While in the bad old days, couples getting married would only book a professional photographer for the big day. However, in the fun and digitally mobile times we live in now, many couples are opting for pre-wedding photoshoots and some even commission a proposal photographer to capture the he/she said "Yes" moment!
I recently had the pleasure of photographing the Hong Kong proposal of my good friend Michael to the love of his life, Lulu. Here’s what I’ve learned about the elements of a perfect proposal over the years, but particularly from my day with this amazing couple.
Plan well in advance
If you want your proposal to be perfect, it’s absolutely imperative you give yourself proper time for planning. I advise nailing down some days your chosen proposal photographer and your significant other are free first and then building your schedule around that. There’s no point making plans until you know both of them can make it. I suggest doing this at least a couple of months in advance. You’ll need time to arrange the ring, after all!
Don’t let the cat out of the bag!
One of the hardest things about planning a proposal is keeping it a surprise from your other half. How do you make sure she turns up looking and feeling good without suspecting what’s on the cards?
When Michael and I discussed ideas for his Hong Kong proposal, he told Lulu he had organized a fun couples’ photoshoot. This was perfect as she came looking gorgeous for the photoshoot but suspected nothing, even though they had already talked about getting married and she knew he was going to propose at some point.
Another idea would be to tell your girlfriend you want her to meet an important family member or your boss for the first time. That way she’ll keep the date free and be less suspicious when you take her somewhere fancy.
IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO PROPOSE TO YOUR SOMEONE SPECIAL AND WANT TO KEEP THE MEMORY FOREVER, GET IN TOUCH!
Talk to your photographer about locations
You might know exactly where and how you want to propose, but it’s always best to run your ideas past the photographer first. That way he/she can go and scout out the location and choose the best spots and angles for photos at the time of day you choose. If you’re not sure where you want to propose and could do with some inspiration, a local photographer should know all the most jaw-dropping locations in town.
Michael had already decided he wanted to take Lulu on a helicopter ride from the rooftop of Hong Kong’s iconic Peninsula Hotel but I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to propose on the helipad due to safety regulations. We therefore designated a codeword in advance, and while I was photographing the couple at the nearby 1881 Heritage venue across the road, I let him know when the location and light were perfect for him to pop the question. Needless to say, Lulu was blown away and delighted!
Keep the logistics simple
However you propose, you’ll definitely want to go somewhere special to celebrate after. However, nothing kills a mood more than having to sit in traffic or haul yourself across town in bad weather. It’s therefore a good idea to choose an after venue close to your proposal location.
After Michael’s proposal and the couple’s helicopter ride around Hong Kong, they went for the famous afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel and then on for a surprise dinner with friends at Morton’s Steak House. All these locations were super close and easy, both for me with all my kit and Lulu in her high heels. Thank you, Michael!
Don’t blow all your surprises at once
One of the many things that I think Michael did seriously right on the day was to keep surprising Lulu, even after the proposal. There was the breathtaking helicopter ride over Hong Kong, the legendary afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel, and after the friends’ dinner, he ended the day on a sweet note by presenting Lulu’s all-time favorite treat, a strawberry cheesecake from The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Always keep a few tricks up your sleeve for the proposal that keeps on giving.
I’d like to extend a huge congratulations and thank you to Michael and Lulu. It was such a pleasure to be part of their day and subsequently, their Hong Kong pre-wedding and Hong Kong wedding events.
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A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios