Our 2020 Family Portraits… With a Big Surprise | Meg & Sean’s Surprise Proposal in Stone Harbor, NJ

If you know me well, you know that the portraits I get to take of my family on the beach are some of my favorite portraits that I take each year! I’ve tried to take a family beach portrait of my family each year or every other year, and this year… there just so happened to be one REALLY big surprise that Sean was planning for my sister! If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you may know that Meg recently got engaged!! Yes… I’m spoiling the big secret right up top because A it is right in the title of this post and B this story is TOO much fun not to tell.

I knew my sister and her boyfriend (now fiance!!) were thinking about getting engaged for a while before it happened because it was pretty much all my sister could talk about! So… when I got an email from Sean with a link with a few potential diamonds, I silently freaked out and then had to play it cool for a number of weeks while he picked out the perfect ring. He decided that he wanted to ask the big question while our family was in for their summer visit, on the beach. After all, my sister said she always either wanted a beach proposal at Stone Harbor OR wanted a Christmas Day proposal!

So… fast forward through planning and towards our first few days at the beach. Sean had been pretty busy at work, so my sister had already decided the proposal wasn’t going to happen that week. Little did she know, we were all on edge, hoping the ring would get there before our week was over! Sean decided that it would be best to have the ring arrive to the beach house because Meg definitely would have known something was up if a package came for Sean just before their trip at their house in Baltimore! (She works downstairs in the living room and would definitely be able to intercept the package!) The ring was originally supposed to arrive in the mail on Monday night, and with each passing day, we saw the estimated arrival getting a little later. Sean had to sign for the ring, so we were all a little on edge with how getting it in the door was going to work! Meg was really hoping to be surprised with the proposal!

We decided to put the family shoot off until later in the week. It helped that there was rain in the forecast later in the week and that we wanted to get a few solid beach days in. Sean was working earlier in the week as well, so it was an easy cover! He got evening beach time after work… and we would do the shoot later in the week when he was off work and could get to the beach earlier! Fast forward to the day that the ring was supposed to arrive, and a few people in the house knew at this point. I was literally so excited I was up at 7AM and couldn’t go back to sleep! All of us were super excited and a little anxious about the delivery, but my sister still had no idea. It was supposed to arrive by 10:30AM, and it was pretty easy to keep Meg in the back rooms of the house without her knowing she was being cornered. It got a little more challenging when the arrival time changed to 12:30PM!

We eventually had to start getting ready for the beach, and of course, as Meg was heading through the front room of the house to grab a bottle of sunscreen, the FedEx guy was coming up the front sidewalk! We all panicked and somehow got Meg in the back room without her noticing the package delivery! (We pretended Luna… my sister’s bassador… was looking to poop in the sunroom… sorry, Luna! She must have known we needed her for the plan though because she came through with pooping outside just a few minutes later!) Once the ring was in the house we all breathed a sigh relief and got to enjoy a pretty great beach day from there!!!

About halfway through the beach day though, we saw some clouds roll in. These clouds went from cute little “maybe it’ll rain” clouds to one MASSIVE strip of black “OMG IT IS GOING TO STORM LIKE CRAZY” clouds. The beach actually CLOSED (we got plenty of time on the beach beforehand though!!), and we packed up and headed home. I’m not going to lie… I saw our plans flashing before my eyes! It ended up working out for the best though because it downpoured while we all prepped for the shoot! We were ready an hour ahead of schedule and then it was almost time to go!

We headed down to the beach for our photos… we decided that we would take a few photos of my brother while Luna “got used to the beach” which was really just an excuse to make sure that my parents, grandparents, and aunt could be down on the beach in time for the big moment! Plus… it was great to get some updated photos of my brother!

Once we felt Luna was ready to go, and the rest of the family was on the beach, we started with a few poses of Meg and Sean! Sean and I had worked on a prompt ahead of time, so we would both know when the other was ready! Those sandy paws though!!! It was time!!! Can you believe Sean PROPOSED in front of me, my brother, my mom, dad, Grammy, Poppop, AND my aunt?! He knows how much family means to my sister, so it was just perfect and meant so much to her! I still cry looking at the surprise on her face! We can’t get over the fact that Luna laid down for the proposal! Such a good girl!! SO much joy! I’m so glad we have photos and videos of this moment because I was so teary and just hoping I was getting SOMETHING in focus!!! SHE SAID YES! (And Sean can finally relax! Look how happy they are!!!) My parents live in TEXAS! It was so special for them to witness this moment and to be there for hugs and celebrations right after! Of course, we had to do some celebratory portraits! Look at that gorgeous ring!!! Luna’s humans are getting MARRIED! How special is it that my Grammy and Poppop got to witness the moment too?! Love seeing their smiles! I love to get a photo of these two on the beach each year! These are always some of my favorite images! That one on the right… an all-time FAVORITE image of mine! My Aunt Kathy came along to witness the big moment AND to take a picture of the full crew! Welcome to the fam, Sean!  We got in a few other combos too! These beach photos will forever be a favorite of mine!   Look how sweet my parents are!!! My parents got a picture with their first grand-dog, and I got a picture with my niece! My mom made Luna’s bandana! How cool is that?! That was a wrap on the beach portraits… time to head home to celebrate! Meg started Facetiming some of her friends in the car, and it was so much fun to hear their reactions! I cried all over again!!! Back at the house, my cousins, Julie and Alyssa, and my Aunt Annie were busy setting up an engagement party for Sean and Meg! I literally tossed a box of goodies at Alyssa when we were on our way out the door, and they worked some seriously gorgeous MAGIC! We had so much fun celebrating and toasting!!!

Now… Meg’s on her way to planning one gorgeous wedding! September 2021 can’t get here soon enough!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *