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  • Writer's pictureLisa Flahant

8 top tips for flawless wedding proposals: 8 things no-one tells you!

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Engagement season is here... how exciting!! And it’s no surprise to learn that Cornwall is one of the most popular places to propose. Naturally we LOVE a proposal story – they always feature highly in our ceremonies, and we have heard many romantic proposals, funny proposals, thoughtful proposals, totally awkward proposals….but we LOVE them all!

So we are delighted to introduce a guest to the blog this month, and this is one of Cornwall’s most popular wedding proposal photographers, sharing some of his top tips for planning the perfect proposal. Over to Paul Keppel...

“Unlike most things in life, wedding proposals only happen once. That means advance planning to ensure everything goes smoothly and lives up to expectations.

Showstopper wedding proposals have become popular because this is the beginning of your life together. You want it to start on a high with a buzz. An engagement that’s memorable and unique is something you’ll be proud to share with loved ones now and in future.

This is the person you love most in the world, you want to shout it from the rooftops with a statement proposal which reflects the joy you feel.

As a proposal photographer in Cornwall I’m involved with lots of wedding proposals so I’ve got some great tips to help you get yours right. From how to remove the engagement ring smoothly to the best places to propose, where to stand and how to relax, here are my 8 top tips for flawless wedding proposals.

8 top tips for flawless wedding proposals: 8 things no-one tells you!

1. Best proposal places: the question of where to propose is probably the most difficult of all. The location you choose will have a big impact on the mood of your proposal. It’s an important decision so give yourself some time to think about the type of setting which would suit you both best.

What would your partner want? Somewhere really romantic, unique, on the beach, something really creative, somewhere historic? Wherever you choose needs to be authentic and meaningful to you both.

Here in Cornwall we have a great choice of top places to propose.

From a sublime coastline packed with picturesque blue flag beaches, hidden bays and epic clifftops to subtropical gardens, historic castles and mesmerising rural idylls, there’s an enormous choice of memorable locations for a unique engagement in Cornwall.

Among my favourite proposal locations are:

  • Kynance Cove: an intimate, secluded bay encircled by towering Jurassic rock stacks.

  • Lusty Glaze Beach: a beautiful private beach where you can even come back and get married!

  • St. Michaels’s Mount (pictured above): a medieval castle on its on island with disappearing waters below.

  • Trebah Gardens: stunning subtropical gardens which are a riot of colour and botanicals from around the world accompanied by the prettiest pond and tranquil shoreline close by.

  • Land’s End: the world-famous point at the end of the UK delivers spellbinding scenery across the rugged headland for an epic backdrop to your proposal.

  • Unique: for unusual places to propose there’s the Minack Theatre, The Eden Project, Tintagel Castle and lots more.

2. Beach proposals: what could be more romantic than proposing with soft sand beneath your feet? From just about any location in Cornwall you can usually get to the coast. As a local, I know all the most romantic bays and waterways so I’m adept at including a photoshoot by the coast.

Of course, we also get great weather so there’s the opportunity to have a beautiful sunset as the backdrop to your engagement. For stunning sunset proposals I always recommend north Cornwall while for daytime anywhere from Newquay to St Ives and St Austell always deliver.

3. Proposal photoshoot photography: after you’ve gone to so much trouble to plan an amazing wedding proposal, you want to be able to remember it in years to come. You’ll also want to be able to show loved ones, present and future, what you did for your partner.

When the years have passed, it will always mean so much to be able to look back at your engagement photos and remember how that moment felt.

Over the last two years I’ve photographed over 30 wedding proposals in Cornwall so I’ve got lots of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t for proposal photoshoots.

One of the things couples love most about my wedding and proposal photography package is that they receive 4-5 photos within a couple of hours of the engagement. That means when you’re spreading the exciting news of your proposal among family and friends you can share photos of the event so they can see exactly what happened.

Of course, you can also pop the photos on socials and tell the whole world in style. Within a few days you’ll have the full set of photos so you can relive the moment all over again!

4. When to propose: with so much to organise it’s easy to forget about the weather. It sounds like a small detail but it’s worth some thought because this is a really special moment. You don’t want the weather to kill your mood.

Most people plan to propose during the months when we have more sun. I’ve only shot one proposal in the rain. The light was good because it was really soft but of course, you’ll both get wet.

The best time of the day for proposal photography is either early in the morning or late in the evening. These are the golden hours of the day when the sun is at its lowest.

5. Where to stand: one of the most frequent questions I get asked about proposal photoshoots is which side the proposer should stand on. My advice is that the proposer stands on the same side as the sun to make best use of the light.

6. How to remove the ring smoothly: if you’re down on one knee it can be quite tricky to get the ring box out of your pocket or bag. I always advise clients to take the ring box out before kneeling. There’s nothing worse than fumbling around for the ring as you utter those special words!

7. How to propose on camera: drop the leg closest to the camera on the floor when you go down on one knee so your body is open to the camera. Enjoy the moment and don’t rush to stand up so your photographer has enough time to capture those magical reactions.

8. How to relax: this is your special moment too so try to remain as relaxed as possible and soak it all in. Take plenty of deep breaths and try to regulate your breathing. There is a lot to think about but with these top tips in place you can relish the moment which is the start of the rest of your lives together.”

Amazing advice and insight from Paul – we are so grateful to him for writing this piece for us. If you are proposing any time soon, please let us know how it goes – we’d love to hear your story! And if you’d like Paul to be your wingman on this momentous occasion and capture every happy moment, then you can get in touch with him via his website or follow him on Instagram to see plenty of proposals in action. Thanks again Paul – and good luck to each and every one of you planning a proposal this Christmas!

All images by Paul Keppel.

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