The Approach

A marriage proposal is an already hyped-up time in one’s life. The ring and a close second is location. On a hill top? A destination abroad? Under the Eiffel Tower? Speaking of the latter – my two friends Alejandra and Hayden were fresh off the heels of Paris with engagement on the mind. Now you may think what a better place to execute this than the “City of Love”?

“She would have expected it” he declared. “Key word – surprise.” The ruse required the intentional but not-so-obvious enthusiasm of booking of Alejandra in advance for some solid “friend” time that afternoon making up a fictional event centred around nature and feminine energy. “Women’s Vibrational Movement and Beauty”. When nailing down the location, Hayden was clear with the stipulations: outdoors, semi-private, and somewhere they could return to again… I knew Bowring Park would have that special place.

None the Wiser

After a few weeks the day arrives and the plans are in motion. Hayden, the ring, and photographer would be on-site, and I was delivering the lady to the groom-hopeful. While convincing your friend to indulge in make-up and outfit styling – only knowing a vague details of a theme and outside venue – might seem like an unachievable task, thankfully my own track-record would mean those preparations did not rouse suspicion. She knew we were headed to Bowring Park. Working in my favour was the vast grounds and plenty of landscape to choose from. Following the ‘large’ parking lot adjacent to Brookefield Road and Park Avenue, following the latter and continuing into the park itself, we took the most direct route to the awaiting entourage. Now because Alejandra did not know exactly where I was leading her to inside the park, right until that pivotal moment, she was completely in the dark of the surprise that lay ahead.

Pure Joy

As we entered a small path and approached the Labyrinth site, I trailed behind. Alejandra paused, puzzled, “There’s a man there.” He’s turned back on. I nudge her on. Standing at the center of the granite-carved design, Hayden turns around. The snow began to fall. She picks up speed, and with her focus locked in, I back away into the trees. I hear Hayden’s voice faintly, watching him  gaze down on Alejandra and head tilted to the side. There’s been a speech prepared. She is standing still. And then, THE ask – he gets down on one knee and she grabs her face, overwhelmed. Flurries swirl all around them. What felt like a flash also felt like a moment frozen in time.



Thankfully – the photographer and assistant were present to immortalize it. I could hear the shutters clicking from the trees. Hayden wraps Alejandra in a bear hug and hands her a brimming bouquet of roses – looking extra rouge contrasted against the white snow. By this point an enthusiastic “yes” was obvious, and they soon called out my name. A perfect feature of the Labyrinth is being tucked away, just enough to have no interruptions [while the question was still lingering]. As Alejandra’s shock gave way to delight, and I emerged from the woods, I jumped right in and played assistant to the photographers. The snow flakes were the thick and fluffy kind creating a winter wonderland set for beautiful, styled snaps to add to their keepsake.

The Story Lives On

There were hilarious recollections and questions – When did we plan? Copious thanks from Hayden for the effort convincing Alejandra to dress up and come out, Alejandra admitting she tried to cancel two days before. How did we choose this location? We all expressed how there could not have been a more idyllic winter scene. The city and parks have no shortage of eye-catching sites and historic monuments – but the Labyrinth hit the spot. “The path invites you to take a short journey… There are no tricks to using it and no dead ends.” St. John’s has a special meaning for the couple – with family roots in Newfoundland, St. John’s is also where he and Alejandra met, lived together, and fell in love. Now, they have a new tale to tell.

All photography by and courtesy of Alejandra & Hayden

The romance of a park can can inspire, not just in Bowring Park but in any of several parks in the St. John’s area. We are a city rich in nature. Please be sure to visit:

Bannerman Park Municipal Park
Cape Spear Parks Canada National Historic Site
Pippy Park Provincial Park
Rotary Park Municipal Park
Signal Hill Parks Canada National Historic Site
Victoria Park Municipal Park