Helping your proposal stand apart.


All photos courtesy Preface

The idea for this blog post came back in October, when I was walking my dog at Schiller Park. I noticed a well-dressed, nervous-looking guy surrounded by a camera team at the park's main statue. The meaning was clear: Someone was about to pop the question. I love a good proposal as much as the next person-I mean, I do run a wedding magazine and website for a living-so I parked myself on a nearby bench and got ready to watch this guy go from "boyfriend" to "fiance."

As I was waiting, I struck up a conversation with one of the camera operators, John Honaker. It turns out, he's more than a photographer and videographer; he runs a business called Preface, which helps folks plan and orchestrate their proposals. The well-dressed guy, Alex, hired the Preface team to create a dream proposal for his girlfriend Lauren. (You can see photos from their big day on our Instagram and on Preface's social sites. Spoiler alert: She said yes, of course.)

After the Schiller Park proposal, I stalked Preface's website and social accounts and knew I had to feature them here. The video component of the photos used above really got me; I'm not ashamed to say I teared up a little at work, which was definitely not at all awkward or embarrassing.

After watching the video, I sat down with John for a short Q&A about his business.

John Honaker

How would you describe the services Preface provides?

We are full-service marriage proposal consultants. We consult, create, capture and complete-which means from the idea phase of how you want to pop the question, all the way to the party after they have said "yes." We are right there with you through the entire proposal process.

How did you get into the business of not just documenting proposals, but orchestrating them as well?

The first proposal I ever created was my own. I'm a very expressive guy, and I wanted to go over the top with proposing to my girlfriend. It took close to four months to organize everything, and it was the most stressed out I have ever been in my entire life. Afterwards, I wanted to provide a service that supported people in that position.

We love planning proposals, and we love having the expertise to navigate each engagement. Sometimes, they need us to listen to every hair-brained idea so they feel understood, and we can get the personalized touch these special moments deserve. Other times, they know exactly what they want the proposal to look like, and we can help them find things like the venue or vendors, and then make sure everything is executed correctly to achieve their perfect moment.

When did Preface get its start?

Two years ago around "proposal season," which is Thanksgiving till Valentine's Day.

I saw "crisis management" listed as a service during the proposal itself. What is that?

This is a question we get a lot. Proposal day doesn't always go according to plan. This is true with any big event. It is particularly true when you are dealing with an individual who usually has no idea what is going on. Typically the person being proposed to doesn't know what's about to happen, and they can act in a variety of ways.

Our company, through consultation and planning, prepares for all of the unknowns and creates contingency plans. We've moved an entire photo shoot from the planned location to the client's girlfriend's home because she was sick and didn't want to come out of the house.

The most common use of this service is asking people to avoid getting in our shots or taking pictures with their phone (if the proposal is in public). People love seeing these displays of affection and want to document it, but we do everything we can to achieve the look that our clients desire, including some crowd control.

What kind of investment can folks expect to put into your services?

Every proposal is different and unique, so the investment varies. We usually base our consulting around $200, and capture services-whether that is photography or videography-around $1,000 each. If our clients are more of the DIY type, we usually provide consulting or equipment for them to do it themselves at a much lower cost.

The priceless memories that each of our clients have received have been praised time and time again, because you can't fake or orchestrate the real emotions we capture. That's why it is so important to make the investment in professional services to make sure it is done perfectly. The moment she says "yes" only happens once, and lasts for a split second. It's our job to make sure that second lasts forever.

Do you offer other services, like engagement or wedding photography and videography?

Our staff is made up of professionals with years of experience in the wedding industry as wedding photographers, videographers, coordinators and DJs. This is a great opportunity for our clients to experience some potential vendors they may like to hire for their wedding.

We also typically roll a mini engagement photo shoot into the package. It's the perfect time to do it since the proposal has usually happened in a picturesque location, and we can really capture those fresh, raw feelings of love.

What else should people know about Preface?

Unlike hiring a standard photographer, Preface is dedicated to making the entire experience happen seamlessly, as well as capturing all the important moments. We not only provide a beautiful experience for the person being proposed to, but we also provide support and expertise for the person proposing so they can really enjoy the moment and not have to worry about the details.

But my favorite thing about Preface is the stories and backgrounds of each of our clients. No two proposals are ever the same. Each love story is unique and we get to highlight that with our services.

Want to be featured in a Vendor Spotlight? Email editor Emma Frankart Henterly atehenterly@columbusweddingsmag.comfor details.