Tarin and April's Double Proposal in Banner Elk

Tarin and April's Double Proposal in Banner Elk
Images courtesy Cynthia Viola Photography

Goodness, where do I even begin with these two. If ever a couple were more meant to be, I haven’t met them. 

April contacted me a few weeks back asking if I’d be available for a surprise proposal on 2-22-22 on Beech Mountain while she and her girlfriend were in town for skiing. I knew I’d be traveling until the 20th but could make it work so we started all the furious planning. She sent me a playlist to have playing on a small speaker when they arrived, mailed a special sign to my house, and I agreed to pick up some flowers from a local florist and have it all set up before sunrise so she could walk up with her blindfolded bride-to-be and wow her. It was going to be perfect. 

Fast forward a week, I get another message from Tarin asking if I’d be available on 2-22-22 for a surprise proposal on Grandfather Mountain…. 

Ummm…yes? Hmmm, how am I going to pull this off without either of them knowing? I just said yes and knew it would all work out one way or another. It was going ok, the plans for Tarin were a little simpler, I just had to be set up as a nature photographer in a particular location just before sunset when they walked up and then just redirect to them at the right moment. No problem.

And then the weather happened. It was going to be cold and rainy on the 22nd so both of them started texting me to see if we could reschedule a day early to sunset on the 21st… both were texting at the same time and both wanted the same thing. So after going back and forth and trying not to mistake who I was texting what, we finally worked it out to do Tarin’s proposal first and follow it an hour later with April’s. 

The dilemma was that the two mountains were about 35 min away from each other and the second shoot required a small hike plus major set up on my part. I was determined to make this epic day happen for them though and agreed. 

I got home from my travels at midnight the night before but got up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with excitement. I gathered the sign, the speaker, the flowers - all scattered over the high country, made dinner reservations for them since they were skiing and couldn’t get away from each other to do so. April texted me a couple hours before the first proposal saying she had a sneaky suspicion Tarin was about to propose…I of course said that that would be crazy, and what are the odds… *wink wink… and after texting them both back and forth as the day progressed I got into place, possibly more excited than either of them. 


As they approached, I tried not to make eye contact with either of them as I knew April would recognize me, which she did of course anyway because of my bright purple hair, but once she realized what was going on, she just played it cool like we had never met. The moment was magical of course anyway, people were cheering around us and we were all teary-eyed. 

We walked around the mountain trying not to freeze as we captured a few “just engaged” photos and April and I shook hands as if meeting each other for the first time and then I said something about needing to get to another shoot and best of luck etc, and off I raced up to Beech to set up for the next moment. 

April and I had spoken with Overlook Barn about using their Boulder View location because it had the best sunrise and was out of the way in case anyone else was using the property that day. Of course at sunset it’s not quite the same, but it was overcast anyway so it still worked out perfectly! 

I had hoped to set everything up on top of the boulder but the wind was racing around furiously making it impossible. After setting it as best I could on the ground, I started scattering the rose petals as April had hoped for into a heart, but the wind had other plans. If I had known in advance what a struggle it would be I would have set up a timelapse on my phone to document the shenanigans. It must have been absolutely hysterical to the on-looking birds and squirrels to seeing me diving on the ground trying to wrangle featherweight roses with those high winds. 

Nevertheless I persisted and five minutes later I heard their car roll into the parking lot, I dived for my camera and ran down to meet April to snag her phone (Tarin was still blindfolded in the car) and then I raced back up to the site, set up her video and stepped back in awe as the magic unfolded. 

When Tarin took off the blindfold and saw me, she burst out laughing and exclaiming, “How?!?!” I told her not to worry about it, we’d discuss all the details later…


She read the sweet words April had pre-written for her in a letter while listening to James Arthur sing “Medicine” in the background, and I swear we couldn’t have timed it better if we tried…the moment she finished the letter and turned around to see April there waiting for her, the next pre-chosen song began. “Marry Me” by Train. *que all the tears.*

Lots of happy tears later, all three of us just died laughing at the insanity of the day. I was so relieved the secret was finally out as it was about to burst out of me otherwise, and they were both elated to find they were so in sync and in love. 

If they weren’t already aligned in so many ways, they both also chose to engrave their rings. Tarin with “Forever Always”, their favorite memo to each other, also tattooed on their arms, and April with the date they had both said, “I love you.” It was truly a proposal for the books and will not ever be a day any of us could forget. We were all freezing from the double mountain top winds so they opted not to do any further photos, and we all grabbed a seat at Sorrento’s in Banner Elk to talk about everything and really take it all in. They told me more of their story and we made plans to hang in Atlanta soon and start making the next plans for the Big Day!

Babes, I am so honored to have been chosen to capture this moment in time for you. Thank you for trusting me with your memories and I cannot wait to celebrate with you in Georgia in 2023! 

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

First Location: Grandfather Mountain

Second Location: Overlook Barn, Boulder View

Flowers: Shady Grove Gardens

The Rings: Cumberland Diamond Exchange

Handmade Sign: Etsy - Sterling Shore Co

Celebration Dinner: Stonewalls


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