Today’s Inn at the Old Silk Mill engagement photos feature Jen and Anthony! This was our second attempt at having their engagement session as our first date got rained out, and this time they came down to meet me at the venue they will be having their reception next June — the Silk Mill! These two met at JMU their freshman year and it’s so easy to see the love between the two of them and their natural chemistry. They are two of the nicest people you’ll meet and I really enjoyed getting to photograph their connection.
As always, you can read a bit more about their love story below. I really hope you enjoy the images as much as I do!
Jen: Anthony and I lived on the same floor during our freshman year at JMU and met on move-in day! He had his door propped open with music playing and it made me excited to see that there were people living on the floor that wanted to get to know their dorm mates.
What was your first thought when you saw or interacted with him/her for the first time?
Anthony: When I first met Jen, I thought she seemed like a very nice person who enjoyed sports. She seemed like someone who would be a strong and faithful friend, but also someone who would remind you of the right thing to do.
Jen: Since we lived on the same floor, we were in the same orientation group and had to do several icebreaker games to get to know each other. I remember our orientation guide asking each of us to introduce ourselves by saying our name and then doing a unique dance move that the rest of the group would have to imitate. Anthony was standing next to the guide and had to go first. I could tell that he was dreading having to figure out a dance move just like the rest of us, but he made up a funny move and laughed off the awkwardness of the icebreaker. I liked that he seemed to be laid back and was willing to still give it a shot.
How did you start dating?
Jen: Our first official date was December 26, 2010. Anthony and I had been friends for a while, but realized during the fall semester of our sophomore year that we had feelings for each other. We had hesitations about dating each other as we didn’t want to ruin our friendship if it didn’t work out, but during winter break Anthony invited me out to lunch. We went out for lunch and then watched Wall-E. It had started to snow and I had to head out. Anthony asked me to officially be his girlfriend and I said ‘yes’. We hugged awkwardly and I started walking out to my car. Anthony came running out after me in the snow with no shoes on and asked to kiss me. He picked me up and spun around as we kissed – it’s still one of my favorite memories of us.
Anthony: Dating was a tricky subject before we first started dating. Coming into college, I had never really known girls who saw me for more than just a nerdy/goofy guy. Once I got to college, girls actually showed an interest in me. When Jen and I had started really talking the summer after freshman year, I saw that she was interested but also sincere in being an honest and reliable friend. I, however, had gotten blinded into thinking that I was hot stuff and was hesitant to take it further with Jen. After serious internal debate with myself through the start of the fall semester of sophomore year, I realized that what I was looking for was right in front of me all along. Jen was the strength, beauty, and yin to my yang that I wanted and needed. She was a completion of myself, she helped me to see the good in myself when I couldn’t. She pushed me to challenge my personal ideals that were backward from family upbringing and to be more open to differences of opinion. I asked her to come up for dinner during Christmas break and wanted to ask her out, but the thought of being serious was difficult for my extremely sarcastic and unserious-self. During dinner, I thought that if I brought up wanting to date her it would push her away, so I took her purse away and made her promise not to leave before I asked. She thought that I was going to say the opposite of what I did and seemed confused, but was extremely happy once I had explained myself and I was so relieved once she said yes. When we got back to my dad’s house and she was to go home, I left her with “Have a safe drive,” and a hug, but once I got back to my door I thought, “I can’t leave it like this, show her what she means to you.” With this thought, I sprinted out of my house in a t-shirt, shorts and not socks or shoes through the snow out to her car to give her a kiss. I felt I couldn’t just say how I felt without expressing it with action and she appreciated that.
What did you tell your friends or family about each other after your first date?
Jen: Anthony was my first official boyfriend so when I told my family, they all had exaggerated reactions saying that I FINALLY had a boyfriend. Most of our college friends were mutual friends so they were excited for us!
Anthony: After I told my family, the consensus around the board was, “Thank you, for finally taking care of him,” and “Good Luck.” I just love my family.
When did you know that your partner was the one?
Anthony: It didn’t take me long to figure out that Jen was the one, probably 2 to 3 years into dating after seeing how much of a better person I was with her and how much happiness she brought me. What took me the longest time though was determining if I was the right man for her and if I was the type of husband she deserved.
Jen: I don’t have an exact moment to pinpoint it, but over time I realized that when I thought of my future, I thought of it with Anthony by my side.
How did the proposal happen?
Jen: Anthony and I planned to go out for a nice dinner one night in October. He suggested that we go for a walk before going to dinner and asked if I wanted to walk along Mount Vernon Trail, which is one of my favorite spots to walk as it has the best view of DC. I didn’t really expect Anthony to propose that day, but noticed that he was really quiet as we were walking and seemed nervous. We stopped near the weeping willows along the trail and Anthony proposed!
Anthony: I had tried getting everything together to ask Jen for months, but was never able to get everything right. Then, one weekend, I had finally had all the variables right, and she didn’t expect a thing. I asked her if she wanted to go for a casual walk at her favorite spot across the Potomac River from the Washington D.C. monuments before our scheduled dinner date. I had also talked with her best friend to meet us out there to take pictures of the moment without Jen knowing. Once out walking the path by the river, I was extremely nervous, constantly checking left and right for signs of our friend Heather as my queue to pop the question. We passed another couple taking engagement photos and I saw her, hiding behind a pine tree not 15 feet from the couple taking their photos. I also busted out into laughter at the sight and almost blew it as Jen asked what I was smiling at. Luckily I shrugged it off and pulled her to the side. I got to one knee and she was stunned, but said yes. After the moment of joy and surprise passed, I told Jen I had one more surprise for her. I turned around and went to point at our friend taking pictures only to find she wasn’t there. I then glanced down only to notice her in the prone position at the base of the pine tree taking pictures. Jen was cracking up and it seemed a great way to end a wonderful walk.
What quality/qualities do you love most about your partner?
Jen: I love how kind Anthony is and how he is always willing to help others. He has a goofy side that always makes me laugh and I love that he wants the people around him to be happy. I also love that he laughs at my bad jokes and encourages me to keep singing obnoxiously even though I’m sure it’s annoying!
Anthony: The thing I love most about Jen is how she pushes me to be the best person I can. She has helped me move past so much of my stubborn beliefs and helped me to be more of a believer in myself. She constantly helps me to be realistic with my outlook, but does not try to crush my optimism.
What are some of your partner’s quirks that you love or appreciate?
Anthony: Some of the quirks I love most about Jen are how she always has to push her glasses up on her nose as they fall down and how her nose crinkles up when her nose itches. She rubs her nose like you would when you wax a car, but in such a gentle manner that it gentle crinkles her nose. Something that I am jealous of because if I were ever to do that, I would get a bloody nose in an instant because of my overly sensitive blood vessels.
Jen: I love that he always eats his salad before touching his meal even if it’s all on the same plate. He belly laughs at Spongebob – I didn’t know that a kids show would make him crack up, but it does!
What moment of your wedding day are you most anticipating?
Jen: I’m looking forward to reciting our vows. I know how much those words mean to Anthony and I’m excited to say them to him and have him say them to me.
Anthony: The moment I can’t wait for is that single moment when the doors of the church open and Jen walks down the aisle to meet me on the altar. I can’t wait to see how beautiful she will be and can’t wait to stand hand in hand and join our lives together into one under God. The fact that she is willing to spend the rest of her life with me and thinking of that moment in the church, I’m sure will bring tears to my eyes.
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