Charming Engagement in Valley Forge National Historical Park
Radiant and Sweet Love
“Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy.” – Vincent Van Gogh
After living miles away from each other, the one remaining factor that brought this couple together was their never-ending love. Danielle and Matt are both Med students living in two different cities. Their shared passion and undeniable commitment are truly inspirational! They chose Valley Forge National Historical Park as their shoot destination, and the natural light and rustic setting were the perfect complements to their photos. Aaren Lee Photography captured this couple’s radiance perfectly in every shot. Keep reading for their adorable proposal story and wedding planning journey!
How They Met
“Matt and I met at Penn as undergrads. His older brother and I were in the same friend group, and toward the end of our junior year, Matt would start coming to group hangouts. I never really got to chat with him, but he was always cracking one-liners, so I thought he was hilarious. I was interested in him going into our senior year and would try to sneakily invite him to as many things as possible, but he ended up asking a different girl out a few months into school. That fizzled pretty quickly, but I moved on to just enjoying the rest of my senior year. Then just before Spring Break, he asked me to go on a date with him to Zavino, and I wasn’t going to say no to pizza and wine!”
“I love Matt’s sense of humor! It’s what first caught my attention about him. Over the years I think our senses of humor have morphed into each others’ and now we spend half of our time together just laughing, it’s the best.”
“Matt is a med student in Dallas, and I’m a med student in Philly, so we don’t get to see each other in person too much. He comes home for major holidays, and given the conversations we’d had about getting engaged and married, I knew it had to be over Thanksgiving or Christmas break.
Over Thanksgiving break, he tortured me by carrying a ring box around the whole time and being not-so-sly about hiding it. When I finally found the ring box and confronted him, I said, ‘Either this is a joke, or this is how you propose, and both of those are terrible!’ I just had to know though, so I opened the box to find a York peppermint patty. I hate peppermint patties now.
Then I knew it had to be over Christmas break when he went back to Texas in December. He arrived in Philly the morning of December 16, and I was on edge the entire day. He was exhausted from exams and traveling and just slept the whole day. It was driving me crazy. Then the next morning, he came over to my apartment as I was getting ready for church and gave me a letter and a flower. Throughout our relationship, we loved sending and receiving snail mail from each other, and the flower was from an inside joke on our 2nd ‘monthiversary.’
Throughout the day, he took me to different spots around Philly – Morris Arboretum where he first told me he loved me, La Viola where we had dinner before he asked me to be his girlfriend, the bench at Rittenhouse where he did ask me to be his girlfriend – and he gave me a letter at every stop. Finally, we headed back to my apartment, so I could change out of the church clothes I’d been in all day with my Bean boots (not a cute outfit), and he read me one final letter before getting down on one knee and proposing! We headed over to his brother’s house in West Philly afterward to return the car we’d borrowed for the day and there, all my friends were gathered to celebrate with us.”
“One of my bridesmaids and best friends is an awesome Philly-based wedding and lifestyle photographer (shout out to Alison Dunn Photography), so we had some choice photographers to pick from. We chose Aaren Jackson from Aaren Lee Photography because we loved her sun-soaked photos. Matt and I love hiking and the outdoors, and one of the things we love about Philly so much is all the places to enjoy the outdoors in and around the city. With Aaren on board, we knew we wanted lots of sun in our photos, so we picked Valley Forge to have some open space and take advantage of our favorite parks in the area.”
“Wedding planning has been so fun. Trying to find a venue that was in a good location and made both of our families happy was a little bit of a challenge but once we booked it, everything was smooth sailing. It also has been going so quickly – both of us are taking our board exams for medical school at the end of June so we wanted to be done planning by mid-May, and we ended up finishing by March! The only hard part now is waiting until December to get married!”
Aaren Lee Photography
“Aaren is so great. We heard great things about her from Ali, so we didn’t meet with any other photographers and booked her shortly after meeting and getting coffee. She made our photos look like we were frolicking in the fields in the warm sun but it was 30 degrees with a wind chill that day, and we were freezing! But Aaren is amazing so you can’t tell. She was also seven months pregnant and couldn’t fit into any winter coats at that point, so she layered up and was such a trooper. We complained about the cold way more than she did. It was good practice and bodes super well for our winter wedding.”