Joshua Tree National Park Surprise Proposal | Matt & Madison

My college roommate and best friend got married in Temecula, California, in May! It was the most incredible day filled with family and friends on a gorgeous property in the hill country. With the wedding being a few days before my birthday Stephen and I decided to stay a few more days and explore more of California.

I had always wanted to see Joshua Tree National Park, so we planned to spend the day after the wedding there before heading to San Diego for my birthday and the rest of our trip. 

I posted on my Instagram story a few months before our trip to see if anyone would be in the area at that time to take photos in Joshua Tree since it’s such a breathtaking location. My friend Madison reached out, offering to model if I couldn’t find anyone else. When no one else inquired, we made plans to do a couples shoot with her and her boyfriend Matt during our visit. 

Matt texted me about a week later to see if we could disguise the shoot as a surprise proposal! I was so excited and thrilled about the idea, so we got to planning. Thankfully Madison had been the one to reach out to offer to model; she was pretty convinced that everything as her idea.

In the weeks leading up, Matt and I made a plan of how exactly he would pop the question, what the posing cues would be and how we would keep things discrete. Madison and I planned outfits and meeting times and kept things going as if Matt and I had never spoken.

Matt also planned a surprise party in Palm Springs after the proposal, with all of their family waiting for them. So we lied to Madison and said that they could stay at our Airbnb after the shoot since it would be late. Madison even brought decorations and mimosas to celebrate my birthday, sorry we spoiled your plans, Madison.

As the day rolled around my anxiety was at an all-time high, I was so anxious to make sure things went off without a hitch, and we got into Joshua Tree to scout locations a little later than I had hoped. Thankfully Stephen and I found a beautiful spot and even had time to grab food thanks to L.A.’s wonderful traffic. 

We met Matt and Madison in the parking lot of the visitor center and drove up to the spot. I had to make excuses why we needed to drive separately, so I bought them a separate park pass to make sure our post-proposal plans weren’t spoiled. I hadn’t seen Madison in quite some time; it was so awesome to finally get to hang out, even if it was for just a few hours. 

As we started taking photos, I could tell Matt was nervous and kept pulling his shirt over his pocket so Madison wouldn’t see the ring box. Thankfully Matt always stores 8 million different key chains and things in his pocket, so Madison didn’t suspect anything. 

So we walked around took some photos and got them “warmed up” before I gave Matt the cues to start our plan. I had Matt come up behind Madison several times doing different things to get a cute reaction out of her, and for the last one, Matt tapped her on the shoulder. When Madison turned around, Matt was on one knee. 

She was so surprised. 

It was the sweetest moment; I started to tear up. I’ve known Madison for years and know how amazing she and Matthew are together, getting to witness and capture this moment was a real honor and joy. 

Stephen also filmed the whole thing for them while claiming he was taking behind the scenes photos for me. It was so fun to have him there to help and celebrate with us! 

We wrapped up some post-proposal pictures quickly because Matt and Madison had a long drive ahead. We parted ways saying see you soon, but in reality, we wouldn’t. Matt had a huge surprise in store for Madison in Palm Springs to get to.

It was such a fun time capturing this moment for Matt and Madison, don’t miss out on their adorableness below. 

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