Woman proposing to her girlfriend on a boardwalk with the Montreal skyline behind them

Surprise proposal at Parc Jean-Drapeau

Geneviève emailed me to book a photoshoot because she was planning to propose at Parc Jean-Drapeau. She wanted a photographer to be there to capture her girlfriend’s reaction and to document the moment. I was so thrilled!

Gen and Marion met in 2018 when Marion first moved here from France. She fell in love with Canada and–not too long after she moved here–she also fell in love with Gen! As for Gen, she had been falling in love more and more over the years and was ready to ask the big question.

The perfect spot for the proposal

We planned the session as if it was a normal couple’s shoot, but secretly Gen was carrying a ring in her bag, waiting for the right time to pull it out. She knew the perfect place already. One of Marion’s favorite places to go in Montreal and a place that holds a lot of good memories for the couple: a small boardwalk on Île Sainte-Helène that looks out over the water towards the Old Montreal skyline.

Rainy couple photos at Parc Jean-Drapeau

When we met up near the Parc Jean-Drapeau metro, I was so happy to meet these two and take photos with them. Marion explained that she loved the Biosphère and the environmental museum there, so we made sure to include it in the background of their photos. I could tell Gen was nervous and excited, but she did good keeping the proposal a surprise.

It had rained that day, so there were plenty of puddles and rain drops everywhere.We walked around the area looking for interesting spots to do some photos. There were some beautiful green vines near the Biosphère. As we chatted and I got to know the couple, I gave them a few suggestions of cute poses to take and they had fun making it their own. There were plenty of in-between moments with candid shots as well and lots of silliness and laughs.

The proposal plan

Before meeting up at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Gen had asked me to suggest recreating the photo from the famous Beatles album, Abbey Road. That way, Marion could be standing in front and it would give Gen time to get down on one knee behind her.

We reached the boardwalk on Ile Sainte-Hélène and Marion was admiring her favourite view. Then, I suggested the Abbey Road pose and Gen sneakily got to one knee behind her. I kept shooting as Marion turned around and saw her partner with the engagement ring in hand. She was so surprised!

As the newly engaged couple hugged and celebrated, I kept photographing their reactions to this touching moment. What a privilege to be witness to such a special day.

“You pulled a Chandler on me!”

Sometimes the best reactions are after the proposal! I always keep shooting throughout the moments after the big question. Sometimes new fiancé.es want to call their families, sometimes they want to ask about the details, about who else knows about this surprise.

Marion was so surprised by the proposal, that she kept scolding Gen. “I can’t believe you pulled a Chandler on me!” referring to the Friends episode where Chandler tries so hard to keep his proposal plans a surprise that he ends up convincing Monica he might not want to get married anymore!

Turns out Gen was so good at keeping this proposal under wraps that Marion truly wasn’t expecting it! But even though it was a big surprise, she said YES!

Are you planning a surprise proposal?

I love photographing surprise proposals. Each time is special and a wonderful story to capture. I’ve even put together a guide to surprise proposal photos. So don’t be shy to send me a message and tell me about your proposal plans!

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