This was a really special Bay Area proposal that took place in the Lake Merritt Amphitheatre right in the heart of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It required a fair bit of planning on the part of Scott (the groom-to-be) along with myself the photographer and the amazing Nikolai from Mastermind Treasure Hunts.
This was no ordinary proposal! Stef had to solve a treasure hunt and work her way through the clues to reveal the eventual proposal.
After it was done – that was it, Stef and Scott were officially engaged!
About this engaged couple
Stefanie and Scott have a special relationship – it wasn’t love at first sight.
They first met through Rhino Business Toastmasters in San Francisco.
Scott moved to the city from the East Coast, and Stefanie relocated from Southern California.
Like true nerds, they got to know one another by evaluating each other’s speeches, serving as club officers together, and fostering a close-knit community inside and outside their Toastmasters club.
Fun facts: Stefanie beat Scott in an election for club presidency, and she helped him win several speech contests in return. Friends (and even strangers) pointed out their compatibility.
It was only a matter of time before they ended up together on July 1st, 2016.
The truly incredible engagement ring
Scott began planning his proposal after one year of dating.
He designed an engagement ring inspired by Stefanie’s meaningful lotus tattoo and commissioned Custom Made Jewelry to design and craft it.
Then on July 15th, 2018, Scott organized a birthday treasure hunt culminating in the final clue at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater.
Together they gathered clues around Oakland to solve a crossword puzzle.
Circled letters in the puzzle spelled out “will you marry me.” But backwards, of course, so it wasn’t too easy for the queen of riddles 😉
The moment she said yes!
It took Stefanie just a couple of minutes to figure out the meaning of the random letters, and her reaction which I captured, was priceless. Scroll down to see!
After that, we chanced upon various lake locations including the stunning Oakland Scottish Rite Center by Lake Merritt. Fortunately, we had the steps to ourselves.
I encouraged the couple to relax and be themselves! As you can see, they’re a supremely goofy couple that’s totally at ease with other.
I loved the spontaneous swing dancing session that happened on those steps!
These two were full of tales professing how they ‘don’t really dance’ but I seriously beg to differ. This was one of the best shows of dancing that I’ve ever seen at a photoshoot!
Bringing out the couple’s natural selves and ways of interacting is something I really enjoy. I don’t make couples pose awkwardly or do things that don’t feel like them.
Not all couples dance and not all couples will have to at an engagement or proposal photoshoot with me!
One happy proposal photo shoot!
A proposal sure is a lot to take in, and they seemed to have a ball reveling in their new status as fiancees.
With each other, plus their husky pup Oz, the world is their oyster.
Bring on the Yosemite wedding and a lifetime of adventure and discovery! Check out the images from their Yosemite National Park wedding below.
Looking for a Bay Area proposal photographer?
If you’re planning a marriage proposal in the San Francisco Bay Area I’d love to chat about it! No matter how simple or elaborate and whatever the location in the San Francisco Bay Area. Who knows where your story will lead? Find out more about my wedding photography here!
Puzzlemaster: Mastermind Treasure Hunts
Ring: Custom Made Jewelry
Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography