Literally this was something of my dreams. A surprise proposal in Dublin! There isn’t a day where I’m not incredibly grateful that I get to call photographing love stories worldwide as my job. And this… ooo sis, this particular love story was unreal to document.
I met S + A in the summer of 2021 when they were helping their friend Adam plan his surprise proposal. They had hired me as their photographer and the four of us worked together to keep Adam’s partner, Danielle unsuspecting. It turned out to be a wonderful sunset proposal on the shores of Cazenovia Lake for Adam and Danielle. During our time together, I forged some awesome friendships with S + A.
So when A reached out to me early January about traveling with him and S (secretly) to Ireland to capture the surprise proposal that he had in mind, I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was pretty quickly that I had my flight and accommodations booked, and we began brainstorming ideas together.
I booked a hotel a block and a half away, and made sure that all the clothing I packed was mute colors. (I take my job seriously, folks.)
If, for any reason S did see me, it would instantly be game over. One of the stipulations that she requested of A was that when he planned to propose that he have ME as their photographer for the event. So seeing me in Ireland was absolutely a “cannot happen”.
To help, I asked my bestie Sarah, who currently lives in the UK, if she was interested in popping over to Ireland with me for a weekend. She agreed and I was incredibly thankful, because it’s easier to look like inconspicuous tourists when you have a partner in crime.
I arrived in Dublin roughly 2 days prior to them, that way I could take the time scoping out some of the locations we had talked about around City Centre.
A and I basically had to devise a plan on the fly, because he had S plan their entire trip itinerary. So we had to find a time and place that met a few different criteria: it had to be in the morning, shortly after they arrived so that he didn’t have to worry about carrying the ring around all day; it had to be in a place that was open enough for me and Sarah to be able to hide from view; and it had to be in a place that didn’t require permitting or ticketing (entry) to photograph the moment.
So after looking through their very packed schedule (it was filled with tours, lunch reservations, and mixology classes), A and I decided the night before that the best time and location for this to take place was right after their Book of Kells tour in the beautiful courtyard behind the Book of Kells building.
That morning, Sarah and I walked to the courtyard and got into position.
S + A had no idea what Sarah looked like, so it was much easier for her to be out in the open with her camera gear. I, on the other hand, had to hang further back in the crowds that were moving through the area. A and I had shared our locations via our iPhones, so we could attempt to keep tabs on respective locations without having to communicate.
Their tour ended at noon. And at 12:05, I saw A was moving further away from the courtyard. In the complete opposite direction. I panicked.
“Hey, I’m not sure if you’re finished with your tour, but if you are, you’re headed in the wrong direction!” I texted him.
“I know! She just started walking this way!” He responded. “I’m trying to reign her back in.”
A now had to convince S that he was REALLY invested in seeing the courtyard that lie behind the Book of Kells building without coming across as suspicious.
At about 12:10, they arrived in the courtyard. A texted me again, “We’re here. Can you see us?” Followed shortly after by, “Give me a sign!”
Unfortunately, at that time, I did not see his text. Because I had indeed seen them, and approached a random couple who were taking selfies in the courtyard if I could use them to hide. I was explaining the situation to them when he texted, and thankfully, they agreed to let me use them as cover so I could get a better vantage point without being too exposed. (Shout out to that amazing couple, they’re the real MVPs!)
I saw him looking around like he was lost, and grabbed my phone. I saw his text and quickly responded: “I see you. Go for it!”
While A couldn’t see me, he took a leap of faith and proceeded to ask S the burning question. Sarah and I captured every thing as it unfolded.
S had no idea that A was going to ask her on their trip to Ireland. She had some suspicions at first, but when he had her plan the entire trip, the suspicions went out the window. So the event took her by absolute surprise.
Once S knew I was there, she ran toward me, crying, and embraced me in the biggest hug. I have to admit, I was a sobbing mess myself.
Enjoy these moments from their surprise proposal!