HOLY COW guys, this is a good one! It’s a surprise proposal at a waterfall! Can’t get much better than that. Austin and Onna are dear friends of ours. Jim has known Onna before college, and I met her while on the cross country at track teams at Indiana Wesleyan University. Weeks before these moments, I asked for adventurous couples on social media for a shoot. I really wanted to do some shoots for myself, and stay sharp creatively. I took on two pairs of couples, one being Austin and Onna. After a few days, I thought I may reach out to Austin, because this could be a great set up in case he was planning a proposal. Good thing I did, because he was waiting on the ring to come in. We chatted off and on, moved the date and made it into a camping trip to cover for the actual plan. We managed to all keep it a secret from Onna, and she had no idea it was coming even on the day! It was GLORIOUS.

On the weekend of the surprise, we set up our campsite Friday night, had a nice bonfire, and hung out the next day. We ran into a slight problem, as the town was having their annual “Bean Dinner”. No joke. This thing is a huge festival and street market! We were told the falls would have people all over and around it. We all came down to scout it out, and luckily people were up the road. Later in the afternoon we came back and did some photos here and there, talked, listened to Ed Sheeran, and had a good time. Jim had a backpack on that was housing the ring. We all had the plan of making it to a certain spot before executing the plan. We finally got there, and I gave some key clue words, turned Austin and Onna back to back for a special photo, and then I “arranged” Onna to make sure she didn’t turn around while Jim handed off the ring to Austin.

I ran around to my position for the shots, and Austin was in the water on one knee. I yelled out to Onna to turn around now. She did, and boy she did not expect to see her man on one knee in the water. It was so special, exciting, and nerve-racking all at the same time. I’m so honored to have been a part of planning this and documenting it. Onna was shocked for like 13 minutes straight haha. We took more photos before a storm came in then took off for our campsite. It was POURING rain, but no one cared. We all pitched in and made mac n’ cheese and happily ate it in the camper, played games, and talked about love and life as the rain poured on. It was the best.

Emily Hary is an adventurous outdoor wedding + elopement photographer.
Although based in the Midwest, she is available for worldwide travel.