Lindsay & Eric | The French Laundry | Surprise Proposal Photography

I absolutely love photographing proposals. I love being in on the secret and helping with the planning. But most of all, I love capturing the emotions of the moment when it all comes together. When Eric contacted me about proposing to his girlfriend at The French Laundry, I jumped at the chance to help capture it.

Eric worked on the proposal for months, planning from multiple email accounts. It’s impossible to surprise Lindsay, but he would pull this one off seamlessly. The first step was to secure a reservation to The French Laundry. Ever since Lindsay had gone to culinary school, dining at TFL was a dream of hers. Once Eric had that down, he planned everything else around it. Lindsay had no idea about the trip to California (they live in Colorado), let alone the reservations to TFL or the proposal that were all about to ensue. I’ll let her take it from here:

Lindsay: When we landed at the Denver airport at 1am coming back from a week and a half in North Carolina I pulled out my phone to let our dog sitter know we had just landed and would be home soon… That is when it all began. Eric told me not to bother because we wouldn’t be going home. In fact, we had another flight in roughly 5 hours to San Francisco. My mind started running wild trying to figure out what we were doing and how he could get away with such a big surprise? (I do figure everything out!)

On our ride to our hotel we stopped at a nail salon where I found another surprise of an appointment to get pampered. From there, we checked into the beautiful Fairmont Hotel. After taking an extremely needed nap I opened several gifts from Eric’s sisters of dress options and shoes to wear to dinner. I got all dolled up and off we went to what I thought was a nice dinner at Bouchon [another Thomas Keller restaurant just down the street]. We got there a little early for our dinner reservation and decided to walk around the garden, where I first learned about the dinner plan change to The French Laundry…

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

…and then two seconds later I turn to face Eric who is down on one knee.

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Just when I thought that was the end of all the surprises, Eric tells me it’s time for pictures and greets Anna who caught the whole thing on camera.

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Amazing! And so much fun. After the proposal and after the initial shock wore off just a tiny bit, we headed toward The French Laundry, where the couple was greeted with champagne, and we relaxed in the garden for a minute before grabbing some engagement photographs around the area.

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

The perfect backdrop for a ring shot? The iconic clothespin that they give all the diners at The French Laundry.

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

So, so sweet.

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Surprise Proposal Photography | Engagement at The French Laundry

Congratulations, Lindsay & Eric! It was so much fun getting to capture these moments for you.

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She has become quite adept at hiding in unexpected spots during surprise proposals. Contact her to inquire about your own proposal plans.

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