This past week, I was given the opportunity to experience a first as a photographer, a proposal. There is almost nothing I enjoy more than an amazing love story!
After arriving, I quickly learned that we would have to be hidden, and that makes everything a lot more difficult in the setting we were in. It was only a couple days before the actual proposal that I was asked to be a part of it, so there was not much time to prepare. David, the boyfriend (soon to be fiance), was proposing to my friend, Courtney and I knew I wanted to be there to help them capture the moment.
As I arrived to The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington, I still did not know the plan of what was going to happen. David's friends who were to be a part of the proposal were going to meet me and explain step by step what was going to happen in just about an hours time.
When I met up with them, it was clear that even though I was brought in last minute, the proposal was well thought out, and something that would definitely make Courtney happy. We walked around the beautiful Marie Antoinette Ballroom that The Davenport had offered up for the occasion while David's friend, Trevor, explained Courtney's love for the ballroom and how they frequented it whenever the two of them took trips to the area.
I then set up my video camera in the corner of the room as he explained how David was going to do this without Courtney being suspicious:
- Courtney thought David, her parents and herself were going out to dinner, and David was going to be asking Courtney's parents for permission to marry him (this was something he had actually done over a month ago).
- As they walked around the ballroom taking in the scenery, David was going to pull out his phone, play a song on it, and ask Courtney to dance with him.
- After dancing with her for a while, he was going to pull out the ring, get on one knee, and pop the question!
Simple, but perfect, right? Nope! Not being seen in an empty ballroom is where the challenge came in. Luckily this ballroom has a balcony that surrounded the entire top, and had tables every few feet for cover. Along the bottom of the balcony's handrail were circle openings, just big enough for my lens to fit through, as if it was designed for this. On one side, two of David's friends laid ready to play music after the proposal finally happened. On the other, my assistant and I laid waiting for the couple to come into the room. Finally, the message came through to our phones, "Parked and on our way in. Go time." That's when the nerves set. I was terrified that I would not be able to take good photos without being seen, but also without being heard as a big empty ballroom does not mix well with my camera's shutter clicking.
As David and Courtney walked in to the room, her eyes quickly searched the scene, David did his best to keep her from looking up, and we were hidden just well enough that she did not see us at that point. I clicked my camera for the first time, and waited for a reaction. None. She didn't hear it! She was distracted enough to not let that or the camera in the corner of the room phase her. David played "Make You Feel My Love" on his phone they danced around the room. The smile on Courtney's face made it obvious that she knew something was up, and finally after sneaking quick peaks around the room every once in a while, I think she spotted me.
But that was right as David reached into his left pocket and pulled out the ring. As he got down on one knee, I left my hiding spot, and ran for the best angles I could to capture it all. If you hadn't guessed it, she said yes!
We all quickly made our way down from the balcony to be the first to greet the newly engaged couple. Everyone grabbed each other for a hug to celebrate something that we all knew had been coming for a while. I grabbed as many pictures of this as I could before finally getting the couple to pose together, ring showing, for the first time.
There was one more surprise for the now bride to be, all of her family and friends were waiting across the street at a restaurant to celebrate. We rushed out of The Davenport, both cameras still going, as Courtney was in a hurry to meet her friends. Turns out they were in as big of a hurry to as they had left the restaurant and were screaming at us from across the intersection. Traffic lights meant nothing at this point as, Courtney, followed by her fiance, ran across the street to greet everyone and show off her new fiance and bling.
In the restaurant, David's friend gave a toast, as we all celebrated the couple and told the story of the proposal over and over to everyone who didn't get to be in the room. What a great experience and I was so thankful to be part of it. I can't wait to work with these two again soon!