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  • Writer's pictureElena Gera

Surprise Proposal Photography at Wilbur Dam | David+Hannah

Updated: Feb 19

Join us as we dive into the heartwarming story of how David orchestrated a surprise proposal photography for Hannah at their beloved family picnic spot, with the food sizzling away.

Proposing to a girlfriend with a flower

Two months prior to the big day, David reached out to me with an air of excitement and uncertainty. He knew one thing for sure: he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Hannah, at their cherished hangout, Wilbur Dam, located in Elizabethton, Tennessee. This idyllic hideaway had witnessed countless precious moments of their journey together.

As a fervent advocate of surprise proposals photography, I was thrilled to assist David in making Hannah's dreams come true. After all, who doesn't dream of that magical moment when a proposal arrives out of the blue? With enthusiasm, we embarked on the planning journey.

A couple in love enjoying a stroll after their surprise proposal photo session

One day we met at Wilbur Dam, scouting various locations that David had in mind. Eventually, we stumbled upon the perfect spot: a picturesque setting with a mountainous backdrop and a serene lake in the distance. It offered ideal lighting and concealed corners for me, the surprise proposal photographer. We meticulously consulted sun tables, and the date and time were set. David decided to invite Hannah and both families for a picnic on a tranquil Sunday evening in July, planning to whisk her away for a romantic stroll.

Everyone was in on the secret, except for Hannah, and they were eager to lend a hand. I devised a simple yet effective plan: I would discreetly drop a single flower at the precise spot where David should stand. I instructed him to position Hannah two steps ahead of him.

Man proposing on knee to his girlfriend with a surprise proposal photographer in hiding

The execution went off without a hitch! On the day of the proposal, I texted David to let him know I was in position and ready to go. I blended in as a picnic-goer, just one of many, with a blanket and picnic basket in tow. My camera was concealed inside the basket, while I pretended to be engrossed in a book.

Exactly as planned, David and Hannah arrived at 7:03 PM (kudos to David for his punctuality!). Hannah remained blissfully unaware of my presence, deeply engaged in a spirited conversation with David. He subtly acknowledged my presence with a nod, to which I responded affirmatively.

When David dropped to one knee, Hannah was left utterly speechless. Later, she confessed that she had an inkling of what was coming but had no idea it would unfold that very day. Overwhelmed with joy, she covered her face with her hands, unable to suppress her delighted laughter. Although I couldn't hear their words, I had no doubt that she said yes, given the radiant smile on her face when David embraced her. Their kiss seemed to stretch on for an eternity, an embodiment of pure happiness.

A girl happily looking at her ring after being proposed

As I continued to click the camera button, I gradually moved closer to the couple. It was at this moment that Hannah noticed she was being photographed, prompting another burst of joy and admiration for David.

After introducing myself, we spent a delightful 40 minutes capturing the unbridled happiness that the couple wanted to immortalize. Hannah confided in me that it was one of the happiest days of her life, and she was still processing the whirlwind of emotions. David and Hannah were so engulfed by their feelings that their bright smiles filled every frame, creating an atmosphere of sheer joy. Hannah was at ease and quick to laugh, adding to the magic of the moment.

Happy young couple on a lake right after he proposed to marry him

As the sun dipped below the horizon, we wrapped up our final shots. David and Hannah returned to their families, who were busy preparing picnic delights to celebrate and share the wonderful news.

Let's wish this radiant couple a lifetime filled with the same love, laughter, and pure joy that illuminated their unforgettable proposal at Wilbur Dam. Here's to David and Hannah, embarking on a new chapter hand in hand, with hearts brimming with love and hope for the future. Congratulations, and may your love story be eternally blessed!


"Elena is awesome! I booked her for a surprise engagement session, and everything went flawlessly. From the very first email about how to set up the session to finding a place to take sample photos to ensure everything would be impeccable, to the actual day of the proposal. She is very easy to work with and helped me plan around a bunch of things I hadn't thought about being something that would really be an issue, such as the lighting at particular times of the day, truly making or breaking the ideal engagement pictures. She definitely went above and beyond to help me plan the perfect day. When my now fiancée and I walked down to the spot to propose, Elena had the perfect disguise, as she had everything planned out expertly to fit right in, like she was just any other person there that day. My fiancée had no clue at all that she was the photographer, let alone that there was a photographer even there. We love all of our photos that she took; she really captured all the moments that made it the flawless proposal. Elena made it so easy to plan and accomplish everything I was looking for. She truly is the best!"




I am Elena, a documentary-style wedding, engagement, and surprise proposal photographer in East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina!

My style is relaxed, playful, and evocative. I value connection, joy, authenticity, and true colors.


I help couples who want candid shots and cherish raw emotions!

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions or to check availability. 

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