We’re coming down the homestretch for wedding proposal and engagement season! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and if that ring has been burning a hole in your pocket–now is the time to plan your proposal! Yes, cupid established this Hallmark holiday–dreaded by most singles and stressing out devoted couples–but clichés aside, your sweetheart is sure to swoon over a surprise proposal any day of the year. I expect to see a some engagement announcements over this weekend and I have photographed quite a few over the past few years so I thought I’d offer some tips to success if you are planning a surprise proposal for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.

  1. Hire a photographer – This is a big moment! Make sure you kick off your engagement properly with professional photos you and your fiancé can share with your loved ones. The pictures will also be ideal choice for your Save the Dates and your wedding website! Make sure you logistics are set and clearly communicated.
  2. Make it meaningful – The romance is in the thoughtful little details. Think about the milestones of your relationship, the hilarious inside jokes that only you two understand and special locations–maybe where you had your first kiss, first date, favorite hangout. If you’re having a tough time coming up with an idea chat with a close friend (who won’t blow your cover!) or your photographer!
  3. Have a Plan B – Let’s be real–things don’t always work out as we’d like…there’s New England weather, tourist traffic and perhaps an unsuspecting partner who may not go along with your suggestion to go on a walk on the beach (in the rain) Be flexible and crafty. Communicate with your co-conspirators and everything will be great.
  4. Think through your words but don’t read from a script – In my humble opinion, your commitment and promises are more valuable than the ring. Take some time to consider what you will say when you get down on one knee.
  5. Don’t make your ruse too complicated! I know you want to throw off your bride or groom-to-be but creating a reason to head out the door that is unlikely or putting together a best laid plan with lot of moving parts (having family pop out from behind a shrub or playing you special song on your phone) Keep it simple. Tell this person why you love them and why you’d like to spend the rest of your lives together then simply pop the question!

Here’s some advice from some of the romantic souls who hired Salty Broad Studios to photograph their surprise proposal…

“Don’t overthink it. Everything should flow and come natural and nothing should be forced . If you’re proposing to the love of your life you should feel confident and know there’s nothing to worry about. Be true to yourself and have fun with it! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity–cherish the moment!” -Brandon S.

“Keep it organic! We can get blown away or swayed in other directions seeing others proposals. It’s best is sticking to a vision that aligns with your significant other. Grand gestures don’t mean as much when they’re not connected to the root of your relationship! For us, we are playful. I tried to keep that in mind when planning my proposal. I also kept in mind what matters most to Danielle. Danielle wasn’t going to care about flash mobs or crazy decorations. This memory will last a lifetime so keep it about the two of you!” -Kristina B.

“Make sure she is willing to go on the walk with you… have a plan B in case she isn’t. Wear the proper clothing. Spend some time by yourselves, not FaceTiming all of your friends before you leave.” -Rob Z.