Proposing in Paris
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO POP THE QUESTION
So you’ve booked your plane (or train) ticket to Paris. You’ve found the perfect ring and now you’re trying to figure out the perfect way to propose. You already have the most romantic city in the world as a backdrop, so you can stop stressing! From here on out, there are just a few details to finalize – like choosing a Paris proposal photographer!
With so much thought and effort going into a surprise proposal, this is a memory that you’ll want to have forever. Personally, I LOOOOOOVE photographing surprise proposals! It’s one of my favorite types of sessions. I love the planning that goes into it beforehand, seeing the proposer’s nervousness and then relief (and happiness) once they hear a “yes!” and the shocked excitement of the unsuspecting fiancée. It’s such a special moment in a couple’s story and it’s an amazing feeling to be part of it.
Planning your Paris proposal?
You’re not alone!
Planning a proposal is already a big deal, but you’ve decided to pull out all the stops and do it in another (extremely romantic) country! That’s where I come in! As a photographer, it’s my job to suggest the right time, location and ambiance, but more than that, I just love surprise proposals and helping out with the planning (and if you’re planning something really grandiose for your Paris proposal, I can get you in touch with a few professional event planners that can make your dream a reality).
Why photograph your Paris proposal?
Good question – it may seem like a small detail, but hiring a professional Paris photographer ensures that you can look back at this brief, but life-changing moment forever. All the emotions that bubble up during the proposal have a profound impact on our awareness and memory – the excitement and shock of it often means that both people experience a surreal moment, like being in a dream. It’s incredibly powerful, but it can also mean that we miss a lot of beautiful details.
That’s where the importance of proposal photography comes in; you’ll look at the photos and see the surprise, the joy, the love, the tears. It’s also a way to share this special moment with your friends and family when you get back home.
If you’ve been looking around at different proposal photographers in Paris, you’ve probably seen a variety of styles. Dark & moody, light & bright, Hollywood glam, down-to-earth, and the list goes on. What you don’t see when you look at a Paris proposal photographer’s portfolio is the experience, and that is a key component of their style!
What does that mean? Well, it’s about everything that goes into getting the perfect surprise proposal photos: the planning (and reassurance) beforehand, our interaction during the session and the types of photos you’ll get after. It’s about capturing the must-have “down on one knee” (if that’s what you’re doing – don’t worry if that’s not your thing!), the gorgeous location, but also smaller details like hands holding and the emotion in the eyes.
I like to get candid photos from a distance during the proposal itself and then once you’re ready for your post-proposal engagement session, I’ll give you a few prompts to get easy, natural interaction that shows true emotion. My favourite photos are the ones that show laughter, dancing, or just looking into each other’s eyes after such an extraordinary moment.
WHY I WROTE THIS GUIDE
It’s not easy planning a trip to another country, especially when a lot of information is in French. You’re already searching for the right airline, hotel, restaurants and sightseeing options to make this trip amazing. You’re also searching for memorable proposal ideas and at one point, you’ll experience information overload!
When my husband told me about how long it took him to research all the different options for proposing in France, that got me thinking – wouldn’t it be so a relief to have someone give you the information all in one place? And that’s how this guide was born.
Don’t worry, being a Paris photographer means that I’m the one taking care of everything – all you need to do is show up and I’ll take care of the rest.
Finding the Perfect Idea
Yes, you’re proposing in one of the most romantic places, but don’t forget how you got here – think about how it all started, everything you two have been through, and everything that you envision for your future. This will help give shape to how you want to pop the question.
Here are a few examples of how to integrate your story into the proposal:
- If you both enjoy games, try planning a (simple) scavenger hunt with clues spread out throughout the city that lead to the final location with a musician and champagne waiting for you
- If you’re both foodies, think about a cooking class or a picnic by the Eiffel Tower
- If you’re childhood sweethearts, think about bringing something from your childhood to incorporate into the proposal
Next, think about what’s important to your significant other. Here are a few more ideas to get you going:
- If they love art, think about hiring an artist to paint a portrait, with the words “will you marry me” at the bottom
- If they’ve had posters and keychains of the Eiffel Tower since they were little, your ideal location is pretty obvious
Another element to take into account is how private or public your significant other would want this proposal to be. Some might find hundreds of people watching and applauding to be thrilling, while others would prefer a secluded corner of the banks of the Seine to share this private moment.
Getting to the details
Now that you have an idea of how you want to propose, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty details. How, when, where, and with whom?
Like I said earlier, choosing the photographer is a pretty big decision. How do you know if you’ve found the right photographer for you? You’ll want to make sure that the style fits your vision. Look over their portfolio and if you can picture yourself in those photos, then go for it! Most importantly, don’t forget the most important thing – availability! Paris photographers are often booked months in advance, so try to plan ahead to get the photographer of your choice (but if this was a last-minute idea, don’t worry, it never hurts to ask about availability).
You’ve heard it a million times – communication is key. Ask your photographer questions; share your ideas and your fears. The more you tell me, the easier it will be to plan the perfect, stress-free proposal together.
You picked your location – Paris, but wait, have you thought about where in Paris you want to do it? The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre, Tuileries Gardens, Palais Royale…the list goes on. The section above about your story and your significant other’s interests should help you pick a place.
The time of day is another important factor you’ll need to consider. I highly recommend early morning sessions soon after sunrise for 2 reasons. First, the light is soft and beautiful compared to harsh midday sun. Secondly, the city is fairly empty of tourists in the early morning, giving you more privacy and better photos (no one likes a random photo bomber with a bright orange sweater in the background).
Whether this is a complete surprise or a “hidden” surprise (I’ll explain this later), your significant other will want to look her best, so you’ll need to find a good explanation about why she should dress up.
We have two scenarios: the complete surprise and the “hidden” surprise.
The first option is pretty self-explanatory. We will agree on a location ahead of time as well as a special signal so that I know when you’re about to pop the question. I’ll be already at the location as an inconspicuous passerby and once you give the signal, I’ll capture the moment from afar. Afterwards, I’ll come up and introduce myself and start the engagement session with you two. This option makes it harder to explain why your significant other needs to dress up.
I like to call the second option the “hidden” proposal because it’s hidden within a regular photo session. It’s very common for couples to get their photos taken by a professional in Paris. If this is something out of character for you, get a friend back home to help you and suggest the idea to both of you. This gives you the opportunity to be dressed to the nines and even get professional hair and makeup before the session. When we meet, I’ll act as if it’s is a regular session. We’ll agree ahead of time about where and when you’ll pop the question (it’s best to do it within the first 10 minutes because the anticipation will be pretty crazy). When you give the signal that you’re about to do it, I’ll back up to be out of earshot and take photos from a distance.
After the Proposal
This is one of my favourite parts – your stress is going to go down and her excitement will sky rocket. It’s time to celebrate this achievement and your future together (and what better way than with some bubbly!) We’ll continue the session around Paris visiting sites and getting some beautiful shots that you can use in your Save the Dates.
See? It’s not so hard! Proposing in Paris should be a fun, exciting experience, and I’m here to help you enjoy it! Feel free to get in touch to talk about what you have in mind for your surprise proposal.
It’s true that you only get one chance to propose, with all of the surprise and emotion that goes along with it. Sometimes though, we’re just unlucky – things didn’t go as we planned – the weather was bad, the ring got lost, the moment didn’t feel “big” enough. I often hear about someone that couldn’t wait to pop the question, so they rushed it, and then regretted that the context didn’t feel special enough for such an important milestone. Don’t worry – you can definitely have a do-over! And what better place to plan a second (still surprise) proposal than in the City of Lights! The best part is that you already know what the answer is going to be, so no stress there, and you also don’t have to worry about spoiling the surprise, because how many people expect to get two proposals?
Doing a second proposal is such a romantic gesture – it shows that you want to create an amazing memory that is worthy of the grandeur of the decision!
You’ve truly captured the essence of the marriage proposal day providing us with so many wonderful pictures.
You’ve captured all the emotions, laughter and love perfectly. They have also been amazing to show family and friends that said they feel like they were there after viewing them.
You also have a wonderful personality and you were able to make us feel completely calm and at ease.
The photos are amazing and we are so happy with them.