By Lauren Fair Photography

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I’m Jill, a wedding photographer based in New Jersey — and I’m so excited that you’re here! Follow along with the blog to get a glimpse into the heart behind my work.

Our Proposal Story

Newport, Rhode Island


I have to say, I am so thankful that I have never been (and never will be) responsible for proposing to someone, because I can only imagine that the stress is real! What Matt went through planning my proposal, bless his soul, probably aged him five years. Let me start at the beginning!

The Backstory

Matt and I have been together since 2016, when we were just two little 23 year olds living two hours apart in Queens and Hoboken. Since then we have moved in together in Jersey City, adopted a puppy, and now… gotten engaged! I had no idea whatsoever Matt was planning to propose — aside from a few times when we briefly discussed marriage (and one Thanksgiving Eve when I got really drunk and showed him what type of ring I would want) I really didn’t think it was in the cards soon. Not to mention for our most recent anniversary a few weeks before he proposed he had gifted me with an Apple Watch. When I opened it my first thought was, “Oh yeah, not getting a ring anytime soon after this purchase.”

But that was all part of the plan! Unbeknownst to me, at the end of last year Matt had started discussing purchasing a ring with his mom, and had asked my parents shortly after. They, of course, gave their blessing and Matt ended up purchasing my ring right about the time that the whole world shut down thanks to COVID. His initial plan had been to propose on a trip to Newport, RI I had planned around an engagement session I had scheduled for May of 2020. Well the weeks came and went, and it became clear that trip was not going to happen. When I hesitantly postponed the session for July of 2020, I still wasn’t sure if we’d be able to make it happen. Now it makes much more sense why Matt was so adamant about going on this trip!

Matt was finally able to get the ring in his possession in early July on a day I was shooting a COVID-wedding. Because we didn’t have a car at the time, his sister and her boyfriend came all the way from Long Beach to pick him up and bring him out to Long Island to retrieve it. Such saints! I had no idea, of course, and kept trying to FaceTime him that day — to which he responded, “Can’t talk, I’m cleaning.” Classic.

The Trip

Fast-forward a few weeks later and we were finally en route to Newport! Up until this point the only thing that gave me pause was that Matt was insistent upon planning our Saturday activity. We were staying Friday through Sunday, and the engagement session I was shooting was Sunday morning so the rest of the trip was wide open. Matt and I had gone on several weekend getaways together and I almost always did the planning, so when he wanted to take the reins for this I was the littlest bit suspicious. Plus, he was being secretive and wouldn’t tell me what we were doing.

Friday night we had dinner at my favorite Newport restaurant, Forty 1 North (where, spoiler alert, we would later get married!) and then headed back to our sweet little hotel, The Wayfinder (which has sadly since burned down) to get a good night’s sleep. The next day Matt still wouldn’t tell me what we were doing, which of course made getting dressed for an unknown activity slightly difficult.

The Proposal

We made our way into town Saturday and Matt finally told me we would be going on a socially distanced sailboat cruise. He mentioned there would be a few other people as well, but not many in order to be safer with COVID. I was super excited and had never been on a sailboat before, but we always tended to incorporate some sort of boating activity on all of our trips to I was ready.

As we got to the docks, the captain met up with us and let us know that we were actually going to be the only ones on that cruise because no one else had bought tickets. What luck, our very own private charter! Meanwhile I had no idea that had been the plan all along, and Matt had privately reserved the boat for the whole two hours. In fact, he had been communicating with the captain, Green, for MONTHS — coordinating every logistic with him and working things out when we had to reschedule. Green was almost as much a part of the successful proposal as Matt was! He even picked up champagne the morning of for us to have to celebrate after I said yes.

Heading out into the harbor, my first thought was, “Wow this thing tips a lot.” Like I said, I had never been on a sailboat and actually neither had Matt. We were both clinging to the boat for dear life, and I can only imagine Matt was wondering how the heck we’d stand up for him to propose.

Eventually the boat leveled out and Matt suggested we head to the front for a photo. Although I was resistant at first because I truly thought I was going overboard, I finally stood up and started to position myself next to Matt for the first mate, Mariana, to take our picture. However I suddenly realized Matt was no longer standing next to me but was down on one knee! I honestly blacked out at that point and have no memory beyond what I can hear from the video Mariana recorded. Captain Green was taking photos from the back of the boat, and I truly look so beyond confused in all of them. I’m pretty sure I said, “Of course!” instead of “yes” after Matt was done with his speech, and then we hugged, kissed, and Matt chugged the bottle of champagne. It was perfect, and thankfully neither of us (or the ring) went overboard.

The Celebration

After FaceTiming our families and close friends, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. Matt had made reservations at Scarpetta on Goat Island for later that night, and not only was an absolutely delicious meal but the views couldn’t be beat. The whole weekend was such a blur after the proposal, but we both were so full of happiness and excitement for what was to come in this next chapter. We definitely drank way too much champagne considering we had to be up at 5:00 am the next morning for my sunrise engagement session, but it was well worth the hangover.

All of the kudos in the world to Matt for planning an absolutely perfect proposal, and for making Newport an even more special place for the two of us!

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