Majestic clifftop proposal in Maui

Your proposal location sets the scene for one of the most amazing moments of your life. It’s a place that will live in your memories and photos for years to come.

At Engaged on Maui, a lot of thought goes into our proposal locations. We don’t simply offer any place on the island that looks nice.

Here are the boxes a spot has to check in order to be on our list of Maui proposal locations.

Is this proposal location photogenic?

First and foremost, a proposal location has to be beautiful.

Beyond that, since we not only plan proposals but photograph them, we think about timing, lighting, and angles. All of those aspects affect how your proposal location is captured in photos.

Proposal at Four Seasons Resort Maui's Plumeria Point

Is this proposal location legal?

There are certain places on Maui that are completely off limits.

For example, Ka’anapali Beach does not allow any commercial activity. This means we cannot provide professional photography, amazing set ups, or any kind of services on Ka’anapali Beach.

Venturing somewhere we aren’t allowed could result in fines or even jail time. The state has shown they aren’t afraid to enforce rules of where we are able to go, so we make sure to play by the rules.

When a potential spot is private property or we aren’t able to get the necessary permission needed to photograph there, it’s a no go for us.

Proposal above the clouds in Maui

Is this proposal location accessible?

You can’t propose somewhere if you can’t get to it.

Even if a spot looks like it’s off the beaten path, we try to select proposal locations that are easy 5-10 minute walks. We don’t want to arise too much suspicion out of your partner on your way, and we want you make sure you two to still look good when you get there.

Some of our proposal locations are seasonal. There are certain beaches where big swells take away the sand every year. The beach and place our clients would normally propose disappears, and we have to wait for the sand to return before we can offer that spot as a proposal location option again.

At our seasonal locations, we have a good idea of when this happens, but sometimes obstacles occur unexpectedly.

Although beaches don’t close often, it can happen if there is a tsunami warning, shark sighting, flooded parking lot, or some other safety concern. When this happens on your proposal day, we quickly make a plan for a nearby backup location.

Woman fell to her knees after being surprised by her proposal in Maui

How busy is this proposal location?

A place can be stunning and easy to get to, but if it is known to be very crowded in a way that is tough for your photographer to work around, we cross it off our list. A busy location takes away from the intimacy of your special moment and is also very risky for photography.

If there is a high chance that someone (or several people) could walk in between where you are proposing and where your photographer is, that is simply not a risk we are willing to take. There is not much Photoshop can do if someone walks right in front of you as you get down on one knee.

Some of the beaches that we don’t offer for proposals due to crowds are Kapalua Bay, Wailea Beach, and Makena Cove.

How busy a place is could change depending on the day of the week. There are a few beaches that we love for weekdays but we don’t offer on the weekends and holidays because the atmosphere changes. We have more gatherings and local families hanging out at those beaches when they have the day off. This means there are people all over, it’s louder (think people are laughing and having a good time, music is bumping, kids are yelling), and parking is all taken up.

Engagement session in Maui surrounded by palm trees

What can the cover story be?

The majority of our proposals are a surprise. Most of the time your sweetie doesn’t know you have to meet your photographer for a photo session at a certain place and time. The surprise part is part of what makes planning proposals more stressful than a regular photo shoot.

While you are responsible for getting your future fiancé to the proposal location at the agreed upon time, we do think about possible cover story ideas you can say as an excuse to go there.

We also consider your photographer’s cover story. Many of our proposal spots allow your photographer to hide or pretend they are there another reason – either just hanging out or taking pictures of the scenery.

For some places, we have your photographer discreetly follow you from behind, so they have the right angle to capture your big moment.

Picnic proposal in South Maui

Questions we ask when considering places to propose in Maui

As you can see, we have certain criteria a location needs to meet in order to be added to our list of places to propose in Maui.

Here’s a recap of the questions we answer about our proposal locations.

– Are we allowed to shoot here?
– Is this location picturesque?
– What does the location look like during engagement photography time (sunrise, morning, sunset)?
– Where does the photographer need to be to get the proposal shot?
– What is the weather like here?
– Are there any other conditions we need to be concerned about (ie: high tide, prone to wind or rain, lighting, lack of cell phone reception, safety)
– Is the location fairly easy to get to?
– Is there enough parking nearby?
– What is the crowd level like here?
– Is this somewhere that our clients will be able to convince their future fiancé to go?
– Is the photographer able to discreetly hide or follow the couple, or is the location situated in a way where the photographer would be too obvious?
– What does the surrounding area look like?
– What other locations are nearby if clients choose a proposal package that includes coverage at more than one location?

Proposal at Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm

Engaged on Maui policy for public access locations

For public access locations – we’re talking about beaches and other places out in nature – it is Engaged on Maui’s policy not to reveal our list of exact locations until you book.

Back when we first started, we used to talk about locations by name but quickly learned that potential clients would pump us for information and then ghost us.

Now, before you say, “I wouldn’t do that to you. Of course, I wouldn’t.” That’s what they all said. Everyone else said, “I’m definitely going to hire you for my Maui proposal. Just tell me the name of this spot in this example picture so I can plan around it.” Then we told them what they wanted to know and never heard from them again. It was a bummer and a waste of our time, so we learned our lesson.

Some folks we talk to are very particular about the type of location they have in mind. They have a vision in their mind or specific requirements of what they want or don’t want in a proposal location. While we cannot provide names of potential locations, we can show you example pictures of spots that might work for your vision – as long as we have enough time.

This is super important. If you are coming to us within two weeks of your desired proposal date, we don’t have enough time to go back and forth on details. At this point, if we are even available, we need you to make quick decisions.

We also need you to understand that if your proposal is being planned last minute, you may have less location options to choose from. Maui doesn’t have many private venues as it is and those get reserved months or even years in advance for weddings. Helicopter tours usually get booked ahead of time.

It’s common for us to have 2-3 proposals on the same day, but we never schedule our couples at the same location. If one of our other clients has already chosen a place on your day, that location doesn’t get offered to you.

When you have a specific idea of what you want your proposal location to look like, the biggest thing we ask is to be upfront with us from the beginning. Don’t wait until you book and see our location options to tell us you don’t see anything that you like. Sharing your thoughts will allow us to better help you.

Clifftop proposal in Maui

Picking your location during the proposal planning process

If you have selected a private venue, a helicopter tour, or Haleakala for your proposal, then you are pretty set on your location. Likewise, if you looked at example photos before you booked and chose somewhere you liked based on pictures, then we reveal the name of your spot and mark it as your proposal location.

However, most of the time, you choose your proposal location once you officially become our client, after signing your contract and paying a 50% deposit.

At this point, your proposal planner will send you an email with location recommendations and example galleries to look through. We send recommendations because you hire Engaged on Maui to make the proposal planning process easy.

In the past, we used to tell our clients to look through our blog and IG and send us screenshots of places they liked. This process worked, but sometimes it was extra work. We found clients would send us screenshots and links to not only locations but any photos they liked. We would get examples of epic sunsets, ring shots, close ups of couples – none of which showed us which locations they liked. Sometimes, clients would send us photos of locations they liked but those were only locations we used for engagement photos, not a place that would work for a surprise proposal. Or they would go back 5+ years and show us locations we had in the past that we could no longer use anymore.

Now, we prefer to send you location recommendations because it saves everyone time. We have already vetted our locations. They have passed the checklist and we know they work well for a proposal in Maui.

When a location doesn’t work for your Maui proposal

We have had some people scour the web and send us pictures of places to see if that spot would work for their proposal on Maui. If you have officially booked with us and we have enough time to plan, this is something we might be able to entertain, however you should be prepared to hear that a spot picked solely from a picture on the internet won’t work.

Here are just a few of the popular reasons that we have had to say no to a potential proposal spot:

– The place in the picture isn’t on Maui
It’s common for folks to search for “places to propose in Hawaii” but that will result in locations that are on other Hawaiian islands and not on Maui.

We specialize in Maui proposals and engagement photography, so if you fall in love with a location that is not on Maui, it makes sense to use a photographer that is local to that area.

– The location is not accessible or there isn’t a reliable way for our photographer to get the view you want
We are seeing more drone photography online because that bird’s eye view is amazing. When we are shown an inspiration photo that is taken by a drone or from a helicopter, we know we likely wouldn’t be able to access that same spot by land and, even if we were, the perspective we would be able to get would be much different than what you are envisioning.

We don’t like to depend on having a proposal photographed by drone because a drone can only be deployed if the weather cooperates. If it’s rainy or too windy, it’s too much of a risk to fly.

We once had a drone crash into the ocean because it was a little too windy. We were so thankful that the drone was only getting coverage of the couple after their proposal and we weren’t depending on it to capture their big moment.

– The place no longer looks the same as it does in the photo
When you are browsing online, you can run into all kinds of information and it’s tough to tell if that info is recent or accurate.

We know for a fact there are websites out there with outdated info on Makena Cove and Nakalele Blowhole.

As we mentioned earlier, Makena Cove aka Pa’ako Beach is one of the spots we don’t shoot proposals because it’s too crowded. However, it used to be known as Secret Cove because way back when, it was actually uncrowded.

With the reputation of being an intimate beach, Makena Cove became popular with weddings and also gained the nickname Wedding Beach. There are still websites out there saying this is a nice quiet beach, but that really isn’t true nowadays.

In fact, if a place has “secret” in its name, there is a good chance that it isn’t secret anymore. With the rise of social media and tell-all books, there are few places that are truly a secret on Maui.

Another place that you can read inaccurate info on is Nakalele Blowhole. There used to be a rock nearby that looked like it had the shape of a heart cut out of it. Sadly, part of the rock fell into the sea, and it no longer looks like that any more.

Bottom line: If we aren’t confident that we can capture your Maui proposal at a particular location and that you will have an enjoyable experience there, we can’t approve it as a proposal location.

Alternative solutions when a location doesn’t work for a proposal

Certain places that don’t work as a proposal location may be suitable for engagement photos after you’ve already popped the question. Once you’re engaged and reveal you have an engagement photographer, it’s much easier to go to other locations. You don’t have to come up with an excuse to go there. You can follow your photographer to make sure you’re at the right place. Plus it’s easier for your photographer to work around other people since they don’t have to hide anymore. Your photographer is able to be out in the open, move around, and direct you so there aren’t a ton of other people in the way or in the background.

If you have a place that you absolutely love for sentimental or aesthetic reasons and that place doesn’t fit the criteria for a proposal location, then perhaps we could use it for an engagement session instead. There are two ways we could go about this.

If you still want your actual proposal documented, you could pick a proposal package that includes more than one location, select a spot nearby that is better suited for your actual proposal, and plan to go to the other spot for the rest of your engagement session.

If it’s not as crucial for you to get photos of your proposal but more important to get engagement photos at a specific location, you could propose on your own without a photographer there and then we do an engagement session at your desired spot. With this plan, you get to propose wherever and whenever it feels like the right moment. Your proposal can be a bit more spontaneous because a photographer isn’t there waiting for you to get down on one knee and capture your sweetie’s reaction.

Ryan wanted to propose at Makena Cove because it was the first beach he and Jenna visited on a previous visit to Maui. We comprised and he popped the question at a nearby beach that has a lot more space.

Jenna is surprised by Ryan's proposal in Maui Ryan proposes to Jenna on the beach in Maui

Then they ended with sunset engagement photos at Makena Cove.

Couple kissing by the lava rocks as a wave sprays to shore After their proposal, Ryan and Jenna went to their favorite beach to celebrate Jenna and Ryan celebrate their engagement on the beach after sunset in Maui Beach engagement photos after sunset

Choosing your own unique Maui proposal location

For those of you looking for a place to propose in Maui that has not been used before, you may be in luck! Engaged on Maui has some new locations we would like to add to our list.

The downside of picking a new proposal place is that you don’t get to see example galleries of engagement sessions at that spot.

The upside is that you get to be the very first person to propose there. Our photographers would love to shoot at somewhere different, so your engagement pictures will be awesome. We also have other incentives in place. If you are interested in hearing more about our new proposal locations, we would prefer to have at least 6 weeks notice, but if it’s sooner, don’t hesitate to ask.

At Engaged on Maui, we know the best places to propose on Maui, especially when you want your proposal documented. Fill out our inquiry form to get started on planning your Maui engagement and schedule your initial consultation.

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