A Charleston Proposal is not rare by any means. Charleston is known for its romance and maintains itself as a top “pop the question” spot in the United States. Charleston holds a sweet spot in the heart of anyone who visits it. One of my favorite parts of this year may have been seeing everyone’s social media feeds. The parties, the fun, the proposal, and engagements! I would love to add to the happiness and establish one of my 2019 goals, to blog more. Blogging not only gives me a chance to showcase YOU but also allows me to bring you into the fun and crazy world of a Marine, College Student, Wedding Photographer. With that, I will start by backdating and getting to work on some posts long over-due.
My first surprise proposal as a photographer was roughly 6 months ago! Meet Ryan and Kristen, a cute young couple from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
My fiance and I moved to Charleston in late July. Only a few weeks later, our prospective Groom’s mother called looking for a photographer to catch her son’s special moment. We quickly arranged a digital meeting and Ryan and I went to work!
Ryan met Kristen while he was attending the University of Florida in Gainesville. They did not, however, share the same mascot. Kristen was a student at the rival school, Florida State located in Tallahassee, FL. The Gator-Seminole rivalry is a well-known feud in College sports but that didn’t stop Ryan and Kristen from creating a relationship that will last a lifetime and lead to their Charleston proposal.
I’ve always loved photography but had never dove into the professional aspect of it until this past year. I had no idea how much a photographer is integrated into the planning processes for such momentous life occasions.
Ryan reached out and initially had no point of contacts in Charleston other than myself. In the name of what is LOVE, I absolutely couldn’t leave Ryan hanging. It’s also worth noting, as a photographer your images are a direct reflection of the beauty in the moment. Getting handed an opportunity to play a hand in the planning process, why wouldn’t I help Ryan make it dreamy?!
I am a hopeless romantic and always have been. So when Ryan gave me the chance and flexibility to style his engagement, I didn’t pass it up!
Ryan initially had the idea to put some pictures around his Charleston proposal site, but we couldn’t nail down the best way to get the pictures to me in time for the proposal. That’s when we had the idea for me to go out and grab some chalkboards and have Ryan send me quotes that held significant meaning within their relationship. For less than $150 bucks we found 3 chalkboards with little easels and a big, all in one chalkboard easel. To add a little “pop” I picked up some mini-lights and artificial flower strings and used them to drape over the boards themselves. Ryan also ordered a few bags of rose petals from “Keepsake Florist” on James Island. Bam! A beautiful and memorable proposal without breaking the bank.
My fiance Valarie and I spread the easels along the path in Charleston’s Battery Park, each with its adorable quote leading up to the final easel at the gazebo. Let me say this, all the signs along the way were breath-taking, but the gazebo set up looked like a dream. As we were setting up the proposal, countless tourists and locals alike were asking for the details and taken back by how cute the setup was. Love is so contagious, it puts everyone in a good mood.
Kristen had no clue what was coming. To her, this was just another trip to enjoy a mini-vacation with Ryan before the hectic school year started. They arrived and met with some friends Saturday and enjoyed a quiet night in Charleston getting their fill of fresh seafood at East Bay Street’s 167 Raw and staying at the Grand Bohemian.
Sunday came, and it was time for magic. Kristen was in her room getting ready for “dinner” with no knowledge that Ryan had gone downstairs to wait for their carriage ride he had booked through Palmetto Carriage Company.
Only one problem… the carriage was due to drop Ryan and Kristen off at The Old Exchange building which was about a 15-minute walk to the battery. You don’t have to be a girl to know that walking in heals for a quarter mile can do a number on your feet. 90-degree late afternoon weather is also a token of Charleston. Those conditions are not ideal for any long periods of walking.
Charleston Bike Company to the rescue! I gave them a call and one of the owners quickly came to my aide and had a bike ready to pick up Ryan and Kristen for next to nothing! The bike picked the couple up for the 5-minute ride down to the Battery and let them out on a pathway entrance on the side of Battery Park where I was pretending to do a portrait session with my fiancé Valarie. Our camouflage was perfect for the well-visited and photographed Battery Park in downtown Charleston. Ryan and Kristen walked right by and we proceeded in trace snapping a few photos here and there but trying to remain inconspicuous until they reached the Gazebo.
You could see the curiosity in Kristen’s face as they walked by each chalkboard. She like every other couple walking by and reading the boards assumed they were for some other lucky girl. Clarity finally set in when Ryan and Kristen reached the final board at the Gazebo in the center of the park. The board read…
“Kristen, I love YOU more than anything!”
At that moment Ryan took Kristen’s hands and popped down to one knee. Spoiler alert, SHE SAID YES!
It’s been forever since I’ve lived in a moment like that. I am pretty sure I was smiling ear to ear as I started snapping away photos. After catching the initial moment, Ryan and Kristen called the most important people in their life, and we walked around Battery Park catching them in their element; loving one another.
We finished their engagement session and rather than have them walk another 20 min, my fiancé Valarie and I gave them a quick ride over the 82 Queen, so the newly engaged couple could enjoy a perfect dinner to end their perfect day.
Ryan and Kristen will be tieing the knot in Spring 2020 back where it all started, Tallahassee, FL. But regardless of where and when they say
Charleston will always hold a permanent spot of significance within Ryan and Kristen’s relationship. I feel incredibly blessed that I was able to play such a critical role in such a special day.
When you two people who truly mean the world to one another it’s obvious. Ryan and Kristen’s proposal displayed that love and then some. It came naturally, it was beautiful, it was perfect, it was love.
Are you looking to do a surprise Charleston proposal? Maybe you just need an engagement session? Are you looking for someone to catch all your special moments to include your wedding day? We would love to chat with you! Contact Me and we will see how Valarie and I can best serve you!