Monday, November 22, 2010

Surprise Marriage Proposal - Atlanta Photographer

Last week Bill decided to propose to Tammy after 2 1/2 years of dating. While planning all the details like the ring, dinner reservations and the "story" he could tell Tammy about their plans for the night, he took it one step further by contacting me to photograph the entire thing so they both could relive the moment again and again. He actually said, "I'm doing this for her so she can see the pictures" but we all know the truth, it's for him too! Who wouldn't want to relive this magical moment.

I struggled with finding THE picture to post as a sneak-peek for Bill and Tammy and their families, and a window-inside to all of you who are Facebook fans and knew about the secret proposal before Tammy. So I decided the best way to do it was to recount the details of the night.

Last week, I scouted out the gazebo on Decatur square so I could tell Bill where to go. I needed him to sit in a spot that was picturesque and visible from a good distance away. If I hoped to photograph the whole thing unseen, I needed to stay pretty far away and to stay in one position to avoid rustling any leaves. Picked the spot, spoke to Bill on Thursday, and we were all set.

Friday, November 19th
6:00pm Dinner reservations for Bill and Tammy at Iberian Pig

6:15 At home, I am dressed in dark clothes, and wearing a hat and gloves to keep warm. I am definitely feeling like a spy/paparazzi photographer.

6:29 I leave my studio to get to the square and get everything set up.

6:31 I receive a text message from Bill saying that they've been delayed and have just sat down for dinner.

6:32 I return to my studio to hang out for a little while.

6:55 Take Two - I leave the studio again and head to the square. Unsure if I'll find a parking spot close-by, I want to leave extra time even though I don't expect them to leave the restaurant until 7:30.

7:04 I find a parking space close-by and arrive at the square. The place is buzzing with people. A group of teenagers skateboarding by the statue, couples walking to and from dinner, friends walking to the bars nearby. And the entire square is decorated for Christmas - string lights, red bows and even a saxophone-player.

7:15 I set up my gear on a picnic table which is strategically nestled next to a tree. The perfect spot to shoot from where I won't be seen. The excitement is building and I'm hoping not to draw any attention from all the people walking around although I'm not sure that's possible.

7:45 Text message from Bill says "Hey Sara. I am paying the bill now. We should be coming out soon." This is it!

7:50 I spot them walking up the steps from the restaurant and start shooting away. I see Bill look for me and as soon as he's sees me, they start their walk toward the gazebo. Despite Tammy having no idea what is going on, it's clear this night is already a romantic one. She stops along the path and kisses him underneath the neon sign for "Good Times" store. Perfect!

They walk up the steps of the gazebo and sit. Bill is sitting one step below her (just as we planned) so I can be sure to see her face clearly from the trees.

7:59 I'm busy shooting away, when a couple walks past me and the man says "No paparazzi here!" It made me laugh because I had been thinking the same thing the whole time, but I couldn't respond for fear that Tammy would hear or see me.

8:00 They are talking for a bit and I am waiting for some kind of sign that he is proposing. It couldn't have been more clear at the moment. As soon as Tammy realizes what is going on, she sits up straight in an Oh-my-gosh!--This-is-happening! kind of way. So cute.

I'll let the photos speak for the rest of that magical moment. (Click the image below.)

After they've had a few minutes together, Bill waves me over. I introduce myself and Tammy is just numb, I think. They are both so happy but it may have been my get-up that really took her by surprise. :) I suggest we take some pictures around the square and find out that this place has a lot of meaning for them. They have come here on many dates. Tammy tells me that on a few occasions Bill has driven one hour in each direction just to spend a half an hour with Tammy at Java Monkey. So, taking some pictures there is the obvious next location for us. (I'll post some of them soon.)

It was a magical, emotional and fun evening, and I am so honored to have documented it for them. If you or anyone you know is planning a proposal, please contact the studio. I would LOVE to photograph more of these in the future. Our memories of moments like this are invaluable, but having an album or picture hanging in your home of that moment is priceless.

Congratulations Tammy and Bill!


  1. What a beautiful treasure to have forever. He was so thoughtful to think of it! And I love your photos.

  2. Thanks Rita! Such a meaningful moment for them. Do you know anyone who's about to propose? I'm dying to photograph another!