This story begins with a phone call from Craig. I had never met Craig, but he called me because he had been dreaming of asking his longtime girlfriend, Anna, to marry him. He wanted to pop the question in Glacier National Park, the place where his parents went on their first date, and he wanted the moment caught on film.
I have been a photographer for almost two decades, but this was a first for me. I could not imagine how a surprise engagement works. It’s not like I have my own cloak of invisibility or anything. And I was not going to lay down in the snow in a winter ghillie suit. How could he propose in such a wide open setting and not have my presence give the secret away?
Craig and I met over the next few days. I was given a bottle of champagne to bring along with me, so she wouldn’t notice it in the car. He decided to ask her up to Glacier one afternoon after work. No hint about the reason for going, just a nice day to see the park. Craig and I played quite a bit of phone tag making this whole thing work. We finally got things arranged for the photos scheduled for either Wednesday or Thursday with the deciding factor being the weather.
The weather channel was saying Wednesday was looking good, but when you’re talking about mountains predictions are frequently an anyone’s guess gamble. Over the course of Wednesday morning we were texting with a final decision needed at noon. And at noon Craig made the call: today is the day.
I took off for Glacier from Kalispell as they headed out from Whitefish. We had planned where to meet and as I was waiting I acted like a random tourist. I will never forget how excited I was and how desperate I was not to make Anna suspicious. She passed me without a glace, but as Craig walked by he was happiness and expectation.
The best part? Anna didn’t see me. So Craig drops to one knee and she is so completely focused on him that I might as well be invisible. I started pretty far back to get the couple and the mountains, but then I began to inch forward. I didn’t want to intrude, but I wanted some closer angles. And, of course, I had a bottle of champagne to deliver. One question asked and answered and several kisses later, Anna finally heard me walking toward them on the creaking dock. And then Craig got even more kudos because he had gone to the effort to hire a photographer for her special moment.
This was truly a delight to photograph. And this week Anna sent her story to the website howheasked.com I was positively joyful when Craig sent me one last message. Their story became the featured story on that blog.
Congratulations again to Craig and Anna. I am so blessed that you allowed me to be part of your day.