From the moment I received Dara’s email to me about an “Amazing Race” themed Adventure Proposal, I knew this was going to be something special. It pretty much made my day after reading about her elaborate plan to propose to her partner of 6 years.
Planning a secret proposal isn’t an easy task. Usually, the logistics are simple enough that my job is to show up, stay hidden behind a tree, rock, lamp post or whatever other structure I can hide behind. Good thing I’m a whole 5’3” of petite-ness.
Dara took her secret proposal to a whole new level. The plan was for me to be slightly sneaky. She and a friend met for drinks at Lickerish on Davie, a tiny bar with not a soul in it at 3 pm in the afternoon on a Saturday. The thought was for me to be a regular patron. Little did I know how tiny this spot was – it was impossible for me to hide whatsoever! I played pretend…and ordered a coke! (I wasn’t sure if having a beer would have helped or destroyed my creativity and ability to photograph!!)
Will you always go on a drink with me?
Now if you know Dara, you’ll know that she is a planner. This day was not planned in a week but rather several months. Go time was scheduled for 3:45 pm and that was when the adventure was to begin. I waited for the key phrase and then we were off. Begin part 1 of Dara & Nata’s love story. The reason Lickerish was the first location was that this was the first place they’d went on a date together. Nata, of course, was EXTREMELY confused but went with it!
We travelled out of the bar and around the corner where her chariot awaited, a red Mini Cooper. Her friend was to be our chauffeur for the afternoon. The story that was read was Nata’s first clue. After a few moments, she said to us “Well…. this leads us to the first apartment we stayed in together”.
Will you always share a home with me?
At this point, you could imagine what was going through her mind. On the ride there, all the questions were asked “Why are we going there?”, “Omg did Dara buy the apartment?!”, “Did Dara buy me a puppy?”, “Omg she didn’t buy the apartment did she?”. As we approached the building, both of their sets of siblings were standing in front of it. Hugs were shared, tears were shed and I’m sure Nata was still in a bit of confusion. The second clue was to go to the place where they first took a walk along the seawall together by the big Inukshuk. This is a very popular spot in the West End!
Will you always go for walks with me?
As you can imagine right now, executing a multi-location proposal with friends and family was not an easy feat. We were running ahead of time so decided to take a little bit of a stroll down to the next location by the water. Nata’s siblings all tagged along. As we approached the Inukshuk, you could start to hear music in the distance and from up on the hill, 3 cardboard boxes laid flipped upside down with red and pink paper hearts glued to them. You never really know what’s going on in Vancouver. For all we knew, the 3 cardboard boxes were an art piece put together to provoke some thought or convey a certain message to passersby. Many people were quite intrigued. As we approached, the first box read, “Nata, lift #1”. From inside the boxes popped out friend number 1! You can only guess who else was hiding in the other two boxes. Close friends read Nata her next message. We were to head to a place where a treat was given to them for free. “Well… that must be the cupcake shop then!”
Will you always go for treats with me?
We sped on up the hill to Cupcakes on Denman where another 2 friends were eagerly waiting. They were beyond excited to see her. I think Nata was going through emotion overload by now! After lots of hugs, tears and laughter, the cupcake lady had spotted what was going on and came outside to give her a free cupcake. Chocolate with little red hearts! The next clue had to do with travel and after much thought, we made our way to the next location where she had applied for a travel document.
Will you always go travelling with me?
We travelled back in time to the early 90s for a little Boyz II Men experience where 4 friends performed a little romantic song for Nata out on the street. It was quite the performance!! On to our last location, a place where they shared their first kiss. Nata paused in the car and said … “I know where that is … but … it’s closed?”. As we approached the cross street, Dara was already waiting with a smile on her face.
Nata, will you marry me?
The plan was to reveal the big question just around the corner where one of the last big surprises awaited. As we made our way around the block, a graffiti artist was working away at a board on a wall. In big block letters, it read “Nata, will you marry me?”. We had planned to walk to a park and so Nata eagerly pointed in the direction we needed to go to but we had to pause for a moment so she could realize what we were looking at. By now, she was an expert and noticing when people were stalling. Hahaha! I’m pretty sure Nata kept covering her eyes to see if what she revealed after was still real life. Of course … SHE SAID YES! 🙂
I parted ways with these 2 lovely ladies but little did Nata know she was in for one last surprise, a big celebration together with all friends and family at Wildebeest!
Thank you, Dara & Nata, for having me come capture this huge milestone in your lives. You are both beautiful people with big hearts and it’s no surprise that your circle of friends are just the same! I can’t wait to see what’s next in your journey together!
JMESHOOTS | BURNABY PROPOSAL PHOTOGRAPHER
My name is Jamie Poh and I have documented the life and love of many couples. If you’re looking to plan a secret adventure proposal for your partner, I’d love to capture it.