Kesha and Marshall's Surprise Proposal at Rattlesnake Ledge

THIS. This right here. THIS is my kind of hike.

I think I should start with some backstory on this. A lot of people ask how these actually work- like how did you convince her to wear a dress on this incline hike without her knowing anything? BACKSTORY- I’ve known Marshall and his family for a long time, like since T-Ball. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, but after him and his girlfriend graduated college, they moved back to the PNW and joined the gym I was at. She, is also an amazing yoga and fitness instructor and our paths were bound to cross at some point or another. A few weeks prior to this session, she had reached out to me about photographing a yoga event she was leading. Unfortunately, I wasn’t available for that BUT it made reconnecting wit her a lot easier. After Marshall told me he wanted to propose, I reached back out to her. I told her I knew we weren’t able to connect on the yoga event, but I was in need of a couple for a styled shoot and was wondering if they’d be interested (and more importantly, if she thought she could convince Marshall to do this. ;)) Meanwhile, I told Marshall to play it cool. He needed to almost shrug it off and act like you do NOT want to do THIS. I think he did a pretty good job and eventually she confirmed that this would work.

We met at the trail on a weeknight after work and hiked up in normal hiking clothes. We were definitely sweating by the time we got to the top, it was a gorgeous day in April and the sun was out. I love hiking with couples because it’s so much time to get to know them and talk. The hike up I got to hear all about their relationship and it made me more excited to reach the top. We pulled their clothes out of backpacks, and they went behind some tree to change.

I treated it just like a normal shoot, directing and posing them. I tend to do a lot of movement based “poses” where they’re interacting and not just static so it made the proposal part much easier. I had told Marshall that I would get them to a certain spot, and he would know when it was time. I directed Kesha to the edge of this rock and said I was going to have Marshall come up from behind her and give her a hug, she should melt into him and just embrace his hug. She stood there, faced away from us. I winked at Marshall because THIS WAS IT. He struggled briefly to get the ring out of his pocket then took a breath and got down on one knee. She kept standing there, faced away from us. There was a split second where I wasn’t sure if she would if she would ever wonder what the hold up was and if she would ever turn around. Marshall gave a small cough to get her attention and she slowly turned around to find him down on one knee asking her to marry him. I was far enough away that I couldn’t hear the words but could only feel the emotions and excitement radiating off of them. There was also about 10 people behind me also taking this moment in and cheering for them.

The hike down was filled with talk about a wedding, and I think Kesha asked about seven times if this was real, it was awesome. She said the whole thing had felt like a dream and she didn’t think it would hit her until she woke up the next day. This was a hike to remember for sure, I love these two humans and they’ve become good friends of mine over the past year and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED for their wedding this summer!