In January, I received an e-mail that looked like this:
Hello, I am planning on proposing to my boyfriend in PR. I was really touched by your photography and wanted to see if you have the time and interest in photographing the moment of proposal? Look forward to hearing from you. -- Patrick
Planning a Proposal in Puerto Rico
We started planning right away; Patrick was torn between proposing at El Yunque Rainforest or the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, where they would be staying. So I developed a list of pros and cons for each location that would need to be considered for perfect photography. I'm sharing the list here since it helps a reader narrow down their proposal plans (hint, hint!).
Proposal at El Yunque Rainforest
• Environment & Mood- Since hiking is a very casual activity it will be unexpected for you to pop the question there.
• Logistics- It will be more difficult though, regarding logistics, since most popular trails have tourists walking back and forth, and if we go off-trail it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact location where you'll ask the question.
• Lighting- Contrary to what would be good in open, outdoor areas, the perfect time to take photos at El Yunque is early in the afternoon (anytime between 2-4pm). Trees and vegetation at El Yunque are so thick that the sun has a hard time coming in during the rest of the day.
Proposal at St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
• Environment & Mood- St. Regis Bahia Beach is a very intimate, romantic hotel. Even in high season, you'll never see the beach full with people, which would be accessible for photos. Scheduling a restaurant in the evening, you'll have the perfect excuse to be dressed up. Because it is a resort, the front desk can help arrange something special for you.
• Logistics- Beach proposals are easy to capture. Sometimes for Proposal Sessions, I bring a friend to act like I'm taking photos of them in case your soon-to-be fianceé spots me before the big question. For proposals on the beach, I'm taking pictures from afar with a long lens until you pop the question, so the moment still feels intimate with me there.
• Lighting- Sunsets in April happen around 6:45 p.m. To have enough time for the proposal and photos afterward, 4:30 p.m. would be an excellent moment to start in this case.
Eventually, Patrick settled on proposing to Joshua at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. The ocean is a preferred environment of the two of them, so it made perfect sense to have it as the backdrop of this new moment in their lives. He told Joshua he had scheduled dinner plans for 4:30 p.m. My assistant and I were sitting down on a terrace overlooking the beautiful central patio with cameras ready. I always get nervous and fell as if it was me who was proposing. The funny thing is that it always gets crazy the minutes leading up to the proposal: 5 kids popped up out of nowhere, running and playing all over the lawn where Patrick would walk with Joshua minutes later. Eventually, the kids calmed down and disappeared once again, leaving the area deserted, perfect for the big moment!
Paving the Way for New Proposal & Marriage Traditions
The soon-to-be-fianceés enjoyed a walk before dinner and walked right into my camera's view. I was very far away, but I still could see Patrick was nervous. He dropped down to one knee, and Josh was stunned. He said YES! They hugged in what felt like forever. Their happy laughter echoed through the whole patio. It was perfect.
Then, Patrick pointed at me from afar, acknowledging my presence, and they walked to greet me. The hotel staff brought some champagne to celebrate the moment! Patrick took out of his pocket a second ring he had brought for him. We were discussing what would make sense to do: whether to use the ring on the right hand until marriage? I had no clue. It was then when it hit me: most wedding traditions come from centuries of man-woman relationships. Joshua and Patrick, same as every other same-sex couple, are paving a new road of traditions, and I'm so glad I get to be part of this moment in history. So exciting!!
After some necessary phone calls and selfies, we walked once again to the beach, this time for their engagement photo session. They were just so happy, their faces gleaming with excitement. We walked all over the beach, then had some fun around the beautiful hotel areas, before we parted ways, and Patrick & Joshua went to their dinner reservation, this time for real!
It was a delight capturing this story and I hope you enjoy what I captured.