When it’s time to ask “the big question” it should also be time to plan a special memorable trip to spring the “Will you marry me?” surprise. There are plenty of options out there when it comes to booking the engagement-to-be trip. Adventurous couples may find themselves hiking Half Dome when the big reveal happens and others may find themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower. Either way, a top suite and champagne will be needed to complete the special moment. It’s also possible that the couple is getting engaged during a trip with family and friends, so creating private experiences just for the special couple is a must.
Here’s an intriguing proposal scenario that involved some travel planning and may provide inspiration.
Iowa couple Travis Juhl and Lindsay Harms had tossed around the idea of tying the knot for a few months before Juhl decided to make it official by giving his love the surprise of a lifetime in paradise.
Although they weren’t officially engaged yet, the two agreed to scout out the Cayman Islands as a possible destination wedding spot shortly after Harms stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. That’s when the nearby Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa construction site caught her eye.
“She learned that it was going to be a hot new hotel, so we decided that would be a cool place to get married at,” Juhl tells Travel Agent. “So, we agreed to go check it out. I told her to just go with her girlfriends and I would stay back home.”
Little did Harms know that Juhl had big plans of crashing this girls’ getaway. He had informed the hotel and his fiancé’s friends that he would surprise her and pop the question at Coccoloba, Kimpton Seafire’s pool bar, just in time for the fiery sunset on Seven Mile Beach, one of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean.
“So, the day of, I texted her girlfriends to head to Coccoloba,” says Juhl. “One of the girls asked if they could take a group shot with the resort in the background. As they were getting ready to take the shot, I snuck up from behind. She was like, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ I said, ‘You’re the best thing that ever happened to me’ and asked if she would marry me. I’m not even entirely sure she said the word, ‘yes.’ She just started crying and hugged me.”
Now, whereas Travis Juhl mostly winged his surprise proposal in the Cayman Islands, aside from a phone call here and there, there are some vital steps clients should take to make sure their proposal abroad goes smoothly.
We spoke to wedding specialist Danielle Stephens of Harmon Travel Service and learned some simple ways to ensure that clients not only succeed in a perfect wedding proposal but also avoid a potential nightmare.
“Make sure your client has a backup plan,” Stephens warns. “Weather may not cooperate or [the groom] may get to the destination and realize it’s not what he had envisioned.”
Stephens also strongly suggests that clients planning a surprise proposal overseas should insure the ring before they travel with it and should hide the ring in a carry-on as opposed to stashing it in a checked bag. Anna Yott of Dream Come True Vacations LLC advises hiring a photographer to capture the moment.
“Make sure to ask the client if they’d like for the big moment to be captured either by a professional photographer or videographer,” says Yott. “This is such a memorable moment and if they are putting all the planning into making it special, odds are they’ll want to capture it to share with friends and family.”
Grand Cayman’s Kimpton Seafire, where Travis Juhl surprised Lindsay Harms with a proposal, provides a variety of wedding venues and services.
In fact, Lindsey Epperly, owner of Epperly Travel, recommends clients propose in a location serviced by Flytographer.
“This is an amazing partner company of ours,” says Epperly. “It is basically the Uber of photography, independent artists who render their services for hire all across the globe. They do a ton of engagement sessions and you can even see the photographer’s work before you choose them.”
But of all the advice agents can offer on planning the best destination engagement, Stephens stresses on working with the hotel’s concierge.
“Before you get too far into the proposal planning process with your client, enlist the help of the concierge at the resort,” Stephens says. “The concierge is very familiar with the best proposal areas and has probably helped plan quite a few in his / her career.”