I was catching up on some business emails one day in July when I came across an email from my friend Chesni’s boyfriend. I honestly had no expectation or intuition about what it might be about. But when I started reading, I could feel the welling of crazy excited joy. He wanted to propose, but he also wanted to make sure there would be photos. Chesni is, after all, a fellow photographer, and he knew photos would be important to her. So we started cahooting!
We came up with a pretty awesome plan. I had been wanting to do an engagement party inspiration shoot before the end of summer. So I said I could plan the shoot around something she loves in the location he wanted for the proposal. Then I’d call Chesni and ask her if they could do me a huge favor and be my models. He thought it was genius!
When we got into the planning of the shoot and he told me the location, I got crazy excited. This is probably going to sound bizarro, but there is a cute little rest stop on I-45 South nestled in the marsh between Hitchcock and Tiki Island. It’s adorable. There is a small gravel trail that jets out into the marsh and ends at a single tree. There is a large flat rock to sit on in the shade of the tree. It’s peaceful and quiet despite being right next to the highway, and the sunsets are [insert kissing fingertips motion]. I have always wanted to photograph someone in that location!
Once we had the location nailed down, we moved on to the theme. I wanted to make sure we could fit a theme she’d love with that particular location. He mentioned she was really in to pineapples. THAT WILL TOTALLY WORK!!! I’m a pineapple lover myself and this location with that theme would be a perfect match.
With the location and theme nailed down, I called Chesni to ask my big favor. She was ecstatic. She told me that location was one of her favorite spots and she loves pineapples. Of course she got the thumbs up from Travis too!
I wanted to keep the shoot fairly simple, so the look would feel attainable to anyone looking for inspiration, but I also wanted it to be happy and festive. Most of the dinnerware items were purchased at Marshall’s, Home Goods and Target. Our friend Holly at Flower Vibes fashioned two flower arrangements from hollowed out pineapples filled with vibrant, colorful blooms, including some ah-maz-ing peonies! She also constructed a flower crown fit for color loving, bohemian princess which looked incredibly sweet in photos with the his and hers pineapple canvases that were custom designed and hand painted by Brittany Branson. Wink by Erica made pink and yellow macarons painted with pineapple motifs, gold and pineapple stenciled chocolate covered Oreos and mini naked cakes adorned with glittery gold pineapple cake toppers.
When they arrived at the shoot, I chatted with Chesni while Travis changed. She confided that she was a little sad he hadn’t proposed yet. The day before had been their 1.5 anniversary and she knew he had the ring because it was her mother’s. She couldn’t figure out what he might be waiting for. A few minutes later Travis returned and we began the shoot.
Before they arrived, Travis and I had worked out a signal for him to let me know he was getting ready to do it. He was going to ask me for the time then wait a moment while I got myself positioned. About an hour in, the light was looking epic and he gave me the signal. I let him guide her over to the spot he wanted to do it. I positioned myself back a little bit to give them some space and they were doing a pose where Chesni had her back to him and she was locked in on me. When she turned around, he was down on one knee.
I think at first she though he was playing around, but she soon realized that this was the real deal. Once that realization set in, the tears started flowing. I clicked away on my camera, slowly moving in as he put her mother’s heirloom marquise cut diamond on her left ring finger. I was trying not to tear up so much that it would prevent me from seeing through my viewfinder, but it was rough. She was laughing and crying and just trying to take it all in. After she caught her breathe, she asked if I knew this was going to happen. I told her the whole shoot was planned for this exact moment. She broke down again. She couldn’t believe we managed to pull this whole scenario off without her ever having a clue! It was hugs all around!
I wanted to give them a few minutes to be alone together and just revel in the feeling. While they took a break in the car, I photographed her ring. I was so excited that we had just pulled that off.
Once they felt gathered from a few moments alone, we closed the evening out with some drinks, sweets and sunset photos.
Floral Designer – Flower Vibes
His and Hers Pineapple Canvases – By Brittany Branson
Macarons, Mini Naked Cakes and Chocolate Covered Oreos – Wink by Erica
White Ralph Lauren Dinner Plates, Wine Glasses – Marshall’s
Picnic Blanket, Appetizer Plates, Tumblers, Pineapple Motif Bar Napkins – Home Goods
Place Mats, Straws, Cake Stand, Rug, Plastic Utensils – Target