If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that proposals are my absolute favorite thing to photograph!!! I’m normally a very directive photographer, meaning I like to be intentional about your posing and composition (also making sure you don’t feel awkward)…but when I have the chance to set up the shot and then let true emotion take over it’s such a joy!
Here’s the story… David reached out to me a few months ago letting me know that he and his girlfriend Emily would be vacationing in Wrightsville Beach in June and he wanted to propose to her. We got on the phone and talked about a few options. He wanted it to be on the beach with the sunset and didn’t want a ton of people around. Also Emily is really good at figuring out surprises so we needed a plan that was SUPER sneaky. We decided that the south end of Wrightsville would be perfect – it’s a local’s favorite for sunset watching, not a ton of people, and it would be easy for me to be there waiting for them.
A few days before I went out to the end of the island and recorded a few walk-through videos of exactly how to get to where I would be. Proposals are sometimes tricky when we don’t have a chance to meet before and practice the exact plan! This was David would know how to find me and we could definitely surprise Emily.
On the day of, my brother Weston and I headed to the south end and set up. David requested that we write “Will you love me forever?” in the sand (it came to him in a dream!). I was nervous about not being ready for them so I quickly wrote it out…only for the wind to totally blow it away 5 minutes later LOL.
Thankfully they were running a little bit behind so Weston and I hung out by the water for a little. I must have re-written his message 15 times trying to keep it still visible!!! In true proposal fashion, David texted me to let me know he finally managed to get Emily out of the house but they were riding bikes down to the south end and she “really wanted to enjoy the ride” so they were taking it slow. If only she knew what was waiting for her!!!!
Finally they walked up the path and down onto the beach. The plan was for me to ask Emily to read the message in the sand and then David would ask. I’m so thankful I had Weston there because when Emily saw us she had a quick suspicion but then thought “Oh, there’s someone with her so she must be doing photos for him.”
I made it look like I took a photo of Weston, looked down at my camera confused, and then walked up to them as they walked my way and said, “This is a weird question, but can you still read that in the sand?” Emily said “Sure, I’ll take a look!”
She froze when she read the words and turned around to find the love of her life down on one knee!!! We captured the whole thing!!!! She said a big YES and David slipped the ring with her grandma’s diamond onto her hand. It was perfect!!!!
She was SO surprised to see us and know that David pulled this whole thing off without her knowing AT ALL. YES!!!!! We took a few sunset portraits to celebrate and even went back to photograph them with their bikes so they can remember the entire story.
David and Emily are truly so sweet for inviting us back to their home for a champagne toast and I got to meet all of her family and hang out while they called their loved ones. It was SO sweet!!!
Now that you know the background I know you’re DYING to see the photos 🙂 Congratulations David and Emily!!!!
I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.
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