Stephen first contacted me a couple days before he planned to propose to his girlfriend of five years. I could tell that all he wanted was to make this day extremely special for his girlfriend and make sure he would have this amazing moment was captured. Thankfully, I was able to accommodate his last-minute request and we started talking about his plan of how he wanted the proposal to go.
Both Stephen and Ashley graduated from SU and he decided to pop the question where they first met. On SU's campus, there is a bench dated from 1912 and is labeled 'The Kissing Bench'. The story of the bench started when a couple that went to SU kissed on the bench and eventually were married. The hope is to bring good luck to the couples that sit on the bench together and share a kiss. Of course, Stephen wanted to be a part of this tradition, so he planned to start at The Kissing Bench and then walk over to the Quad where he would ask her to marry him. Because this was only a couple days before the session, we really didn't have a chance to meet up and go over the plan, but he did a great job explaining his plan and helping me know where I should be to capture the event. He even drew out a map! It was totally obvious that he wanted nothing more than to make sure this moment was as perfect as possible.
I arrived about an hour early to scout the location and make sure I knew where I had to be. The campus was very quiet and the sky was covered with a layer of grey clouds, which was perfect lighting for this occasion. Everything was falling into perfect place. I knew it would be difficult to be invisible, not giving the surprise away. I hid behind a staircase that was across from The Kissing Bench, but I was still in plain sight. Stephen was sending me updates on their location status and when he told me he was close, I sat patiently waiting to see the couple wearing the black and cream colored vests that he mentioned so that I could spot them. As soon as I saw them, I pretended to be photographing the campus, while also making sure that I captured their kiss on the bench. As they stood up and proceeded to walk towards the Quad, I also started to walk behind them, giving them enough of a head start so I could keep my presence unknown.
I continued to photograph them walking together along the dew-covered lawn, and as soon as they paused on the walk way, I knew this was it.
She said YES! The moment was so special and their happiness radiated throughout the campus. It was beautiful. They had an audience of campus tours and other students, who clapped in celebration of the couple's engagement. This made it even more special and romantic.
I was finally able to approach Stephen and Ashley and let her know that I was there. They were so happy and they couldn't stop smiling as we walked to different spots to take some more photographs. As I learned more about the couple and their relationship, I established so much respect for them. Because they had just started dating right after graduation, they have been through living in different cities and being in a long distance relationship. Their love even survived being on opposite ends of the country and it didn't slow them down on bit. This session was so fun and perfect. I am so happy to be a part of this once in a lifetime moment and I loved to see the true bond between these two people who are so obviously made to be together. The excitement and happiness that was shared between the two love birds is so amazing. Stephen and Ashley's future together is so bright!