The last film I made in 2017 was of a gorgeous proposal I captured on Christmas Eve morning in the mountains surrounding where I live in Wengen, part of the Bernese Alps in Switzerland.
When Chen Yi got on one knee, with the north face of The Eiger as the backdrop, Esther said ‘yes’… but the planning of his proposal and the filming of it came weeks beforehand.
I was first approached in November by their mutual friend Leanne who was making the plans and arrangements on Chen Yi’s behalf. At the time Leanne gave me two options of where she thought would make the perfect location for the proposal. Either the Jungfrau or the Matterhorn. Both well-known tourist spots but not altogether the ideal place for an intimate proposal.
Having been to Zermatt to visit the Matterhorn on several occasions I knew there would be plenty of spots Chen Yi would be able to propose to Esther with the iconic peak in the background. But what hadn’t been considered was the very unpredictable Swiss weather in December. The fact that, both the Matterhorn and the Jungfrau would only be seen on a clear day and the best view of the Jungfrau would not be from the Jungfraujoch, otherwise known as the ‘Top of Europe’ but actually from here in Wengen.
Local knowledge was crucial when putting this proposal together and I worked very closely with their friend/planner, Leanne, from the point of booking right through to the end of the weekend when they left Switzerland.
In the end we decided the best location would be on Männlichen, a cable car ride up from Wengen to the ski runs, with either the Jungfrau in the vista behind us or the north face of The Eiger.
My next job was to sort out the flowers and recce the location to make sure the proposal would remain as a surprise and I could secretly film it without Esther suspecting what was going on.
After I had decided on the exact location with the perfect backdrop I needed to work out a ‘story’…. it’s much easier for a photographer to capture moments secretly than it is for a videographer and I also needed to film more than just ‘a proposal’ in order to make a film.
My husband would pretend to be a Swiss Tour Guide, he works for Switzerland Travel Centre so that’s not so far-fetched a story, and I would be his marketing assistant filming his tour for promotional purposes. This meant not only could I openly film around the couple but I also had an excuse to pop a microphone on Chen Yi without it looking too suspicious.
On the morning of the proposal I was thrilled to wake up to a clear sky… it had been snowing for days beforehand with freezing temperatures and no visibility…
We met the group at Wengen station and James began ‘the guided tour’ through the village. Our connections here in Wengen meant that the Männlichen Aerial Cable Way had arranged for us to take a cable car up before anyone else so we had it to ourselves and this also meant we had the slopes to ourselves before the throngs of skiers appeared on the slopes from the surrounding resorts.
As Leanne and I headed over to the ‘proposal’ point James kept the Chen Yi, Esther and the rest of the group behind talking them through each and every peak of the surrounding mountain range … and generally being a very convincing tour guide.
Meanwhile Leanne and her husband William quickly arranged rose petals into a heart-shape …. this time bless by a totally still day with no wind (very unusual for here) and I hid set up my cameras hidden behind a BMW, which stands on a podium on the mountainside.
And we waited …
Not long after, Chen Yi and Esther arrived and he placed her in the heart-shaped roses before getting down on one knee.
It was perfect. The sun was still low making for a pinky coloured sky behind them and above The Eiger.
Soon after Esther said ‘yes’ their friends ran in to congratulate them both, we all then warmed up in the Männlichen Restaurant with a hot chocolate and then we went sledging. A first for Chen Yi and Esther and interesting for me too, filming with three cameras while sledging to get the best shots.
Here’s a ‘behind the scenes’ film of the morning …
And if you want to watch the finished film, you can enjoy it here.
It was a fantastic morning and everyone involved were so happy with the outcome
If you’re looking to plan a surprise proposal, Story Of Your Day has teamed up with Swiss tourism experts and together we can make your dream wedding or proposal in Switzerland come true.
You can contact us directly here.