So I’m at the airport and my plan is already boarding when my phone rings: “Hi, I’m looking for a photographer to take engagement photos when I propose to my girlfriend and then to come on a hot air balloon ride with us…” Wait, come again?? For reals??? (Slow down, heart rate… and…Hello, Bucket List – so very nice to meet you!) “Why, yes, I would love to capture your hot air balloon proposal! But my plane is boarding so we need to talk fast, haha!” (Talk about perfect timing – so glad I answered the call!)
Jeff, who lived in Colorado, was very concerned about Sara NOT finding out about his proposal plans, so he created an elaborate rouse involving friends from all over the world in order to surprise her. I’ll spare you all the details, but the basic plan was for everyone to meet up one weekend in L.A. for a mini-college reunion of sorts. Jeff wasn’t “scheduled” to arrive until late Friday night, so he convinced Sara to accompany their other mutual friend to Vendimia Winery in Temecula. They planned to tour the winery for her lifestyle blog, while simultaneously promoting some new sunglasses.
So the story was that I was hired to photograph the friend (and the sunnies) while Sara was joining in just for fun. And they had to go at sunrise, because these sunglasses “have got you covered from the first rays of the sun”. Truth is, Hot Air Balloon tours are only given at Sunrise up in Temecula due to the wind, but if there’s ever anything worth waking up at 4am for , it’s this:
So there we are, California Dreamin‘s pilots and crew, Jeff, his friends, and I all playing our roles to try to surprise Sara. The truth is, Sara had us all totally figured out already! (Not hard when you’ve told your boyfriend you want to be proposed to in front of hot air balloons, lol). But watching us all work so hard to play into the rouse only made her enjoy it all more! And well – DUH! Imagine – your charming, hot, smart, dream of a boyfriend just asked you to marry him! Holding the most beautiful ring you’ve ever seen… in front of hot air balloons you are about to ride in together! All of this made only more fun by the fact that your besties are by your side and able to experience it all with you! Surprised or not, you’re bound to feel ecstatic!
If you’ve never been on a Hot Air Balloon ride before you might be thinking it’s got to be scary. Crazy thing is – it totally isn’t! Especially when you have such a cautious and capable crew like California Dreamin’ operating. The lift off is super smooth; you just kind of glide up slowly. And because it’s all wind-driven, you are not fighting the wind up there. It feels calm and serene – totally peaceful! Just a smooth, picturesque floating sensation! It’s honestly an incredible feeling – like nothing else I’ve ever experienced!
No Hot Air Balloon Proposal would be complete without a Champagne toast, right? And since it’s still only 7am by this point, let’s make it Mimosas! Thoughtfully provided by California Dreamin’!
As for me, I can finally cross Hot Air Balloon ride off my bucket list! This whole experience was so exhilarating, and I felt so thrilled to be part of such a big moment in Jeff + Sara’s lives! So very worth the 3am wake-up call! Haha! Only problem is… now I can’t wait to go again! So reach out if you’re planning a romantic hot air balloon proposal session of your own! (And be sure to check out our tips for planning a picture perfect proposal too).