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Three Ideas for Planning Your Surprise Beach Proposal

In the last 15 years as an Emerald Isle beach photographer, I have had several opportunities to help capture wedding proposals.  I must admit, this “session” makes me more nervous than anything I do.  I’m usually sitting in a beach chair trying to disguise myself as a regular tourist reading a magazine.  I’m waiting for the couple to come to the beach near me.  I’m nervous for several reasons:

  • I am imagining how nervous the proposer must be, and I’m empathizing with him/her.
  • I am hoping that my camera is hidden and I’m not going to spoil the surprise and yet…
  • I can’t make a mistake and miss this once in a lifetime moment even though…
  • I don’t have control of the positioning so I may or may not get the angle I need.

Still, it all seems to work out in the end, and couple has some beautiful and authentic images to remember and share this emotional moment.  Below is a gallery of images from a recent beach proposal where I was disguised as a tourist in a beach chair.  The bride’s family watched from a distance and came to meet us and celebrate once he proposed.

Want to see the full gallery of this couple’s beach proposal?

A few times, the proposal has come during what is disguised as a regular family beach pictures session.  In this case, I have full control of the angles and lighting, which is nice from a photographer’s point-of-view, but the proposer has to be willing to propose in front of family members, which takes a brave soul.  I’m able to get closer in this cases.  In the following pictures, the parents went to a location on the beach and set up a heart made with luminaries ahead of time.  When we “happened” upon the heart in the dunes, we acted like it must have been left from someone else’s wedding, and all the couples in the group wanted to get a picture made in it.  We made sure the proposal couple went last. 

See the full gallery for this surprise beach proposal in Emerald Isle.

Finally, here’s a cute story.  This groom wanted to propose in his home country of Ireland, but due to Covid travel complications, he brought his girlfriend to Emerald Isle.  He and I pretended that I was helping them to catch blue crabs (an actual activity I do on  Instead of sneaking up to the top deck of the dock to get crabbing supplies, I had hidden my camera up there.  She was totally surprised when he proposed!

Click to see the full documentation of  this proposal on the dock at Emerald Isle.

If you are interested in proposing to someone special in Emerald Isle or the Crystal Coast area, I’d love to help you plan and document the moment!  Just contact me at or click the button below to get started.



I love sharing my latest work, but I’m usually too busy taking pictures and helping my clients to post regularly.  I will try to post more often.  Thank you for visiting!

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