It seems like there is something special about this November in Myrtle Beach. I’ve had so many couples doing engagement portraits and surprise proposals recently. After coming out of Covid, everyone is now making their big plans for the future. I’ve never had a year so booked up with weddings as I have with 2022. I decided to make a blog post with three recent surprise proposal photo shoots that highlight three great locations. Of course, if you want to see even more recent portrait and engagement sessions, make sure to follow me on Instagram.
Surprise proposal during the Night of Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens
I don’t suggest Brookgreen Gardens for photo sessions because they usually don’t allow it without a hefty fee. When Lucas asked me about helping with a proposal in the gardens, I mentioned they would have to contact Brookgreen to get permission. To my surprise, the gardens told them it was fine taking pictures during the Night of a Thousand Candles. And there were no extra fees besides tickets. I called myself to make sure because this was different than they had told me in the past. I hope this is a policy change and they open up the gardens a little more to photographers in the future.
They have a rule about no extra tripods or light stands during photo shoots. They don’t want anything to get in the guests’ way, which I understand entirely. I usually use a sizeable off-camera flash. Especially when it is getting dark, this makes a big difference. But for this session, I was limited to just a flash on my camera. I made it work the best I could, even if it wasn’t quite ideal. I suggested that we start right when the gardens open at 4 pm. With the time waiting in line to get in, that still gave us over 30 minutes of pictures before sunset. Even though there are many lights around the gardens, I still think it looks the best where there is some ambient light from the sun, especially with only on-camera flash.
Lucas and his soon-to-be fiance came to the gardens with some other family as well. I secretly met up with some of them when I arrived. Lucas wasn’t exactly sure where he wanted to propose, and I suggested doing it in the Oak Allee, but we didn’t know how bad the crowds would be. So I sneakily followed the group around, a little ways back, until I saw he was about to propose. There are so many people everywhere with cameras I wasn’t that noticeable. I think it was successful. She seemed to be completely surprised. Being there so early, we could catch some pictures on the Live Oak Allee with very few people around. Later in the evening, it got super crowded.
We then walked around to some different spots around the gardens for pictures. One of my favorites was by the Samson and the Lion statue. We could still see all the lights hanging from the live oaks in the background. They also had a pathway surrounded by different colored lanterns that were lovely. After it got dark, the group left to have fun on their own in the gardens. I had bought a ticket for my wife as well, so she met up with me, and we got to have a little romantic walk around the gardens for just the two of us. It was an enjoyable evening.
Surprise proposal at Huntington Beach State Park with some maternity portraits mixed in
This second surprise proposal was really sweet. Dustin had told his soon-to-be fiance that they were meeting a photographer down on the beach for some couple’s pictures. She was a few months pregnant, so she even had a little framed ultrasound picture with her. However, she got a big surprise. As soon as they walked onto the beach, he got down on one knee and proposed. He was so nervous that he did it sooner than I expected, so I had to move quickly to get the shot. There are a few people in the background of the proposal, but it doesn’t really matter.
They were a fun couple; she was just so excited about the engagement. She kept laughing and just had the biggest smile the whole time. She wasn’t showing very much, being only a few months pregnant, but we still did some maternity portraits as well. When I had him kiss her on the belly, I was joking that people on the beach probably thought I was doing some bizarre engagement pictures 😂. We had a beautiful sunset that evening as well. I especially loved them holding hands with the sun setting right between them. I’m going to have to try that shot again in the future. I also got a lot of cute pictures with them on the edge of the water right at sunset.
Surprise proposal at the Myrtle Beach State Park
For this third surprise proposal, she knew they were coming for a photo session with the two of them. Doing this is an excellent option if you want to meet me first for park passes, but keep the actual proposal a surprise. We started taking pictures around the old oak trees and picnic tables in the park. This time of the year, I love how the light filters through some of the trees near the pier. I told Hunter that once we went down to the beach, I would have them do a walk by the ocean together for him to propose. The only problem, he got down on one knee at the edge of the water. So he had a wet knee for the rest of the pictures! But it was a beautiful proposal with the water and pier in the background, and she seemed to be completely surprised.
After the proposal, we went back by the dunes for some romantic pictures of the two of them. I always mention to clients that Myrtle Beach State Park isn’t my favorite. It has damaged and roped-off dunes. It’s also pretty crowded in the summer, but it does have a beautiful pier. So if you want pier pictures, this is the best option in Myrtle Beach. I always love photos under the pier with the columns going out of focus in the distance. We even went up on the pier for pictures at the end and got a cute shot of them in the big State Park chair.
I hope these three different surprise marriage proposals give everyone some great ideas. I would be happy to help you make your surprise proposal something you will never forget.