Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

Devin + Allison |Minotaur Lake Proposal

I’ve come to discover that of all the sessions I do, proposals are the one that I feel require not just photos, but written word to bring the story together. There is so much leading up to this exact moment, and not just the technical planning, but from the heart. Things that the other person does to pull them in and ultimately decide they want to dedicate a lifetime together. Of all the things I love to learn about people, it’s the little things that are intimate to them, that are the sweetest and most authentic. That’s exactly what I have from Devin and Allison…

Devin, “A defining characteristic of our relationship is a thirst for adventure. Living in Illinois, we resorted to road trips, rollercoasters and skydiving. It wasn’t until we took a trip to Colorado that we realized that out west, in the mountains, is where we wanted to be. Exploring nature, hiking trails, white water rafting,  kayaking deep canyons, and just taking in all the beauty surrounding us is what quenched that thirst. We took a couple more trips out to Colorado, which only helped to solidify our feelings. We wanted to spend the rest of our lives together going on adventures. We decided that we were going to move out west and start a new adventure together as soon as she finished vet school. I’ve been dodging the “when are you guys getting married” question for years, even from Allison. My answer every time, “after she graduates.””

Allison, “The first time I met Devin was back in the summer of 2007 when we were both lifeguards at the local waterpark. We bonded instantly over how much we hated it. We went to different high schools and different undergraduate colleges, but we always made the time to see each other on the weekends. Luckily for us we somehow committed to colleges that were only 45 minutes away from each other. As we progressed through college, our relationship started to take shape and we were realizing how much we truly meant to each other. The coolest thing about our college relationship was that we grew both individually and together all at the same time.”

Devin, “I started doing some research online in search of breathtaking overlook points near Seattle, and stumbled upon an AllTrails hiking page for Minotaur Lake, which is a beautiful mountain top lake with crystal clear waters and breathtaking cliffs and overlook points. The AllTrails page had some photos, a description of the ‘extremely difficult’ trail that lead to the lake, and reviews from people that have made the hike. They all said the same thing, “The hike is brutal, but so worth it.” This was the place. It checked all my boxes. It was perfect. So I did a little more research, which led me to some shots Rikki had taken there. They were incredible to say the least. So I called her up last minute more or less saying that this is what I wanted to do, and I’ll do whatever I can to have you capture the moment. Without hesitation she said yes! We went back and forth going over the details and logistics in the days leading up to the proposal, and Rikki assured me that I didn’t need to worry about a thing; I just needed to follow the trail that she marked for me, and do my thing, and it would all go off without a hitch. I trusted her.”

Devin, “Fast forward to day of the hike. It was a beautiful, 90 degree day with not a cloud in the sky. It was perfect.”

Allison, “Every time I tell the story of our proposal, I laugh because I tell people that after the proposal took place we were like newlyweds on the way down that same treacherous mountain that had us bickering like an old married couple on the way up.”

Having never met these two before, flying in from Illinois for a week of vacation, Devin has been waiting over a year to pop the question. With nothing more than profile pictures to get acquainted, I encourage that “you really just have to trust me” card, because there aren’t really any other options. And he did. Once they arrived at the designated spot, a few moments of walking around and taking in the sights, removing the final marking tape to hide it from Allison, and having no idea where I actually am, Devin quickly drops to one knee and asks Allison to be his wife forever. I could tell he was anxious and oh-so-ready, because I was taken aback by the abruptness of it and moved with a lightning quick reaction when I realized THIS IS IT! She was so surprised! His excitement is something I’ll always remember.

While the planning happened pretty quick, I couldn’t have been more impressed by the forethought Devin put into this very moment. I encouraged him to bring a change of clothes for her (just in case she really wanted/needed it after such an arduous hike and before a photo shoot). He not only picked out and brought a dress for her, but makeup, and a picnic too! Serious points for that extra mile, I was incredibly impressed.

It’s something so different, so unique, and so incredibly challenging, that I can’t turn away from the chance to be apart of this amazing intimate moment between a couple. After a moment for the two of them to take in the excitement of saying, “YES!” and now being engaged, I quickly emerge from the trees and say, “Finally. Hi! I’m Rikki!” I’m grinning ear to ear, because hey, I just witnessed that! I am so humbled to be the one person to share in that moment. To meet two people in a once in a lifetime opportunity that was by pure chance. I’ve been fortunate enough now to do it twice. Gratitude doesn’t cover how incredible this makes me feel and how inspired I am to continue encouraging people to follow their hearts like this.

Cheers to a beautiful and adventurous lifetime together, Devin and Allison. I’m honored to be a small part of your story.

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