Valley Forge National Historical Park Engagement Session by Sarah Canning Photography

Dani and Dom are simply a captivating couple, and their unique charm was captured in these beautiful photos shot by Sarah Canning Photography.  One of the best things about taking engagement photos at Valley Forge National Historic Park, is that this setting has the most natural ambiance to provide a very relaxed and casual vibe.  This couple is all smiles, and you can feel the happiness through these gorgeous visuals.  It’s so amazing to see a couple’s love story progress, and Dani and Dom’s proposal story will certainly make your heart flutter!

How They Met:

“Early September of 2014, right after we both made drastic life changes — Dom coming home from the Marine Corps, and Dani transferring from Temple to Penn State — it could be nothing other than fate to attribute our meeting. Our decisions to choose what will help us succeed further in life both brought us to Penn State, and our mutual love of fitness brought us to the gym. I was in the middle of my set, and Dom slowly approached me. The funny part was that he thought I was someone else! After he realized his mistake, about faced and walked straight out of the gym. We laugh about that story all the time now! However, after this initial meeting, I come to find out that this man was in one of my classes with me, as we are both majoring in Kinesiology. From here, we began studying together and lifting weights together — we were nearly inseparable. Needless to say, I was hooked.”

“There are so many things that I could say that I love about him – I couldn’t pick just one. He is selfless and caring, while being strong and supportive. He watches my binge marathons of Grey’s Anatomy while pretending to care about what’s going on, and carries me to bed if I fall asleep on the couch. He is my #1 fan and I am his.”

The Proposal:

“November 13th, 2015 — “I have a surprise day planned for us today,” Dom told me. If anyone knows me, they know I love surprises. I was all giddy, and jumpy thinking of everything that we could possibly be doing. Around mid-afternoon, we were in the car, and he told me to close my eyes whenever we were traveling. I agreed, and kept my eyes shut throughout the course of the ride.

Our first stop — Grings Mill

When we pulled up at Grings Mill, I was caught with a sense of nostalgia. This is where we had our first kiss. I always loved coming here because of that exact reason. We walked through the trails, and he brought me to the exact spot where he kissed me for the first time, and I felt just as many butterflies as I did the first time. I just love this man so much. We proceeded to keep walking and when we approached a tree, he pulled out a carving knife, and said “I want us to make our mark here, so there’s a piece of us here forever.” In a heart shape, he carved “D + D” like we were in some sort of teenage movie, but again, if you know me, I’m all about the cheesiness.”

“Our second stop — Lake Ontelauntee

Just as it was nearing sunset, we stopped at Lake Ontelauntee, yet another place that gives me nostalgia. This is where Dom and I told each other that we were set on each other. “You are mine and I am yours. Forever.” We couldn’t imagine our lives without one another, and this was the place where we expressed it to each other. We watched the sunset over the lake, and I thought that this had to be one of the best days ever — but little did I know it would be even better.”

“Our third stop – Our Apartment

So when we showed back up at home, I thought the date was over. I was still so happy with our little trip down memory lane, that I didn’t mind! But when I walked inside, we had a little “picnic” set up in our living room floor with wine and cheese — MY FAVORITE. If there’s wine, I’m there. We cuddled up on the floor surrounded by pillows, and drank our wine and ate our cheese while watching our favorite actor, Patrick Swayze. Can this day get any better?”

“Our last stop — Boathouse Row

When it was nearing 9pm, and Dom said this day still wasn’t over, I was super confused. He told me to get all dolled up and be ready to leave. I got ready as fast as I could, and we were out the door. Staying true to my promise of keeping my eyes off the road while traveling, I noticed Dom was anxious. He was quiet, but still had his hand on my knee as he usually does while we travel, so I was calm. After about an hour or so, he said we were here. I get up to see the Schuylkill River, and the Philadelphia Skyline — so beautiful. We get out of the car and start walking down Kelly Drive. After a little bit down the road, he pulls me into a grassy area, and says “Look at this!” I walk forward, and turn around to see we are in the middle of Boathouse Row. One of the most beautiful sights to see in Philadelphia. They were all lit up, as they usually are, and beautiful as ever. We sat and talked for a little, until he said “OH IT’S 11:11! MAKE A WISH!” I quickly closed my eyes, and made my wish, but when I opened them, I saw Dom on his knee, presenting me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. I was shocked — and immediately started crying. Honestly I could barely hear him over my own tears. But I heard the words that I have only dreamed about, “Dani, Vida, My love, and my Queen… Will you be my wife?” to which I answered through my happy tears, “OF COURSE!”

Engagement Photo Inspiration:

“For the engagement photos, I wanted to give Sarah the freedom to do what she does best. I wanted to capture the beauty of Fall while showcasing the effortless love I feel with Dom. I love the candid moments rather than when something looks too staged. Your engagement pictures should really capture who you are as a couple, and showcase that in a memory to be saved forever.”

Wedding Planning Experience:

“Wedding planning is nuts! In addition to being full time Pre-Med students with jobs and internships to worry about, we have not had a free weekend to ourselves in about a month and a half. We were able to pick out our vendors fairly easily however. If there is one thing I learned about wedding planning, it’s that you should never second guess anything or waste time thinking there is something else better out there. If you can see them on your wedding day, then go for it! The vendors should want to help your vision become a reality, and thankfully I was able to find some amazing people to work with to make my dream wedding come true. It has been a crazy ride, but an amazing journey that I am so happy we get to experience together.”

Engagement Session Experience:

“As I was saying previously, Sarah is amazing at what she does. She has a way of capturing not only the beauty of the environment, but also the little in between moments that you share with your significant other: the way you look at each other, the comfort you feel while you’re in their arms, and the effortless smiles you get when you gaze at each other. That’s a lot to get out of just one photo. They say “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but after shooting with Sarah, I believe ours are worth a million! She told us to be ourselves, and she would do the rest. Dom and I are professional cuddlers and I feel as though she definitely captured this in the session!”

From the Photographer, Sarah Canning: “Dani and I went to the same high school so it was super exciting to have her contact me for her wedding and engagement photography. Dani and Dom really wanted to incorporate the beautiful fall foliage into their engagement pictures and we literally did their engagement session a week or so after they booked me for their wedding collection. Getting to know these two was such a blast! In just the short time I spent with the two of them together, I could tell they are nothing short of perfect for each other. I really enjoyed getting to know them on a deeper level. We discovered we are all Disney freaks and “Penn Staters” and walked away really great friends. I was so glad that these two were down for anything during their time with me! Of course, “now for something fun, I want you to run towards me”, became a full on sprint race for to fitness loving Kinesiology majors! But, their energy made everything that much more fun! They were so natural, it made my job so easy. Talking with them about their August 2017 wedding made me so excited! I absolutely cannot wait to be able to capture them again, and on one of the best days of their lives!”

Vendors | Photography: Sarah Canning Photography | Location: Valley Forge National Historical Park