I haven’t smiled as hard as I did my last night in Vegas than I have in a very long time. Why, do you ask? Oh, just a little surprise proposal I was in the right place at the right time for.
Let me tell you the story. I spent the last week in Las Vegas at the annual WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) convention that happens in Vegas every year. Let me tell you something, this has been the longest and most fulfilling week of my life thus far. I felt like I’d been in Vegas for nearly a month but in reality it was only a week. I learned SO much from the fellow photographers I met at the convention as well as from the photographers that were holding seminars and from the workshop I took out in Nelson Ghost Town (but that’s a post for another day!).
My last night in Vegas I kept debating whether or not I was going to sit in my hotel room and relax after the whirlwind of a week that I had, or should I walk down to the fountain show at the Bellagio? I sat in my room for a good couple of hours debating putting my shoes back on and venturing out on to the strip.
Had I left even five minutes earlier or five minutes later or not gone at all, I would have never experienced what I did in front of the Bellagio.
I ended up finally convincing myself to venture out into the crowded sidewalks of the Vegas Strip and power walked my way to the Bellagio from my hotel (according to Google Maps it was about a twenty minute walk from the hotel I was at, and I walked there in about fifteen minutes).
I found myself a spot near the railing and waited for the fountain show to start.
A very friendly and polite young gentleman caught my attention by saying “excuse me miss…” as I was messing with the settings on my camera. I looked up and he asked if I knew when the last time the fountain show was on. I told him no, but I’d looked it up online and it was scheduled about every fifteen minutes after 8 PM so in theory it should be starting soon. He gave me a bit of a nervous smile and thanked me and turned back to his girlfriend. I thought nothing of it until about three or four minutes later when the fountain show finally started.
I was happily snapping away at the fountain show with my camera and I heard another “Excuse me…?” and a gentle tap on my arm. I looked up and it was the same young man looking nervous as ever.
He whispered quietly, “Could you do me a huge favour?” holding out his video camera.
“I’m about to do a surprise proposal for my girlfriend, could you please video tape it for me? Just don’t say anything to catch her attention.”
I of course agreed and took his camera from his hands, and walked far enough away that his girlfriend wouldn’t notice me holding the camera (I will admit here that my eyes teared up a bit and my hands were shaking more than ever!).
That cheeky guy clearly had planned his surprise proposal out very well. I saw him whisper something in her ear, and he pulled out something from his pocket but it wasn’t a ring, it was a necklace. The first thought that ran through my head was that maybe this was some other token of engagement I’d not run into previously but boy was I wrong.
The young lady smiled the biggest smile I’ve seen and moved her hair away so he could put the necklace on her. While she was distracted looking at the necklace, still turned away from him, I saw him reach into his pocket (the ring!!!)
It was too loud for me to hear what was being said but I’m positive it was something super sweet. (She obviously said yes!)
He pointed at me and said “and she filmed the whole thing!” The woman’s smile got even bigger (how that was possible I have no idea, because she was already grinning from ear to ear) and she ran over and gave me the biggest hug a stranger has ever given me. She berated her now-fiance for filming everything on their trip and how it now made so much more sense, he was planning a surprise proposal!
I offered to take their picture and she enthusiastically thrust her iPhone into my hands after I handed off the video camera to her fiance.
Of course, I mentioned that I was a photographer and would love to take their portrait with my camera and would email them a copy of the portrait.
Both of their faces lit up even more which made for this perfect portrait of two complete strangers that I’d somehow found myself involved in their life for the tiniest moment in time, here: