Ok, so I've been super excited to share this story with you ever since I captured it! Gustavo contacted me a year ago, as many people do nowadays, to ask about my proposal stories, and whether I was interested and available for traveling for documenting his proposal and engagement in New York City to Alexandra. So, after a happy dance in front of my computer, I said YES, I will!, and started planning!
Planning a Proposal in New York City
Planning a surprise proposal is a hard enough job by itself, let alone when you also have to plan a trip and photography around the event.
- We would settle on a time and location when Gustavo would pop the question, while I would be hidden far away, taking all the pictures. Far away, because Alexandra has been following my work for years, and she'd probably recognize me right away if I pretended to be a tourist walking around the city (which is my usual MO for proposals).
- Alexandra's best friend and her sister were also joining them on the NYC trip. They would be my allies, helping us sort out the logistics, and text me any updates, so Gustavo didn't look suspicious.
- Once he was in sight, knees dropped, and ring out; I'd come out of my hiding place to take close-ups of the whole thing.
It all sounded like a good initial plan. We'd still need to settle on a time and location, but that could be done later since it was October and the proposal would be happening in May. A few weeks later, I received a wedding inquiry, this time from Alexandra, asking about my services. Since she's a Med school student, she wanted to know about my booking process in advance because she has limited time to think about all that. I started freaking out: "OMG I'm gonna blow my cover, I can't let her know what we're planning for her!" Fortunately, I'm good at keeping my cool via e-mail communication so I just sent her the info as I would to any other stranger inquiring about wedding photography.
She said, "Yes!" at the Bethesda Fountain, Central Park
Finally, summer was near, and we started talking out about final details. After considering different places in the City, Gustavo decided on proposing right in front of the iconic Bethesda Fountain. They'd arrive through one of the side entrances, while my assistant and I would be hiding behind a column in Bethesda Terrace until Gustavo popped the question.
I had a few worries:
- Weather: it had been raining in NYC since I got there the day before, which felt like Deja Vu from the last time I visited New York for engagement photos.
- It was Memorial Day. Bethesda Fountain is probably one of the top spots for tourists, and it would be packed.
- Minutes before our appointed time, a tour with around 30 people stopped at the fountain for photos.
Fortunately, the inclement weather, which we thought would be working against us, did us a HUGE favor: it started raining, and the whole plaza emptied as people ran for cover. No photoshop needed: an empty Bethesda Fountain photo shoot at 9:30 am? Priceless!!!! I got a text from Gustavo stating,"We're here." And there they were, Alexandra and Gustavo were posing for a few snaps the girls were taking of them; a shaky Gustavo turned towards her, told her a few words, and finally, Alexandra realized what was going on. He dropped to one knee and took the ring out of his pocket.
She was so excited and surprised! She didn't even realize I was there taking pictures until someone introduced me. We all hugged and greeted each other; we were all so happy! After all the mandatory selfies and celebration, we walked all around Central Park taking engagement portraits. Hours later, as we were moving out of the park to do some photos in the city, the rain started again, so we decided to call it a day!
It was an amazing experience, and I'm so happy I was there to capture it for you! Thanks for trusting me with these memories, for flying me over, and I can't wait for your wedding day!