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A Surprise Mountain Top Proposal and Engagement in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Ellen and Dan met a little over a year ago. Since we live in the future, they actually met online--or rather--through an app. I’m a personal friend of Ellen’s so I remember her telling me about when she first met this guy in town who liked everything she liked. Each week they’d have a date I’d get updates on how things went, how much fun Dan was, and I could definitely see something growing there. 

A few months later, I too got to meet Dan. From the start, we hit it off well. At the time he was working with a bank in town and also working on growing his online coaching and strength training company. I began to work with Dan and found myself making not only excellent gains, but an excellent friendship as well.

Dan sent me a message a few weeks back about coming to Gatlinburg because he was going to propose to Ellen. I was available and with a little planning and a lot of messages back and forth on Instagram, we were able to get everything setup without Ellen even knowing. She did, however, ask me about two different times to consider coming to Gatlinburg with them with my wife. Unfortunately, my wife had a wedding to coordinate that day and I told her that I was also busy with a shoot. (her’s but she didn’t know that yet). 

The original location was supposed to be a 4 hour hike up a mountain in Gatlinburg. Due to the rain and weather, we decided to scale it back to a one hour hike up the mountain instead at The Chimney Tops in Gatlinburg. Since this was an epic mountain top surprise proposal, I decided on bringing a little extra gear with me. That was my first mistake. The total weight of what I was carrying was probably around 20 extra pounds (or more) and Chimney Tops is not a beginner hiking trail. Let’s just say that I certainly got a great workout that day. Thankfully, we all made it to the top without a problem. I then hid away with my nephew who joined me on the trip, waiting for Dan and Ellen to arrive at this beautiful overlook of the mountains. 

About 20 or 30 minutes later they arrived and I snuck past them while wearing a very bulky green rain poncho. It was then that Dan knelt down and asked Ellen, “Will you marry me?” The shock and awe of the moment with the view certainly took all our breaths away but Ellen say, “Oh my gosh, yes!” It was the perfect moment and I am so grateful to have been there to witness two amazing people share it and find one another in a world of billions. These two found one another and are the perfect match to one another’s personalities, needs, desires, and everything else.

You’ll see that Ellen was perhaps even more surprised to see me photographing them. 

The hike down was far less arduous and we all laughed at the climb and how difficult it was. The following day we reconvened for a trip to the aquarium, dinner, and finally, a non-hiking mountain top engagement session at some of my favorite spots. 

Congratulations, Ellen and Dan. You two are the perfect match and I am glad that you’ve found one another. The hard work and effort you two have put in over the past year and a half have paid off and now here is to the beginning of the rest of your lives together!