rocky mountain surprise proposal story – kaihla + mark

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i’ve been following Kaihla Tonai’s photography and lifestyle blog since long before yegwed was a thing – this girl is seriously down-to-earth and positive, and i have truly enjoyed reading her words. last week she announced that she was engaged, and i was moved to tears when i read all of the sweet details of the surprise proposal… i just knew i had to share it with you.

here’s the story:

‘I’ve never been one to fantasize endlessly about princess ball gowns and elaborate weddings, or simply to continuously anticipate a proposal every day of our relationship. The relationship that Mark and I share has never been about that stuff – it has never been about a title, or materialistic possessions, or an expensive ring. The life that we share has always been based on an honest, inexplicable connection; from the very beginning it was about saving one another from a deep darkness that we had uniquely found ourselves trapped inside of, and with the help of one another, we were able to escape that and come out on the other side better than before. Four and a half years ago we found each other amidst a cloud of uncertainty and self-discovery and over those four years we’ve both aided each other in becoming two uniquely creative and inspiring people who have been made a better person because of the other.

During the last month of summer, Mark mentioned to me that he’d like to go to “our spot” in Jasper for one more day trip before the snow falls. It’s not out of the ordinary for us to make a day trip to the mountains; it’s the perfect way for us both to recharge and renew our inspiration, and a perfect way to get out of the city and have our own little date with each other. Since my September was filling up rather quickly with sessions in both Edmonton and Calgary, as well as a friends wedding, we finally decided that we would dedicate Sunday, September 21st solely to our day trip to the rockies. We awoke leisurely on Sunday with no pressing timelines or schedules. Mark made us our usual morning coffee and packed up our backpack filled with sweaters, beer, and books, while I gathered all of my camera equipment together. This summer and fall, Mark has been capturing some video footage during our weddings and sessions, so we also brought along his Fuji camera so that he could practice some more video usage. We had previously discussed that it would be fun to first grab some lunch in town at the Jasper Brewery prior to spending a few hours enjoying each other’s company and reading our books atop of our roadside mountain.

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We parked the truck, gathered our things and started the ten minute walk up the mountain. I had asked Mark if he would take a few shots of me at the spot earlier that day, so as soon as we got to the top and set all of our things down he did just that and then began setting up the tripod for some panning video trials on his Fuji. We were going to do some test shots with video, so he had me stand in front of one of the most beautiful landscape backdrops and told me to just let my hair and sweater blow with the wind. A few minutes later, he walked up beside me and asked me if he could read me a letter that he had wrote. He unfolded a piece of paper from his pocket and spoke some of the most heartfelt and honest words that I have ever heard (cue MAJOR tears….). When he finished reading his letter, he let it fall to the ground, and got down on one knee. From his pocket he pulled this unique little handcrafted box and opened it to reveal one of the most unique rings I had ever seen; granted at this point I literally couldn’t ACTUALLY see the ring considering that I was crying so incredibly hard…

Mark designed the ring and had it made for me right here in Sherwood Park. When he first told me this after proposing, I didn’t believe him; I couldn’t believe that this ring was the only one of it’s kind ever to be made, and that it was mine (as was he) forever more. But in reality, I wouldn’t have expected anything else from my boy. Mark is so incredibly hard working, and passionate, and dedicated to everything that he pours his heart and soul into, and the fact that he wanted to create something like this for me to wear is a thought that makes me love him even more than I ever thought that I could. This sneaky little guy has been brainstorming and planning all of this over the course of the last 8 months; last night he even showed me the initial sketches in his sketchbook of my ring that he had started hashing out months ago. Not only did he (and my dad, brother, and brother-in-law who also knew SINCE APRIL!) do an insanely great job at keeping things under wraps (I would never have even GUESSED that any of this was going on), but Mark also made a secret day trip to Edmonton from Calgary to approve the trial ring design while I just thought he was at work one Thursday in August. Do I ever love that little bearded face.

Post proposal, this sneaky little guy pulled champagne out of his backpack, and in true Mark and Kaihla style, we drank champagne from our camping cups, and spent the next hour laughing and dancing and taking pictures.’

and here’s the montage of video footage that mark took: 


here’s a gif i made of these sweethearts celebrating – i couldn’t help it, they’re so happy and cute!

and here are the rest of the images: 

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congratulations Mark and Kaihla! you should totally go check out Kaihla’s blog – you can read a little more about the proposal here. she’s already started blogging the planning process, and she has got some great advice. by the way, Kaihla is taking bookings for weddings in both edmonton and calgary – and she creates some beautiful images! check out her portfolio here.

got a proposal story you’d like to share? get in touch! we’d love to hear from you.