Portrait Sessions, Resources

How to Plan the Perfect Surprise Proposal

Thinking of proposing to your significant other? You’ve come to the right place! Proposing is stressful and adrenaline inducing and exciting all in one! There’s nothing better than popping the question right when they least expect it. Actually – the only thing better than pulling off the surprise is having amazing pictures to share and send to everyone afterwards (although I’m a little biased).

Anyway, if you’re looking for some tips on how to ~actually~ pull it off, keep reading!

Tip #1 – Plan Ahead

This might seem like an obvious tip, but a lot of people actually plan out their proposals in less than a week, a few days even! I’ve even had clients who booked me a few days beforehand cancel! This can lead to a lot of stress and kind of ruin the moment. You might also get flustered if you do it all willy nilly and forget what you wanted to say, how you wanted to do it, or make mistakes you may not have otherwise. If you have something special you want to say, write it down in a bulleted list to help you keep your thoughts together. You can even write down a little speech if you’re someone who gets nervous. I’m sure your partner will think it is adorable either way!

Tip #2 – Know Your Partner

While it might also seem obvious, some people don’t like attention on them, so if your S.O. is introverted, really think long and hard about a good place to propose. They might be embarrassed or feel uncomfortable if you’re in a very crowded area. If they’re extroverted and love attention, go all out! Why not, right? Take them to Disney World, do it under fireworks on the Fourth of July, or get a whole bunch of people involved! Either way, make sure you’re gonna make the other person happy, too.

Tip #3 – Hire a Professional Photographer

Okay, I know this looks like shameless self-promotion, and in a way it is, but hear me out. Imagine you just proposed, everything went amazingly! They said yes, the ring is beautiful, the light was perfect and golden outside, you’re both dressed to the nines, and now it’s time to tell everyone about this amazing milestone! Let’s send.. a cell phone pic? I think not. All of my proposal clients actually get sneak peek photos from their proposal shoot within the hour. This way you can send them to everyone and post the. most. stunning. photos. right after your proposal. They’ll also look great on your wedding shower display table, and as framed photos in your house! Proposing is a once in a lifetime thing, why not make it special and save the moment beautifully instead of through a phone?

Tip #4 – Use Your Photographer to Help Plan

More self promotion sorta, but I can’t stress this one enough! One of my favorite tricks of the trade is to mark the EXACT spot where I want you to stop and get on one knee with some tape! This way, when you do hire me as your photographer, you won’t be panicking searching for me and figuring out where to stop. Not only this, but working with me will ensure that your pictures come out amazing because I can help with lighting, angles, ring boxes, outfits, and locations. Speaking of location…

Tip #5 – Location Location Location

Wherever you live, there’s lots of neat little spots to pop the question. Your photographer can help you find the most photogenic spots in your area, but don’t be afraid to propose somewhere that’s away from home, too! Most of my clients who have proposed aren’t from Savannah, and come here on vacation. It is one of the most romantic and beautiful backdrops you could possibly have for your proposal (again, I’m a little biased, but I digress). In my opinion, you want somewhere that’s not going to be too busy – the last thing you want is someone stepping in front of you and ruining your photos. The best places I’ve shot proposals have been in parks, on river cruises, docks, and the beach. Savannah has lots of places to offer: Forsyth Park, River Street, or really any of the squares downtown! If you do choose the beach, just be wary that it’s not during the high sun part of the day. The harsh light can wash you out, cause squinty eyes, and make for some pretty difficult photos.

Tip #6 – Nails and Outfit Choice

If you’re getting photos done, you’re gonna wanna look nice. If your partner is into manicures, and wants to get that epic ring shot, I always highly suggest having their nails done. You can make this a surprise by asking a family member or friend to invite them to the nail salon the week of for a fun day, and most of the time they won’t think anything of it. To get your significant other to dress nice, tell them you’ve made reservations at a very fancy restaurant, that usually does the trick! For photos, I suggest color coordinating a little bit, but don’t go all matchy matchy. Make sure you wear things that you’re comfortable in, too!

Tip #7 – Get Your Engagement Photos Done at the Same Time

This isn’t something that most people consider until I mention it, but if you think about it, it makes total sense. You’re both already dressed up, you’re both on cloud nine because you just got engaged! The smiles will be so genuine, AND you’re already paying for a photographer. This way, you won’t have to do another session to send out save the date cards, and you’ll have plenty of awesome photos to remember such a special day! It’s an added bonus if you’re on vacation somewhere, because then you have plenty of awesome photos to remember the trip as well.


Tip #8 – Make it Extra Special

This is my last tip, and it’s important. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation where they might be onto your plan. They have spidey-senses that the question is coming soon and you can tell they’re onto you. Don’t panic! Just because you didn’t quite get the proposal to be a surprise, doesn’t mean you can’t surprise them with other things! I’ve had many couples bring champagne, flowers, and other awesome trinkets that their S.O. totally wasn’t expecting. My favorites have been a ring box completely made from geodes, “Will You Marry Me” written on theatre signs, and this one client managed to bring the girl’s entire family to Savannah and surprise her with their appearance! There are so many cool and unique ways you can make this moment special.

I hope this helps anyone out there who has been fretting and worrying on how to pull something off. I’m really good at hiding in the bushes or pretending to be a tourist if you do decide you want photos! I’m always happy to be a part of this amazing moment and capture these special memories for you.

Thanks for reading!


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