Paradise Valley surprise proposal

What was going to be a simple ‘surprise proposal’ stroll along the banks of the Yellowstone River with a camera turned into a wild spring weather experience. I was all set up about a half mile up the river bank at the Yellowstone Valley Lodge when a weather front blew in with a rage. It came with such force that I had to run for my vehicle to take cover and somehow the lightening caused my cell phone to glitch out. I lost all connection with the ‘groom to be’ as we were trying to coordinate the last minute location details for the surprise. All our planning was out the window. The storm went as quickly as it came, so I began the walk back down to the planned meeting place. Then the miracle arose.

I could see the sun light start to refract in moisture filled air. The beginning of a rainbow started take to the sky. I grabbed my gear and ran back up to the lodge in hopes of finding my ‘couple’! There they were standing on the deck above watching the rainbow grow. The groom was somewhat shell shocked by the ravaged plans we had made… and in awe of the rainbow forming in the sky above.

Up to this point his lady was still unsure of what was happening. Not wanting to spoil the surprise, I yelled up to the couple and ‘spun a little story’ about how I was shooting some images for the Ranch and would they PLEASE come down into the field and just be an anonymous couple taking in the spectacle. They jumped at the chance to be in my photos. Down they came, running out into the field as I yelled out directions to get them into the frame. All this time the rainbow was growing more bright and tall in the valley. It was too good to be true…. AND THEN!!!

He took the lead! He turned to his lady, took her hands and spoke the words of a lifetime. She was visibly changed as she melted and merged with the reality. The rainbow continued to grow as I made some images that Chris and Katia will cherish for a lifetime. It was quite miraculous. See for yourself!

Cheers to my new found friends! And thanks to the folks at Yellowstone Valley Lodge for being such fine neighbors for years here in Montana.


About the Author: Larry

With over 25 years of diverse professional photographic experience Larry brings depth and insight to his work. His style is described as a unique mix of wedding photojournalism and scenic portraiture, capturing "beauty... as it occurs naturally". Larry attended the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, California and is an International Award winning member of the prestigious Wedding Photojournalist Association and an active member of FEARLESS PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Reader Interactions


  1. Larry says

    You are very welcome. It was my pleasure and the rainbow was a magnificent experience!

  2. Sofiana n. Chaillot says

    Absolutely beautiful setting for Christopher’s proposal and Katia’s acceptance . It was a wonderful setting! It couldn’t have been scripted better!

    I like all the photos but especially the shot of the sun between their faces and the engagement ring!

    Great talent showing a wonderful new couple as they start a new venture in life!!!

  3. Sofiana Nooijen Chaillot says

    What a beautiful photographic record of Christopher’s proposal and Katia acceptance of the proposal!! The photos are all great!
    I especially liked the photo of their loving faces with sunlight between their foreheads and the brilliantly sparking engagement ring!

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