Hays Street Bridge Proposal: Pros & Cons

Man on one knee in front of woman for a Hays Street Bridge proposal

A proposal on the Hays Street Bridge definitely offers a unique vantage point on the city of San Antonio.  There are some absolute positives about this location, but there are also a few things you need to know before you choose this location.  In today’s blog post, I’ll have all the details from Xavier’s Hays Street Bridge proposal to Paulina, plus a few tips to make sure your beloved says ‘Yes’ when you get down on one knee.

Hays Street Bridge Proposal – The Pros

Couple hugging in middle of bridge for a Hays Street Bridge proposalLet’s start with the positives.  Proposing in the middle of a bridge with the San Antonio skyline in the background makes this location a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity.  There are not many other places in San Antonio where you can have interesting industrial infrastructure plus a view of downtown San Antonio all in the same frame.

This is a very popular spot with photographers for all types of photo shoots.  Indeed, during my venue check to the location, there were two photo shoots happening ahead of me plus a live podcast taking place.

Hays Street Bridge Proposal – The Cons

Woman kissing man and holding his face during a Hays Street Bridge proposalAnd with the popularity of the Hays Street Bridge comes plenty of crowds.  Remember those two photo shoots and a podcast I mentioned in the paragraph above?  Yep, you run the risk of needing to wait in line for your time on the bridge if you show up and there is a photo shoot going on concurrently.  The bridge really only has one good spot to stand – dead center near the entrance to the bridge – and that only leaves room for one photo shoot at a time.

This means that you are limited to off hours on the weekdays to make sure that you have the bridge all to yourself.  In the case of my photo shoot with Xavier and Paulina, Xavier had requested that we start shooting at 1:00 p.m. because he had afternoon plans with Paulina already scheduled.  We were the only ones on the bridge when Xavier got down on one knee, but immediately afterwards, more people showed up.  Keep this in mind, and have an alternative location in mind if it gets to be too crowded.  In our case, I told Xavier to move over to the left so that we could still have the skyline in the background for his proposal but leave the main bridge area for whatever photo shoot was going on.

Woman looking at hand with engagement ring in front of man during a Hays Street Bridge proposal

The other point that I have to mention is the homeless population in the neighborhood.  I made two venue checks to the Hays Street Bridge: one during the day, and one late afternoon.  There are tent encampments set up around the base of the bridge, and while I have lived New York City for 21 years, I was a bit concerned to be there at night.  I think you will be safe during the day, but just know that this area can get a bit dicey.  I parked on Cherry Street and felt that my car was safe for the proposal.

This leads me to my next point about the location: there is no place to hide.  If you are counting on the element of surprise for your proposal, then note that there is no place to stash your photographer.  In the case of Xavier and Paulina, I had to stand to the side of the bridge and pretend that I was taking photos of the construction activities down below in the skate park.  In comparison, I can act like a tourist with a camera at the Pearl, or even be a birdwatcher with a camera in a park.  But there are no such disguises on the Haye Street Bridge.  Once you roll up to the bridge with your beloved, I feel like it is a bit obvious what is going to happen next.

Hays Street Bridge Proposal – Photo Locations After the Proposal

Couple walking hand-in-hand on pathway in front of Riverwalk during a Pearl engagement portrait sessionFinally, let’s talk about photography in the area.  You have lots of options for photos on the bridge itself.  I would mainly stay in the center of the bridge, and then check out the San Antonio skyline to the left.  But honestly, your photo location options are limited.  There is one, somewhat colorful mural below the bridge which you could use for photos.  Also, once construction is finished on the skate park, you can get some cool photos there.  But that’s it.  The neighborhood itself doesn’t offer much in terms of photographic backgrounds.

Instead, your best bet is to do what Xavier and Paulina did and hop in the car and head over to the Pearl for photos there.  Of course, you can select any other location you’d like, but Xavier and Paulina had a personal connection with the Pearl.  The couple wanted to re-create their many dates in the area, and we did just that by ending the photo shoot at Lick ice cream.

Meet Xavier and Paulina

Couple holding hands in front of rusty metal door during a Pearl engagement portrait sessionSpeaking of the couple, let’s find out more about these two lovebirds.  Xavier and Paulina are high school sweethearts who met ten years ago. These two share a wonderful sense of humor and truly love enjoying life.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering how we found each other, I responded to Xavier‘s request for information about proposal photographers on Reddit.  So look out for me on the Viva San Antonio Reddit page.

Enjoy the images, and I will have lots more photo adventures for you next week – including a trip to the McNay Art Museum and a list of the best places to propose in San Antonio.

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I’m new here and am absolutely open to suggestions, so if you have some thing or some place you would like investigated from the perspective of a San Antonio wedding photographer, then drop me a line.

If you would like to see more images from my surprise proposal portfolio, then please visit my website: KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com.  And if you would like to view more San Antonio surprise proposal photos, then check out these images from Ray’s proposal to Kitzia at the Pearl.  As always, if you are looking for tips to help set the stage for your own surprise proposal, check out my past blog posts on the subject here.

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