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5 Tips for the Perfect Proposal

5 Tips for the Perfect Proposal

Last week made Emmy history – Glenn Weiss proposed to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen, in front of millions of people.  It was a first in Emmy history.  It was cute, touching, surreal, and a tinge (just a tinge) uncomfortable.  (If you missed it, you can watch it here.) My first thought was, “What an epic place to propose!  I wish I was capturing it” only to realize that this was probably THE most documented proposal ever in the history of man.  Think of all of the camera, DVRs, and YouTube videos of this proposal.  Jan’s shock and awe was genuine.  She laughed, stumbled, acted slightly awkward, and ultimately made her way up to the stage to accept the best award of her life – a man that loved her.  I couldn’t help but think as I watched it though, “was this really necessary?”  I wasn’t the only one.

I felt bad for judging someone else’s moment.  I guess that is what he opened himself up to when he proposed on national television.  Regardless, it got me thinking about my sister company, She Said Yes! Detroit, which helps plan and photograph proposals and the tips that I provide my clients to execute their perfect proposal.  So here are my 5 tips for the perfect proposal:

5 Tips for the Perfect Proposal

  • Know your partner.  A lot of times, guys will come to me with an idea.  It is big, grandiose, complicated, and almost obnoxious.  I pull them in and ask me to describe their partner.  “What is her style?  What do you two like to do together? How active is she on social media?  Is social media important to her?”  These are all ways to gauge her personality.  You want to match the proposal to the personality of the person getting proposed to! For example, when I proposed to my now wife, I knew that she wouldn’t want any attention on her.  Our special spot was a public place, so I proposed very early in the morning.  Within an hour (we sat and talked there for a bit) the place was packed.  She even mentioned how glad she was no one was around.
  • Pick a special spot.  The location of your proposal is important.  Not only will it hold sentimental value, it also serves as a visual representation of you as a couple.  I always ask the proposer, “What are some of your favorite memories with your partner?”  Not only will going to that location seem natural on the day of your proposal, it will serve meaning for years to come.  Photographically, your proposal spot can either be visually stimulating (I just had a friend get proposed to at a lantern festival.  Congrats Jessica!), romantic, or just plain simple.  From a photographic standpoint, simple is nice because it allows the viewer to focus on the proposal itself, not the background.
5 Tips for the Perfect Proposal

A simple background makes for a great proposal, allowing the moment to really stand out.

A visually stimulating background, like a lantern festival, can also work since it helps tell the story and provides a sense of place.  What you don’t want is a super crowded, public place because you can’t always control what happens, like the famous Disney World proposal photobomb.

  • Capture it.  This is a life-changing moment.  Capture it!  Almost all of the couples whose proposal I photography actually skip getting engagement photos.  Why?  Because they have THE engagement moment captured.  Nothing will beat the memory of these images.  Check out She Said Yes! Detroit to have your proposal captured.
  • Count to 20. The proposal itself is so fast, it is hard to even imagine it.  It helps, both the photographer and the person getting proposed to, if you stay down on a knee for at least 15-20 seconds.  Not only will you get better photos with a few angles, it also is enough time for your significant other to process exactly what is happening.
  • Plan a celebration after.  Your life literally just changed in a matter of 30 seconds.  You would be crazy to think that you would just go about your day following a proposal.  Be sure to celebrate with friends and family at some point later on in the day.   A bridesmaid I photographed for Sarah and Matt’s wedding just got proposed to in Detroit.  They celebrated by having friends and family waiting in Comerica Park to watch a Tiger’s game with the couple.  It doesn’t have to be immediately following; in fact, I think you should actually take some time for yourself following the proposal.  After all, you will be spending the rest of your life with that person.


There you have it – 5 tips for the perfect proposal.  Maybe that Emmy proposal was Jan’s perfect proposal.  I am just glad they didn’t start the music while he was proposing.  That would have been awkward.




September 24, 2018