It has been one year since Zach proposed and (spoiler alert!) I said “YES!” So, considering that I have never publically shared our story or these photos, I figured now would be a pretty great time! 🙂 The story of our proposal is one of my favorites, because like everything else significant we have ever done, it was so far from a simple or short story! Zach proposed on top of a mountain and if that was the whole story, I would still love it, but the #1 question I ALWAYS get asked when someone sees our proposal photo: “How did he get you on top of the mountain in a dress and you still didn’t know?!” And that’s a really good question because I honestly thought Zach would never be able to get it by me, but to answer that question, it is a much longer story…
It started with one of my best photographer friends asking me to do anniversary photos for her and her husband because he had surprised her with a hot air balloon ride! She also said, “I know how much you love hot air balloons! Maybe we could do a trade? So that you and Zach could have photos with the hot air balloon, too?” Of course I was all about that idea, but at that moment, knowing that Zach knew how much I love hot air balloons, I was very much “Oh here it is fiiiinally! This is totally how Zach is going to do it.” But then, over the next month, they took me for the craziest ride to try to throw me off at every turn. Karen (my friend) made things up like their air conditioning had just broken so they might not be able to do it after all, but then “a friend fixed it so it’s back on.” or how she was mad at Josh (her husband) for doing this when they had other expenses… Zach acted upset that I was asking him to take a weekend off work “just to take photos” …and so many other little twists and turns that I was actually starting to believe this really was just a hot air balloon ride that Josh had bought for Karen and nothing else. These little twists was just too crazy not to be true… …and it really wasn’t that strange that Karen would ask me to do their photos; Karen & I both love photos (obviously) and had traded sessions pretty often. I was just excited that I would get to do photos with them in front of the hot air balloon!
Zach also, despite having to tell Karen things, have Karen tell me these things, and then wait for me to tell him these things before being able to talk to me about them, never gave anything away. Then, the day before the hot air balloon ride, Karen informed me that the company called Josh (actually Zach) to say the heat index was too high for the hot air balloon! I didn’t know that was thing but I guess you can’t fly a hot air balloon in “feels like” 106 degrees! This settled it in my mind even more that it was not a proposal.
However, it turns out that if it’s too hot for a hot air balloon, you can still climb a mountain! Not the wisest thing we have ever done. Karen asked me if I knew any cool spots so that we could still do photos. I had a spot in mind that I had seen in photos but I didn’t think I would be able to get any clients to go with me (it required some hiking) so I asked if they were up for it.
The review online said it was a “light hike” but actually I had been looking at the wrong trail when I read that review and it was like 1.5 miles on a stair climber on one of the hottest days of the year with terrible humidity. I, more than once, tried to give everyone the option to just head back down because I felt so guilty for making everyone hike this on a day that was so hot that it was too hot for the hot air balloon. When we were almost to the top, I took a photo of the trail sign and posted it to Snapchat with the caption “I regret everything.” We made it to the top right at sunset and we all changed into our photo outfits and tried to salvage our hair and makeup! I took a few photos of Karen and Josh before she physically took my camera out of my hand. (I was a little irked at this because like, we were there for them and their anniversary photos! Let me take a few more!) but the sun was setting so she insisted she get a few of Zach and I super quickly, which was when all of a sudden he was down on one knee and proposing! It was amazing and crazy and I remember almost none of it because I was so shocked! I did however remember to grab a photo of the same sign on the way down, posting it again to snapchat, but this time with the caption “I regret nothing.”
And, to make it even better, I arrived back at my parents’ house to find it filled with our friends and family! That was easily one of the best parts of the day getting to be excited with my best friends and our families! Zach also surprised me with a scrapbook he had made cataloging our whole relationship and I flipped through it slowly in what felt like a completely surreal trance. 🙂
Fun fact I did not realize until making this blog post: The same pink & gold Kate Spade necklace that I wore for our engagement session & on our wedding day is what I happened to be wearing when we got engaged!
Photographer: Karen Rainier Photography