Sam and Karina are one of my favorite couples I’ve ever worked with. I did Karina’s graduation photos at UNC years ago and we’ve followed each other ever since. Throughout the course of their nearly 4 year relationship I photographed a mini-shoot for them in Chapel Hill as well. Karina had always dreamed of me photographing Sam’s eventual proposal to her and wasn’t shy about telling him (and me!) so, so when Sam emailed me to say he was planning on popping the question over New Years I was elated! He told me of his romantic plan for his ice skating proposal the day before New Year’s Eve; to take her all over the city for the day, out to dinner, and then ice skating at the National Gallery ice rink in Washington, DC and I was pumped. I got there a bit early to scope things out and sipped hot cider to keep warm while I waited.
The two of them arrived close to 8pm and began skating. Sam knew where I was sitting, bundled up with a hat and scarf both to keep warm but also to disguise me! As they skated past, he’d scoot behind her and give me hand signals to let me know how many more times he planning on going around before pretending to fall and coming back up on one knee. 4 more times…3 more times…2 more…1 more…annnnnnd….a voice over the intercom saying “all skaters please clear the ice”. It was the top of the hour and they were clearing the rink to clean the ice! Oh man, I felt for him right then. I can’t even imagine the excitement and nervousness he must have been feeling!
After a short 10 minute delay, Sam made sure he and Karina were the first ones back on the ice. He skated her up to my side of the rink and fell over. When he got back up, he was on one knee holding a gorgeous Tiffany&Co ring. It was so fun to watch (and capture) Karina’s face as it slowly dawned on her what was happening! The moment she had dreamed of was finally here! After much kissing, tears, laughter, and cheers from the other skaters, they took a victory lap and then we went around the National Mall for a quick “just engaged” photoshoot before I caught and Uber and snuck back to their apartment where their friends were waiting to surprise them! This ice skating proposal was one of the most romantic I’ve ever photographed. It was a magical night and I was so happy and honored to have been a part of it.
Congrats Karina and Sam!!