If you remember back in March when we were postponing everything we thought we might be in the free in clear by May or early June.
Well here we are in July, looking at the rest of the year possibly masked and socially distancing.
Many of my proposals and weddings got indefinitely postponed when the restaurants shut down so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on how you can still propose should this happen again.
If you’re planning on proposing to your partner in crime during the COVID pandemic- I’ve brainstormed and polled my local vendor group and put together a few ideas.
My advice? Plan for an outdoor location with plenty of space.
Outdoors has been proven to be a safe bet, as long as we all maintain a distance of 6′ or more from other groups, which can be difficult if the place you’re considering is open to the public. For this reason, I’m listing places that are publicly accessible but with wide open spaces and/or reservation-based and have shown me that they’re taking COVID seriously.
**Some locations might have a session fee but I feel this is part of the privilege for having more privacy and the ability to set up some decor beforehand.**
These proposal location ideas are a mix of restaurants, wedding venues, resorts and nature areas. After shooting over 20 weddings in 2 years I consider myself an expert and hope this guide helps narrow down your location search.
Contigo Ranch Fredricksburg
Way out west, on the way to the cute town of Fredricksburg (another awesome place to propose) is a beautiful ranch getaway perfect for a “let’s escape the news” retreat. They have 3 locations dedicated for weddings which are perfect for setting up your surprise – rose petals, candles, all the romantic details that win brownie points forever.
Now, you probably know how much I love the Barr Mansion, given how many weddings a year I shoot there. It’s such a gorgeous house and the big old tree in the middle of the lawn is a statement centerpiece. If the crusty porch and spindles aren’t your thing, look at the Farmhouse extension or in the classic Ballroom.
Book a time with the coordinators so you can decorate a spot – I recommend either the big tree or inside the ballroom at sunset – and tell your partner it’s a historical mansion with a special private ghost tour. Additionally, they are doing picnic events each Saturday which could be an easy cover if you don’t mind an audience.
The Barr Mansion looks good in all seasons. Winter, spring or fall, you can’t pick a bad day when the light looks this good.
The Driskill has officially launched their private proposal package and I am so excited to be a founding partner. Proposing at the Driskill is so magical and historically Texan. It’s easy to get dressed up and equally easy to say you’re having a staycation there.
They charge a $250 photo fee for a 2 hour proposal anywhere in the hotel. You’ll have access to their entire hotel including the balcony upstairs which is covered but open air for germ free experience. If you wanted to reserve a specific place and have it decorated a certain way (and trust me, you will want this it’s just an extra $250. I always recommend hotels and resorts for private proposals because of the support staff you’ll receive, but the Driskill is a uniquely Austin experience (plus it’s definitely haunted.)
If you’ve read my How to Propose in Austin article, you’ve probably seen my work at Laguna Gloria. At this point, after 4 -6 proposals there, I practically live there. They should let me set up a cot inside the Villa with all the sessions I do there. While they are now open to the public without reservations, you still need to pay the a photo session fee on their website before we go. (about $100).
The Temple of Love is the most romantic spot, but it is kind of tucked into the end of the pathway and can bottleneck if others are walking by.
If you choose to have your proposal at the Wildflower Center, we will have to observe their “open to the public” hours of 9-5pm which are great in the winter when the sun sets early. However, if you’re considering the Spring, Summer, or even early Fall, you need to reserve an after hours photography session of $250 for 2 hours. 2 hours is plenty of time to capture your proposal and a few photos after. Since there are plenty of places to explore and hide, you can even have your family there for the surprise after.
The main gardens are seasonal, and may not have a lot of color during the winter but the back Family Gardens are cactus green year round. I highly recommend the Wildflower Center for a pretty Central Austin proposal.
Sekrit Theater is a must for a private, romantic, unique proposal. Secret Theater is a hidden glass greenhouse in East Austin that feels absolutely special and unlike anywhere else in Austin. It’s in the backyard of a cool house and has plenty of locations for photos not including the greenhouse itself. I recommend this as it will be 100% completely private if you book and pay for the proposal session fee on their site.
Beware of the lighting though! There are only very dim chandeliers inside the greenhouse itself so if you’re choosing an after dark time slot, BRING LIGHTS. String lights, candles in glass, rose petals all make it super special for your partner. With the proposal appointment you can have your family/friends come to help with the set up and break down.
Book your DIY Proposal here: https://sekrittheater.setmore.com/bookappointment