Pooja and Aanand | A Central Park Proposal Story

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The proposal, as told by their photographer Raquel: I love photographing proposals so it’s always exciting to open an email from a guy preparing to surprise his lady with the best question she’ll ever be asked on earth. Mostly its thrilling to be in on a secret that so few other people know about, and help be a part of the planning process. I have shot three proposals now and have loved every minute of all of them.

Aanand & Pooja were particularly special though because Aanand is one of my husband’s good friends from college. I hadn’t met Pooja yet because we hadn’t seen Aanand since our wedding which was before they were dating. So, she had no clue who I was.

Okay, so here’s how it went down. Their one year dating anniversary was coming up and Aanand decided it was the perfect opportunity to pop the question. Before they both headed off to work in the morning, Aanand mentioned to Pooja to keep an eye on her e-mail that day, as she would be receiving an important message. At 10:30 AM exactly, Pooja received the first of three emails with her first clue directing her to a spot, a few blocks from her office, where they first spent time together, a car awaited her. Once in the car Pooja received the next email- packing instructions for the rest of the day, and a night out on the town.

After being taken back to her apartment, gathering a bag, and returning to the car, Pooja received the last email, letting her know to meet Aanand at Central Park, to begin their anniversary day together. She obviously knew something special was going on and thought that it might even be a proposal, but was still unsure exactly what the rest of the day held in store.

Meanwhile, Aanand and I waited near Central Park, and scouted a location. He warned me that Pooja is tough to surprise so he decided to throw her a misdirect to get her in front of the camera. This would be the first time I was not hidden and part of the act for shooting a proposal!

Pooja is a fashionista and Aanand thought it would be great to have me pretend to be an assistant to the famed Sartorialist, Scott Schuman, and approach her as a subject to photograph for the blog. As a disclaimer, I’m pretty sure Scott Schuman photographs all his own work personally, but since our lie was going to last a total of 3 minutes who cares?! He even went as far as getting a fake business card made for me, in case she didn’t believe me.

We picked a spot on a pretty bridge. [*Note to guys: location definitely helps to make these images more epic.] I watched as they turned the corner to make their way across the bridge and then started walking towards them. I approached as they were about to pass me and asked Pooja if I could photograph her for the blog. She was SUPER skeptical. I also botched my name. I am the WORST liar on earth despite lots of prep practice.

After asking Aanand a few times if he “knew what this was all about” Pooja relented and let me snap her photo. She kept remarking “He has something up his sleeve. I have no clue what’s going on!” And I asked her why she thought he was up to something. She explained that it was their 1 year dating anniversary. I said “Congrats! Would you like me to photograph you guys together since its a special occasion? I’d be happy to send you the photo.” They agreed, and Aanand made his way into the frame…

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After snapping a couple normal photos, Aanand asked to take just ONE MORE. As Aanand began to get down on one knee Pooja expressed her excitement and surprise with an amazing and entertaining sequences of fast pacing and hand gestures, to which Aanand could only laugh and smile, that not only had she said yes – but that he had truly surprised her!

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After they composed themselves and getting a few more photos snapped, Aanand took Pooja out to lunch to celebrate the moment, followed by surprising her with both of their families at dinner, and a surprise party with many of their closest friends later that night for a truly memorable engagement day.

Story and Photos by Raquel Bianca