Have I told you all how much I LOVE shooting surprise proposals? They are one of my favorite types of sessions. This story should show you why:
A few weeks back, Zach called me to inquire about shooting a proposal that he had planned to execute while he and Ariel would be visiting the next weekend. He wanted to do a sunset proposal on the beach during Memorial Day weekend. As a photographer, I instantly thought, 'Oh boy, there will be so many people on the beach that weekend - how can we make this special moment more intimate?'
This shoot was one of those special shoots where the stars just align to make it happen in the most perfect way possible, even if you weren't sure how everything would work. As fate would have it, we had just recently purchased a boat the very same weekend Zach called me to set up the proposal. The first place that popped into my head was Archie's Island. Archie's Island is an intercoastal secret to locals and frequent visitors. It is a tiny island known for having a private beach where the water is just deep enough that one can anchor a boat close to shore. After talking to Zach we decided it would be perfect!
He sent a few pictures of the setup he wanted and with the help of our mutual friend, we gathered the items for the setup and planned for their arrival the very next weekend.
Ariel and Zach found each other through a twist of luck 3 years ago, as Ariel tells me. "We both worked at the same hospital but didn't know it. We had a mutual friend that worked at the hospital that introduced us at an event Zach was having at his house and we were inseparable after that day." Ariel works at three major hospitals in Georgia as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Zach is the purchasing coordinator for a local rehab hospital.
Ariel's favorite thing about Zach is that he is sweet and caring. He always puts her first and she will forever love him for this. (She also loves that He has great hair!)
Zach's favorite thing about Ariel is that she would do anything for him and her love is so pure.
"We love each other so much. Our love is true."
The day of the proposal we had planned every detail. He would propose in the morning to avoid the summer storms that seemed to roll in every night around sunset. I rode out and set everything up and hid in the bushes (which Ariel later said she had always wanted). The story was that we were all going to breakfast together (we have mutual friends in the neighborhood, so thankfully it was believable). Of course we had to tell her it was a golf club and she had to dress up - Zach matched their outfits perfectly! The Island, he told her, was famous for manatees! Zach said that she loved manatees and would definitely want to stop to see them.
They walked to the point of the Island after getting off the boat and even though I was hiding, I could hear her gasp when she saw the rose petals lining the beach. She froze and just started crying.
Finally, she walked a little further and saw the setup, where he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. It was so beautiful!
She was absolutely glowing the rest of their time on the Island and on the boat ride back. After our mini engagement session, she said that it was absolutely perfect. I'm so happy to have been a part of their special moment! Her favorite part was "... the total surprise of it all. I thought we were going to look at manatees and we walk around the island to see a beautiful set up of flowers and candles. He then got on one knee and asked "Will you spend the rest of your life with me." And then the tears came."
Ariel said, " I was completely surprised. The morning of the proposal I was going to wear shorts and a polo shirt for our "boat ride" but Zach kept saying you should wear a pretty dress. So, I thought to myself is he proposing today? But the thought was automatically dismissed because I was like there is no way he's proposing and I'm just thinking crazy."
These two really are perfect for each other and I wish them the absolute best as they plan for their ceremony and as they get started on their life together! You just don't find love like this everyday folks, which is why surprise proposals are my absolute favorite: it's such a privilege to be invited to be a part of such a unique representation of a couple's love for one another.
Congratulations to the future Mr. & Mrs. Snipes!