Real Proposal: Allison and Patrick

A Virginia groom stages a romantic proposal—and a photographer captures every sweet moment.

A pre-proposal moment. All photographs by Aaron Spicer Photography

Is there anything sweeter than a marriage proposal (like this one from a few months ago)? Not that we can think of! So when Fredericksburg photographer Aaron Spicer sent us shots he captured of a real proposal just a few weeks ago, we had to share them—and, of course, talk to the brilliant groom who planned the whole thing.

Patrick Mead and Allison Popola of King George, Virginia, first met at work in May 2010 and started dating this past July.

Patrick bought a ring while on a business trip to Las Vegas in September and began planning his proposal from there.

“Allison had jokingly described her dream proposal as me down on one knee with a little black velvet box, maybe in a restaurant, with a photographer coming out of nowhere to capture the moment,” says Patrick.

Around the same time, Allison came up with the idea of doing a fall photo shoot with a professional photographer.

“I’d been living in Florida for the past six years, so this was my first fall with leaves changing in a long time,” says Allison. “I told Patrick I’d love to have a photographer do a couples shoot for us so we could get some great fall pictures while the leaves were still colorful, and we could even use some photos as a gift for our families for Christmas.”

Patrick saw his window of opportunity and took the initiative by booking Aaron for November 12 and planning the entire day.

“I was very appreciative and loved that he was being so helpful,” says Allison. “But since I was the one who suggested the shoot, I didn’t suspect anything!”

The photo shoot took place at Alum Springs Park in Fredericksburg, near where Patrick grew up. The couple first took some shots to get comfortable in front of the camera.

“Then Aaron said there was a bridge where we could get some great shots,” says Allison. “We walked to the bridge, and Aaron told us that he would go to the far end and get some action shots of us walking hand in hand toward him. Then he told us to stop in the middle of the bridge.”

At that point, Patrick got down on one knee. (Click the jump to see photos of the big moment!)


“I wasn’t nervous,” he recalls. “I couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about how amazing Allison looked. I was so caught up in thinking about what I would say and do. I couldn’t wait to ask her.”

“I started to tear up,” Allison says. “My eyes got so watery that I didn’t even see the ring until much later because everything was blurry! I was incredibly happy in that moment—he made me smile, cry, and laugh, and I felt so special.”


Patrick and Allison continued the shoot as an engagement session. Afterward, they headed into DC for dinner at Equinox, a moonlit tour of the city, and a stay at the Hay-Adams Hotel. They plan to marry next November in Virginia.