Surprise Proposal on Folly Beach at Sunset

Beach grass on a sunny day overlooking Morris Island Lighthouse

Love has a way of weaving beautiful stories, and this one is no exception. Today I wanted to share D & J’s sweet proposal story on Folly Beach just before sunset. With her best friend M as the secret architect behind the plan, this proposal really became a beautiful moment of love, friendship, and perfect timing.

D’s Surprise Proposal Plan

Every surprise proposal takes an immense amount of planning to make it perfect. From the location, to the timing, to “the cue”, each proposal is different because each relationship is different. Here is how D planned his proposal.

Setting the Stage: Choosing Folly Beach

Choosing the perfect proposal spot takes a lot of thought. D knew he wanted to propose on or at least near the beach, but deciding WHERE was the biggest challenge. The beach’s tranquility and the enchanting sunset served as the perfect backdrop for D’s romantic proposal plan, and after going over all of the different options he chose to go with Folly Beach overlooking the Morris Island Lighthouse.

Waves wash up on the sand at Folly Beach with beach grass and a breakwater in the background
Sea grass and sand under a blue sky at Folly Beach
Driftwood in the waves looking toward Morris Island Lighthouse at Folly Beach

Perfect Timing: Beating Sunset

Timing plays a crucial role in proposal planning. D had a vision to propose during the sunset, while ensuring there was still ample daylight for post-proposal portraits. To achieve this, we meticulously planned every minute, allowing enough time for them to stroll from the parking area, down the graffiti road, and reach the spot on the beach where I was, pretending to capture the scenic beauty. Our designated “go” time was carefully set approximately two hours before the actual sunset.

Driftwood on Folly Beach at Morris Island Lighthouse Park

The Hidden Hand: M’s Involvement

M played an instrumental role in making the proposal unforgettable. As a close confidante, M understood D’s vision and helped execute every detail flawlessly. M was my main contact for the entire process, right up until the proposal. Both she and D knew that if D was my main contact J would somehow figure out the plan. They REALLY wanted to make sure it was a surprise for J, so M took the reins.

The Master Plan

Timing and location are both huge details, but the next step is choosing “the approach” to the proposal. There are tons of options, but D already had an idea when he (actually M) reached out to me initially.

Visualizing the Perfect Proposal

D had seen a surprise proposal idea involving a photographer on TikTok, so when M reached out initially she mentioned this and sent me the video.

Bubble wash of ocean waves on the beach at Folly Beach
Couple standing on Folly Beach in front of Driftwood
Couple smiling at each other with driftwood and Morris Island Lighthouse in the background

The TikTok Strategy

The video M & D shared showed a strategy that would have them approach me (as I pretended to just be a beach-goer photographing the scenery) and ask if I would take a photo of their group. I would quickly agree, and then offer to take the photos with my camera and send them along after the fact. The next step was for me to pose them in a “creative” pose, and D took over from there.

Couple right before a proposal. Her back is turned and he's turning around
Man on his knee to propose while his girlfriend's back is turned
Man down on one knee proposing to his girlfriend with Morris Island Lighthouse in the background
Woman gasps in shock as her boyfriend proposes on Folly Beach with Morris Island Lighthouse in the background
man puts a ring on his fiance's hand after proposing on the beach
couple hold hands and smile at each other right after a proposal on the beach
couple holding hands after just getting engaged at Folly Beach
Couple hugging after getting engaged at Folly Beach in the evening

Why Interact?

Personally proposals with this type of strategy are my favorite for several reasons. Here are a few of the top:

  1. “Hiding” as a photographer on the beach to capture a surprise proposal is REALLY hard. It’s tough to be discreet, but also see the exact moment to start photographing the couple without them (or at least the person being proposed to) catching on.
  2. If we have an “interact” strategy it alleviates stress on the part of the “proposer”, because I’ll set you up in the right spot with the best light, and also give you the cue to propose. You don’t have to guess and hope I’m ready!
  3. Asking someone to take a photo of the two of you isn’t weird, especially in a touristy spot! It gives me a reason to be in your vicinity without being creepy.

After the Proposal

After J said “YES!” to D’s sweet proposal I hung back to give them a few minutes together to celebrate together. J was COMPLETELY surprised (success!), so both D and M were thrilled that the plan went off without a hitch.

Couple laugh in surprise after a surprise proposal at Folly Beach
Two women best friends smile at the camera with Morris Island Lighthouse in the background
Four friends smile at the camera with Morris Island Lighthouse in the background

Once they’d shared a little bit of time (and J had the chance to look at her gorgeous ring for a few minutes), I officially introduced myself and we headed out on a little beach exploration to take a few engagement photos.

Preserving The Moment

Capturing the moment of the proposal is so special, but so are the moments just afterwards. Most couples will plan an official engagement photo session after the proposal, but this session is an opportunity to laugh and celebrate together and capture the raw emotion of your relationship just post-proposal.

Candid Laughter

Having been together for a considerable time, D & J’s strong bond was beautifully evident in their photographs. I absolutely adored the way they radiated happiness, sharing genuine smiles that vividly portrayed their deep love for each other.

Couple hold hands and walk toward the camera through driftwood on the beach
Couple laugh together as man whispers in his fiancé's ear amid driftwood on folly beach
couple hugs on the beach with driftwood in the background
Close up of an engagement ring on a couple's hand just after a proposal
couple walk away from the camera at the inlet on Folly Beach
man holds his fiancé's hand and helps her across water at Folly Beach
Couple smile together standing at the water at the inlet at Folly Beach
Couple holding hands walking away from an ocean inlet
Couple holding hands and smiling at the camera walking amid driftwood on Folly Beach
close up of couples holding hands walking on the beach
couple smile together walking on the beach at sunset
newly engaged couple hug on the beach at sunset
Newly engaged couple sit in the sand amid beach grass
Couple holding hands and walking along a beach path with water in the background
couple laugh together walking along a beach path
Couple laughing holding hands walking on Folly Beach
couple holding close together and walking away from the camera on the beach

FAQs About Planning a Surprise Proposal

Here are some frequently asked questions about planning a surprise proposal on Folly Beach.

Can you visit Folly Beach at any time of the day for a proposal?

Yes, you can visit Folly Beach at any time of the day (between sunrise and sunset) for a proposal. We chose sunset because of the romantic ambiance it offers, but also it was perfectly timed for dinner reservations afterward.

How do I know when the sunset is at Folly Beach?

Sunset time changes every day, but just searching “Sunset Folly Beach” plus your date will give you an exact sunset time. You’ll want to plan for more time than you think, because once the sun is down it’s gone and it gets dark quite quickly. For my style “blue light” (that time just post sunset) isn’t ideal, but it may be for other photographers.

Is Folly Beach suitable for engagement photos?

Absolutely! Folly Beach provides a great backdrop for engagement photos! Just be aware that since it’s a public beach there are often going to be many other people around enjoying the space, so you’ll have to work around that.

How can I make my proposal more personal?

Incorporate elements that hold sentimental value, such as shared memories, favorite locations, or meaningful items. Location is usually the easiest way to customize your proposal, and it doesn’t have to be a traditional spot! If you’re not “outdoorsy” people, plan your proposal for a spot that fits your relationship; it could be a coffee shop, a bar, a library, etc.

Should I hire a photographer for the proposal?

I’m biased when it comes to this question, but I absolutely recommend hiring a photographer. Having a professional ensures that the special moment is beautifully documented, plus you’ll have help in planning! If you have friends or family in attendance it also gives them freedom to just be in the moment and not worry about capturing it.

How can I involve friends in the proposal without spoiling the surprise?

Communicate your plans with a close friend you can trust, like D did with M. They can assist in the planning without revealing the surprise to your partner. M and her boyfriend were at the beach with D & J, and they just stepped back during the proposal moment, but then were able to celebrate with the couple immediately afterward.

Couple holding each other and walking away from the camera on Folly Beach

Love and Friendship Amidst the Sunset

D’s surprise proposal to J on Folly Beach, masterminded by her best friend M, stands as a testament to the power of love and friendship. With the sun setting on the horizon, two hearts united, creating a memory that will forever be etched in their hearts. As we celebrate this beautiful love story, let it serve as a reminder that love knows no bounds, and with the support of cherished friends, anything is possible.