Surprise Proposal – how to WOW your love

surprise proposal at red rocks

Are you planning a Surprise Proposal in Colorado?

I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Locals and visitors alike love the vistas and beauty that Colorado has to offer. There are so many beautiful locations to surprise the love of your life with a proposal. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to photograph many couples as they move to the next chapter of their live together. For that reason, I thought I would help proposal planners everywhere with a few tips to pull off your “surprise proposal”.

garden of the gods she said yes

Location, Location, Location…

Pick a location that is meaningful. Does she love nature? Is he a huge fan of the zoo? Colorado has many fantastic locations – too many to count. A few of my favorite engagement spots are available here. There really isn’t a bad location, only the perfect one for you. When you choose a location you may also want to consider proximity to parking, number of people who are going to be around and ability to spot your photographer while still remaining inconspicuous.

surprise proposal in snow storm in Colorado

Reach out to your photographer at least two weeks ahead of time. Remember that to book you need a date and at least a rough location of where you will be proposing. I help my clients figure the when out quite often. For instance, an engagement at Garden of the Gods is very different than an engagement on the top of a ski lift. The process is much smoother if we start chatting sooner rather than later.

Come up with a believable reason to go to your epic location at the time you want to propose! For instance… If you are vacationing and want to visit Garden of the Gods – then maybe suggest that driving or hiking in the park is beautiful and then you can arrive at High Points to watch sunset. The more “normal” your reason is for heading to your spot, the less you will add to your nerves. The added bonus is the less nervous you are the less likely anyone will realize something is up!

surprise proposal at red rocks
His girlfriend was so excited she almost knocked the ring out of his hand!

To Consider…

Consider your partner and how he or she would like to be photographed. Take the time to suggest a spa day if clean nails could be important.  If she doesn’t love being photographed sweaty – maybe consider a spot or idea that would not include sweats and pony tails. I want my clients to LOVE their images. If your loved one hates what they are wearing, that could pose an issue. So, plan your day around your style.

The Day of…

Make sure that you arrive on time. If you are planning sunset, there is a timestamp on that. I’m always prepared with a flash for sunset engagements and there have been moments that beautiful sunsets are missed when clients don’t arrive on time. This will again just add to your nerves. So, make sure you plan your day so that arriving on time happens.

Denver Pary surprise proposal at the duck pond

Here’s the final tip… The big one..

Take a moment to soak this all in. Don’t sweat the small stuff like running a few minutes behind. If you have chosen a professional, you will be in good hands and have ready signal. Your moment will be captured and held onto forever.

Mary Elizabeth travels the world focused on capturing love stories. To book her for your Colorado Surprise Proposal shoot her an email!

10 Colorado Engagement Session Ideas

couple in love in the mountains of colorado

It’s time to pick a spot for your Colorado Engagement Session!

The only problem now is… Where should you go? Honestly, anywhere in Colorado is incredible and you really can’t go wrong. That being said, there are considerations to be made. Do you want to pay for a permit because often this is a pass through cost. How far do you want to drive? Are you comfortable with the snow? How about altitude? Celebrate your Colorado engagement with the vibrant beauty the state has to offer!

I’ve compiled a list of  my top ten Colorado Engagement Session spots. These are chosen for ease of access, beauty, and variety. They are speckled from Colorado Springs north to Denver and West to Estes Park and Breckenridge. Therefore, there is a little something for everyone!

Palmer Park

Engagement in the Mountains in Colorado Springs

Locals to Colorado Springs, like me, are likely familiar with Palmer Park. Dog parks, playgrounds, ball fields and more! I love this location because engagement sessions work somewhere within the park all day long. It is great for hectic schedules! From sunrise to sunset we can find a quiet spot and capture the magic of your love story. I often suggest this location for couples who want both fields and mountains but have a time crunch.

Garden of the Gods

Colorado engagement spot at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a destination for people around the world. From families to couples coming to get engaged and those wanting engagement or elopement pictures, this park has something for everyone. There is no lack of raw beauty and has one client told me “You don’t get views like these in Pennsylvania.” Because the park can get busy, it is best to book your session on a weekday or at sunrise.

Red Rock Open Space

Cheyenne Canon

couple kissing during session in Cheyenne Canon

Cheyenne Canon is beautiful year round and provides so many different options! In the summer, it is lush and green. During the fall you can access all the beauty of autumn and in winter and spring you can find a winter wonderland. Adding to that, driving from the base of the park to the top provides beautiful views and an “in the mountains” feel. There are few places in Colorado Springs as beautiful as the Canon.

Winter in Cheyenne Canon

Monument Valley Park

engagement portraits at monument valley park

Spring and Summer at Monument Valley Park near downtown Colorado Springs is an experience you don’t want to miss! If you aren’t interested in hikes and would rather some arranged beauty not to far from home… This is your spot! With not one, but two flower gardens that you can walk through and a pond, you have the beauty of nature in a refined way. There is almost a “southern” feeling to the space.

Pikes Peak Urban Arts District

Maybe parks aren’t your thing at all. I’ve got an option that might make you smile! Perhaps, you prefer a more urban feel to your session. Look no further than the Pikes Peak Urban Arts District. With street art that constantly changes, brick buildings and a city feel – this is the antithesis of the “mountain engagement” session that Colorado is known for!

Colorado Engagement Portraits at the Pikes Peak Urban arts district

Castlewood Canyon State Park

If you really love the great outdoors but don’t want to drive two plus hours into the mountains this is a great option! Castlewood Canyon State Park lies between Colorado Springs and Denver and is rich with history and beauty. With an abandoned and destroyed homestead, a canyon and a waterfall, there isn’t much you can’t love about this spot. In the summer, I have not found more beautiful sunsets than the ones I see here. Then, in the fall, the colors of the leaves are like a sunset themselves. Because a permit of $40 is required for this location, I like to make sure that couples who select it are going to enjoy a full session with me.

Couple standing in front of homestead at Castlewood Canyon State Park

Matthew Winters Park

If you are close to Denver Metro area and want a bit of an “outdoorsy” feel without trekking deep into the mountains, Matthew Winters Park is a Jefferson County location that packs a beautiful punch. While there is a $25 permit fee associated with portraits at this spot, it is definitely worth it. I love the stream and easy walk from the car. That’s why it’s one of my preferred Denver Metro locations!

Jefferson County engagement location

Rocky Mountain National Park

portraits along a stream in rocky mountain national park

This is actually my favorite place in the world. Rocky Mountain National Park in the summer is a green playground for wildlife and tourists alike. With mountains, fields, streams and meadows there is a view for everyone. But, I do charge an additional fee to do sessions at the park. However, if what you want is a beautiful spot with epic views, this is should be a contender!

Sapphire Point & Lake Dillon

couple playing in snow at Breckenridge engagement portrait spot

This is another location where the views can’t be beat. Because of winter weather and the likelihood of getting stranded I suggest you plan an overnight trip to Breckenridge or the surrounding area. I love how the mountains surround the reservoir and there are multiple spots with different views. Winter weather can cause problems but summer and fall trips to the area are equally beautiful. Your Colorado engagement session will not leave you cold with this spot! I do charge additional fees for this location, which can be discussed at booking.

The reality is, in Colorado you can find a ditch on the side of the road that is gorgeous. I still pinch myself that I am lucky enough to live with all of this beauty surrounding me. If you have questions about other locations – of which there are many – feel free to contact me using the form above!

Non Mountain Destination Engagement sessions are included in my wedding packages. To learn more, click here!
Mary Elizabeth is a Colorado based, adventure loving storyteller and photographer. With a goal to capture the emotion that moves between individuals in her work, she and her camera can be found hiking, playing with her kids and drinking lots of coffee when she isn’t working with incredible clients!