wedding photography for joyful couples



Dana & Danny

A Kent Park Spring Engagement Shoot





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Dana and Danny met in Chihuahua, Mexico in 2016 while they were both on an optometry medical mission. “During that trip, we didn’t have many interactions as he was working mostly with third and fourth your students at the slit lamps (the devices we use to assess the front and back surface of the eye),” Dana recalls. “As a second year, I didn’t really know much about disease and avoided that area like the plague even though we were supposed to rotate through all sections. We had a handful of conversations in which he was very nice and showed me cool photos of things they saw…and that was about it. The next year I spent almost the entire trip working in the same area so we naturally talked a lot more about patients we saw or ones that I sent over for them to take a closer look with the slit lamps.

“After graduation, I was in the Chicago area and I wanted a tour of our school’s sister campus as it didn’t exist when I was applying to schools (basically I was just being nosy). I had been the secretary of VOSH (volunteer optometric services to humanity) so I had everyone’s emails. I emailed Danny and asked for a tour of campus and we started texting after that.”

They try to pinpoint when they knew the other was “the one” and both landed on when they moved in together. “I don’t think it was ever a single point in time,” Danny says. “I think that when she wanted to come to Illinois after residency was a big commitment on her end. That showed me that she was very serious with our relationship and that she cared a lot for me. Once we started living together (it was a first for both of us), it was an adjustment on both ends. I think after we realized that we can get along living together, that we can make this work.”

Dana remembers, “Even though we went into moving in together with open communication of what our pet peeves and expectations were, it doesn’t always pan out perfectly without bumps and I think when we worked through all that, I knew he was the one. In particular, one holiday, my family was over and I had mentioned a food I didn’t like because my dad always forgets which one of us doesn’t like certain things (I think it was olives that my sisters both love and I hate). Danny just off-hand responded to my dad with ‘That’s why you make a list, Robert.’ We were all like, ‘You have a list?! Let’s hear it!” He pulled out his phone and read off the whole list he had in his phone of things I don’t like (I’m really not a picky eater; I just don’t like condiments and people think its weird). Some of it wasn’t food related, but stuff like ‘spiders, plates left in the sink’, and things like that. Danny isn’t overly romantic, it’s just not how he expresses his love (he’s more an acts of service kind of guy), so when he read that list, it really hit me, ‘Oh my god, he does really love me!'”

Danny tells me about the proposal: “I had the ring with me for some time, but couldn’t find the right time to propose. Dana was the one who first asked me for my number while on a boat when we first met. She had the idea to go on a boat ride during a business trip in San Diego, so I thought that was the perfect time to propose. (She basically planned it herself, but didn’t know she was going to be proposed to.) Dana and I are both huge fans of Lego. In San Diego, I had to visit a couple of clinics without her and, oddly enough, drove past Legoland. I had the idea to find little Lego mini figs that looked like us as a gift. However, you couldn’t just buy the figures; you had to buy a whole set. When I explained this to an employee, she gave me two people for free, but that looked nothing like us. She said that there were free exchange stations where I could trade parts off the people and replace them with ones I liked around the park.

“So I walked around the park for two hours trying to find the best combo that matched us and was able to get pretty close. Later, when on the boat after dinner, I asked if she wanted to go to the top deck (before a lot of people finished their food and crowded it). I showed her the Lego people that I got that day and explained the story of me walking around like an idiot changing parts to look like us. She found it very funny and was excited for them.

“I then said, ‘I also got you this.’ And got down on a knee with her grandma’s ring. Through her tears of joy and laughter, we kissed and someone random came over and tried to ask Dana if she can take a photo of them (I don’t think they knew what just happened). She covered her face and just motioned to me to do it. So right after I proposed, I took a photo of a stranger and then went back to Dana who was still trying to stop crying. It was a very memorable night.”

Their wedding is coming up soon and I’m so glad they were able to travel here to do an engagement session beforehand. They were so happy and sweet, even while we battled the wind and cold that day! I’m so excited to do it all over again–albeit warmer–with them in a couple months!

Danny proposed to Dana with her grandmother’s ring, which features a stunning mother of pearl shell!


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