The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Surprise Proposal in Vermont

Are you considering popping the question in Vermont? You’re in luck; this post serves as our ultimate guide to planning a surprise proposal in Vermont. Who can resist a surprise proposal, especially when it’s one on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont? We’re excited to share Natalie and Brandy’s Lake Champlain proposal captured beautifully by Isora Lithgow Creations, with you all today, alongside our top planning tips.

In short: this guide is one to sail-e-brate! (Alright, we promise that’s the only pun!) Whether you are a local Vermonter or visiting from out of town, Vermont Weddings is here to help you plan an unforgettable surprise proposal in the Green Mountain State. 

The Story Behind the Serene, Surprise Proposal on Lake Champlain

When visiting Burlington for a recent day trip, Natalie and Brandy had a long list of things they wanted to do and see– one of which was a private sailboat ride on Lake Champlain through Sail Vermont. Little did Brandy know that one of the most exciting moments of her life was about to unfold!

The ingenuity behind Natalie’s surprise proposal took shape with a unique strategy: Vermont wedding photographer Isora Lithgow Creations assumed the guise of a Sail Vermont marketing team member. This innovative approach was pivotal in ensuring the proposal remained a complete surprise. Disguised under the pretext of capturing promotional content during the leisurely sail, Isora was perfectly positioned to photograph Natalie and Brandy’s special moment without hinting at the actual motive.

Needless to say, when Natalie got down on one knee Brandy was shocked! See the heart-warming images below, then continue reading for our top tips for planning your surprise proposal in Vermont.

Planning Your Surprise Vermont Proposal

Planning a surprise proposal can be both thrilling and, admittedly, a bit nerve-wracking! A proposal is a huge milestone in your relationship and a memory you and your partner will cherish forever. Since an even like this doesn’t happens very day, making sure the proposal is something your partner will want is important.To ensure it goes smoothly and becomes a moment both of you will cherish forever, consider the following points:

Know Your Partner’s Preferences: Make sure the proposal aligns with your partner’s personality and preferences. Would they appreciate a public proposal or something more intimate? Understanding what they would genuinely enjoy is crucial.

Privacy: Consider whether your partner would prefer a private moment just between the two of you or a grander gesture with friends and family nearby to celebrate immediately after. Respect your partner’s personality and preference for public or private moments.

The Setting: Choose a meaningful location. It could be the place where you had your first date, a dream destination like Vermont, or somewhere that resonates with your shared memories or dreams. The setting can significantly impact the ambiance of the proposal. We’re Vermonters, so of course we’re suckers for mountain top proposals after a hike, popped questions lakeside on Lake Champlain or Lake Willoughby, or something adventure filled during a ski run, sailboat ride, or after a bike ride. 

If you’re planning a proposal during a trip to Vermont, we highly recommend checking out Vermont’s state website for certain areas to explore, and ask your partner about certain activities or locations they may want to visit. (Then, you can use that information as you plan the element of surprise!) For actual proposal ideas, see proposal locations and ideas from real Vermont couples in the engagement section of our blog.

Capturing the Moment: Photography Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re working with a professional photographer or a trusted friend, the key elements when it comes to coordinating with a photographer are timing, communication, discretion, and having a flexible plan. A proposal is one of the few moments in life that is genuinely fleeting; capturing it can mean the world to you and your partner!

Start Early: Begin your search for a Vermont photographer at least 1-3 months in advance, or if you’re traveling –  as soon as you know you are going to pop the question during your trip to Vermont. This gives you enough time to research and select the right local photographer without feeling rushed. For family members or friends stepping into the photographer role, notify them as soon as possible to ensure they’re available.

Communication is Key: Share with the photographer details about your proposal plan – time, exact location, positioning, and a signal for the big moment (if needed!)  Use a messaging app for real-time updates on the day. If you’re visiting from out of state, a Vermont photographer can help provide their first-hand experience and expertise for these items.

Positioning: Decide beforehand where the photographer will hide. It should offer a clear view of the moment but also keep them sufficiently hidden. Think about using natural cover, like trees in a park, or urban elements, like parked cars or street corners, depending on the location. In Natalie and Brandy’s proposal above, they disguised their photographer, Isora, as a staff member of their sailboat ride. If you’re feeling creative in how elaborate you want to be, go for it!

A Back-Up Plan: 3 words- always have one! Vermont can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to weather! Additionally, crowded locations, running behind schedule, or other unforeseen circumstances might require a Plan B.  Discuss alternative locations or dates with your photographer and anyone else helping with the proposal to ensure everyone is organized and on the same page.

Making the Most of Your Vermont Visit

Vermont is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, including rolling green hills, vast forests, picturesque lakes, and stunning mountain backdrops! It would be a shame not to make the most of your visit, especially while celebrating such a monumental life event.

There is also truly not a bad time to visit our beautiful state either. Autumn brings spectacular foliage with vibrant colors, winter provides a snowy wonderland perfect for cozy nights in or out on the slopes, spring offers blooming flowers and lush greenery, and summer boasts warm weather, lush landscapes, and plenty of outdoor recreation.

For easy reference, here are some popular tourist destinations in Vermont, and their websites to assist you in your trip itinerary: 

You're Engaged! Now What?

First and foremost, this is a time to celebrate! Whether you choose to enjoy this special moment in private or share the excitement with your loved ones, it’s all about making the occasion memorable and reflective of your relationship. Here are some tips for celebrating right after the big question is popped:

Savor the Moment Together: Take time to bask in the joy and love of the moment. Share your feelings, and dreams for the future, and reflect on your journey together. This is a huge milestone! Amidst the excitement of sharing your news, make sure to stay present and soak in the joy, together.

Spread the News: In times when not everyone can be together physically, set up video calls to share the news with your family and friends! If friends or family are nearby, coordinate times to celebrate with them whether it be going out to dinner or a bigger celebration like an engagement party.

Remember, the most important thing is that the celebration reflects your unique bond and relationship. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate; it’s all about what makes you both happy and what you’ll remember fondly in the years to come.

Now it’s time to Plan: When you’re ready to officially start planning, we’ve got you covered there too! For couples looking for a robust planning resource from start to finish, we highly recommend getting The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide which, includes 23 pages of advice and insights on topics you care about, like building a guest list, styling your bridal party, and tracking your budget. Plus you get access to the fully customizable Google spreadsheets. (Did you just breathe a little sigh of relief?!)

Your Next Read:

Looking for Pinterest-worthy real Vermont weddings to inspire your planning? Check out any of these posts.

Ready to assemble your wedding vendors, Avengers-style? View the best of the best wedding professionals Vermont has to offer in our Vendor Guide.

Want more wedding planning advice? Our blog is stacked with helpful tips!