How a Styled Intimate Wedding Shoot Becomes a Proposal!

At least a year ago I was taking to a friend of mine, he had been with his girlfriend for quite sometime, so as a wedding photographer I asked, when are you two going to make it official? Selfishly I just wanted to photograph them, they’re a gorgeous couple, and super sweet as well. He let me know that as soon as he was ready to pop the question he’d reach out. Fast forward to this summer, I’m putting out calls for couples to do styled elopements, focusing on the LGBTQ community as I find the number of adventure elopements tends to underrepresent them as a whole. My friend reaches out and says “Still interested in photographing my proposal?” YAAASSSS!!! So in two weeks, with the help of some amazing vendors, we put together an amazing styled elopement session in Highland Park. Wait until you see the gorgeousness!

The first vendor I reached out to was Simply Beautiful Events. Kelli and her team are absolutely amazing! They created 3 vignettes for me, a cuddle spot, an intimate dinner table, and the ceremony site. This first vignette, omg, I just wanted to sit in there with my love and hang out for the day!

A table, and pillows sit on a blanket under greenery and lights

Mack and Lexi immediately got comfortable wrapped in each others arms in this little space. Thankfully Lexi wasn’t on to our plan for this styled session to become a proposal! She was so relaxed wrapped in Mack’s arms!

A man in black pants, white shirt and vest and a woman in a wedding dress sit on a blanket under lights, surrounded by lush greenery, embracing. There is a table with wine glasses and florals next to them.

Intimate Weddings

My whole reason for wanting to create a styled session like this is to show people that an elopement doesn’t have to be in a location that’s difficult to get to in order to be stunning. A year ago my husband and I eloped in Colorado, right in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was EPIC! We have gorgeous photographs from that day that I will always treasure. There’s a huge push right now of people hiking into mountains, changing into their wedding clothes on the mountain side and exchanging their vows with no one but each other and their photographer, and I love it! But know, that you do not have to travel far to find gorgeous locations and create something perfect for you. This gorgeous location is right in Highland Park, it looks like a dream doesn’t it? The arch was created by Simply Beautiful Events, and those florals? Ugh, every single time, these two create something that takes my breath away! Pistil & Pollen are so incredibly passionate about what they do, and man does it show! (Check out their ‘Flower Bombs‘, gorgeous installations randomly appearing in Rochester) I gave them no direction other than the feel for the shoot and they created this gorgeousness.

a floral bouquet with deep reds, tans, creams and oranges sits in front of a couple as they kiss

Wedding Dress Perfection

For the dress I trusted no one more than Katie of Lovely Bride Rochester. Her shop is stunning, and the dresses are always so incredibly unique. I found my own wedding dress there and could not have been happier with everything from the selection of dresses to the way they treated me as a client. I took Lexi to Lovely Bride to try on a few dresses and pick the perfect one for this styled shoot. There were several that looked stunning on Lexi, but when she put this Lovers Society dress on, I knew we had a winner. The dress is actually made out of sequins. It looks as though it was crocheted. For our bohemian vibe, this was absolute perfection.

I love that during this part of our shoot Lexi was going all in, making it look like she was saying her vows to Mack. 🙂

a man and a woman stand in front of a birch tree arch, face to face, holding hands. The woman wears a white full length dress, the man in dark pants and a vest with white shirt. The arch is covered with florals and there is a macrame piece hanging from it.

Intimate Wedding Dinner Magic

Leave it to Kelli from Simply Beautiful Events to know how to set a mood! Wouldn’t you love to sit down at this table and have a romantic dinner with the love of your life?

A man and a woman sit at a table for two in the woods, There are candles and florals on the table. He kisses her head as she leans into him.

He Proposes!

Ok, finally what you’ve been waiting for! We photographed all three vignettes. I decided it would be best if we did the ceremony site last so I could set Lexi up and have Mack ready to propose. I told Lexi I needed to get a gorgeous shot of the back of the dress, had her facing away from us, handed Mack the ring (I had it hidden in my lens pouch the whole time!) and gave Mack the go ahead!

Of course she said yes!

The Story in Mack and Lexi’s words

Who can tell the story better than the two of them? I asked Mack and Lexi to describe their feelings coming into this shoot and, of course, the proposal!

His Words…


Leading up to the shoot I think it hadn’t hit me yet. There had been so much time and planning for years it felt like having already known that she was the one but just waiting for life to fall into place.

Leading up to the actual day of the shoot we were on vacation in Virginia Beach and I had a feeling Lexi may have suspected me of perhaps proposing during that vacation. I had to do a lot of misdirecting leading up to it but once our vacation was out of the way the photoshoot where the proposal was going to occur was only 2 days Later SO once again had to keep Lexi off my tail 

Teri was like a secret agent meeting me in back alleys to to discuss strategy even going as far as posting a Facebook event asking for models then tagging me so I could tag Lexi to make everything seem like it was on the up and up. I simply told Alexis that Teri needed two models to do a wedding  photoshoot in the woods and that I couldn’t resist the opportunity the show off my nonexistent modeling skills. Of course Lexi agreed to do the shoot with me for our friend because why not should be fun, right?

 Now sometimes I am an extroverted social butterfly when I’m asked to do something in advance, but to the day of said events, I am often an introverted if I acted overly excited for the photoshoot the day of, Lexi with her detective like nature would certainly be on to me.

I had to almost go to the photo shoot acting as though I wasn’t too excited about it of course being as careful as I could be as to not ruin the moment while also giving her  no inclination that I was going to actually propose. Lexi is one of those people who loves a great surprise unfortunately she is also that person that will shake a Christmas present vigorously and demand 5 guesses. That doesn’t make a proposal the easiest thing to pull off.

On the day of the shoot when Teri gave me the go-ahead sign it was in that moment that I realized I had nothing prepared to say! It wasn’t that the thoughts hadn’t ran through my mind, I just haven’t formulated full sentences with them. So when Lexi turned around I simply said I love you … Will you marry me? Her response only took a few seconds but for me it felt like minutes had gone by. Of course being so new to the whole proposal idea didn’t want to break any rules so I stayed on my knee just reaching out trying to catch her hand like a fish in the stream. Wanting nothing more than to put that ring on her finger.  Not just so I can savour finally being engaged, but as a guy there’s something about holding an engagement ring on you that’s purely terrifying you just presume you’re going to drop it, you’re going to lose it, and it would just ruin the entire day.

At that point I don’t think either of us could have been any more excited after being inseparable for so many years I personally didn’t see or think that I would feel different from the engagement, it just seems like a step in the direction of marriage. But I can speak for myself when I say that I was riding sky high and still am weeks after.

Sometimes I think it’s just a piece of mind that I know that I finally have my hooks in her and she can’t escape

 When we had talked about marriage before the proposal we talked about the whole ambience of it the drinks in the food that’s really always been our focus. When Teri mentioned the option of doing the proposal in different locations, one of them being in the woods I knew that would fit us perfectly.

The entire time Teri everybody else involved stayed calm cool and collected, to the point where I didn’t even realize how many people were in on it.

The entire experience was amazing and I could not be happier with the results.

She said yes!!

Her words…



So there was obviously talk about taking the next steps in our relationship, but I had no idea when anything was going to happen. Mack had told me months beforehand that he was waiting for the perfect moment because he knew with my wandering romantic mind, constantly saying on different occasions ” oh, this would be such a wonderful way to purpose to someone,” that I’d  probably guess when it was about to happen. 

With the events leading up to the photoshoot such as trying on wedding dresses, I was very excited. I had never modeled for a professional photographer before nor have I with Mack. I knew I’d have so much fun posing with him.

 I had short prior thoughts of him proposing at the shoot, but then I felt as though it was almost too obvious because we we’re modeling as a married couple and because I figured he wouldn’t want to be worrying about two things at once. ( Clearly I was wrong about both) 

Mack was so calm the entire day of and during the actual shoot. He didn’t seem anxious at all! Everyone that knew the entire time, kept the vibe relaxed.

The photoshoot was beyond romantic. With such an encouraging photographer, videographer, and event coordinators, the shoot was a  beautiful breeze…and the feelings I was having with Mack the whole time were so passionate. He simply took my breath away for the millionth time. 

When I turned around to get pictures of the back of the dress and was told to turn around and have the dress twist, I have seen that look in wedding photos before and I didn’t thing anything of it. When it came time to twist around and Mack was on one knee and said, ” I love you, will you marry me?” I was in complete shock.  so many thoughts were running through my head : Of course I first had to ask him if he was serious seeing as he has played a few silly pranks on me in the past, and then part of me was about to ball my eyes out and then another part of me remembered I was in a photoshoot and my makeup would have been ruined if she needed more pictures. 

As I gathered all of my thoughts together and heard him say “sooo…is that a yes?” I realized I forgot to answer one of the most important questions of my life. YES!- gazing at my stunning, shining ring in front of me and the look on my handsome man’s face, I knew this was the real thing and I couldn’t be happier and more surprised. Even to this day it hasn’t hit me that I’m about to spend the rest of my life with my favorite person on the planet. But whenever it does hit me and whenever we decide to have our wedding day, I know that our life together as husband and wife is going to be such an amazing adventure.

As for future wedding plans… I’ve had a “future wedding” Pinterest board for well over 3 years now and it’s basically all planned. Now we’re just waiting for the perfect day and taking some time to enjoy being engaged and focus on my new career as a dental hygienist. It’s been such a great year!

How incredibly sweet are they? I loved everything about this styled shoot! My amazing husband, owner of Empire West Photo created a video of this entire shoot, including the proposal that you can see here:

All the amazing vendors

  • Simply Beautiful Events: Styling, planning, bringing all the amazing details together. There is no one in Rochester doing it better than Kelli and her team.
  • Empire West Photo: Videographer extraordinaire and my favorite person on the planet, Dave Jones.
  • Lovely Bride Rochester: You can not miss this dress shop when you start looking for the most amazing wedding dress imaginable! If you want something you haven’t seen on every other bride, go here! Katie and her peeps are the best!
  • Wish Beauty & Lashes: Valerie is not only the best hair stylist and makeup artist I know, but she is my ride or die, and she keeps me looking amazing as well.
  • Hitch + Cord: Laura creates the most gorgeous macrame pieces ever! This piece completed the look for this shoot so perfectly.
  • Danielle Mora: That gorgeous ring was created by Danielle with so much love!
  • Ciao Bella Studios: As the photographer I had the opportunity to work with all these lovely vendors and help a friend create an amazing proposal for the woman of his dreams!

We’re been featured on LoveInc!!

One last bit of exciting news from this styled session – we’ve been featured in my favorite inclusive online wedding guide! LoveInc Mag is amazing and I’m thrilled to be a part of it! Check out our feature, won’t you?

LoveInc Feature!

Calling All Intimate Weddings!

If you’re thinking of doing an intimate wedding I’d love to talk to you! Contact me today!

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