Engagements may be planned, proposals too, but they often seem spontaneous.
When one is preparing to ask another to marry, often only the one knows when or where that question will pop even if the other knows the proposal is coming.
Wrapping my head around certain aspects of this is harder than for others.
I know couples often pick out the ring together and for me, that would seem to diminish the surprise factor. BUT then, perhaps it’s done as a sort of window shopping.
“That’s the ring I would say yes too,” or “If you ever ask, ask with that!” A favorite of my fiance, is “check out my Pinterest.”
Of course proposals I’ve photographed in recent years have all been staged to a degree. After all, I need to know where to be and about what time things will happen (I always ask for a photo of the couple ahead of time).
In the age of “selfies,” I know who I’m looking for if the setting is not so private.
Mike’s proposal to Chelsea was a rather last minute booking but and we were able to photograph the moment and portraits all around Onteora The Mountain House where they’ll be married in 2023.
However, this bent knee moment was almost captured by someone else, somewhere else. It was a sick day for Chelsea that derailed Mike’s original plans and brought me into the picture.
It may have been less than 72 hours before the late February session that I first heard from Mike with a few details about his plans. We planned for Saturday, and the next morning it was postponed. I thought that might mean weeks, or perhaps not at all, but it meant the next day. As luck would have it, a prior obligation had been canceled and I was able to say, “yes” to capture Chelsea saying the same thing that afternoon.
Driving in from out of state, we had a target for time and somehow Mike kept in touch, updating me on their ETA. Text messaging is great, but I wonder ‘how many cars are they in?’ and ‘won’t she wonder who he’s texting?’
This has played out similarly before and I sometimes picture it like an episode from an old TV show where some undercover furtively phones from a gas station booth while the rest of their party is inside buying beef jerky and a six pack. Again… cell phones are great.
Expecting things to happen around 2 p.m., I was where I needed to be and had eyes on a couple meeting with staff to review details inside the Onteora Mountain House. I figured they would soon come out to walk the ceremony site where we discussed he would produce the ring. When they did, nobody looked quite like the photo shared a few days earlier.
Then another text … an updated ETA a short time later. That explained it!
We had the place to ourselves when Mike and Chelsea arrived. I played the nature photographer until the moment was near. As much as I can enjoy photographing a wedding, being part of the surprise is a real pleasure too. When the emotion pours over the moment, I become invisible clicking away somewhere nearby.
Spring is upon us and that busy time for engagements is winding down, but if you are getting ready to ask the question and thinking of photography or if you already have and the ring is in place, let’s talk!
Thank you for reading.