Education, Engaged, Proposal

How to Plan the Perfect Proposal

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How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyProposals are absolutely one of our favorite things to capture! They can also be stressful and nerve racking if not done right. We have captured dozens of proposals over the years and we’ve learned to have a great system where the groom feels relaxed (well as much as possible since he’s about to propose!), nothing is missed, and no one has any idea of what’s about to happen.

We personalize every proposal and want every girl to have that totally surprised “He did all this for me?!?! How did I not know?!?!” moment. So far, that has happened every single time! We offer to either simply capture the classic proposal, or have something special awaiting the new bride-to-be. Imagine a champagne and dessert picnic along the beach, or an elaborate sweetheart table with floral arraignments, appetizer, champagne, and an acoustic guitar playing while overlooking the ocean at sunset. We go that extravagant and they are AMAZING!How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

But how do you get to something as extravagant as this, from an email? A guy who only knows he wants a portrait of him down on one knee but has no idea what to do to get there. He’s nervous, and has every right to be! He’s about to ask the one question every girl dreams about her entire life! From the very first response, we want to reassure him we have everything under control and we’re here to help every step of the way. Once he has decided if we’re capturing only proposal moment, or a fairy tale ending, first thing we do is decide on a location. We live in Monterey, California and most people travel here as a vacation destination and decide to pop the question while here on the beach. You have to imagine we’re always shooting proposals and have never met the groom-to-be before face to face. Because these are so secretive, sometimes we’ve never even spoke over the phone, just emails and sometimes texts. This can get tricky!How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

Once a location and ending is chosen, we take the reins. We find out her favorite colors, flowers, desserts, and any food allergies. We draw up a physical map of the location and detail out specifically where to park, how to walk to the area to propose, and where we will be. It looks like a treasure map with an “X” that marks the proposal spot, so there’s no guess work on his end. Once this is sent we try to have a phone conversation, just to “meet” each other and go over any loose ends. I will also email him a photo of us, detailing what we will be wearing that day, and have him send a photo of them as well so we are certain of their arrival.How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

How to keep it a surprise and for her not to expect anything is key. We normally tell the groom-to-be to plan a fancy dinner; somewhere special where she will need to dress up and that is near the proposal location. At times, we chose the restaurant and make the reservation since we’re creating the timeline. While on the way to dinner, he decides to stop and admire the gorgeous Pacific Coast. You can’t visit the Monterey area and not watch one of our breathtaking sunsets!  We always reassure him to take his time. We are there for an hour, so stroll, talk, just be you! The only thing we ask of the groom is that when he does go down on one knee, while facing her, they have one of their sides towards the ocean, so we’re not capturing someone’s backside. Rachel and I work as a team so together we are able to capture both of their expressions. It’ works perfectly!How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

Normally we arrive an hour to an hour and half before the proposal will take place, depending on the specifics of the grand finale. We have previously scouted out the area and know right where everything will take place.  We set up either the picnic or sweetheart table, photograph all the details, have someone wait there, and take our positions, walkie talkies and all! Depending on locations, we could be hidden in different areas, but most of the time proposals here take place on the beach, so we just look like other tourists admiring the sunset. Rachel normally sits with her boyfriend and I’m reading a book. I have to admit the moment we see them arrive, we confirm with each other over the walkie talkies, shut them off, and the adrenaline kicks in. It’s not nerves, but excitement! I’m always sure while I’m sitting there staring at this book trying not to look obvious, I always imagine she knows I’m not really reading it. She never does, it’s a way I psych myself out. Rachel and I occasionally make eye contact.How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

At times I’m snapping photos of the ocean and sunset, just happening to capture their walk to the proposal site. They walk and talk for a bit, start to watch the sunset, and once he goes down on one knee, its game time! We pop up from any bushes we were hiding in, or stand from where we were sitting, and capture the moment. She is so engulfed in the moment, she has no idea we’re there. The groom will either point us out or give us a thumbs up and at that moment she is utterly in tears and overwhelmed with joy. It is absolutely an amazing moment to be part of! At that point we will walk up and introduce ourselves. If we’re there for the proposal only, we’ll spend a few minutes capturing portraits of them, but remembering not to stay too long, after what just happened they need some alone time.How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyHow To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

If there is a special ending planned, after introductions, we have them follow us for what she thinks is portraits. Since we have what is waiting hidden away, there’s a short walk to her special surprise. After more gasps and tears of what she sees has been planned, we allow them a half hour or so to pop the champagne, enjoy a dessert, and embrace the moment. Then we pull them away for a small portrait session and send them on their way with memories of a day that will be etched in the mind forever.How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez PhotographyNow that’s a Happily Ever After!How To Plan the Perfect Proposal | Laura Hernandez Photography

View some of our most recent proposals here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Want us to help plan the proposal of your dreams? Click HERE and send us a note! It will be absolutely PERFECT!

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  1. Oh my goodness I love how much work and attention to detail you guys put into setting these up! Any bride-to-be would be so lucky to have her special moment captured and celebrated by you! 🙂