ridley creek engagement

Ashli and Evan are a match made in heaven. They met at an online meetup event for 20 somethings in St. Louis, MO, Ashli’s hometown. According to Evan, he followed her around all night apparently to 3 different bars until she agreed to dance with him. Fast forward a few years later, and Evan reached out to us to capture the big moment. We were so glad he did.  Originally Evan had planned to propose between two rose bushes on the grounds, but Ashli liked a small plateau overlooking the Hunting Hill Mansion for the big moment.  While she was familiar with the grounds, she didn’t know exactly when the proposal was coming so Evan did a good job keeping the surprise under wraps.

The two went on a romantic walk before Evan led her off the path underneath the trees.

Luckily my wife was along to capture a close up of the big moment:

hunting hill mansion proposal

After the emotional moment the couple shared a few minutes of intimate embrace before posing for a few pictures.

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After the proposal itself, I led the newly engaged couple around the grounds for some posed pictures.  Ashli commented on my efficiency and variety of poses and I brushed it off thinking she was just trying to be nice. Little did I know I was shooting a fellow professional photographer and owner of Ashli Brooke Photography.  Evan let me know later.  Probably for the best I did not know at the time or I would have been so nervous I wouldn’t know what to do.

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One of the things I am trying to incorporate in my work is more attention to detail so as a result we know the relative time of the proposal. I also loved the way he held her waist and the colorful floral pattern of the dress that matched the red of his shirt.  In 2020, I’m challenging myself to see smaller details and push outside of what traditional pictures would normally be.

ridley creek state park proposal

Another aspect of attention to detail this year has to do with hands. I’m really trying to show emotion with the hands.  Mehrabian’s rule says that only 7% of communication is verbal. Tone communicates 35% but body language accounts for 55% of all communication.  That means pictures without tone or verbiage should be able to speak volumes. Poses like these capturing the elation of the moment are really special to me.

hunting hill mansion engagement

Of course with such great building architecture of Hunting Hill Mansion, we needed to take a few pictures with the mansion itself.

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I tried to layer the foliage and architecture as the grounds are so pretty this time of year. Of course, we are known for our architectural shots so we always include some wide-angle environmental portraits:

ridley creek state park engagement

hunting hill mansion proposal

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Since the daylight was waning, I decided the ending shot of the evening should be a dramatic silhouette. I favor action vs static posing so I always like giving my couples something to do during the photo. I feel this really elevates the image and gives it more realism.  We are so thankful we got to capture Evan and Ashli’s engagement at Ridley Creek State Park. I wish them both the best and hope we’ll be seeing them again sometime soon. 😉

Are you planning your own engagement at Ridley Creek State Park?  Maybe we can help!  With over 26 Gorgeous Philadelphia engagement places to choose from (and many more that aren’t listed) I’m sure we can find one to suit your needs.

Let me share our Top 5 Quick Tips for planning the Perfect Ridley Creek State Park Engagement:

  1. Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes as between pictures, there will be lots of walking on the grounds.
  2. Some bug spray will go a long way during sunset engagements as the mosquitos start coming out around that time. Also, ticks in the wooded areas are a known problem.
  3. Oil blotting sheets such as Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Facial Blotting Sheets help during the summer engagement season to prevent makeup from starting to “glow”.
  4. If you plan to do your photos around sunset, just google sunset + 19073, which will tell you the sunset time at Hunting Hill Mansion.  This will help you plan your shoot.
  5. Finally, consider the season when doing the photos. For example, during summer, probably don’t wear green or you will blend into all the grounds and shrubbery.

From the bride:

  1. I had joined my first “Meet Up” Group that was for 20 somethings that enjoyed going out.    I had gone through a tough relationship a few weeks prior and it was my first time at a social event, so I was quite nervous.   Evan was the first person in the group I noticed.   He was so polite – and very cute!    When it was time to head out, he offered for me and a few others to ride with him.   At the last bar the group went to, he finally asked me to dance.   I was nervous, but he was so patient with me.   I was ordering drinks with a friend at the end of the night and the crowd parted across the room and I saw Evan give me the cutest wink.   It sounds cheesy, but I knew right then he would be someone very special to me.

  2. How patient and generous he is.   I’m working on my second master’s degree, fashion photographer, actress, and am becoming a radio show’s co-host – I have such little free time and can get quite stressed, but Evan never gets impatient with me.   He’s willing to help me out in any way he can.  He’ll cook, clean, anything that’s needed to give me a break.

  3. He told me we were taking a picnic and since the pandemic, we hadn’t gotten to go out on a date in quite a while.   He told me let’s dress up and have an afternoon at a beautiful place he had found.   We went to the Hunting Hill Mansion and I was blown away by it.   We got to the most picturesque spot of the mansion and turned to me.   He was tearing up a little before he got the words out and to be honest, I didn’t even hear him the first time he asked.   He said Ashli Brooke Wallace, I knew I wanted to marry you the night I met you when I chased you all around St Louis.   It was absolutely precious.

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