I receive quite a lot of engagement shoot submissions for We Are The Wanderers, but not a lot of proposal shoots. I love proposals because there is always an element of the unexpected involved. It’s not like a normal photoshoot where the photographer can direct the couple throughout the process. Even when the proposal happens as part of a planned couple shoot, there’s no way of knowing how the person being asked is going to react. This gorgeous secret glacier proposal in Iceland definitely wins the most stunning backdrop for a proposal, and Stephanie from Zakas Photography captured it perfectly.
Before I let Aansh & Tanya tell you a bit about their story in their won words, I’ll hand you over to Stephanie to introduce them.
A Secret Glacier Proposal In Iceland
Aansh surprised Tanya with a trip to Iceland. They went out to dinner back home in Chicago, he had her bags packed, then after dinner he took them to the airport and she had NO CLUE. On the way to Iceland his bags actually got lost for multiple days and he had no clothes to wear and ALMOST didn’t have his tux for the shoot. Thankfully, the day before our shoot, they were found. Aansh hired me months prior, and we planned a secret photo session for them where I would meet them at Seljalandsfoss and say he hired me as a private photo guide tour. (Which, that isn’t a whole lie!). He told her during a fancy dinner (hence, the fancy clothes) that he wanted to go check out Seljalandsfoss and she was up for the adventure! I met them in the parking lot, introduced myself to Tanya, and she was speechless. So excited. I created a custom itinerary for them for a 6 hour adventure! At out 2nd to last stop, Sólheimajökull, he popped the question. It was such an adventurous, magical night.
Aansh & Tanya
Even though we are both of Indian origin, Tanya and I grew up on different continents (her in Chicago, and me in Mumbai, India). Chicago is where we first met 2 years ago, and now we are both lucky to call Chicago home! As to how we met – sort of a cliche, but we met at a bar. But its not your average story! Tanya crashed my birthday party (she was a friend of a friend), and we just managed to get introductions of each other that night. I actually didn’t think about it much at the time, but she was the one who got my number and asked me out! I knew then that this girl is something special.
Being big-city people and avid travellers, Tanya and I have always been drawn to places with true natural beauty, away from the city. We are both suckers for scenery and picturesque locations unspoilt by human intervention, and so when I was planning on asking her the question, I wanted to do so at a place that was truly reflective of both our personalities. Coincidentally, Tanya has mentioned always wanting to go to Iceland and road-tripping around, and so I figured it would be the perfect place that would be unique and memorable at the same time.
I happened to chance upon Steph’s website when I was randomly googling “Iceland photographers”, and thank god I did because that was hands down the best decision I made. Steph was a thorough professional from the first time we talked, and by the end of it, I am glad to call her a friend.
I wanted the entire experience to be a secret for Tanya. So, she had no idea we were even going to Iceland up until the night before we left, let alone any idea of a proposal! To try and do this behind her back, I had to jump through a few hoops. First, once I narrowed down on Iceland, I found our wonderful photographer Steph Zakas and made our Iceland proposal plan. Then, I talked to Tanya’s bosses at work and her professors at business school and organized her vacation without her knowing. Finally, I invited all of our close friends and family to a dinner the night before we were about to leave, and at the end of the dinner was when we told Tanya that I was taking her to Iceland the next day! Coming to the proposal – Steph and I and came up with the idea where instead of doing a photo-session during the day, we would take advantage of the midnight sun in the Icelandic summer, and do our shoot in the evening. Steph also came up with the brilliant idea of making up a story where instead of telling Tanya that this was a photo session, we would tell her that Steph was an adventure tour guide along with an amateur photographer, and was going to take us on a private tour of the South coast of Iceland. Instead of deciding a specific spot I wanted to propose at, we decided that I would propose when and at a place that I feel resonated the most to me, and would give Steph a signal right before it was going to happen so that she was ready to capture the shot! (The signal was me asking her the question – What is your favorite Icelandic food :)). On the evening of the proposal, I told Tanya that we were going to a really fancy dinner and that she should dress up well. But then instead of going to a restaurant, we drove two hours to the south coast, met up with Steph and started the adventure of a lifetime! To say that Tanya was shocked was an understatement, but it was one of the best days of our lives from that point on. There were so many places during which I thought I was ready to ask the question, but when we got to the Solheimajokull glacier, I knew that was it. At around 9:30 PM by the glacier, there was no one around for miles and you could literally hear the sound of the glacier moving. I gave Steph the signal, got on one knee, and the rest is history!
There were so many! Each place we went to was spectacular in different ways. But my favorite moment was at the glacier, right before I asked her the question. We literally had the glacier all to ourselves! With no one around, we could feel a connection to nature that was akin to the connection we had to each other. It is hard to put that feeling into words, but I still get goosebumps thinking about it
If you are ever considering planning an adventurous proposal, planning is the key. Try and find someone (like Steph) that knows where you want to go well, so that you can get some expert advice on what may or may not work. But even though planning might seem daunting, always know that what works for someone else might not be best for you. Try and understand what your partner would truly enjoy and feel comfortable in. And in the end, no matter how it goes down, and as long as you make the effort, he or she will remember that for the rest of their lives.