Jenny & Thomas | The French Laundry | Surprise Proposal Photography

I absolutely adore photographing surprise proposals. And what better place for a proposal than in front of the iconic blue door at The French Laundry in Yountville, California? I was excited to work with Thomas on this surprise for his girlfriend Jenny. I’ll let them tell the story from here!

From Thomas: Jenny and I are both from Vancouver, but we started right after she moved to San Francisco. We dated long distance for almost two years. I spent many weekends in the Bay Area so it was a special place to me as it was where I fell in love with her. In the first month of dating, as we were discussing our shared love of food, she mentioned there was a 3 Michelin star restaurant (The French Laundry) in Napa, and I told her I’d bring her there one day, with a big emphasis on the ‘one day,’ joking that it’d be when we were old. But I already knew then that it wouldn’t be that far away, and that when it happened, it would be for this.

Time went on and she moved back to Vancouver and we were still going on many adventures but we hadn’t been back to SF together in a while. I planned out a trip for us to visit SF many months in advance for her birthday and made reservations at TFL. I tried to make it a surprise but it was leaked by a friend, which turned out for the better as I did not have an excuse to explain why I would be wearing a suit. After months of planning all the scenarios in my head the date was coming up and I realized I wanted to capture the moment for myself, so I could relive seeing the reaction on her face when I proposed. This is where Anna came in! Once I figured out the plan with Anna on how to capture the moment, I was all set to propose. But what I soon found out was even with all the planning in the world things don’t always go as smoothly as you want them to. On the way to The French Laundry I slipped going down some stairs and the heel of my shoe came right off!! Already stressed and nervous, this added to my anxiety as I tried to repair my shoe quickly. To no avail I decided I couldn’t fix it and hoped no one would notice.

As we approached The French Laundry Jenny wanted to take lots of photos. As I knew Anna was waiting for us hiding, I reluctantly obliged so she wouldn’t be suspicious. As we arrived in front of the iconic blue door a million things ran through my head. “Will Anna see us, will anyone notice my shoe and how to conceal it while proposing, who are these people in front of the door.. Wait who were these random people blocking the iconic blue door!” Jenny saw it as an opportunity to get our photo taken and I saw it as people blocking Anna’s shots. We got our photos taken and as Jenny was looking over the photos I decided I had to do it before any other interruptions could occur. I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and proposed! At that moment nothing else seemed to matter, just that she said yes!!

Haha yes, I successfully used the random group of other people as a human wall to hide behind, and I very discreetly asked them to step aside just in time for the proposal!

From Jenny: Ever since moving from the Bay Area back to my home Vancouver, I had been patiently waiting for my next visit to Napa. The rolling hills, endless sky, and of course great food and wine make it one of my favorite places in the world! I was ecstatic when our friend had secretly leaked that Thomas and I would be going to THE French Laundry for my birthday. I fell in love with the house as soon as I saw it and instantly asked Thomas to start taking photos of me…and then of us… :) Who knew that right in front of the iconic door that Thomas would get one knee. Caught in the moment, I was stunned and somewhat confused as he held the jewelry box. Finally, it clicked that he was proposing to and the tears started flowing. It was the happiest moment of my life! I thought that there would only be photos of me bawling, but Anna captured the perfect moment.

Congratulations, Thomas & Jenny! And I hope you enjoyed your meal at The French Laundry!

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.