An email comes through in September...'I'm planning to propose to my girlfriend and would like to have a photographer there to capture the moment'. Yes, please! Sign me up.
Immediately I respond in a very inconspicuous manner because you have to keep the secret and be low-key about your excitement.
Then the details came through - a winery in October. Don't tempt me with a good time!
Danny had it all planned out with the ring ready to go. We corresponded enough to get all the details squared away and figure out how we'd both be at the right spot at the right time.
Then the day arrived. A beautiful, warm October day at Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane with tons of sunshine and butterflies everywhere. Wait, that's not right. The butterflies were in my stomach fluttering around like crazy because I was so. nervous. AND I wasn't even the one doing the proposing!!
A friend offered to tag along so that I could maintain a low-profile. Just two friends, hanging out at a winery. She was paid in wine for all her hard work :)
We found the prettiest spot away from the crowds with a picnic table and gorgeous views all to ourselves. Then the waiting game began.
Danny couldn't text prior to arriving at the winery because Hannah would know something was happening. So there my friend and I were watching every guest who drove into the winery, just waiting to see a couple that looked like Danny and Hannah.
Finally we spotted them driving in. A simple text sent on where to go and what the area generally looked like.
Then more waiting. Waiting for a lovely couple to completely skip the tasting room and find a table first...because that's what you do when you get to the winery - skip the wine.
My friend kept watch as I hid my camera and faced away from them.
In a split second I see them walk past and stand right in front of me so I start snapping. My heart is racing because you don't want to miss a moment and you certainly don't want to miss the moment.
Danny drops to one knee the instant Hannah turns away for the shortest second. Then she turns around and sees!
I have no idea what's said but all I can see are smiles from both of them. Then hugs. Then excitement and shock set in - they just got engaged! Danny did it, he surprised Hannah!
The time comes to introduce myself to both of them and congratulate them on such a big moment.
And as much as I'd like to say Miley Cyrus echoed through my head when 'the butterflies fly way' that nervous excitement stayed with me.
The great part to having a photographer at your surprise proposal is the real and authentic engagement photos that immediately follow. And if you're not planning on taking them then, you should. Your sincerest emotions are bubbling up and they shine through in your photos.
Each of them grabbed a glass of wine and we started walking around Barrel Oak to take their photos.
Barrel Oak is a stunning location and mid-October brings out gorgeous color on both the trees and in the vineyard. However, this was mid-day harsh sun. For anyone who has ever heard a photographer stereotype knows how much they love golden hour.
Hi. It's me. I'm the stereotype, it's me.
While I can admit I love golden hour, I love it for the diffused soft light. Mid-day sun is not soft and there was not a cloud in sight to diffuse the light.
Barrel Oak has gorgeous views because it's on a hill with open spaces. This just makes it tough to find any larger stretches of shade.
Fortunately, Barrel Oak had a hidden gem. Just down the hill from where Danny and Hannah were engaged was a lovely little gravel driveway, a small pond, and stunning willow trees.
We took full advantage of that hidden gem and took a variety of engagement photos. It was beautiful and it was private - just check out the two of them quietly dancing in the shade of a willow.
Another stereotype of photographers is how much they looooove to be a part of special moments. Dare I sing Taylor again?
I do love the opportunity to be there and capture those special moments. It's something I don't take lightly and truly believe of all the photographers you can choose, there's a reason we're working together.
So, I'm off my soap box just in time to wrap up this post by saying thank you to Danny and Hannah for the opportunity to be there on their momentous day.
Venue: Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, VA