Surprise proposal in Telluride, Colorado during the winter.

How to Plan a Surprise Proposal

A surprise proposal can be SO MUCH FUN! But they can also take a bit of effort in the planning that has to come together & in keeping it a surprise from your partner. Keep in mind that hiring a proposal photographer can take a lot of the stress off of you because they can help a lot in being more than just a photographer!

Things to Talk About Before You Propose

There are a few things to think about before you even propose. Be sure to talk about future goals. marriage, & even talk about getting engaged. The moment that you propose can be a surprise, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to them about getting engaged! Be sure to talk about big life things such as goals, what married life will look like, if you want kids or not, how you will handle each of your families, & finances.

Planning a Location for the Surprise Proposal

When it comes to choosing a location for your surprise proposal, you could choose a location that has some sort of meaning to both of you, or you could choose a new location & that new spot will become someplace special to you both. When it comes to the location, most people want a little privacy. Be sure you collaborate with a proposal photographer if you’re having it photographed! Your proposal photographer will help a ton in finding you a great location. When it comes to planning out the perfect location for your surprise proposal, be sure to think about timing as well. Timing closer to sunset or sunrise can be more romantic & also result in great photos.

Photography of a Telluride, Colorado surprise proposal on a snowy mountain top.

Why Outdoor & Nature Locations Make the Best Spots

There’s a reason that outdoor & nature locations make the best proposal spots other than they’re pretty. These outdoor locations have been around for a long time & will be around for a lot longer. A building can get remodeled, a restaurant may close down or change ownership, so choosing a proposal spot in a place like a national park, out in the mountains, a beach, or beautiful overlook in the desert can result in a memorable location that you will always be able to go back to & reflect on this special moment.

How to Plan Your Surprise Proposal Around Weather

If you’re planning an outdoor proposal, be sure to get familiar with the local weather patterns of the area. For example, in many mountainous locations, sunrise is the least likely time of day for rain, however along many coastal locations, sunrise can be very foggy & block the views. Desert areas can get more rain in winter, whereas cooler location can be beautiful & snowy.

The Importance of a Backup Plan

A backup plan doesn’t always have to mean a different location. If it is raining, could you find cover under some trees or is there a picnic shelter nearby? Or are you the kind of couple that just doesn’t care & you’re going to embrace it & have fun no matter what? Then just plan to dance in the rain! Sometimes though the weather can just be too severe & a lot to deal with, so just remember that this is real life & not a movie, not everything will be perfect all the time. Be sure to talk with your proposal photographer as they will have some great ideas & have the experience to just roll with it.

Should You Invite Friends & Family or Keep It Private?

This is really a decision that’s going to be very personal. When you propose, think about if you really want other people around. But you should really think about your partner that you’re proposing to. Are they going to enjoy having other people around or would it make them feel nervous or pressured? Involving more friends & family can also increase the chances that someone could ruin the surprise so just keep that in mind! Also you don’t necessarily have to include everyone right in the moment that you propose, you could meet up later for a group dinner or your friends or family could plan a little party or just get drinks after the two of you spend some time together soaking in this moment & have dinner, just the two of you.

How to Include Friends & Family if They’re Not Physically Present

Maybe you don’t want to physically include a bunch of friends or family in this special moment, maybe you just want to spend it with the two of you. There are ways to include friends & family even if they aren’t there in person. This is especially true if you are traveling somewhere & pop the question. You could call your friends & family after you get engaged. If you’re in a remote location, you could record a video message. This little video message can be a great way to eventually announce your engagement on social media or to send in a group text to your friends & family.

Outdoor Surprise Proposal Ideas

Looking for some outdoor proposal ideas? Whether you’re an adventurous couple or you just love the outdoors, here are some proposal ideas…

  • Propose on a hike
  • Take a boat ride
  • Propose at a cliff at sunset
  • Go offroading
  • Propose in a vineyard & have wine afterward
  • Climb together & propose at the top of a climb
  • Take a helicopter to a mountaintop
  • Propose under a natural stone arch
  • Set up an outdoor picnic
  • Propose at the top or bottom of a ski run
  • Get engaged with a hot air balloon
  • Backpacking together & getting engaged along the way

Keeping the Proposal a Surprise

One of the biggest challenges can be keeping the proposal a surprise! If you need the help of friends or family members, think carefully about who to include & when to let them in on the surprise. Some people may not be the best at keeping surprises. Other people could be crucial to helping you pull it off. If you are having it photographed, be sure to cue your photographer into the plan. There won’t always be a place for your photographer to hide so they may just have to act like a tourist or I’ve sometimes pretended to be a “hiking guide” depending on where we were going to keep the surprise.

What to Do if Everything Doesn’t Work Out Just Right

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, this is real life, not a movie. Things may not go exactly according to plan. Remember to stick to an idea, not a scripted plan. Be willing to go with the flow & change things up if needed. That perfect view in the background might not be visible, there could be some rain, the location may not be as private as you thought, the surprise may not be as big as a surprise as you wanted it to be. But remember this is going to be a special moment no matter what!

Remember this is real life, not a picture pefect movie.

Hiring an experienced proposal photographer for your proposal can also help you if things don’t all go according to plan. They can help you come up with other ideas & help you change directions if the original idea doesn’t work out. They can also help you come up with backup locations that will still be special.

Hiring a Photographer for Your Proposal

If you want to have these memories captured & take some of the planning stress off of yourself, hiring a professional proposal photographer can be a great help. You could have a friend take photos for you, but a proposal is a quick moment & I’ve seen people who aren’t professionals mess up in the moment. This can be a bit of an exciting or nerve-wracking time for your friends too! So sometimes it’s best to let them enjoy the moment.

Malachi Lewis- a California elopepement photographer standing under an arch in Alabama Hills at sunrise.

Meet Your Proposal Photographer

Hey! My name is Malachi & I have photographed many different types of proposals for all sorts of couples. I’m here to help you with planning, locations, ideas, & keeping it all a surprise. I’d love to hear about your ideas but can also help if you need other ideas! My packages for surprise proposals start at $750. Contact me & I’ve love to chat about everything you have in mind!

Announcing That You’re Engaged!

I get it, you’re excited & probably want to announce it! Or maybe you don’t. Either way, take some time to just be excited with each other & soak in this moment. It’s up to both of you if you want to announce your engagement right away or if you want to sit on the news for a bit. Either way, it’s usually best to call or text a few of your close friends & family before announcing on social media. You can announce your engagement with a fun selfie, or talk to your photographer & get some sneak peeks from them right away to share!

What to Do After You’re Engaged

Take some time to enjoy being engaged before you jump right into wedding planning or elopement planning. Let yourself dream & imagine what your wedding day could be! Your wedding doesn’t have to be a traditional day, include what you want, do what you want. Announce your engagement how you want, when you want, but don’t forget to celebrate after you’re engaged! Plan a nice meal together or go out & get drinks to celebrate. You could even bring a bottle of champagne to pop & celebrate right there where you proposed!

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