By Zack WIlson Photography

  • Joe + Emy | Proposal

I’m going to go out on a limb today and say that today’s post is probably one of my FAVORITE blog posts of all time!! Besides my own wedding post, this is one of the most exciting posts to write!! You all saw a couple of weeks ago that my little sister got engaged!! She called me to tell me the news and I cried. Then, Michael and I drove to State College, PA a few days later to spend the day with the newly engaged couple! That was a surprise in and of itself!! Well…. Emy thought that was it. She got engaged, it was wonderful and perfect, we surprised her with a visit and that was it.

We moved into wedding planning mode since their wedding is only 6 months away and she had no idea that Michael, Joe and I had one surprise left up our sleeve!! :)

When I realized that we weren’t going to be able to secretly hide out and shoot the proposal, I called Joe and we started brainstorming. I’ve shot proposals for several friends and I just love it when couples have these precious moments documented in some way. Naturally, I wanted that for my sister and so I started sending emails to our Pittsburgh friends!! Our friends, the Mishes, were not even in the country when this proposal was taking place but Alison was a sweetheart and gave me some names of some of her friends in the area! All of a sudden, I was in the market for a photographer and I was having to decide who to use via their web presence! This was a great experience for me and I actually talked about what I learned in my recent workshop! I was searching for someone to capture one of the most exciting moments in my family’s life and I only had a one week notice!

After some site searching, bio reading and portfolio stalking, I emailed Zack Wilson. This guy, let me just tell you…. he is the!!!!  He responded immediately and was completely on board. I called Joe and introduced him to Zack via email and the rest is history! Zack scouted the proposal location beforehand, marked a spot where Joe should take Emy and then the day of, he waited on a bench with his wife until Joe and Emy were in position. This was genius because it just looked like Zack and his wife were on a date together at a scenic overlook with his camera for the sunset. Because Emy didn’t have a clue who Zack was, she never saw him!! It was the PERFECT situation!! If I had been capturing their proposal, she would have spotted me in an instant. Handing over this job to a new friend in the industry was the best possible situation and let me tell you, Zack did not disappoint!!

Michael and I drove to my parent’s house the night of the engagement because we had another wedding the next day in Maryland. We stayed with them to be an hour closer and I was so excited for Emy and Joe that I had a hard time falling asleep! Well….right before I fell asleep, I checked my phone and there it was…. Zack emailed me the PASS gallery.  Note to photographers everywhere, speediness is impressive!! I opened the gallery and just cried and cried! Then I ran downstairs and woke my parent’s up and showed them…. and my momma and I cried some more.  I’ve always valued photography but this took my love for capturing moments to a whole new level and I can’t thank Zack enough!!! He was phenomenal and you should all go give him a “Like” on facebook to show him some love! The crazy thing is that Zack has followed my blog for a while and so really, we weren’t strangers at all!! :) It was such a wonderful experience working with him on this secret project and I’m SO glad the secret is out!!

We hosted an engagement party at our house last night for Joe and Emy. We gathered everyone in the living room and started a slideshow of instagrams and pictures of the two of them. The slideshow ended with Zack’s images of the proposal and Emy was shocked!! It was an amazing night and I can’t wait to share some favorites!!!

Zack, thank you so SO much for everything you did to make this happen!! We are forever grateful for these incredible images of such a special moment!!


LOVE THIS!! I gave them a canvas of this sweet picture! 

25 Comments Uncategorized
  1. Charlotte Jennings reply

    Sweetest thing ever!!! And such a Beautiful location!!! I need to venture a little more northern sometime. :)

  2. Kristina W. reply

    Awwww, this is so sweet, I even teared up a little. What a wonderful gift, Katelyn! And their canvas shot is beautiful. Congratulations again Emy and Joe!

  3. Sabrina reply

    Ah! Tears are in my eyes!! Katelyn, this is SO sweet! But also totally and completely amazing with how you met Zach and he was able to capture all of it. Great job to both of you!!

  4. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    Awww I love this!! It’s amazing how much you were reminded of the impact of your job by Emy’s situation – I just love it! SO awesome and special that you were able to set this up for her and SURPRISE her… like weeks after the proposal! Wonderful job, Zack!

  5. Sydni Jackson reply

    ahhh that’s amazing!! i love that they had no idea!! These are the best proposal pictures ever!! yaaay joe and emily!!

  6. Gabrielle C reply

    Love these so much! What a sweet surprise for Emily!! I know she’s going to treasure these

  7. Leigh Skaggs reply

    Congratulations to the happy couple! I loved seeing these! I grew up in Pittsburgh, so it was nice to see the city and the sweet proposal, too!

  8. Gabrielle C reply

    love these so much!! What an incredibly sweet surprise for Emily! I know she’s going to treasure these. :)

  9. katie reply

    WOW!!!! That is the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard Katelyn!! You are an amazing sister to Emy!!!

  10. Ashley Herrinton reply

    EEEEKK! This is too much fun! So glad everything worked out and now they can remember this sweet moment forever with these beautiful images!

  11. staciego reply

    I LOVE this so much….you are an amazing woman

  12. kate reply

    sweetest post ever!!! What a wonderful idea! You guys rock xoxo

  13. Kathryn Grace reply

    I love the idea of having it be completely secret without her even knowing the photographer was there until days afterward!

  14. julianna reply

    AHHHHHH!!!!!!! LOOOOOVE!!!!!!!! Zack did such an awesome job! Thanks for capturing this beautiful moment, zack!

  15. Gail reply

    Best surprise EVER!!!

    PS – Have I mentioned how much I love that your blog SAVES my details when i comment? That is such an awesome little thing!

  16. DeAnne Shelton reply

    I have been following your blog for a while now because I admire your photography and this was so sweet of you to share. It brought tears to my eyes:)

  17. Meredith Sledge reply

    What a great idea!!!! So cool!

  18. Chasity Whittington reply

    Beautiful photos, this is SUCH a sweet surprise!!

  19. Alison Mish reply

    LOVE! They turned out so great!!! Way to go Zack! :)

  20. Thomas reply

    A beautiful story and thank me congratulations and all the best for the future.

  21. Zack Wilson reply

    Hey Katelyn! Thanks so much for all of your super kind words! It was such an honor to be there and to be a part of Joe and Emily’s big day! :) Be blessed!

  22. Britne reply

    Zack did a great job – I love these pictures. I am so thankful for these moments to be captured for Em. Emily looks beautiful!!! Way to Go Joe!

  23. Mallory reply

    This is SO sweet!!

  24. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    I love that picture you gave them as a canvas! And I love how you made this work and captured one of the most beautiful times in your sister’s life. My sister just got engaged as well, and I really wish I could’ve been there to photograph it. :)

  25. It had | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Katelyn James Photography reply

    […] second impromptu engagement shoot!! You can view the FIRST one here! AND you have to see their PROPOSAL shot by the awesome Zach Wilson! Ok, enough of me bragging about my sister… enjoy!! […]

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