Mixing Business and Family

Tania, the owner of Palm and Picnic Co. planned her brother Mark’s proposal which was disguised as a mother’s day event photoshoot for her business.  She enlisted her family’s help as well as invited Betty’s Family to be part of the picnic overlooking Laguna Beach.  They all came dressed for a nice picnic and everyone but Betty knew what it really was for.  Everyone in the family was playing team and helping in the preparation of the scene.  Tania had decorated two locations.  The first location was on top of the cliff where there was a picnic table with lovely place settings and snacks while the second display was down the hill a bit, tucked away in a corner.  It was a carpet surrounded by pillows, roses, and all the makings of a romantic set, with the crowning piece being letters spelling out “MARRY ME”

How it Went Down

Everyone had arrived early to set up the displays and the picnic table except for the soon to be engaged couple Mark & Betty.  When they arrived an hour after everyone, the photoshoot ruse was all ready to go.  The story was that I would be helping to create content for Tania’s picnic company for mothers day.  I took images of her family enjoying her company’s decorations and food.  I took some detailed shots of the silverware, food, fancy napkins and the girls just enjoying the beautiful scenery while drinking wine.

As we finished shooting content, I would take family portraits with all the mothers and daughters.  I would shoot Mark & Tania’s family first on top of the cliff.  After, I’d send them down to the bottom where they could prepare while I would photograph Betty’s family and be the distraction.  It went smoothly and without a hitch.  After I took their portraits, I invited them to join everyone down at the water where I said I would take a group photo.


We walked towards the display where the family was huddled and hiding the “Marry Me” sign.  It wasn’t until we were about 10 paces away when they all dispersed revealing Mark grinning ear to ear with the sign clearly visible.  It was at this point when Betty’s jaw hit the floor and was in shock.  Surprise!  I snapped away and capture the joyous moment between the two.  Mark had some words prepared and afterwards, got on one knee and she said YES!  Amazing.


I love that they were surrounded by family immediately after and that they all got to celebrate the occasion.  What a masterclass in how to plan a tasty, beautiful, and family centered surprise proposal.

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