Secret Proposal in Bonner, Montana

It all began when Will contacted us via Airbnb in the hopes to rent our lovely A-frame Cabin and at some point there, propose to his longtime girlfriend – Becca.

I thought: “That’s cool, the A-frame has had an interview, a few Anniversary celebrations this summer but an engagement would be a first. Damn, we’re not even going to be here, since we’ll be on our way back to Korea as we normally do at the end of each summer. Damn, damn, damn! Could have been a neat thing to capture…”

Then, the stars aligned and the universe has heard this desperate photographer’s call and went to work!

We received an email from our airline, informing us of an incoming Typhoon Soulik, which will bring expected winds of 200 km/hr in Jeju Island and 100 km/hr winds in our city of Daejeon. So dear traveler, if you’d like to change your date of departure by two days to avoid this craze, then you may!

I thought: “Spend two more days in Montana with family and have a chance to capture and/or assist with Will and Becca’s engagement? YES!!!”

Can you find me?

Everyone on the compound was so excited and buzzing with ideas for the upcoming event. Dad-in-law contributed his awesome ghillie suit, normally used for hunting, but it’ll be used in a much more romantic/stalkerish way – to hide out and create a video instead (which Will was totally on board with.) Perfect, we like production! Mom-in-law helped to assemble a few dozen artificial tealight candles around the perimeter of the A-frame. Wine and glasses were set, the place – clean and ready to shine.

Of course, we had to create an inconspicuous dugout, for me to hang in, covered in branches and other typical forest paraphernalia. Lying about 30 feet away from the cabin, it helped to have a zoom lens (Fuji’s 18-55 f2.8) so as to keep me as far away as possible from being discovered. At the last minute, we also decided to record a second video from a closer perspective on an iPhone, which helped to provide better audio and a different angle.

The place was buzzing with excitement, I was sweating inside the ghillie suit and everyone else was nervously talking to each other on Walkie Talkies, hoping for everything to go smoothly and surreptitiously.

I thought: “Oh my gosh, she has no idea! While my husband is stumbling through his Welcome speech, Will is smiling nervously as he is getting closer to the moment that they are alone and I’m trying not to breathe, dressed as Chewbacca, trying to keep my voyeuristic camera steady. Holy smokes, I hope she says Yes…”

Imagine being a fly on the wall during a very important moment in two people’s lives (makes me emotional just thinking about it). What did he say? How did she react? Let me tell you, it was a moment in time that I’ll probably never forget and if you’re good friends with Will and Becca, they may even want to share their engagement video with you someday. Luckily, they allowed us to use these still frames, which showcase that without a doubt – She said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, I came out of my hiding spot, when everyone had left and waddled my way over to the happy couple. Becca was in shock!


Thanks to my team of helpers (G, Mom, and Dad) for your assistance and creative ideas to make this happen.

Of course, thank you to the adventurous Will for letting us go all production-like on his engagement. And to Becca for having no idea the whole time!

Luckily for us, these guys are from Missoula, Montana and we’ll probably be seeing them again, minus the ghillie suit I hope 😛


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Published by Alla Ponomareva

Daejeon based portrait and travel photographer/EFL teacher with a passion for traveling on a budget and sharing her stories on her blog www.allaponomareva.com

6 thoughts on “Secret Proposal in Bonner, Montana

  1. OMG. I love this story! It sounds like a Buzzfeed article just waiting to happen! Or the plot of sitcom! Glad you were able to make the best of a bad situation (typhoon). Talk about commitment to a job! 🙂

  2. What a heartwarming article! It is such a rare privilege to be able to witness and be part of something so beautiful 🙂 It seems like your Aframecabin is getting you amazing opportunities! Nice outfit too!!

  3. Oh my goodness! I burst out laughing when I saw the first photo of you buried in the bush, before I could even get to reading the article. What an amazing story, and fantastic that your plane got delayed so you could be part of this 🙂
    Wonderful storytelling through your images! And glad to see that your hut is getting some good use! That place may become famous someday!

    1. Thats funny, we feel like the Aframe has overcome and surpassed any and all the expectations we had for it. With a magazine cover, Zillow video, 50+ features online, and now an engagement, we just smile at any more ideas destiny has in store for this lovely cabin 😛

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