Do you know what Rob and I agree we could photograph EVERY DAY? Proposals! It’s an honor to be a part of one of the happiest days of a couple’s life. The planning, the secrecy, the getting up at 4:30 a.m. to drive for a sunrise proposal at Lake of the Clouds – totally worth it 😍
Lake of the Clouds Proposal
Mitchell and Amy have been together for six years. They met in college after Amy unexpectedly landed in Mitchell’s governmental law class. (Unexpected as in it was in his required course list but not hers.) And the rest, as they say, is history.
After a 13 month deployment in Jordan, Mitchell knew it was time to take the next step and ask Amy to be his wife. Without her knowing, before his return Mitchell ordered an engagement ring and had Amy’s brother pick it up and make sure it was perfect. (It was.)
However, Mitchell didn’t propose that day in March when he arrived home.
Instead, he took his time, savoring being back with his girl and spending time together. They enjoyed traveling that spring and summer, watching sunsets in Florida and sunrises in Arizona. (You don’t go for sunset at Horseshoe Bend – you go at sunrise.)
The month before Mitchell and Amy had spend a weekend camping with her parents. Amy wanted to get some pictures on the beach together and brought along a phone tripod. She was disappointed when the rainy weather didn’t cooperate. Mitchell told her they would make sure to plan some time into their August vacation to get some nice pictures together during their week of hiking and exploring the Upper Peninsula.
He had it all planned out. They would travel Monday through Friday, spending a day in Sault Ste. Marie and then heading west to explore some parts of the UP they hadn’t had a chance to explore before – including a trip to the picturesque Porcupine Mountains – and traveling midweek helped avoid the crush of tourism.
He was going to propose on Wednesday morning – the middle of the trip when Amy would be expecting a Monday or Friday proposal. And – spoiler alert – it was perfect.
Planning a Lake of the Clouds Proposal
Although the Google Maps listing says Lake of the Clouds Overlook is open 8 AM to 10 PM, that’s just when the rangers are in the station. After Mitchell contacted me, I reached out to a friend who lives nearby who confirmed that she has never seen the gate to the overlook parking lot closed off. I also have an app that helps me pinpoint where sunrise and sunset will be in any location for a given date. When I consulted my app, it said sunrise wouldn’t be optimal like some of the Google Images show. So we planned to have the pair arrive shortly after sunrise but well before most tourists would be there – between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. (I’m so glad we didn’t hope for sunrise because the Canada wildfires had coated the sky in thick smoke.)
I asked Mitchell if Amy would be game to this plan and he said absolutely – anything for good pictures. That’s what I like to hear! 😉 His plan was to suggest they arrive to Lake of the Clouds early to take pictures and enjoy the view before there were too many people around, then they would head back to their Silver City hotel 10 minutes away, change, and then spend the day hiking in the park.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a 60,000-acre park containing lakes, waterfalls, forests, and lots of wildlife. Lake of the Clouds is an easily accessible overlook, but you really should spend at least a day here to really enjoy it! There’s also lots of hiking trails, back country campsites, and a ski lift for fall color tours and winter recreation.
Lake of the Clouds in Ontonagon, Michigan
One of the things Rob and I really appreciate about the Upper Peninsula is how friendly the locals are. Most tourists pick up on this vibe when they visit and are happy to have a conversation. Rob and I arrived around 7 a.m. to get in position (you know – just more people with cameras watching the sunrise) and enjoyed chatting with other visitors, including a lady from Lithuania – which is where’s Rob’s family originates!
Mitchell had never been to the Lake of the Clouds Overlook before, but I emailed him a Google Earth link. Then when we spoke on the phone, I was able to have him click through as I explained where the trail came up, and where to walk for the best view. This helped Rob and I anticipate where the pair would stand, since it’s a pretty large overlook!
As they stood watching the sunrise through the smoky clouds, Mitchell kept talking to her. We couldn’t hear what he said, but as he dropped to one knee Amy’s reaction was perfect!
She said yes!!
The wave of reactions right after the proposal are some of my favorite to photograph – as the surprise wears off and the excitement grows!
Ring: Solari and Company
Engagement Session at Lake of the Clouds
With every proposal we give as much time as needed for the couple to have their moment together. When the time is right we introduce ourselves and let them know their partner arranged for the proposal to be captured, including a short 20 minute engagement session.
We love offering an engagement session along with the proposal and guarantee at least two same day images to share on social media. This gives couples the chance to get some great portraits (and pictures of her ring) without fumbling around with their phone while their hands shake from adrenaline – both his and hers. 😉
I have to admit, Mitchell and Amy’s engagement session was a little longer than 20 minutes – but I just couldn’t help myself! Continue your scroll to see why!
The overlook at Lake of the Clouds is super scenic. In addition, there is a gorgeous boardwalk that continues southwest along the ridgeline that we decided to explore! This boardwalk is normally thick with visitors, so it was nice to take advantage while it was still early morning.
Mitchell and Amy – Rob and I were so happy to be a part of this special moment with you. We wish you all the best as you take this next step together!