Courtney and DJ’s Steamboat Springs proposal was a day of adventure, changing plans and a great big “YES!” at the end!
I met Courtney when I went to Musana in Africa in 2015 to help run Vacation Bible School. While we were there, they split us into different teams to lead a group of 100 kids. Courtney and I got paired with each other to lead the PINK team. I’m so thankful for this lady and her sweet and fun personality because by the end of the week at Musana we had made up our of team cheer. Oh, and we had a secret call for our team that slightly resembled a dying chicken – I’ll leave it at that!
We’ve stayed friends over the year and I have loved following along on her journey. While I was vacationing this past winter, Courtney’s boyfriend DJ, sent me a DM on Instagram. As soon as I saw a message from him, I got a giddy feeling – and I hadn’t even opened up the message yet! He said he was thinking of proposing to Courtney in the next few weeks and asked if I wanted to photograph it? I didn’t need any more information to make a decision, because I immediately replied with heck-to-the-yessss I’m down for that!
DJ knew he wanted to propose in Steamboat Springs. He was taking Courtney there in a few weeks and thought it would be the perfect opportunity. We tossed around a few ideas but couldn’t quite decide on the perfect spot. I had been to Steamboat before but had never adventured around with the intention of someday finding a location for a proposal.
I reached out to my awesome friends and network and said I need to know the BEST place in Steamboat to get engaged. Fish Creek Falls was suggested to me by a friend who had snowshoed there a few weeks prior. She then sent me a link to her photos from Fish Creek Falls. As soon as I saw the trail and the blankets of puffy snow that surround the creek, and the huge frozen waterfall in the background, I knew it would be INCREDIBLE!
Because Courtney had mentioned to DJ that she might want to try snowshoeing, I sent this idea to DJ. He said perfect, we’re down, let’s do it!
Then, about two days before the proposal was supposed to go down, DJ texted me that we had to switch up plans because Courtney wanted to go snowshoeing in RMNP instead of in Steamboat springs. I did more research and talked to some more people who had been to Fish Creek Falls. They let me know that even though the whole trail is three miles long, the waterfall is only about ¼ mile walk in and the trail is snow-packed. So, I told DJ that we needed to figure out how to get Courtney to the falls! DJ made it happen and Courtney agreed.
The day of their proposal, I woke up at the butt crack of dawn to get up there with plenty of time to explore. I always like to arrive an hour or so early because I wanted to mark out the trail for DJ so he knew exactly where to go and exactly where to stand to propose.
For all the proposals I had photographed up until that point, I would find a place to hide where I am hidden but can still capture the proposal on my camera. But, when I got to the base of Fish Creek Falls, I realized there was NOWHERE TO HIDE. There was a super steep hill on one side and the river was on the other side. I literally went through every option for how to hide:
Nothing seemed to work out.
I texted DJ immediately and said we have a minor hiccup, but don’t worry I have a solution! So
DJ took a “long bathroom break” at the restaurant he and Courtney were eating at and gave me a call. “Here’s the plan. There is nowhere for me to hide down here. So, I am going to hike in behind you and pretend I’m just another tourist on the trail. When you get down on one knee and I’m going to whip my camera out of my coat to capture the moment.”
I waited in the parking lot for DJ and Courtney to pull up. I saw him and confirmed that I had eyesight on them. As I walked down the trail behind them, butterflies swarmed my stomach. I don’t know if it was because I was nervous or excited, but I just couldn’t help be so incredibly happy that I got to do this for my friend.
DJ got down on one knee and I pulled my camera out of my jacket about 15 feet behind them and I got to capture one of the most important moments in these two’s life. It is such an incredible feeling to hear your friend yell yes and giggle with excitement. Courtney has the most beautiful, big smile. To see that gorgeous smile spread across her face as soon as she realized what was happening is a moment I’ll never forget.
Dj proposes. Courtney says yes. And then Courtney finally noticed someone taking pictures behind her and casually asks DJ “Is that Larissa?”. He nodded and Courtney ran over to me and gave me a giant hug.
We took a few fun pictures afterward of the two of them, Courtney’s incredible ring (with a peach morganite stone) and celebrated the day. We just enjoyed being together, being surrounded by God’s incredible creation and celebrating two people who found their other half.
So, that is the crazy beautiful story of how DJ proposed to Courtney. And I couldn’t be more honored to have been the one to capture it on camera!