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Anya + Joel | A Lancaster Engagement Session

I am so incredibly excited about this engagement shoot…and the wedding this summer! Watching Joel and Anya grow up, and fall in love is a little surreal. It makes me so happy, while also makes me feel a little old at the same time. Not only do we attend the same church, but Joel and I have played on ultimate frisbee teams together at Spooky Nook. Joel is also college roommates with my wedding assistant, Caleb.  I’m so thankful to say that over the last few years, Joel and Anya have become dear friends of mine.

Anya and Joel are probably one my couples most looking forward to getting married. They’ve had some stressful moments in their lives these last few months. Joel was all ready to finish up his senior year of college at Cedarville University, and prepped for his last track season when the pandemic brought an abrupt halt to his dream of competing this spring. Anya, a registered nurse has had her share of stressful moments as she puts herself in a vulnerable position by serving others through her profession every day. We’re so thankful for her and all of the health care workers that are striving to make our community a safer and healthier place.  I pray that Joel and Anya’s wedding makes up for all of the chaos and disappointments they’ve experienced lately.

At first, Joel and Anya didn’t want to have an engagement shoot. They’re both camera shy, so it took a little convincing to get them to agree to one. I’m so glad they did because their photos are beautiful. They’re so much more photogenic than what they thought!  We ended up having a great time, and they’re really glad they now have these images to treasure forever.

Joel and Anya had already been attending the same church for a while but officially met when they were just 12 years old at a Memorial Day picnic. She even wrote about it in her journal. As they grew up, they would see each other at church events, and their families were good friends. As older teens, Joel began to notice Anya more. He thought she was pretty and was intrigued with her quiet personality. Anya’s first impression of Joel was also his quietness, but as time went on, he began to open up, and she learned that he has a really fun side and a great sense of humor. 

As they got to know each other better, they slowly began to fall in love. Joel loves that Anya is even keeled, and doesn’t get too worked up about things. Her love for God is the most important attribute that he admires about her. Joel is so down to earth and is the most committed person Anya knows. She loves that his faith in God is solid and strong, and that he’ll be a good leader for their family some day. They are such a sweet couple, so young and in love. 

Most people in the Lancaster/York area of Pennsylvania have either been to or heard of Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square.  It’s filled with beautiful botanical gardens, meadows and woodlands…and is an ideal spot for engagements.  Joel had taken Anya there early in their dating relationship, so she was excited when he said he wanted to go again this past summer.  She had no idea what he really had planned. After 3 hours of walking around the park, on what was probably the most humid day of the summer (remember last July?) Anya was ready to leave.  Joel insisted there was one more thing he wanted to see.  “I just want to see your face when I propose.” He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him! Anya so shocked…she asked him if he was serious! To which he replied…”No, it’s a fake ring…of course I’m serious! Will you marry me?” Obviously, she said yes!

They’re planning to get married this June at the church where they both grew up, and still attend. It’s where their story began, and where they’ve grown in their relationship with God, which makes them the amazing people they are today.  They’ll have their reception at Chapel Church Banquet Hall in Red Lion, Pa. It’s a beautiful banquet facility with enough room to host their large guest list and plenty of room to dance the night away.

I’m so excited for Joel and Anya’s wedding! It will be the first one of the summer for me, and a new beginning in more ways than one. 

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I am thankful to each and every couple who invites me to document their love story. Each precious moment of wedding happiness is important to me. 

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