My husband and I flew out just for this NJ Estate Gardens Proposal & Engagement session. My cousin’s boyfriend, Paul, reached out to me and asked if I could come out to photograph the special moment. Of course, I said yes! However, there was a catch- my cousin (and pretty much little sister), Lauren, couldn’t know why we were flying out! So, with a little creativity we came up with a plan that would allow her to know we were coming, but not led on to why! So, we made travel arrangements, schemed with Paul a bit and it all came together perfectly.
First, A little backstory here. My cousin Lauren and I grew up together. We were inseparable at family get togethers and always considered ourselves more like sisters than cousins. From choreographing backstreet boy dances in our grandma’s living room to staying up late chatting about life, we’ve always been close. Having me photograph her engagement was something she had requested years ago. Honestly, it was a complete honor and not even the pandemic could stop me! (Yes, we were extremely safe and took all precautions).
Paul chose an amazing location to propose, the NJ Estate Gardens. It has this beautiful Rapunzel like tower and is surrounded by lush green gardens. There is also tons of history around this area (and my husband was totally digging that). So our plan was- I would leave and figure out the exact location he would drop to one knee (I think I marked it with some stones on the walk). Then, hide behind a stone wall once they were in the parking lot. And, quietly sneak out and start taking as many photographs as I could while he popped the question!
As soon as they had their moment and Lauren noticed me, it was all tears and squeezes! Let me tell you, I was so anxious behind that stone wall, my heart was racing!! The moment was just perfect and I am so glad they have images to remind them of their joy that day. What an honor to be a part of that unforgettable memory.
After the proposal, we walked around and talked about how Paul and I planned this all out and Lauren was just speechless about everything. She called her Mom, and her reaction was epic! Once she shared the news with some loved ones, we walked around and took tons of photographs! We all went out and had lunch, and then headed to downtown Madison to take dressy engagement photos! It was incredible and beautiful and all things amazing!! What a trip, guys!!
Side note here. Lauren and I were very close to our Grammy, who passed in November of 2019. If you haven’t ready my Tribute to this incredible woman, please do. It’s worth the time, promise. We knew we wanted to honor her while we were together.
So, we got tattoo’s of her handwriting. Every time Grammy would close out a card or a letter she would sign it “Love you, Grammy” in her perfect classy cursive writing. We took in a card she wrote and had the tattoo artist copy it exactly on the inside of our ankles. It was such a special moment we got to share together. We shed a few tears missing our beloved Grammy, laughed at some funny memories, and held hands as we got that tattoo’s. I wouldn’t want to share that moment with anyone else.
Overall, the trip was incredible. Truly, one of the best trips- full of life and unforgettable moments. Now, to photograph their amazing upcoming Wedding in April of 2023. Stay tuned!