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Central pa Wedding photographer

Tips for Planning a Surprise Proposal


March 25, 2020


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Whether you’re a photographer, soon to be fiance or would just love to know more tips about what goes into planning a surprise proposal, this blog is for you! A few weeks ago, I photographed Hannah and John’s surprise proposal at Longwood Gardens. It was so special! Leading up to the big day, there was so much planning that went into it! After all of the texting, location scouting via Google maps and research I wanted to provide a list of tips for ways to plan a surprise proposal to help it go smoothly.

  1. Invite friends or family to help distract/plan

John and I were brainstorming ideas for his wedding proposal to Hannah. He wanted to go somewhere special but also be conspicuous about it. One of the best ideas that John had was to involve Hannah’s friends! It threw her off the scent of a upcoming engagement by disguising a visit out of town as a “friends weekend”. When friends are family are involved it distracts the future fiance from being suspicious or special dinners or events.

I remember for my own proposal that I was thrown off when my parents suggested that I go on walk with Jason. And my grandma was a huge part of making it special by running ahead of him and setting it up. You can view our proposal here! It’s definitely helpful to involve others if you can!

2. The two of us vs. an audience

John knew that Hannah wanted their proposal to be private. That is so important!! You should consider whether your significant other would be comfortable with an audience for that big moment or would rather have something more intimate. If your significant other is really outgoing, they might be delighted to have a crowd cheering for you as you get down on a knee. If they are more introverted, they may want to be tucked away away from public eye. Consider what would make your fiance excited in the moment.

3. Have a plan B

It’s so important to have a plan B in case there are factors that change that are out of your control. The weather could go awry and then you’re romantic outdoor location isn’t an option anymore. Check the calendar for events, holidays, closing or a change of hours. Your significant other could throw off the plans slightly by choosing an alternate route or stopping somewhere else before your estimated arrival time.  Any number of things could cause you to make adjustments in the moment. For John and Hannah’s proposal we had a “plan B” for an indoor location in case it rained. We also had a route B and C, just in case Hannah decided to take a different route at Longwood Gardens.


4. Encourage your significant other to dress nicely

Do you best to encourage your significant other to wear something nice! If you see that didn’t put makeup on and are going “bummy” they might not appreciate it later! If you give them some hints about going out to dinner later or some other public place later, that could encourage some primping. You could even treat them to a manicure or new outfit leading up to this, but that may be too obvious. 😉

5. Document the moment – hire a photographer!

This is my personal favorite, hire a photographer to document your proposal! Your wedding proposal is a pivotal moment in your life. You are asking the love of your life to marry you! You have poured hours into planning it and picking out the ring. Now the moment finally happens, but it comes and goes so quick! The memories of it all run together. As Hannah was trying to recall what John said when he was down on a knee, she laughed saying it was a blur.  It is so special to have a photographer there to capture both you and your new fiance’s reactions. Your photographer can also be a resource to you for advice and planning! It was so much fun planning parts of the proposal experience with John. It was helpful for John to also have more people to bounce ideas off of too.


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I'm Sandy and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about my clients stories and some of my own. Stay a while and say hello!

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