John & Brielle | Gorgeous Montmartre New Years Day Engagement
What better way to start a new year than with a Paris surprise proposal and engagement session? I can’t think of anything! Blessed with super mild weather, although cloudy and gloomy and a bit of rain, this proposal and engagement session will go down as one of my favorites. It’s one of the many reasons I love being a Paris surprise proposal photographer!
John contacted me about his proposal in Paris, and said he’d done a bit of research on locations. He really wanted something a bit different than an Eiffel Tower view, and had come upon some photos of Montmartre, which really appealed to him, because he planned to propose to Brielle, the love of his life, before a New Years Day mass at the Basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica).
As basilicas and churches go, it’s not that old, built in the 1800s, but its signature white brick and position high on the hill (“butte”) of Montmartre, in the charming Paris of yesteryear, with cobblestone streets, little cafés, and roaming street artists, it’s a wonderful place for a surprise proposal and engagement session.
John indicated he wanted to propose on the steps leading up to the basilica. I tried to gently steer him in another direction. First off, the steps leading to the basilica are really popular, and people are either walking up the stairs or sitting there, and honestly, I can’t think of anything less romantic than having hundreds of people not only in your proposal photos, but also watching you as you propose. This may be appealing to some, but most of my clients would prefer something a bit more private.
Knowing that even on the first day of the new year, Montmartre would be filled to the brim with tourists, it was also important to go early. This wasn’t an issue, as John and Brielle wanted to attend the 11:00 mass. Therefore, they’d both be dressed in nice clothes, going to church services, and John had a ruse for getting Brielle to the church and at a particular time.
I suggested instead of the front of the basilica, we meet at the back. No less beautiful, less people walk through this area (although there are still a fair amount). John could tell Brielle he wanted to talk a walk around the basilica before services, and just as he came around to the back side, he’d get on one knee and propose. It would be perfect. John and I talked it through a lot, and he thought that this would definitely work.
We were going to end it there, just with the proposal, and this works okay at the Eiffel Tower, but in Montmartre, it’s such a missed opportunity!
I also offer engagement sessions to my proposal clients, but usually they take place the next day. This gives your partner the opportunity to dress up, wear makeup, style their hair etc, as they are expecting a photo session. It works best in most cases.
But in this case, as this warm and friendly couple from Michigan, USA, were already going to church, Brielle was dressed up. I recommended that we do an engagement session afterward in the streets of Montmartre, so that they’d get to see more of this pretty village on the hill and have even more memories. To not continue after the proposal in Montmartre, in my opinion, is a huge mistake.
John saw my point, so after the proposal, we’d walk around Montmartre creating super pretty images for them to hopefully enjoy the rest of their lives!
I arrived to Montmartre early, the traffic on the holiday morning was not heavy at that time (around 10:00 am) and I made it early. As it turns out, John and Brielle did too. Before I knew it, I spotted them walking around the church, and John got on one knee. Brielle was so surprised and so touched! They hugged and kissed, laughed and cried, and I caught it all from afar, making sure to get as much of the architecture in as possible, and also some closer-up shots. Finally, I introduced myself and we set off for a walk around the village.
We stopped in the famous Place du Tertre, where the artists still draw visitors, around for some distant views of the Eiffel Tower, views overlooking Paris, even a few images on the crowded steps. Then, over to a beautiful street with the famous La Maison Rose Restaurant (since 2019, swarmed by influencers due to it’s cuteness and also being featured in the Netflix show, Emily in Paris.) It is not at all easy photographing here, be prepared for huge crowds, that’s where my tight lens comes in handy.
Much of my work is with a wide angle lens, which is necessary to get the Eiffel Tower in the shot, for example, and the Louvre. However, I also love creating portraiture, where you are the star of the show, and not just the architecture. This also comes in handy in very crowded spots as the people in the background are more likely to melt away.
We then walked down to the colorful and cute-as-can-be and historic Au Lapin Agile cabaret, where you’ll find lots of cobblestone and some other colorful and cute architectural details.
We finished back up at Place du Tertre with a coffee and pain au chocolat to complete our wonderful morning together. It was so fun! What a gorgeous, warm and welcoming couple!
I am a professional photographer in Paris, Provence and the French Riviera, but I’d like to think my services offer much, much more than just photography. It’s my goal to be helpful, friendly, cheerful, welcoming and to create an atmosphere that’s not only tolerable (especially if you don’t love your photo taken), but fun and informative. I’ll point out various things, tell a few stories I know, probably bore you with a few details too, but hopefully you’ll come away with great memories too!
There’s no doubt that posing for photos (even though I prefer a natural approach) can get tiring, and I know that. Therefore, I try to really keep things moving and interesting, and before you know it, you’ll have completed your photo session with me, and can enjoy the rest of your day!
My profound thanks to John, for selecting me to capture this very important moment in his and Brielle’s life, and for Brielle for being so sweet and easy going on a day when she didn’t realize she’d be photographed! You helped me get my new year off to a great start, and I’m so happy to have met you. Congratulations!
If you’re interested in your very own gorgeous surprise proposal, don’t hesitate to contact me!