A Proposal a Year in the Making

Krishna and Kyle worked on the same submarine for much of 2021 and 2022. While they were deployed, Pooja was in New England for medical school, and she was a little out-of-the-loop when it came to news of the boat because she couldn't easily attend the in-person meetings. Once I got connected with her, we chatted throughout deployment about how hard things are, if there were any boat updates, and how excited she was to get engaged to Krishna sometime after the boat returned. The moment she mentioned engagement, I became even more obsessed with their relationship because I love love and all things marriage. Every time I saw Krishna after that I asked if he had the ring or if he had made his proposal plan yet. When Krishna was here for Jude's birthday party a few weeks ago, he told me he had finalized a plan and things were in place for an engagement over the summer! I squealed with delight as he detailed out his plan, geeking out over how sweet and thoughtful he was being.

So color me surprised when, a couple weeks after Jude's party, I got a call from Krishna asking if I was free on April 23rd to photograph his proposal to Pooja. Thanks to the military I was double booked that day with a homecoming and second shooting a wedding. But I was determined to make sure he had a photographer for that moment. I reached out to a couple folks, but then I got updated details about the wedding and homecoming and realized that if I leaned on my detail-oriented mindset and super intense planning skills, I could be there for EVERYONE.

An All-Out Proposal Design

Despite the quick turnaround, Krishna was true to himself and had already gone a little overboard with the proposal design. He wasn't just going to propose. He was going to go all-out. Before he even contacted me, he already knew the exact location within the Norfolk Botanical Gardens that he was going to pop the question. He had scouted it out, talked to the staff, and ensured that there weren't any issues with his plans. Krishna had designed an elaborate picnic set up with a tent, pillows, and a personalized sign, and he had enlisted some friends to help him with the set up while he and Pooja strolled through the gardens.

Going Incognito When You Know the Couple Is HARD!

When I reached the proposal spot, Krishna and Pooja's friends, Conor and Cari (middle picture above), had just finished setting up the tent and picnic area. Conor had Krishna's location on his phone, so they helped me track Pooja and Krishna and figure out a good hiding spot where I wouldn't be seen... which is really challenging when you know the couple and they know you. Thankfully, the proposal location was next to a decorative brick wall that had a human-sized space between it and the holly bushes behind it. I tucked myself behind the wall and waited until I could see Krishna and Pooja walking up the path.

Once they got to the top of the stairs, I jumped over the lower part of the wall and carefully moved closer. Pooja almost saw me a couple times (and definitely saw me once - photographic evidence below) so I continued to hide where possible until Krishna was down on one knee. Once the surprise was actually happening, I popped out of hiding and continued capturing this special moment for them. Even though this moment had been at least a year in the making, Pooja was still surprised. After Krishna got up she just kept staring at her new ring in surprise, gasping over its beauty. People all around the gardens clapped and cheered - including Conor and Cari who hid nearby, so when Pooja asked how all this happened, they yelled from across the way to announce their presence. The joy and excitement from everyone in this moment was absolutely incredible. No one could stop smiling!

Quick Engagement Photos at Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Krishna knew I was on a tight timeline, but I also wanted to give them a lot of photos to remember the day by, so we did a few quick posed engagement photos. And when I say a few, I mostly mean that I took a lot of photos really fast haha. The Norfolk Botanical Gardens have so many lovely little nooks and crannies with gorgeous light at any time of day, so we didn't have to wander far to find a nice spot for photos. The Renaissance Court area is breathtaking - there's a reason it is one of the most popular wedding venues in our area! I hated to leave so quickly, but on the bright side, Pooja and Krishna got to go enjoy their picnic and the "just engaged" vibes on a gorgeous day. Keep your eyes peeled for another blog post with their second session!