From Alabama To Mississippi To St. Louis – A Surprise Proposal Under The Arch!

Mack’s mom reached out to me about a month ago, asking if I could help with her son’s surprise proposal. He wasn’t from the area, and had big dreams of pulling off a surprise proposal to his now fiancée under the St. Louis Gateway Arch!

I clearly wouldn’t be writing this blog post if we didn’t knock it out of the park:

These two traveled quite the distance to make it to St. Louis! Mack and Belle are both from Alabama, but now both live in Mississippi, but even more exciting … are looking for houses in St. Louis!

As for making this Arch magic happen … we hatched a plan! Mack’s mom has a good friend who lives in St. Louis. Mack made up an elaborate fib that this friend really wanted to show them the arch! She was supposed to be meeting them there and then they were going to lunch. Well, safe to say she never showed …

I asked Mack to program me in his phone under the friend’s name, just in case Belle peeked over his shoulder to see who he was texting. The next challenge? Getting Belle in position. There was some rope blocking off this gorgeous expanse of grass right in front of the Arch. I instructed Mack to step over it. He did … and Belle wouldn’t.

After some gentle coaxing, and Mack getting a stranger to take their picture with his phone, Belle relented and stepped over the no-no ropes. Worth it! Sorry, City of St. Louis … we promise it was worth it, and we didn’t ruin any of your grass!

The couple told me they crossed many times in college, and Belle says they joke they were always destined to meet (maybe it’s not a joke, though, because it seems true!). What officially sealed the deal was when Mack moved into the apartment upstairs from Belle.

But it started for Mack a little earlier, “I’ve been planning this proposal for months now. I asked for her mom’s permission to marry her daughter back in July and have been coordinating everything else since then. I’ve wanted to marry Belle from the moment we met.”

If that isn’t the most romantic thing you’ve ever read …

From Belle: “The first time I met Mack, I was like a little kid again, excited to sit next to him and scared to talk to him. I thought Mack was so chill and funny and not to mention, attractive.”

So, one would think a romantic trip to St. Louis might have tipped her off a proposal was coming? Nope!

“I’ve been joking for several months about a proposal, but he played it off so well I had no idea. I’m seriously the hardest person to surprise and I’m still shocked!” Belle wrote to me.

Since this blog post is truly about their love story, I will let the couple have the last words.

Belle: “Mack is the man I’ve always dreamed of. He completes me. It’s crazy that we grew up in different towns and I didn’t know him for 19 years of my life. I don’t know how I ever lived without him.”

Mack: “Belle is the most kind hearted giving person I have ever met. Her attitude towards life and hard working funny personality is what makes her truly special. She is always ready for an adventure and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life loving her.”

Congrats, you two! Hopefully we will see you at the wedding! 😉

Suprise Engagements: What to expect on the big day!

So you’ve planned, you’ve plotted, you’ve thought of absolutely every detail imaginable and your photographer has helped cover everything in between. So now all that’s left is to POP THE QUESTION! How does it all come together? Well… every proposal has been a bit different but it usually shakes out like this:

The day of the event:

Usually I don’t get to meet my wonderful clients until after the surprise proposal but I’ll always send you the link to our website ‘meet the team’ space so that you have a general idea of who to look for! https://kansas-city-photography.com/meet-the-team/

When you’ve arrived at the pre-determined location, I’ll climb trees, hide under bushes, pose strangers for pretend pictures and all the while be snapping pictures of the moments you’re sharing with your future spouse!

I took this gem while hiding behind a bridge pillar!
And these two were both genuinely surprised I wasn’t actually taking pictures of dogs at the park!

Once you’ve popped the question, celebrated the moment (aka ALL THE KISSING), my location is revealed and we head into the rest of our photo shoot! Usually at this point the stress from the planning and the anticipation of the day’s events have subsided and we all have a really good time!

Remember, any time is a good time to start planning and we are ready and able to help you with each and every step! Book your surprise engagement today!

Surprise Engagement! Dinner? Detour? A dream gondola proposal…

Calvin and Zoe met a year ago and as far as Zoe knew, this was just going to be a normal fun evening at the Country Club Plaza celebrating their one year anniversary at her favorite restaurant – The Melting Pot. What was actually going to happen was a well-planned surprise detour with a dream gondola ride!

Calvin and Zoe have enjoyed this last year together exploring Kansas City, going to local festivals, laughing together (a lot) and drinking all the coffee – so when Calvin received a call on their way to dinner telling them their reservation was pushed to later in the evening. She wasn’t too disappointed, she figured they would just walk around the plaza until it was time to eat. The caller was Calvin’s best friend and this ‘delay’ was all part of the master plan. Calvin lead her down to Brush Creek and suggested walking by the water… where the gondola ride awaited.

She was blown away by the detour and was just soaking up the spontaneous fun. She had no idea what the rest of the trip would bring. The gondola ride headed west while I headed east to set up for the rest of the trip!

As they turned around and headed under the bridge, the gondolier signaled to Calvin and he reached over the edge of the boat and brought up a bottle from the side of the boat that contained a message – a handwritten love letter just for Zoe. The details of the letter remain a mystery but I can tell you from afar, there was nothing about this letter that Zoe didn’t love. When I tell you Calvin took the time to plan this…. there wasn’t a detail missed.

While the boat circled near the bridge, the couple appeared to just be enjoying the evening ride when Calvin made his move and got down on his knee, IN THE BOAT, and proposed.

Zoe said later that she had no idea any of this was going to happen and feeling surprised was a true understatement! After she said YES!, he revealed I was there to capture it all and we headed back to the dock for our photo shoot!

Congratulations to this amazing couple! Thank you so much for letting me capture this moment — I can only imagine the fun you two will have in the years to come!

Surprise Engagements: Making Plans!

Details, Details, Details!

So you’ve chosen your partner, picked out your ring, picked the day, your photographer and even your location (see last blog post!) What else do we need to talk about, right? EVERYTHING!

Because this is a surprise, we need to think through our ruse. Is it a picnic in the park? A stroll before dinner? Perhaps an early happy hour just because… Whatever the ruse, the more we plan, the better!

Your photographer can help with a number of these details:

  • Picking up flowers, cookies, etc
  • Contacting the location
  • Working with vendors
  • Advise you on best times for the best lighting
  • Help with positioning at the location

Sometimes (if you share accounts with your partner), its better to work with someone else who is close to you so no suspicion is raised! We want to help make this day as easy as possible for all involved! And never underestimate the power of your future in-laws! They can always help with outfits, nails, transportation, etc! And in my experience, they love to be included, if possible!

I picked up and set up these beautiful flowers and cookies before Cole and Nicole arrived!

Moral of the story… Think through the whole experience – and don’t be surprised if your photographer asks about a million questions just to make sure you’ve covered all your bases!

Here are some great places we have collaborated with in the past that are always in for being a part of the surprise!

Next up… what to expect on the big day!

Surprise Engagements!

Timing, Locations, and Outfits, oh my!

Nick & Sydney celebrate their special moment in Loose Park

After my most recent clients (Nick and Sydney) celebrated their ‘Yes!’ in Loose Park yesterday, I was stopped by another couple and asked for some details on engagement photography and how did we pull off *another* surprise engagement, especially in such a busy location? And I thought… why not tell the world? So if you’re ready to propose to your partner – you’re in the right spot! I’m going to spill the beans on surprise engagements! We’ll review the top spots in Kansas City, how to prepare, what your photographer can help you with — and more! But first… Let’s do a quick recap of our other recent proposals and some of their special moments!

SURPRISE ENGAGEMENTS: LOCATIONS

Most of my clients have picked out the ring, the day, and sometimes even their outfit but when I ask, ‘where are we going for this special moment?’ the answer is almost always, ‘I’m not sure, do you have any recommendations?’ Yes, my friends, yes I do. Here are the list of questions to ask yourself (or that I will ask you) before we decide on a spot!

  • Is there a local spot that’s special to you? Maybe your first date? Maybe a spot you go to regularly?
  • Is there a specific background you’re looking for? Water? Flowers? Trees? Cityscape?
  • When you think back on this special day, is this a location you’re going to want to be able to access (if possible, think wedding, anniversaries, etc).
  • Formal/Casual dress attire?
  • Are you planning any activities pre/post engagement session?

Once we get through those – we can narrow down that right location for you!

If my clients have no preference on location, I refer to this blog post: https://kansas-city-photography.com/2017/02/03/top-10-photo-locations-in-kc/

But also I like to add in these options:

  • Powell Gardens
  • Nelson Atkins
  • Plaza
  • KC Rooftop Bars (think Crossroads area!)
  • Longview, Smithville and WyCo Lakes!

There are a number of locations to choose from and when recommending a place I like to consider the season – what’s blooming, what colors will show in the background? Is it rainy season? Are we going to get muddy (this might be something planned!) What’s planned for after the photoshoot – do you have time to get where you’re going if we pick a certain location over another. Also, are there several backgrounds for the photos or will we just have one or two to work with? Your photographer will work with you to brainstorm ideas and they’ll also take into consideration lighting, weather, permits (if necessary) and review all of that with you. Overall, a lot to think through but in the end, this is the backdrop for your special moment so we want it to be right!

Up next… How to prepare: The details for your special day!

Click here to book your engagement photos with Kansas City Photography (which is in both St. Louis & Kansas City)!

(Note: All photos in this blog post were taken by Kansas City Photography. You may not re-use without permission.)

A Romantic SURPRISE PROPOSAL Picnic!

A few years ago, these amazing people decided to give online dating a try because, (and we all agree), meeting people these days is just hard. Especially meeting the right people. Except not for these two. They matched, and there was no looking back!

After three and a half years of eating good food together, exploring KC, and drinking all the wine … Ty planned out the sweetest surprise proposal; he was ready to ask Emily to marry him.

He coordinated all of the details, including hiring us (months ago!) to be there to capture these moments! As the day approached, Ty followed through on every detail, including making sure Emily was picture ready without knowing that she was going on anymore than a glamorous picnic date with her lovely boyfriend.

The details came together perfectly! On October 9th, 2021, while enjoying a warm, sunny, beautiful afternoon in Loose Park, Ty got down on one knee, asked Emily to marry him … and she said “yes!”

And from the couple themselves – “We both love how well our personalities work with each other. No matter the situation, we’re both always present to provide advice, support, or dumb jokes with each other.”

We’ll be keeping an eye out for your wedding date announcement! 😉

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A SURPRISE Princess Serenity Cosplay Session!

It was 25-degrees, but that didn’t stop Abby and me from surprising Jennifer with a SURPRISE photo session, despite her attempts to accidentally foil our plans! 😉

Abby (who lives in Florida) reached out to me mid-January about setting up a surprise photo session for her girlfriend over the weekend she’d be in town visiting. She was also making her a HANDMADE and GORGEOUS Princess Serenity gown to wear in said session.

We brainstormed and decided to tell Jen I was hosting a Moonie Meetup (for Sailor Moon fans) at Loose Park (there are some beautiful columns there, which would fit the Princess Serenity aesthetic).

Jen was worried about the cold. I was attempting to make it so she didn’t cancel on attending my fake “Moonie Meetup,” so I offered to move the madeup get together to my house since it was “all people I knew anyway.” She agreed. PHEW. Any time Jennifer would say something, Abby would message me in a panic.

The day finally arrived when Jen and Abby showed up at my house. I met them out in the parking lot, a camera casually strapped around my neck. AND THEN ABBY WHIPPED OUT THE SURPRISE! The moment we’d been waiting for!

THEN, we told her there wasn’t actually a Moonie Meetup … this entire thing was for a surprise photo session, all for her! Abby knocked this Valentine’s surprise out of the park!

Now, to the session itself. It was cold. 20-degrees cold. BUT WE ARE CHAMPIONS! Plus, as I told Abby in our chats … cosplayers and photographers are a touch on the crazy side. 20 degrees is child’s play. 😉

I am so happy the surprise and the session were a moontastic success! I have worked with Jen several times, and actually met Abby through photography as well (at this session below, actually)!

Here’s to many more! One of the greatest things about cosplay — the photos will always be different because the characters are! All of these cosplay sessions are the same person (Jen)! I have so much respect for cosplayers, and their infinite creativity bringing characters to life!

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And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to Jennifer and Abigail!

Featuring: Scattered Roses Cosplay

A Surprise Proposal at Loose Park!

Have we mentioned we love surprise proposals yet? Oh, we have? Well, one thing is for sure, they will never, ever, ever get old! We LOVE everything about them. The secret emails, the code words, the excitement and shock when someone gets on a knee … like this Sunday at Loose Park!

Matthew reached out to us December 1, letting us know he had just moved to Kansas City a few months ago with his girlfriend, Angie, who is attending KU. He ordered had already ordered the engagement ring, and was wanting to set up a surprise proposal.

The ring finally made it in on December 19, so we were ready to set the surprise date! Matthew had originally envisioned Penn Valley Park for the proposal, but the day of we ultimately decided on Loose Park!

Once Matthew had the ring, the plan was set in motion. We even exchanged photos so we knew what each other looked like (we don’t get to see each other until surprise proposal happens usually)!

These two lovebirds first met when Matthew watched her dog over Thanksgiving three years ago. When she came back from her trip, to a well pampered pup I am sure, they continued talking!

Matthew fessed up that he’s a wild child (his words!) and said “I love how Angie accepts me for who I am and what I do. Her love is my rock and keeps me grounded!”

They can be goofy together, too, clearly!

We here at Kansas City Photography wish you ALL the best in the world! Props to planning a surprise proposal for Angie! Don’t forget, we do weddings, too! 😉

Want to plan your own surprise proposal? Send us a message!

A Surprise Rooftop Proposal in Downtown Kansas City!

Even though it was their 5-year anniversary, Willie still managed to convince Alisha she wasn’t going to be proposed to that day. All of his hard work certainly paid off, too!

Willlie&Alisha (1)

Last week, Willie reached out to me about planning a surprise proposal for his girlfriend of 5 years, Alisha. In his own words to me, he said, “I know, I know…it’s about time!”

He decided on the Rooftop Garden Park in downtown Kansas City. We agreed to meet at 7:20. My second photographer, Alyssa, and I were 30 minutes early. No sooner did we get up to the roof garden did Willie walk in!

Willie&Alisha

As I say with all of my surprise proposal clients, when you arrive, I will not acknowledge you. We can’t give away the surprise! I always instruct my client to walk in front of the camera and just pop down on a knee.

We couldn’t have practiced it better!

Willie & Alisha

Of course, she said “yes!”

Alisha and Willie met 5 years ago in Joplin, Missouri, when Alisha was teaching English. She told me they had an instant connection, and planned their first date at a restaurant called “Instant Karma.”

 

Willie & Alisha (1)

She said the name of their first date restaurant seemed really fitting! She was right!

“After 2 years together in Joplin, I moved back to KC to start my new job at a new school. We did a year of long distance and then he moved up here with me.”

Willlie&Alisha (2)

And now, they’re engaged!!

Alisha told me Willie is the perfect compliment to her type A personality. “He is compassionate, caring, and just the most wonderfully considerate person,” she said.

Willie & Alisha (9)

Willie told me he avoided mentioning any weddings, proposals, or rings all week. He confessed he knew exactly how to get to the rooftop park, but pretended he didn’t when he was taking Alisha to it.

He had actually scouted out the location the week before. He even went over and received her parents blessing to propose the same week!

Willie & Alisha (3)

All of us here at Kansas City Photography wish you the best! We can’t wait to see what wedding plans you both cook up. Don’t forget to keep us in mind. 😉

Willie & Alisha (8)

CONGRATULATIONS, Willie & Alisha!!

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