Discover how to plan a surprise proposal, incredible proposal locations in Rhode Island, and top proposal tips from an engagement photographer.

There's something truly magical about those heart-pounding moments leading up to that one question—will you marry me? Nervous glances, excitement in the air, and the suspenseful build-up get me every time. Over the years, I have been privileged to witness and capture many of these joyful proposals, and I’m thrilled to share my insider knowledge on how to plan a surprise proposal that will sweep your partner off their feet.

Newport Proposal Photographer | Keith + Christie

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know, from meticulously planning the surprise to choosing the perfect location in our beautiful Ocean State. Whether you're considering popping the question against a serene coastal backdrop or amid the charming streets of a historic town, Rhode Island offers an array of breathtaking spots that guarantee an unforgettable surprise proposal.

So let’s dive in together and explore some wisdom from past surprise proposals, my expert tried-and-true tips, and the secret to capturing your authentic selves during this fairytale moment.

How to plan a surprise proposal photoshoot

Planning a proposal photoshoot that leaves your partner in awe requires just the right blend of careful preparation and heartfelt spontaneity. There are a few essential steps that are key to making your proposal unforgettable.

Reach out to your engagement photographer well in advance

I highly recommend reaching out to your engagement photographer at least 3-4 weeks ahead of your planned proposal date. This gives us ample time to discuss your vision, ideas, and preferred locations. Plus, it ensures we can carve out space in our schedule to capture your magical moment perfectly.

Remember, your photographer can also be an invaluable planning resource! I love helping my clients to scout locations, coming up with a plan to keep their partner in the dark, and fine-tuning all the little details that pull a proposal photoshoot together.

Consider your picture-perfect proposal location

Choosing the right location for your surprise proposal sets the stage for a truly enchanting moment. Rhode Island offers an incredible range of gorgeous backdrops, from stunning sunsets over the water to castles and whimsical architecture. Take some time to explore and have a few locations in mind before we chat about your ideas.

Prepare your partner without lifting the veil

Planning a nice dinner or a special outing is a wonderful way to ensure your partner looks as fabulous as they feel, without giving away your surprise proposal plans. Tell your partner you’ve made reservations at a fancy restaurant, or that you want to take them out on the town, and they will do the rest.

Encourage them to dress nicely and, if they like, have their hair and makeup done for the occasion. A fresh manicure adds a touch of elegance to the photographs, and it can be a great complement to that stunning ring you picked out. By combining your surprise proposal with a thoughtful date, you'll set the stage for the perfect candid shots of genuine joy and excitement.

Best locations in Rhode Island for a surprise proposal


As the vibrant capital city of Rhode Island, Providence is an urban oasis filled with historical charm and modern designs. One of my all-time favorite surprise proposals took place on a gondola ride during the WaterFire Festival in Providence.

Providence Gondola Proposal | Gerard + Gianna

Gerard had the beautiful idea of wanting to emulate the classically romantic gondola rides in Venice, Italy, right here in our home state. I worked with him for weeks to surprise Gianna and even went as far as to disguise myself as part of the WaterFire gondola’s marketing team to secure myself a seat with the couple. I loved pulling off this enchanting surprise proposal and getting to capture a truly candid moment filled with love and overflowing joy.


A Newport engagement overflows with elegance and coastal charm and has been a popular location for surprise proposals in the past. Scenic cliffs, majestic mansions, and lapping waves set the scene for a stunning proposal fit for a fairytale. Pop the question along the naturally beautiful Cliff Walk, or book a room at the Newport Harbor Island Resort for an intimate and luxurious surprise proposal.

Newport Wedding Proposal | Brenton Point


With stunning beaches and picturesque cliffs, Narragansett is a romantic coastal escape ideal for any surprise proposal. Choose a spot along the tranquil sandy shores of Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, or surround yourselves with breathtaking views of the ocean by Point Judith Lighthouse.

Surprise proposal tips from an engagement photographer

I know you’re eager to jump into planning your ultimate surprise proposal, so before you do, let me share a few final tips:

  • Keep communication with your photographer a secret: It can be hard to keep things from your partner, but being heard talking about proposal plans on the phone will be a major giveaway. Schedule our phone calls for times when you know your partner is out of the house. I also encourage my clients to save my number in their phones under “Nick” to help avoid suspicion.
  • Consider letting friends and family in on the secret: Depending on your partner and their relationship with their loved ones, consider planning to have friends and family waiting to celebrate with you after the big “Yes!” moment. If getting everyone together in person isn’t possible, try planning a FaceTime call so your partner can share the exciting news with the ones they love most.
  • Book the same photographer for your wedding: Using the same engagement photographer to capture your weddingis a fool-proof way to ensure your love your wedding photos. After capturing your surprise proposal, you will already have a relationship with your photographer, making it easier to be natural and comfortable in front of the lens on your big day.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff: We all strive for perfection, but remember the most important thing is celebrating your love! Whatever happens, you and your partner will be sharing a beautiful, intimate moment that you will look back on for the rest of your lives. Be in the moment and remember to have fun!

Start planning your surprise proposal today!

Planning the perfect surprise proposal requires a balance of spontaneity and preparation. Take the stress out of planning and partner with an expert engagement photographer with in-depth knowledge of idyllic Rhode Island locations and hidden gems.

Reach out today to begin this incredible journey and capture loving, candid proposal photos that you will look back on forever. Get in touch now to discuss your dream surprise proposal and secure your spot on my calendar.