Tips for Planning a Surprise Marriage Proposal in Hawaii

Tips for Planning a Surprise Marriage Proposal in Hawaii

By Jolene Kaneshige, Ninja Photographer.

If you are planning on proposing while you and your special someone are on vacation it can be stressful, but we are here to help! Below are some important questions and tips to consider for making your proposal go off without a hitch!  Also, don’t be a stranger!  Send us a message!

Prepare and Practice for the moment

Before you get to asking the secret 4 words “Will you Marry me?” make sure you have the ring ahead of time. Less time stressing about the ring means more brain power can be spent on being creative and thinking how to make the moment fun, magical, meaningful. Also, this means more time spent practicing that magical phrase. It will be a nerve wracking experience, practice saying it in front of a mirror a few times and drop to a knee. It might seem cliche, but trust me…its charming and romantic (also amazing for photos).

Here are a few ideas to get the creative process started: Does she like music, photos, notes, flowers, cake, or wine? Is she romantic, sentimental, or practical? Write meaningful notes in an envelope, print a photo book, play your favorite songs, write about the happiest moments spent together.

 Envision your ideal proposal

Think about these series of questions:

  • How much of a secret do you want to keep? Does she like surprises?
  • What type of surprise will it be? Will it be the surprise of all surprises?
  • Where and when will you propose? Do you want it to be a romantic picnic on the beach? A walk near sunset? At a fancy restaurant?
  • Who will be there? Will it be just the two of you, with friends and family, or a big gathering?
  • Will props be involved? Balloons? Flowers? A picnic basket? etc…


  • Keep it partially a secret by saying you want to take her to watch the sunset and a nice dinner after. — She will look amazing, ready for photos, and super surprised!
  • If you tell her you have a photoshoot planned, she will be ready for photos and getting to the venue would be easier.

My client B, told his fiancee-to-be, that he planned a photoshoot to commemorate their vacation in Hawaii! We met up at nearby location and he proposed to her half way through the photoshoot.  She was totally surprised! The best part is she said she felt confident and photo ready! (The biggest gripe we hear from brides-to-be is that they didn’t feel prepared for photos.) The logistics were also very important to him. He wanted to be sure they were here on time and also made dinner reservations.  It was also easier for one of our ninja photographers to get “the shot.”  The photographer was able to calibrate the flash on camera and place them in the right spot for perfect sunset photos rather than hide in the bushes or behind a tree and hope to be unseen until the last second.

By Jolene Kaneshige, Ninja Photographer.

Last post we talked about a few tips on planning a Surprise Marriage Proposal for Destination Hawaii!  Here are a few more for you!

How to propose?

There is no right or wrong way to have a marriage proposal.  This is a very special moment that is tailor fit to you and your partner. Remember that ANYTHING CAN (and will) HAPPEN. It might rain, you could both be stuck in traffic, she could be having a bad day.

Note: in the event of rain – we can discuss some other options and locations prior to the day of the proposal.

Throughout the day keep things light, fun, and enjoyable.  If something happens stay positive. You are on vacation and nothing is going to bother you today!  All the prep work you did will pay off here! Open that bottle of champagne, show her the photo book, read her that note that you’ve been keeping close to your heart.  When you are ready and the moment feels right drop to one knee and say “Will you Marry me?”

We had a client that placed photos on a rock wall path leading down to the beach.  Every 3 steps was another photo which represented a happy memory. When she walked to the beach he was waiting next to wooden cut outs in the sand that spelt “Will you Marry Me.” She walked to meet him and he proposed to her in front of close friends and family.

The day before the proposal:

  • We will exchange a short message to check-in.
  • Tell me what what is the “signal” so I know you will be getting close to making your big move? Will you give her flowers, a photo book, take selfies?

On the day of:

  • Let us know what you are wearing and your estimated time of arrival.  Timing is everything!  For more covert engagements we will be tracking you when you arrive and will exchange some short texts to coordinate.
  • Make sure no one is behind you.  If you are at the beach try to get as close to the water as possible.
  • Hold her full attention (while she’s distracted the ninja photographer can be super sneaky and go unnoticed).
  • When the time is right, hold that pose on your knee for as long as possible (you know which one) 😉

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate!  Send us a message!  We are happy to help plan this special occasion with you! Need more tips? See the Surprise Engagement Survival Kit.


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