Jill Watchhorn and Philip McGuinness spent their first long weekend together at the Kinloch Lodge Hotel on the Isle of Skye so when Philip decided to plan a suprise propose, well, his choice of location was obvious!

Decision made, Philip called Isabella MacDonald at the hotel to enlist her help in creating the ultimate proposal with memories guaranteed to last. Isabella called on Rosie Woodhouse, photographer at Love Skye Photography and Little People Portraits Skye, to spring the perfect romantic surprise.

After 10 days plotting and planning and scheming and scheduling between Philip, Isabella and Rosie, a plan was hatched. Shortly after arriving at the hotel, Philip would suggest a stroll along the shore to a secluded cove. Rosie and Albie, a local piper, would be there conducting a mock photoshoot. The weather would be beautiful (we ordered it so). Champagne would be hidden nearby. Philip would go on bended knee. Jill would cry and immediately say ‘yes’. And there would be a happy, happy ending!

It was a great plan and nothing could go wrong. Saturday 5th May was beautiful and showed off the stunning scenery; Isabella, Albie and Rosie met as planned and made it to the cove (with champagne) in good time. Rosie from Little People Portraits Skye takes up the story…

“As Albie and I waited, we chatted and discovered shared concerns: what if Jill didn’t want to go for a walk? What if she preferred to stay in and enjoy the famously scrumptious Kinloch Lodge afternoon tea?  What if Jill (we whispered this bit) said ‘no’? What would we do? Where would we go?!

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As we were chatting, Albie suddenly launched his bagpipes onto his shoulder and hissed ‘they’re here’. Philip and Jill had taken a different route to the cove and they were almost upon us. I sprang into photographer mode: ‘that’s it… a little to your left, the light’s great, lovely… looks wonderful on the back’; Philip and Jill passed between us. Philip was looking a little tense and Jill was clearly puzzled to find a photoshoot going on.

Philip tugged lightly at Jill’s hand and swung her round to him, halting their walk. They embraced. Jill told me afterwards she realised what was happening and she wondered ‘why would he ever propose in front of these people?’. Philip dropped to one knee, Albie played a romantic air and I watched Jill beam and start to tear up. I knew it was going to be fine. I pressed the shutter and caught that once-in-a-lifetime ‘will you?’ moment.

I had been a little worried about the intrusion of photographing such an intimate moment but as the emotions unfolded I couldn’t help but be caught up in the story and I carried on shooting. It became a lovely sequence of images, showing the initial shock, joy and realisation of what was happening on Philip and Jill’s faces.

Philip opened champagne, I took a few more shots and then agreed to meet back at the hotel for a more composed engagement shoot in the gardens. Leaving Philip and Jill in the cove, the piper and I sauntered back to the hotel, feeling considerably more relaxed than an hour previously. All the staff at the hotel were in on the secret and I tried to keep a straight, sombre face and report that Jill had said ‘no’… but I couldn’t do it and they had heard Jill’s delighted tones and laughter drifting up from the shore. More champagne was already waiting.

Philip and Jill changed and we continued with our shoot for a further half hour with much giggling, sipping of champagne and admiring Jill’s beautiful engagement ring. Philip was delighted, ‘it went perfectly, it couldn’t have been better. Jill had no idea, she really believed the photoshoot. We can’t thank everyone enough, it’s been wonderful’

Being part of their proposal felt amazing, a real privilege! How many couples can say they have an album of professional photos of the moment he popped the question? We even put together a personalised disc of images to share with their friends at a party last weekend. It was one of the most joyous photoshoots I’ve ever been involved in.”