Event Case Study #8: Marriage Proposal Surprise


This article is the eleventh within the writing serial Event Production & Management, which consists of the following articles:

  1. General Introduction
  2. Christians 20/30 Great Gatsby Ball, held 26 July 2014
  3. Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – Surge Packing Party held 30 July 2014
  4. Friend’s Wedding held 9 August 2014
  5. Bucks Party Surprise held 30 August 2014
  6. Birthday Party Surprise held 3 September 2014
  7. Friend’s Wedding held 13 September 2014
  8. Christians 20/30 Music Festival held 4 October 2014
  9. OCC – UCC Packing Party held 14 November, 2014
  10. Friend’s Wedding held 15 November, 2014
  11. Friend’s Proposal Surprise held 4 January 2015 (this article)
  12. Friend’s Wedding held 11 July 2015
  13. OCC – Young Working Adults Packing Party held 29 July 2015
  14. Friend’s Wedding held 22 August 2015
  15. Friend’s Wedding held 26 September 2015
  16. Christians 20/30 OCC Charity Program held 9, 10 & 17 October 2015
  17. Friend’s Proposal Surprise held 3 January 2016

General Concept

You can read up on the general concept and general tips/tricks from Case Study #8: Birthday Party Surprise.

Surprise Proposal/Engagement

On Sunday 4 January 2015, boyfriend and girlfriend turned into fiancé and fiancée thanks to this surprise engagement/proposal. The main planning was naturally undertaken by the boyfriend/fiancé, and a group of 14 from family & friends were enlisted to help pull off this surprise event. My contribution to the event was the filming of the proposal.

Part of the decoy to increase the surprise element was delivered by plans made for the day before, where the couple had a whole day’s worth of romantic activities planned – starting from brunch, through to dinner. The idea was that my friend/the girlfriend would have expected a likely proposal at some point during the day’s activities.

The group of friends and family met up at Sky High, Mount Dandenong an hour before the appointed time to rehearse. Part of the elaborate planning included ensuring that we car-pooled from church and the vehicle driven was the least familiar to our friend, and also that we all were requested to park at the furthest car park. A designated stairway was chosen with an open lawn area below – which was where the group were to quickly assemble as the couple descended from the stairs.

Rehearsal helped us work out the best positions to stand – positions for the 14 individuals holding up the letters of “Will you marry me?” plus the optimal positions for myself as videographer as well as the photographer. Rehearsing the timing was also perfected such that the cues were synchronised. The photographer and myself both were positioned separately at the upper level to creep up behind the couple as they descended.

In the end, after the rehearsing, other members of the public lingered on, sensing the actual proposal was not far off. Our staging of the surprise proposal naturally drew attention and as you can see in the video, other strangers also captured the event on their own cameras…

Part of the success behind the proposal was the use of the boyfriend’s cousin who acted as our spy – accompanying the couple from the house to Mount Dandenong. He was able to relay messages to the group of us on WhatsApp and help us keep track of the couple’s approach. One challenge was the flaky mobile phone reception that tends to characterise the summit of Mount Dandenong; this was overcome by ensuring a physical yet surruptious sighting of the couple’s car by the main coordinator, who was hiding near the main entrance.

Since the video has been endorsed for public viewing: