I planned to be there at 5:15 pm. To ensure I did not get wrapped up in Newport traffic, I took the longer but less trafficked route via Rhode Island Avenue, which worked a treat arriving at 5:10 pm. As I was driving, Anthony shared his location with me, and I did likewise when I parked; he also sent a few photos of them both to assist me in recognizing them. I made my way from the Inn’s employee parking lot to the Inn’s beautiful lawn. I found an empty seat and waited. As I monitored Anthony’s GPS location, he kept me updated with text messages. When they arrived at valet parking, I took a couple of shots on my camera to set my exposure, then put my camera in my yellow sports bag. For this shoot, I was using my trusty EOS 1DX with a 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 lens. It was a little foggy in the distance, but otherwise, the weather was lovely, if not slightly breezy. shared location

I recognized Kristina first by her dress; I remained in my Adirondack chair until they were even with me, at which point I put my backpack on. I followed them as they walked past me, stopping at the last row of Adirondack chairs where two young ladies were enjoying a glass of wine, looking out over the Newport Bridge. Just as Anthony reached our predetermined spot, the ladies got a little animated when they realized what was going to happen. I was concerned that they might give the game away, so I turned to them and said, “yes, he is going to propose, but please be quiet.” They were super and reduced their voices to a whisper. One of them said, “You shouldn’t carry a yellow bag,” which is a fair observation. I responded, “Most of my clients are from out of state, and they can recognize me by the yellow bag at a distance.” “You have done this before?”, “Yes, this is not my first rodeo.” And at that point, Anthony dropped to one knee, and I pulled my camera out of my yellow bag.

After the proposal, when Kristina kissed Anthony, all of the folks on the Adirondack chairs on the lawn let out a huge cheer, and Anthony pumped his fist to thank them all.

It was a pretty cool moment!

If you would like to learn more about surprise proposal photoshoots, pop-over to the Proposal/Engagement web page for details on pricing and lots of information for planning the perfect surprise proposal.


After photographing many, many, surprise proposals…

Never do anything different. A behaviour change will give the game away!