A Marvelous Surprise: Eric & Brittany’s helicopter proposal in Canmore.

Eric and Brittany have been dating since high school. Of course, life happens and she went away to college, but they made a long distance relationship work and it seems they can’t stay apart because ten years later, after dating and overseas trips and relocating from Ontario to Alberta, he bought the ring. He was ready, and figured she was too.

Eric contacted me to see if I would be interested in photographing his secret proposal on the top of the mountains. We would go in a helicopter and he would read a poem and pop the question. Well, of course. I love proposals! Our original plan was foiled by windy weather, so we postponed, and postponed again, and again. It turns out that some things are really worth waiting for, because when we finally got our chance on a day that started with clouds and poor visibility, we were ready. Being organised is essential (camera bag was packed the day before) because I flew out of the house to meet them earlier than scheduled (a break in the weather waits for no-one). I left behind the waterproof housing for the GoPro in my haste, I had planned to put it on the snow somewhere. Oops. They had just finished their safety training when I arrived at the Alpine Helicopters base, and I went in for my quick safety video. Alpine of course were in on the secret and a few minutes later we boarded.

During the flight in Britanny asked the pilot if he ever got sick of the views. His answer “I can’t say I do, no”, then she turned to Eric and asked if he ever gets sick of looking at her…and pushes the talk button so he can’t answer and says she’ll answer for him! Knowing he was about to ask her to spend the rest of her life with him, I found that quite musing. She had no idea what was about to happen.

Our pilot weaved through the clouds and and gently landed on about 20cm of snow at Marvel Pass on the border of Banff National Park. I sat the GoPro on the helicopter (the perfect stand) and wandered away to get my camera out of my backpack. Eric and Brittany sat down to enjoy the views. Then the big moment came.

Brittany had no idea why I was there, or that I was filming and photographing the proposal. I asked Eric not to tell her right away, because it allows me to capture a few more ‘sneaky’ shots without her knowing. When they walked up to me, newly engaged, I offered to take a couple of photos of them since I had a camera on me. She still didn’t suspect the truth. I guess Eric and I played it pretty cool. Well, we tried anyway. When I suggested they pose next to the helicopter, they didn’t know how to pose for the camera, so I decided it was time to end the charade and told them exactly how I wanted them to stand, firing off instructions. Brittany said “You’ve done this before haven’t you?” and I said “a few times”. “Is that why you’re here?” she asked. “Maybe”, I answered. The cat was out of the bag, and we did the engagement photos, but I also gave them plenty of alone time to cherish the moment. The bad weather we were expecting never came, it was perfect and mild, and the views were stunning. All in all, a perfect day.

Congratulations Eric and Brittany, it was an honour to be a part of this. Eric, you did great!


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