Ryan & Clayton’s Engagement at Powell’s Books in Portland

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Months ago Ryan let me in on a little secret. He was planning to propose to his boyfriend (my roommate and friend) Clayton at their favorite place in Portland, Powell’s Books. It isn’t unusual to find Clayton with his nose in a book on his lunch breaks, and the only reason the bookshelves are full at our house is because Clayton has, literally, hundreds of books. He discovered Powell’s as a teenager growing up in Sister, Oregon, and made trips to the city specifically to stock up on novels.

Ryan asked both sides of Clayton’s family for their blessing and the date was set for June 10, 2014 -one month after Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples from the freedom to marry.

Jen took on the role of leading the unsuspecting (although not unsuspecting for long) fiancé-to-be to an “event” for work at Powell’s Books that evening. Let me tell you something, Jen (bless her heart) is a terrible lier. The tone in her voice goes up significantly when she’s lying.  She was so nervous that she insisted the two take shots before going to the “event” when they met for a drink a block away. So, Clayton had a feeling something was going on, but he didn’t make assumptions until the two entered Powell’s and “coincidentally” ran into friends and family members on their way up to the third floor. Plus, I had a camera in his face, which made it a little obvious. I told him I was shooting something at Powell’s for Travel Portland (ha, I wish), because i knew capturing his emotion up close would be worth the give-away.

My favorite thing about shooting this surprise proposal was that there was so much love in that book store. Ryan invited their closest friends to be a part of their adorable moment, and everyone was just radiating love. The video turned out exactly as I had hoped. Thank you to everyone involved!