A Styled Moab Elopement Shoot Turns Into A Real Proposal

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A Styled Moab Wedding Turns Into A Real Proposal

A Styled Moab Wedding / Elopement that turned into a real proposal by The Hearnes

“Oh my goodness, this day was the most amazing way to kick off our 2020 Moab Elopement season!! Schadell fully believed they were just coming to Moab to model for us, and I even asked Rue de Seine to send us some of their wedding dresses (side note, their dresses are AMAZING, but you already know that if you’ve looked at any of these photos!) so it totally seemed like a real elopement styled shoot, but Jamaal had a big secret up his sleeve and he surprised her with a proposal!! She said yes, obviously. But I want to start from the beginning and share this whole story because it was all so perfect.

Who are Schadell and Jamaal?

Schadell and Jamaal are such an incredible couple. She works as a flight attendant, and he’s currently in training to be a pilot, so clearly we connected immediately. A few years ago they were invited to model for a photography workshop and absolutely loved the experience, so they’ve turned it into a bit of a side-gig where they travel to amazing places and model for photographers, which is why she didn’t think anything suspicious about our shoot AT ALL! So, while I coordinated this shoot “with Schadell” I was also texting with Jamaal to set up an official plan for his proposal!

Preparing the surprise proposal

We’ve shot a few surprise proposals before and one of my biggest “rules” is having the actual moment early on in the shoot. I’ve found that it helps the personal popping the question be less nervous (or at least their nerves don’t have to be dragged out for so long!) and the emotions that come after such an exciting occasion make for absolutely amazing photos, so we like to capitalize on them! Plus, the quicker it goes down, the less likely someone will ruin the surprise or something will go wrong! The only issue with that idea was that we were planning to shoot at two different locations that afternoon/sunset, and I knew the second spot at sunset would be the most epic. Jamaal obviously wanted the most epic possible spot if they were going to come all the way out to Moab for this! So, the day before, we changed things up and decided to start with sunrise in Canyonlands National Park and I am SO glad we did because it ended being reaaaaaaaally amazing.

The big day

That morning, we picked them up at their hotel in Moab at 6am and drive an hour up to the top of the Canyonlands. They’d never been to Moab before and arrived the evening before, so it was extra special to know their first real glimpse of the Moab desert would be at sunrise on the edge of a cliff. We arrived up top and they got dressed in our camper (#clutch mobile bridal suite) and to no surprise, the Rue de Seine East Gown sample looked like it was made for Schadell! We hiked down to the overlook, I made sure “everyone had everything they needed * wink wink *” and we positioned out on this beautiful overlook and told them to just soak it in for a minute or two. Jamaal had Schadell turn around so he could “fix her hair” and then he got down on one knee!!! And she had the most adorable reaction – she was so surprised and said “are you really doing this? for real? is this real???” and then after a moment of excited squealing she goes “okay sorry I’ll let you finish” and he asked her to marry him! It was amazing. And we were able to get great photos because we didn’t have to hide at all.

Surprise succeeded!

After that, we let them have their moment and soak it all in, as the sun came up behind the mountains and washed all the canyonlands in the most beautiful golden light. Then we spent the next hour taking some REAL engagement photos for them! It was the best time! We absolutely love being in Moab in the winter, we had the area all to ourselves for the whole sunrise, and it honestly wasn’t even that cold! The north-facing cliffs still had a beautiful dusting of snow, and everything was so quiet. As we wrapped up and drove down, they were still reeling from such an exciting morning. We dropped them off to enjoy their day in Moab (they hiked in Arches and absolutely loved it!) and then I picked them up again in the afternoon for a sunset engagement session (aka the original planned shoot) in another part of the desert.”



A Styled Moab Elopement Shoot Turns Into A Real Proposal



The end – What else do you need to know?

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A Styled Moab Elopement Shoot Turns Into A Real Proposal


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Moab Wedding by The Hearnes



If you love this amazing outdoor location but would like to get to know other places around the world, then check out this blog post:

The 101 Most Epic & Best Places to Elope in 2022

A wedding couple is standing on top of a mountain and holding hands in front of a sunset.