You’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of forever with, decided to pop the question but the prospect of keeping it a surprise is nerve wrecking… so now what?

Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer

You want to plan the perfect Hudson Valley surprise proposal – one that your partner will gush about for years to come, and one that they’ll absolutely love! So, this guide is all about how to plan a surprise proposal, from tips for keeping it a secret, advice to make it meaningful, and everything you need to know to keep you calm and focused.

Buy a Ring

For most proposers, the first step is to buy a ring! 

You know your partner better than anyone, so if you know they’d rather pick out a ring themselves, you can use a placeholder and then go ring shopping together after they say yes! If you’re shopping for the perfect ring, think about what kind of jewelry they wear (gold or silver? Big statement pieces or small dainty details?), look at their Pinterest boards, and don’t be afraid to ask a close friend for advice – as long as the friend can keep a secret.

But remember – this is your proposal, and it’s going to be your marriage. While a ring is a traditional way to propose, the truth is that if a ring isn’t right for the two of you, you don’t have to get one! Some couples do a necklace, those who aren’t into jewelry might skip it altogether, and some get creative and use a sentimental item instead.

man on one knee during a surprise marriage proposal
Hudson valley wedding photographer

Make Your Surprise Proposal Meaningful

Every step of the way, think about how you can personalize the proposal, and what your partner would truly want. The ring-in-a-champagne-glass thing might work for TV shows, but in reality, it isn’t very original – and while you don’t have to plan a completely unique, never done before, epic Hudson Valley surprise proposal, the important thing is that you make it meaningful. Incorporate things about your partner and your relationship, consider their personality and what they like, and what little details would make the moment extra special.

While looking up “Hudson Valley surprise proposal ideas” can help you brainstorm and get the gears turning, remember that your proposal should be unique – because it should reflect the two of you and your relationship!

Think about the big picture first – are they going to like a big, movie-inspired grand gesture, or are they an introvert who would prefer the proposal to be just the two of you? Or, are they somewhere in between – are there people in their life who they would want to witness that moment? 

Ask for Help With Your Surprise Proposal

It’s totally okay to ask for help from family and friends when you plan your Hudson Valley surprise proposal – and doing so can make the whole process easier! This might mean helping you brainstorm ideas, or it might mean being there to help you pull off the proposal, or maybe getting your partner out of the house or to the nail salon without making them suspicious.

But, be careful! We all have that friend who can’t keep a secret, so to make sure your partner doesn’t find out, be intentional in who you tell about your plans. Make sure that anyone who’s in the loop will be able to help without spilling the beans! Generally, it’s best to keep it to as few people as possible – the more people get involved, the higher the chances are that something will slip.

Hudson valley surprise proposal at Boscobel in cold spring ny

Hudson valley surprise proposal black and white portrait

Think of a Location for Your Hudson Valley Surprise Proposal

Of course, you’ll need a place to actually pop the question! Think about where you want to do this – most people choose a place that’s special to them as a couple, but it can also be a spot that’s new and exciting! You can choose the park where you had your first date, a hiking trail you love, the rooftop of your apartment building, or take your partner somewhere totally new and make sure the proposal is part of a fun adventure. 

One thing to consider when it comes to your location is how public it is – will there be other people around, and if so, is there enough space for you to pop the question without feeling like you’re totally surrounded by strangers? This can also depend on the couple, so think about how your partner will feel about having an audience – do they want the grand gesture, would they be okay with a few passers-by, or would they prefer somewhere totally private? I know many locations in the Hudson Valley to suggest should you need the perfect location.

One of the most difficult things about planning a surprise proposal is actually keeping it a surprise! Your partner knows you, and they likely know that the question is coming at some point – so to keep them from getting suspicious, here are a few tips and ideas.

How to Keep Your Proposal a Surprise

Plan a Date 

One way to keep your partner from catching on is to plan a date for the two of you. This way, the proposal is part of the entire experience, giving your partner a lot of special memories from that day.

But to keep them from being suspicious, make sure that it’s something the two of you actually do together, and that it’s not out of the ordinary! For example, if you’re a couple who likes to hike, planning a day to try out a new trail is a fun way to spend time together, and you can pop the question when you get to the summit. This will ensure that you and your partner are together, and that you’re able to propose and catch them by surprise!

proposing marriage on one knee in Brooklyn ny

Hudson Valley Wedding photographer engagment sesison

Have a Friend or Family Member Help

If your proposal plan requires some setup (for example, if you want to set up a romantic picnic, or you want to decorate your apartment with flowers and lights), it might set off some alarm bells if you just ask your partner to leave the house or to meet you somewhere later. Instead, enlist a friend or family member to come up with something to do with your partner to keep them from spoiling the surprise. You can either have them hang out together and come back home when it’s time, or you can have them meet you at your location of choice and surprise your partner there!

This method has an additional bonus – the friend can make sure your partner wears something cute. They’ll thank you when they see photos from the proposal!

Hire a Photographer for Your Hudson Valley Surprise Proposal

A photographer is an absolute must for any proposal. This moment is so special – but as you get swept away in that incredible feeling, it tends to go by fast, and being able to relive those memories when you see your photos is just priceless! An experienced photographer will also be able to help you coordinate, plan, and execute your surprise proposal.

There are two ways to go about hiring a Hudson Valley surprise proposal photographer without ruining the surprise for your partner.

First, you can tell your partner that you want to get some couple’s photos done, and pretend that the photographer is there for a regular photoshoot! But, this one can be tricky – it can work if you’re a couple who likes to take photos and who like documenting your lives together, but if your partner knows you hate being in front of the camera, they’re likely to catch on.

The most common way to hire a photographer for a surprise proposal is to have the photographer hide. This might mean literally hiding behind a tree and waiting for the moment when you’re about to pop the question, or it might just mean blending in with other people at your location

Planning the perfect surprise proposal can be nerve-wracking for the proposer. Can the proposal be kept secret? Will the person I am proposing to be suspicious? Will we be at the right spot at the right time for the photographer to capture the proposal? Will I remember what I want to say? Isn’t making a life-altering decision enough to make you nervous without trying to keep the proposal perfectly together? I walk my proposers through the whole process and make sure the minute details are taken care of so you just have to focus on proposing to your love.