Stefanie + Scott | Oakland Lake Merritt proposal with dancing

February 26, 2019
couple getting engaged at lake merritt amphitheater oakland

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, and it was only a matter of time before they ended up together on July 1st, 2016.

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 😉

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.

After that, we chanced upon various lake locations including the stunning Oakland Scottish Rite Center by Lake Merritt, where we had the steps to ourselves. I encouraged the couple to relax and be themselves – not that they weren’t, as 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!

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 intimate Yosemite wedding and a lifetime of adventure and discovery!

If you’re planning a proposal in the San Francisco Bay Area – no matter how simple or elaborate! – I’d love to chat about what you have planned and making sure that YES moment is captured forever. Who knows where your story will lead?


Puzzlemaster: Mastermind Treasure Hunts

Ring: Custom Made Jewelry

Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography

collage of lake merritt amphitheater proposal oakland lake merritt couple getting engaged at the amphitheater couple dwarfed by large trees at lake merritt oakland close up details of engagement ring at oakland engagement shoot dancing couple get engaged at scottish rite center oakland couple cuddling outside steps of scottish rite center at lake merritt engagement shoot on scottish rite center opposite lake merritt oakland proposal photography oakland engagement ring at oakland east bay engagement photography shoot lake merritt and couple at proposal engagement shootengagement ring made by custom made jewelry engagement ring crossword puzzle treasure hunt proposal