As a photographer in the wedding-happy state of Hawaii, Mariah Dagupion has seen her fair share of romantic moments. Few, however, have been as special or touching as a recent, unscripted proposal on a Maui beach.
Last Thursday, while on a short break from shooting a wedding at Wailea Beach, Dagupion saw a man in the distance drop to one knee in front of his girlfriend. Instinctively, Dagupion took out her camera, zoomed in and snapped a few photos of the proposal before getting back to work.
By the time her event was over, much time had passed -- and when she went to look for the newly engaged couple, they had already left the beach. But Dagupion was determined to give the mystery couple their photos. She began posting the proposal on social media, and they quickly went viral after a local news station picked up the story.
That's when Susan Schrank, a 25-year-old Oregon resident who had just returned from a trip to Maui, was tagged in one of Dagupion's Facebook posts. Schrank immediately messaged the photographer to let her know that she was the one in the photos. They exchanged numbers and chatted right away.
"It was like instantly talking to a friend," Dagupion told HuffPost. "She was so excited!"
Schrank and her boyfriend, 29-year-old Griffin Rojo, were on their first tropical vacation together and walking along the Maui beach when Rojo asked Schrank to turn her back toward him so he could take a picture of her facing the sunset. When she turned back around to see if the photo was taken, Rojo was down on one knee, ring in hand.
"As a girl," Schrank said, "you kind of think about what these things would be like. It was really amazing to get pictures like the ones [Dagupion] took. She got my perfect reactions. I was feeling all the emotions you can see on my face."
Dagupion gave the candid photos to the couple as an engagement gift.
"It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling to even be a part of their moment in any small way," she said. "There's no part of me that could take money for something like that."
Relive the couple's surprise sunset proposal below:
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