Proposing can be pretty nerve wracking, much more so, if you're planning on popping the question at an unknown location, and, to top it off, trying to have the moment captured by a professional photographer. In order to calm your nerves a little, I've decided to put some helpful tips together for everyone who's planning to propose to their significant other while traveling.
I've photographed quite a few surprise proposals within the past couple of years, I've talked many nervous boyfriends and girlfriends, through the process, and have scouted countless locations from San Juan to Culebra. I have found, that the better the planning process, the smoother the proposals go, and the better the pictures!
More than one road leads to Rome!
There's more than one way to propose, and everybody is different. Here are some suggestions on how to go about the actual surprise proposal photo shoot.
If you and your partner have been talking about having your pictures taken, it might be best to book a regular photo session and let the photographer know that you will be proposing during the shoot. That way, the photographer can position you two in the best angle and light possible, and give you a sign to go ahead when the moment is perfect. From my experience, this is the safest way to have your moment captured and probably creates the most stunning images, because the photographer has full control over the environment. Also, your partner is prepared to have their pictures taken, and you can avoid the sentence "I wish I had worn the other dress" after the session.
If scheduling a photo session with his/her knowledge isn't an option, you can have the photographer show up as a semi-surprise. You could approach the photographer who's casually hanging around near you, and ask to take a picture of the two of you and then you pop the question! If you're near a resort, the photographer could pretend to be hired by the hotel and ask you to take a quick shot for the hotel website. The most exciting option for sure is having the photographer hide paparazzi style, so the proposal and the photos are going to be a natural and capture the surprise. It all depends on your personal preference, the options are endless and feel free to get creative. I would love to hear your ideas!
Who can help?
If you're planning a proposal at an unknown place, find locals to help you out!
I'm sure you've looked online and found the dreamiest of places that look like the perfect proposal locations. What you might not know though, that those locations either don't look the same in reality, or get so overrun by tourists that there would be nothing romantic about proposing at those locations. Find a local photographer who has experience shooting proposals, and who can help you plan the entire process. Depending on what you're imagining for your big moment, you might even consider hiring a wedding planner to make arrangements for you in advance. Planning the shoot with your photographer ahead of time is absolutely crucial though, because they see locations with a photographers eye, we know what time of the day works best for certain locations and might be able to recommend locations off the beaten path.
How good are you at keeping secrets?
Now, this is a serious question. If you're not good at hiding things, be extra careful. You will be communicating a few times with whomever is planning the process with you. Make sure you schedule phone calls, and that the photographer knows how to best get a hold of you. If you're not the kind of person who's constantly on their phone, make sure you don't turn into that person all of a sudden! Maybe have another surprise that you're planning, a fancy dinner, a concert a tour, to guide her or his suspicion in a different direction.
Where and when?
You've decided that El Morro at sunset is THE place, or a gorgeous natural beach reserve and you're ready to plan out the details. Your photographer should be able to provide you with an exac
t pinpoint and photos, letting you know where to stand, where they will be, what to pay attention to etc. Whatever you do, try not to be early! I usually can't stand when people are late, but surprise proposals are the one scenario where I'd rather have you show up 20 minutes late than 10 minutes too early. Even though I always try to be at the location 30 minutes early, you never know. The last thing you want is to show up before the photographer! I know it can be difficult to get a person who has no clue what's happening to a place at a certain time though, so just try to stay in communication with the photographer, the day off to avoid any kind of hick ups.
Pop the Question!
This moment is all for the two of you. It's been quite a process to get here, you're at your dream location, the weather is beautiful, and you're about to ask your partner to be your loved one forever. It might have been stressful, there's a photographer around at the same time, but enjoy this moment! You have someone capturing it for you, so all you have to do is, soak in this once in a lifetime experience!
I'm sure you'll want some pictures taken of you and your loved one after all the tension has been released. Now, this is the easy part. I usually give couples a moment to themselves right after the proposal. Once you're ready, we hang around and take your engagement photos in a relaxed atmosphere, have fun and get a little creative. Make sure to schedule a backup date with your photographer for the engagement pictures though! Give your partner the chance to move the engagement session to the next day. Your brand-new fiancé might be too overwhelmed to jump right into a photo session, or maybe he or she just wants to go out to dinner, and celebrate the moment with you. There are many reasons why a person might not be ready for a photo session, whether it's an outfit change or different hair style, but it's important everybody feels comfortable during the photo session to make the experience a fun memory!
I hope you found some helpful information here. If you need help planning your surprise proposal in Puerto Rico, don't hesitate to reach out!
And now, to finish this of, enjoy our latest surprise proposal video at a beach location near San Juan!