St. Michael’s, Maryland —
“You look so happy,” said Kiersten with tears in her eyes as she reviewed portraits I had taken during her surprise proposal two weeks prior.
“That’s because I was,” responded Evan, who went on bended knee and asked his best friend to marry him during a weekend getaway in St Michael’s, Maryland in August 2018.
I first heard from Evan in the spring of 2018 when he inquired about collaborating with me on his surprise proposal portraits. The Severna Park native told me he would be booking a room for the weekend at the Inn at Perry Cabin in August where he would ask his girlfriend to marry him.
Evan definitely knew what he wanted and I was happy to oblige. If pulled off, his proposal would be a charmingly romantic gesture and one his girlfriend and future wife would remember for the rest of her days.
After spending months planning over the phone and via email, we came up with plans and backup plans to head off any potential obstacles.
On the day of the proposal, I arrived at the Inn about two hours earlier than I was contracted to just so I did not hit delays that would potentially mess up our timetable.
Evan was not alone in thinking the Inn was an ideal location for a surprise proposal. While I waited for my job to begin, I was witness to another surprise proposal as well as an engagement portrait session along the water behind the inn; this in addition to the numerous birthday and anniversary parties I saw as I walked around the inside of the establishment.
When the time came for the couple to walk to our pre-determined location for the proposal, Evan and I stayed in close contact via text messaging. My adrenaline was pumping faster than a waterfall, causing my whole body the shake. The weight of my mother-in-law’s giant Sigma 200-500mm lens I borrowed for the occasion didn’t help the shaking any, so I stabilized the camera on my knee and the chair in which I was sitting.
I did not meet Evan or Kiersten ahead of time, and despite my social media sleuthing techniques in the weeks leading up to the proposal, I will still nervous that I would not recognized them when they arrived.
My fears abated immediately when I recognized Evan’s sandy-colored curly hair and Kiersten’s long sheet of dark brown wavy locks walking past me. Even from afar I could tell Evan was nervous. I could also see the ring box in his back pocket as the couple walked in front of me.
They sat down on some law chairs for a few minutes looking out towards the water, mostly so that Evan could keep his eye on a group of birthday party-goers from another group, waiting until they left before he would get up and propose.
When they got up from the chairs, my trigger finger was non stop. As quickly as my memory card could read a file, I was pressing the shutter button to capture another image.
The moment was so nerve-wracking, yet so thrilling to capture. Kiersten had the most amazing expressions on her face, and Evan pulled off his speech and one-knee pose perfectly.
She never even realized I was there taking pictures until I walked up to them and waved, to which Kiersten responded with a laugh and wave of her own.
We spent the next 30 minutes taking posed and unposed portraits of the couple and their reaction to becoming engaged. The Inn at Perry Cabin was even kind enough to send out two complimentary glasses of champagne to help the couple celebrate.
When I packed up and said ‘Goodbye' after our portrait session, it wasn’t actually the end of our collaboration together. Unbeknownst to Kiersten, but knownst to me, Evan reserved the deck area at the Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill just down the road from the Inn.
Waiting at the restaurant were the couples’ closest friends and family, ready to celebrate the fantastic news. I arrived on site about two minutes before the couple did, and after a quick hello to friends and family, I documented Kiersten’s second surprise of the evening. It’s safe to say she loved it.
I could not have been more excited to work on this project with Evan and Kiersten. They are two beautiful souls, inside and out, and it was an added bonus that I was also able to meet and get to know their friends and family.
Evan, thank you for finding me on Google and trusting me to document one of the most important dates of your life. May you and Kiersten live happily ever after.