A surprise proposal at Kennett Square during the most magical time of the year. No, it’s not Christmas- it’s The Festival of Lights! Where hundreds of floating lanterns take to the sky after sunset, illuminating the darkness with a soft warm glow. Where children & adults alike can experience a real life Tangled moment as the lanterns lift into the night sky and take the dark background, turning it into a canvas. If you’ve never experienced something like this, I want to give you the chance to live vicariously through these portraits.
Where should I even start?
Meeting AJ was purely by chance. I happened to be scrolling Facebook (big surprise there!) when he reached out in need of a photographer after a last minute hiccup. We chatted, and honestly I thought “This is way too good to be true…”. I was cautiously optimistic, until we got on the phone and he described to me exactly what he had envisioned.
Immediately I knew that this request wasn’t something I could pass up. Not 24 hours later, Drew & I were in the car heading to Kennett Square.
I couldn’t tell you who was more nervous as the time came closer. Of course, AJ had asked for her parent’s blessing, and the blessing of her brother, planned this entire moment out to the last detail, bought the ring, and pretended like nothing was out of the ordinary. I had to capture this once in a life time moment… in the dark! I guess he did have a lot more on the line in this moment, but it felt pretty even at the time.
Our plan was to use the location tracker to find them in the crowd, and even then we had a back up plan- earlier that day he sent me a picture of them dressed in what they’d wear at The Festival of Lights with a bright red backpack to make it that much easier to spot them. Without that picture I don’t know how long we would have been looking because we were not expecting to have 0 bars when we arrived at the fairgrounds.
I know, I know! I’m meeting a couple in the middle of a crowded (yet socially distanced) field… in Pennsylvania, and I don’t expect that to happen? Talk about a rookie mistake. AJ turned his location tracking on and asked where in the crowd we were, and my heart sank when none of my messages would go through.
“Great. I bet he thinks I stood them up.” Drew laughed, and assured me that we would find them.
Walking through the herds of people was a challenge in itself, then battling the sun and looking at every individual as we’re walking past them probably made a lot of people look at us sideways. But of course, Drew spotted them in the complete opposite direction that I was headed and just like that, the easiest part of my day was over.
Making The Magic Happen
I texted AJ, “We’re behind you” and immediately felt… creepy. Thankfully that message didn’t go through either. Drew & I set up our area at a tiki torch and pretended to be photographing the crowd, passing them as they sat together decorating their lantern. AJ looked up and saw me, and with a slight nod we were ready for everything to come together.
We waited for maybe another hour, music playing, and the smell from the food trucks filling the air. The sun began to set, & I saw AJ & Jade begin packing up their things and start to make their way to a tiki torch.
Good thing for us, we had one available for them to use- and AJ knew it.
He looked around with Jade for a few moments before motioning her toward us. Almost like a “Oh hey! Let’s go ask them if we can share theirs.”
“Do you guys want to share our tiki torch?” I asked them as they were walking up, and Jade responds almost like she doesn’t want to impose. “Oh, yeah! Are you sure?”
Oh Jade, you have no idea how sure I am.
“Of course! Do you mind if I take pictures of you sending your lantern off?”
I can’t tell you exactly what she said, because my heart was beating so fast and I was 100% living in the moment at this point. She took her lantern and AJ stepped behind her, ready for the big moment.
She brought over their decorated lantern and held it over the tiki torch. The lantern lit, but it wouldn’t float! Are you kidding? She let it go, but it came right back down, and as much as AJ wanted to reach over and help, the ring box was already in his hand.
What can you do…
He tucked it safely away in his jacket pocket, and saved the day. They lit their first lantern together, and watched it float to the sky. The smile on Jade’s face was bigger than I had seen it all day, and they stood there, holding each other as it lifted into the night sky.
Slowly AJ reached into his pocket and pulled the ring box out one more time. I think this is actually it. Without noticing what he’s holding she turns around to kiss him, because in this magical moment that’s all she can do.
He lowers himself to one knee, and her face says everything. The sky fills with lanterns behind them as they share not 1 or 2, but 4 more kisses.
We knew that she said yes.
Attend The Festival of Lights Yourself!
Looking to attend your own Festival of Lights? Check out the upcoming date on their website!
Looking for inspiration for your own wedding?
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