Vanessa & Derrick | San Francisco Surprise Proposal Photography

Have I mentioned how much I love photographing surprise proposals? This one was such a treat. Derrick lives in the Philippines while his girlfriend Vanessa lives here in California, so he planned the proposal from afar, including meeting me over videochat to discuss the details. Both their families were there as part of Derrick’s visit to San Francisco, and couple was celebrating their ninth anniversary together from when they first met at prom. As Derrick describes it:

Planning the proposal was very exciting for me. I asked a lot of people, especially ladies, what their dream proposal would be, and a few suggested that I should just keep it simple to avoid spoiling the surprise. So what I did was just that. At first I made a few notes about our past years together and highlighted some of those memories that are very dear to me. By using those memories I wanted her to remember those times and let her reminisce before the proposal. During the proposal, I was so blacked out that I forgot what I wanted to say to Vanessa, so what I did was to tell her what I felt at the time. I told her that I wanted her to remember that I’m always here for her, near or far, and that I was sorry that I have taken a long time waiting for the right time. After that I kneeled down and asked her if she would make me the happiest man and marry me. She said of course and was so shocked. I was so happy then because I didn’t really know how she would react.”

 

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

I loved hearing Vanessa’s perspective too!

“I honestly did not know that Derrick would propose to me that day. He just arrived from the Philippines on the night of April 13th which was our 9th anniversary and I was busy planning our itinerary. I was planning to go to the Palace of Fine Arts early in the morning or after lunch, but somehow our made-up schedule wasn’t followed. Luckily, when we arrived at the Palace of Fine Arts in the afternoon we enjoyed the sunny and windy weather. When we were about to go in to the Palace, Derrick suddenly disappeared. His family told me he went to use the restroom and that left me thinking where the restroom was because I wasn’t sure if there were any nearby and I thought he might get lost. When we reached the arches his Dad gave me an envelope. I opened it and read his letter while his sister was taking a video of me. I thought it was all part of the anniversary celebration. There was a card and 8 small papers and 2 paper hearts. The 8 small notes contains of his favorite moments of us over the years and while reading the 8th note it made me teary-eyed because that was one of the most special nights he had created for me. He did a promise proposal in front of my family and friends. So after reading his letters, we went for a walk again and there I found him walking towards us, to me… and then guiding me to a spot where we could talk. He started with his small speech (which made me a little nervous because he did this to me last year) saying his sorrys and promises, that near or far he would always be there for me and take care of me. I told him that it’s okay and that I understand everything. And then he said, “I want to give you something…”  Then all of a sudden he knelt down on one knee and in my mind I was like, “Oh my god, is he serious? Is this a joke?” I believe I was even saying some of it out loud because I couldn’t believe it. He really caught me off guard. When I saw the ring and then looked at his face I was just stunned and when he asked those 4 words, I said “Of course!” I felt overwhelmed, shocked, happy and loved and it was just good vibes all the way.”

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Surprise Proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts | San Francisco Pro

Such a fun, sweet proposal! Congratulations, Vanessa & Derrick!

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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