Kyle’s original proposal venue was a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. But we had to devise a plan B because they wouldn’t allow Kyle to use an independent photographer (me!).
Plan B was the Goat Island Lighthouse, which had a beautiful backdrop, but with one caveat: if there was a wedding on the property, we couldn’t use the lighthouse. But that would be okay because Goat Island also had Narragansett Bay and the Newport Bridge as a backdrop.
During our Zoom planning meeting, I showed Kyle exactly how to arrive at the proposal spot, where I would hide, and how to position myself for the proposal shot. I also showed him a photo of the “Yellow Happy Bag,” the yellow Helly Hansen bag I use to hide my primary camera. As we were wrapping up, I commented how he would be good in front of a camera, and he said, “Not me, but Molly has a lot of experience in front of a camera. She is a former Miss Rhode Island.” Molly was Miss Rhode Island in 2020, @molly___marie. When we signed off, I felt great about working with someone experienced in front of my lens, but on the other hand, I felt a little more pressure than usual!
The Day of the Proposal
On the morning of the shoot, Kyle sent me a photo so I could recognize them, and he shared his GPS location so I could track them. I reciprocated.
With my batteries charged (including spares), I packed most of my gear into my backpack but put the Canon EOS 1DX MkII with an EF 70mm-200mm f/2.8 into the yellow happy bag, ready for action.
I texted Kyle that I was leaving with an ETA of 3:15 p.m.; our photoshoot was scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Before I departed, I looked at the forecast; rain was forecast for 5 p.m.; fingers crossed.
When I arrived, I sent another text and walked into the venue. Walking through the lobby, I saw some sharply dressed folks in the bar, and the “wedding” alarm went off in my head. When I walked outside, I saw the wedding layout: the hotel staff setting up chairs and flowers. I approached the DJ setting up and asked him what time the ceremony was: 4:30. This ruled out the lighthouse as a backdrop.
I photographed our Goat Island plan “B” spot and texted Kyle; he gave me a thumbs up!
I set my camera up, took a test shot, put the camera back into the yellow happy bag, and lay in wait. As I did so, wedding guests were staging themselves in the area around our plan “B”; I wasn’t too concerned because the spot was open, and I had a clear shot.
I was tracking Kyle’s GPS, and I could see that they were on the premises. I looked up and saw Kyle, Molly, and three of their friends, whom Kyle was using for cover.
Kyle saw all the wedding guests, deviated from the plan, and walked directly to where I was waiting. With no option, I picked up my bags, walked directly past Kyle, Molly, and friends, and positioned myself amongst the wedding guests. From my new position, I took a test shot; we were good to go. I waited and watched Kyle through the shrubbery. There was no movement; I continued to wait!
I saw Kyle reach for his phone; he sent me a text – he was calling an audible – Kyle was going to propose where he was waiting.
As I walked through the Pineapple Club to reach the spot, Kyle and Molly’s friends excused themselves and left the couple. As they walked past me, we acknowledged each other.
I was using a long lens, so I didn’t get too close, but I was out in the open with nowhere to hide, so I pulled out my iPhone and pretended to take some photos with one eye watching them, just an old guy with a smartphone.
It seemed like a long time, but the reality was that it was only a couple of minutes; then Kyle dropped to his knee, and with a huge smile, Molly said yes!
Congratulations to Kyle and Molly!