5 tips to consider when planning your surprise wedding proposal


  1. Playing the long game
    Before you even start making plans about your surprise engagement proposal, you should discuss with your partner plans for marriage. You can discuss the details of your proposal and still have it a surprise. Things to consider, would they rather have a public or private proposal? Would they want their family their right after the proposal to celebrate?

    If I were trying to plan the proposal, I would ask these questions randomly 3-6 months before the proposal. I would share TikTok videos with my partner and ask their thoughts. Did a celebrity just get engaged? Did your partner talk about it, how did they feel? Keeping note of these moments can help you plan the perfect engagement proposal because you are catering the moment to your partner’s wants, not just copying a proposal idea you saw off of a TikTok.

    Side note — Is your partner traditional? Would they want you to ask their family for approval to propose? There is no wrong/right way, but it would be best to slyly ask your partner their thoughts (if you’re unsure).

  2. Make it Meaningful

    Some suggest choosing a location that you two have history at, such as your first date location, the first place you said I love you, or even just a special place that shares a meaning. On the flip side, why not try someplace you two have never been before and make new memories together. While you’re looking into the perfect location, check to see if you need permits for the location. It would be terrible if you get to Yosemite to propose and the park is open only for reservations. Research your location ahead of time.

    When my wife proposed, she tried to take me to this scenic view we had visited when we first started dating. However, when the day came, we kept driving around and couldn’t find it, so she ended up just pulling off into a meadow and it turned out even better than she planned.

    Speaking of planning….

  3. Planning…. This is where you should focus most of your energy (besides picking out the engagement ring). Create your backstory! There might be questions, searches for the ring as you’re traveling. Plan for these moments and create a well-thought-out backstory to help throw your spouse off the scent. Is your partner someone who want’s their nails done? Even a simple manicure is a great idea. Everyone is going to ask to see the ring and a recently manicured hand will give that little extra bout of confidence to your spouse. You will want to Take into consideration whether you are going to include family, friends in your wedding proposal. Or which location you are going to choose and how you want to set up the moment. When you create your plan, now you should prepare for a plan b, Will you have a celebration immediately after your proposal with family + friends or an intimate dinner to celebrate this next step together.

  4. Communicate..

    Are you including friends in your backstory? Communicate the plan to whoever is going to be involved, this will help bridge the gap of any areas you might have overlooked. But make sure to keep your secrets safe, the more people who know, the more likely your secret will slip. If there are a lot of moving parts to your proposal, communication is going to be crucial.

  5. Last but not least… Hire professionals

    Hiring a photographer will forever capture this priceless moment. You don’t want to leave it up to your friend or your iphone to capture the moment. Hiring a professional photographer can help you prepare for the moment, but also you two can have some beautiful professional photos to share your engagement. In addition to a photographer, you might want to hire an event designer to help plan all the small details of your proposal. Event vendors have connections to a variety of vendors that can help make sure your proposal is perfection.

Elissa + Jess

Jess had already proposed to Elissa when they booked me for their engagement session. I received a private message from Elissa, stating she wanted to propose to Jess during their session. I have a variety of poses to choose from when I get this type of inquiry. But I went with the kidnap pose which is a lot more fun than it sounds. I have one person close their eyes and the second person sneak up from behind and give them a hug. We do this a few times and then it’s showtime! It’s super cute, always brings so many giggles and such a surprise.

Matt + Justin

Justin wanted to surprise Matt during their couples session. We scouted and found the perfect loft location to capture some of the downtown Fresno views but also keep it intimate for just the two of them. I worked with Justin to create the perfect atmosphere and gave tips on where it should take place and the candle placement. He did a fantastic job and really brought the vision to life. Check out my original inspo photo compared to the real proposal!

Bre + Nichole

When Bre reached out for a couples session she was so anxious on how the proposal would play out. We discussed the details of the session over the phone and came up with a game plan. We had to sneakily exchange the ring box at the beginning of the session and then half way through I had to “switch lenses” and give her the ring box without Nichole finding out. Everything worked out smoothly and Nichole was so surprised.

Nikki + Carol

As we were planning their engagement session, Carol reached out to me stating she wanted to propose to Nikki in Yosemite. Yosemite decided to shower us with a rainstorm and a bit of snow. We lost light a little sooner than expected but I think these images are so romantic. It was pouring rain and these two still wanted to spend the moments together dancing between our headlights and the moon light. Carol got down on one knee and surprised Nikki with her own proposal. An unforgettable session!

Schedule your session today!

Let’s book your engagement session where you two had your first date, where you two first said I love you or even at your home for a little at home date idea. Check out this couples session for an at home brunch session. 



Hey there, I’m Michelle!

Wedding Photographer + Creative behind GunnShot Photography.

With over 3 years of wedding experience, I help couples feel comfortable, confident and capture timeless memories to share for years to come.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I provide invaluable insight on how to navigate the wedding planning process as a queer couple in this heteronormative wedding world. You two can can create your own traditions and I’ll be there to capture those timeless moments.


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Meet Michelle


I specialize in inclusive wedding photography for all. I went from being engayged to being a Fresno Wedding Photographer when I couldn't find any photographers locally who held my same values.  

Fueled by equal parts coffee and passion,  I believe your story, your love, is beautiful and I can't wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. I believe in real moments and genuine connection. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. 

And I can't wait to get to know you!

I’m Michelle Gunn

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