Morris Arboretum Proposal of Elisa and Drew
There are many special events in a couple’s life as they go from meeting each other, dating, and move closer to formalizing the commitment they hold to each other. Such is the case of one of the first official steps of beginning such a commitment and that is through a proposal. And what better way to capture this special event than selecting a beautiful setting as the backdrop for such a momentous occasion. And such was the case with the Morris Arboretum Proposal of Elisa and Drew.
As you will see from the ensuing photographs, this lovely couple took a casual yet scenic approach to offset the obvious excitement they hold for each other as they prepare to move forward in their relationship. The selection of the Morris Arboretum offered the couple that special world which provided the perfect backdrop for their proposal and made the photoshoot of the Morris Arboretum Proposal of Elisa and Drew this stunning representation of their love.
Before we dive into some of the lovely photographs captured by award-winning photographer, John Ryan, let me share some history of how the Morris Arboretum came about.
The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania was once the private estate of siblings John and Lydia Morris, the children of a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family. Established in 1887 in Chestnut Hill, the estate was called Compton. The land the Morrises purchased for their estate was initially barren, with neglected soils and steep slopes. With diligent care, John and Lydia improved the land and began filling the property with collections of exotic and native trees and shrubs from across the temperate world. Over a number of years the Morrises purchased adjacent parcels of land with the intent of expanding the gardens and features. With the purchase of Bloomfield Farm in 1914, their estate encompassed more than 166 acres in Chestnut Hill and adjacent Flourtown and the siblings continued enhancing the grounds with architectural and horticultural features, borrowing ideas from the many cities and gardens they visited during their travels to foreign lands.
Over time, the Morrises created a unique and eclectic mix of gardens unlike those found elsewhere in the U.S. and other countries by incorporating formal garden elements, open lawns, and European and Japanese influences into the classic English landscape model, adding several distinctive structures to the grounds, including a greenhouse called a fernery (now the only remaining freestanding Victorian fernery in North America), a log cabin built as a private retreat for Lydia, and the Mercury Loggia, constructed in 1913 to commemorate the Morrises’ 25th anniversary at Compton. John died in 1915, leaving their estate in trust to Lydia, with the understanding that Compton and Bloomfield would eventually become a botanical garden and school for horticulturists. Lydia continued to cultivate the grounds until her death in 1932. The Morrises’ plans to turn their property into a public garden and, even more importantly, an educational institution devoted to horticulture, were realized in 1932 when Lydia bequeathed Compton and Bloomfield to the University of Pennsylvania. From then on, it was known as the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. The Arboretum was opened to the public in 1933 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The Morris contains more than 11,000 labeled plants of over 2,500 types, representing the temperate floras of North America, Asia, and Europe, with a primary focus on Asia. Significant collections include native azaleas, conifers, hollies, magnolia species, maples, roses, and witchhazels. The Morris also has identified 17 trees in its collection as outstanding specimens, including our massive katsura-tree and a magical grove of dawn redwoods. In 2023, ninety years after it first opened to the public, the Arboretum celebrates this important milestone by unveiling a new name, a refreshed brand, and a renewed emphasis on colorful plantings in its horticultural displays. The new name—Morris Arboretum & Gardens—harkens back to Compton’s owners, John and Lydia Morris, and their shared vision of a public garden where spectacular trees live in harmony with beautiful, flower-filled gardens. It is an important resource for the University of Pennsylvania students, faculty and staff, as well as a beloved Philadelphia landmark that provides a place of tranquility, beauty and discovery for all who visit.
With such an extraordinary inception and history, it is no surprise that Elisa and Drew chose this as the setting to capture their special life event – their proposal. With an abundance of beautiful foliage it provided an incredible amount of backdrops for any photographer to capture a bevy of memorable photographs of the lovely couple as they begin their journey together. But the couple did not choose just any photographer. They chose award-winning photographer John Ryan of J&J Studios of Philadelphia. John is a gifted photographer and is well known for his incredible wedding photography not only in the Philadelphia area, but throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and points beyond. And John is not only known for his memorable wedding photos. John also captures special moments tied to Engagements, Birthdays, Anniversaries, LGBTQ+ events, Corporate and Sporting happenings, Christenings, as well as Professional and Family portraits. John has been honored by multiple Diamond Awards for his Engagement Portraits, Awards for his Documentary Wedding Photography, and recognized by the Artistic Guild of Wedding Photojournalists. Such a list of acknowledgements and accomplishments would lead someone to think that John would limit the many many requests and engagements he receives to just a chosen group or clientele. However, that is not what John is about. He has brought his arsenal of talents to many other individuals and couples who otherwise would not normally be able to utilize a photographer of his caliber to capture their very special moments. John takes the time to get to know his clients so they can work as a team to memorialize the precious event at hand.
As mentioned earlier, the Morris Arboretum provided the luscious backdrop to this loving couple. The combination of Elisa and Drew and the beautiful natural settings made the entire shoot breathtaking and has provided the couple with a lasting documentation of their proposal, making the Morris Arboretum Proposal of Elisa and Drew truly a wonderful experience.
The photographs speak for themselves, and John Ryan has once again done an incredible job in giving this couple the best showcase for their event. If you would like to know more about John Ryan and what he can do for your special event, be sure to visit his website at J&J Studios of Philadelphia – you’ll be glad you did!