A Philadelphia Winter Proposal – Philadelphia Museum of Art

Who doesn’t love a surprise proposal? I don’t care who you are or how many times your soul has been crushed by love, there is something about witnessing a proposal that will make even the darkest heart swell with optimism and hope. And when it’s done at one of the most epic locations in Philly with a little bit of freshy driven snow…forget about it. Game over. It’s hard to beat the romance of a Philadelphia winter proposal.

I was so excited when Bentzi and his future mother-in-law, Stacey contacted me about capturing his proposal to Gabriella. I’m a sucker for a romantic surprise, and I couldn’t wait to document this special moment for them.

Bentzi and Stacey worked with me for a few weeks on how to plan the big day. Gabriella had made dinner reservations for her and Bentzi in Philly on his birthday, so he knew that he wanted to propose in the city on that day. We threw around a few options – in restaurants, parks, outside of City Hall – but in the end, decided the view from the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art could not be beat for such a romantic moment. 

The Rocky statue covered in snow outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa

Most people know this area as “the Rocky steps”. Sylvester Stallone made the steps popular when he famously ran to the top of them at the end of the training sequence in the first Rocky movie. It is simply one of the most iconic spots in the city, and a HUGE tourist destination. I’ve run to the top of the stairs many times while marathon training, and I have to say, I have never seen it not swarming with tourists running the steps, taking photos, and doing the Rocky cheer from the top. 

I discussed this with Bentzi and told him that even though there may be people in the background, I could easily blend in with the crowds so I wouldn’t be noticed while I was shooting. He agreed this would be a great spot and he could convince her to stop there for a quick view and a few birthday selfies on their way to dinner.

Leading up to the day, we were in constant communication. We sent emails back and forth on parking, the exact spot to stand for the proposal, how long he should stay on his knee, and of course, the weather.

It’s hard to schedule any outdoor session in February in Philadelphia, and we had been getting quite a bit of snow. The forecast called for a few inches that day leading into the afternoon, and I was nervous about how it may impact the commute into the city. But, the snow stopped around noon, gave us a new dusting, and made everything beautiful and bright. Other than the cold temperatures, the setting was perfect.

The left side of the photo shows the "Rocky steps" in the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On the right side, the Rocky plaque on the ground on the top of the steps.

A Philadelphia Winter Proposal

I arrived at the museum early to stake out my spot and make sure there was nothing going on that would cause an issue with the location. To my surprise, there was NO ONE there. The museum itself was closed, and come to find out, not that many people want to run up there on a Thursday afternoon when it’s freezing outside.  

Anyone that lives in Philly knows this is like catching a unicorn. It just never happens. I couldn’t believe my dumb luck. While this put a slight wrench in my “blending in with the crowd” plan, instead I wandered around toward the back of the museum and pretended to take photos of the building. Which seemed to work just fine.

When the moment arrived, I was probably just as nervous as Bentzi. He texted the code that they were five minutes away, and I got into position. They walked up the steps and he took her to the exact spot we had discussed. They took a few selfies, stood and chatted for a few minutes, he hugged her (my cue), then dropped to his knee. 

A couple hangs out on the top of the steps of the front of the museum of art in Philadelphia.
A couple takes selfies at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. The city of Philadelphia is in the background.
A man gets on his knee to propose to his girlfriend on the top of the steps of the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day.

Gabriella was immediately in tears. Bentzi did a fantastic job staying on his knee and moving her to face him so she wouldn’t have her back to the camera (just like we had discussed). There was a lot of crying, hugging and laughter, and then of course, she said yes!

A man gets on his knee to propose to his girlfriend on the top of the steps of the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. This girlfriend is covering her face while she cries.
A man gets on his knee to propose to his girlfriend on the top of the steps of the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. The girlfriend is crying.
A man gets on his knee to propose to his girlfriend on the top of the steps of the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. The girlfriend is crying. The city of Philadelphia and City Hall is behind them in the distance.
A man gets on his knee to propose to his girlfriend on the top of the steps of the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. The girlfriend is holding his hands and laughing. The city of Philadelphia is behind them in the distance.
A man is on his knees proposing to his girlfriend on the top of the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is putting the ring on his girlfriend's finger with the city of Philadelphia in the background.

After he placed the ring on her finger (and he pointed out that the weird lady taking photos was actually there for her), they faced out to the city together and he triumphantly threw his hand up in the air. To my surprise, there was an eruption of cheers and cars honking. Apparently, people had been watching from the street below. I couldn’t see them from where I was shooting, so when it happened, it was such a surreal and special moment. I was so happy for them.

A man gets on his knee to propose to his girlfriend on the top of the steps of the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. The girlfriend is laughing as the man is pointing back to the photographer. The city of Philadelphia and City Hall is behind them in the distance.
A man and woman laugh after a proposal at the top of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is a winter day and the city of Philadelphia and City Hall is behind them in the distance. There is snow on the ground.
A man and his girlfriend are looking at the city of Philadelphia from the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. The man has his hand triumphantly in the air after a proposal. There is snow on the ground.
A man and his girlfriend are looking at the city of Philadelphia from the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day. The man has his hand triumphantly in the air after a proposal. There is snow on the ground.
A man and woman hug after a proposal on top of the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day.
A man and woman hug after a proposal on top of the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day.
A man and woman hug after a proposal on top of the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a winter day.
A man and woman take a selfie while the woman shows off her engagement ring after a surprise proposal at the top of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They are both smiling and laughing.

After a few minutes, I ran out to congratulate them and handed Bentzi a bouquet of flowers to give to his new fiancé. Once I let them have a moment to collect themselves, we were off for a mini engagement session. We had such a great time taking in the excitement and reveling in the moment. I loved capturing the pure joy that they had together. 

Two images of a man sitting on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with his new fiancé in his lap. The photo on the left is in color and they are smiling down and her new ring. The photo on the right is in black and white and he is gently kissing her forehead.
Two images of a man sitting on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with his new fiancé in his lap. The photo on the left is in color and they are smiling at the camera. The photo on the right is in black and white and is a closeup of him kissing her cheek taken from above.
A man sitting on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with his new fiancé in his lap. He is nuzzling into the side of her face while she smiles.
A man dipping and kissing his new fiancé in front of the Washington Monument Statue in Philadelphia on a winter day.
A man giving his new fiancé a piggyback ride through the snow. The city of Philadelphia is in the background.

So much love between the two of them, it shows in every photograph. Congratulations Bentzi and Gabriella!

Are you thinking of proposing soon and looking for a Philadelphia proposal photographer? Shoot me a message! I would love to discuss how we can capture this special moment together. 

Snowy surprise proposal at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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