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Category Archives: Engagement Story Contest

Ron Soliman, Top 16 Wedding Photojournalist in the World – WPJA

Here are the images that made it happen. Thanks to all my brides for giving me the opportunity to document one of the most memorable moment of their life.

Congratulations also to Franck Boutonnet of Lyon, France for winning the 2008 Wedding Photojournalist of the Year. Click on the images below to read the article.


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Newly designed website for the New Year!

New website launching in 5,4,3,2,1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE. And please tell us what you think? It features full screen images for your own enjoyment. It should be pretty easy to navigate and the pricing section is set for automatic download. Check it out also in big screen monitors, it’s amazing! Click below to be directed to the newly launched site.


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NEW Website to Launch in January 2009!

Here’s a quick peek of my newly designed website. It’s going to be FULL screen, so you can enjoy more looking at my images. It should be up in about a week.

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Check out The News Journal’s best images of 2008

At my day job at the newspaper, I am so proud to share with you the best images of 2008 from my photography staff. I have a great staff there and I can’t complain. The image below is from my shot when the Pope came to the US. Enjoy this slideshow from!

Click on the photo below to watch the slideshow-

You can also read my comments on the Best Images of 2008 by clicking on the link below-


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I’m a soon to be a 5 year cancer survivor and my girlfriend at the time, Jenn, was there for me through everything. We have been together for 8 years on February 14th. I proposed to Jenn at The Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Middletown, DE. Jenn and I were a part of a Relay team with our friends. I thought this would be a perfect event to propose at because Jenn had always said she wanted her family there when I proposed. So I invited all the family and she was not tipped off b/c it was an important event for the both of us. After I walked the survivor’s lap I arranged for the DJ to announce that my team won a special prize. Jenn was waiting for this special prize and she still had no idea what was happening even  when a large circle of our team, cancer survivors, patients, friends and family gathered in a giant circle around us. Our song came on the loud speaker and I got on one knee while my good friend held the microphone, and i asked my girlfriend of 7 years if she would marry me. She replied with a huge smile, explosive tears, and a yes absolutely. She pulled the ring from my hand and pulled me up off my knee. Where we hugged for about 5 minutes in laughter and tears. We greeted all of our family and friends as a newly engaged couple and  then this reporter came over. We had our pictures taken by the local newspaper and the photo was posted on the front page with a beautiful story of our story! It was perfect and my fiance says it was the best day of our lives. I am now celebrating with her everyday!

- Billy

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Jay and I met online.  I was online just to open myself up to communicating with different people and having fun.  I am part of a large singles group in the Philadelphia area with my church, so I assumed I’d meet someone there and was online just to have fun.  Jay was in his last year of seminary in Pittsburgh.  He was 4 years younger, still in school, and 4 1/2 hours away — not at all what I was looking for… but he was just so much fun to talk to and we had a quick connection — emotionally and spiritually.

We dated long distance for many months until he moved to the Philly area to see if we had what it took to make it long term.  I told him many times that I wanted to date a year before engagement.  I also thought it was good to do pre-engagement counseling… I figured we should not wait until engagement (when a ring is purchased, deposits are made, and announcements gone out) to figure out if we were going to be compatible in marriage.  The counseling went so well that I surprised him in November when I told him I wanted to marry him (he had been ready to get engaged much earlier than I was).  So, he spent the next 6 weeks preparing the engagement.  My mom generously gave us my grandmother’s engagement ring.  I was born on my grandmother’s birthday, went to her college, etc., so it was extra-special.

On New Years Eve, we attended the formal dance party my singles group hosted at a local hotel.  Jay bought a tuxedo and I wore an evening gown.  Twenty minutes before midnight, my best friend lured me back to her hotel room under the guise of needing to fix her contact lens.  When I walked in the door, I was surprised to see Jay sitting there.  My friend left and Jay and I cuddled on the bed.  He had created a little comic book with drawings on 20 pages for me (no wonder it took 6 weeks to prepare!).  The story was about his New Years Resolution — to marry the most wonderful woman ever.  He filled the book with references to various fun moments in our relationship and he had me read along.  The drawings were of him and me in various scenarios.  Finally, in the book, his character realized that I was the most wonderful woman ever and, in the book, the character proposed.  At that point, Jay turned to me and said lots of wonderful things about how I was his best friend and he thanks God for me everyday.  I started crying.  He turned the page to a drawing of me and an open dialogue bubble — I was supposed to write in my answer.  He got up and looked for a pen but in the entire hotel room we couldn’t find one!  I remembered I had eye liner in my purse, so Jay brought me my purse.  He got down on one knee and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him.  I was so glad I could write my answer because at this point I was speechless.  I wrote “Yes!!” and said it, too, and in that moment became the happiest woman ever.  :) - Michelle Ryan & Jay



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John and I were taking a trip to Notre Dame(my alma mater and one of my favorite places) to meet some of our friends for a football and soccer weekend.  We bundled up in several layers to brave the cold, watched a football victory, and then stopped at the grotto to light a candle together.  The grotto always makes me introspective.  So on the way back to the hotel, John asked me to wait in the lobby because he had a “little something” to put a smile back on my face.  After a few minutes, I went up to the room and John opened up the door to greet me.  I walked into the room and I was floored by what I saw.  Everywhere I looked there were flowers.  Beautiful red roses in vases, long stem roses laid on the pillows, a teddy bear holding a dozen roses.  All in all, there were 10 dozen red roses filling the room.  There were a dozen balloons, rose petals and chocolates all over the bed, and candles lighting the whole room.  He had the song playing that he played the first time he told me he loved me.  John then said that there were two dresses and two pairs of shoes in the bathroom if  I wanted to change.(I once mentioned that I pictured myself being dressed up if I ever got engaged.)  At that point, my eyes filled with tears and I said I didn’t want to change.  He sat me down and read me a poem that he wrote in 1985 entitled ”The One I Dream of”. He told me that when he wrote it, he had no idea that several years later he would be writing it about me! John then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  I couldn’t have been happier(I still am) or more surprised that John could pull something like this together hundreds of miles from home.  I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life! 

- John and Kerri 



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It took six years to set up, but we went on our second first date. She even let me take her to Historic New Castle again in an effort to reminisce. The evening ended with what seemed to be a timeless embrace. Her delicate arms gripped tightly around me in an effort to keep me from driving four hours to my house in Chesapeake, VA. At that moment I knew a long distance relationship, as hard as it was going to be, was in the works. I wouldn’t lose her again, so I spent the next few months thinking about how to pop the question.

 I’m not going to lie; I have lame jokes, but as long as she keeps laughing I’m going to keep telling them. She laughs, and we have fun everywhere we go. The formula usually consists of me taking on the employees or the atmosphere wherever we end up. One of my favorite things to do with her is read in Barnes and Nobel. She absolutely loves being embarrassed a little. I suppose the best way to describe her reaction is a controlled yet giddied fluster. If it is a stoic interpretation from a scene inRichard III, or even a slightly mischievous reading of Rossetti’s Goblin Market, she never really knows what’s coming.


One of her Christmas presents this year was a trip to the Inner Harbor. She had no idea that she’d be coming home with something more precious than a silly shark hat from the aquarium. It was a pretty typical trip for the most part. We arrived in a mild rain storm with the possibility of massive flurries. We wouldn’t let something so trivial get in the way of a good time, so the expedition continued. We explored the aquarium vigorously, stopping ever so often to take an unexpected picture. My favorite being her looking up at a graphic giraffe on the wall. I’m still not entirely sure why it was in the aquarium, but it did do a good job emphasizing her modest stature. The rest of the day was supposed to be unplanned in a proposed lets-just-have-fun weekend. Little did she know the evening was meticulously designed.

 We walked around the harbor shops and shared a pretzel from the food court. Before trekking back to the car garage eight blocks away in the pouring down rain, we decided to purchase two umbrellas from one of the hole in the wall stores. We made it all the way to the Baltimore World Trade Center before our flimsy purchase was destroyed in the wind. She just laughed, and we ran all the way to the ESPN zone to get out of the rain. How perfect is she? She doesn’t get upset in the essence of irony, rather she embraces the positive. I knew that seven o’clock wouldn’t come soon enough.


I am horrible with directions. We absolutely get lost everywhere we go. I don’t mind, I mean who would want a ten minute drive from the harbor to the hotel when it could be done in forty-five? Plus she had an opportunity to experience a side of Baltimore that she wasn’t expecting. Not that it matters, but in what world does East Baltimore Street not run into West Baltimore Street? Needless to say we took taxis for the remainder of our trip.

 I knew how and where I wanted to propose, but getting her there would be difficult. My plan was to eat dinner at PF Changs, and then finish “shopping” for some last minute Christmas presents at Best Buy and Barnes and Nobel. I knew that if I could get her back to Barnes and Nobel, she would have no idea what to expect.

 We made it to the book store and began to investigate their shelves. I pulled her off in two of the store’s nooks to steal a few after dinner kisses. The plan was to get her near the poetry section so I could read her some premeditated passages. I began reading her some of my favorite Neruda:

 “Oh, love is a journey with water and stars,

with drowning air and storms of flour;

love is a clash of lightnings,

two bodies subdued by one honey.” – Pablo Neruda, XII

 “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” – Pablo Neruda, XVII

 She looked so delighted and full. I told her that there was one more poem that I needed to read. I pulled a poem out of my jacket pocket that I had written for her.


When I close my eyes

            in dreams

                        we recur;


in a dark room–

pacing together

            a silenced path.


There’s a door            closed,

but we aren’t trapped;

we choose to stay –

just gliding;

whatever we are reaching

            it’s together –


a calm sashay


no strain


            or torment


                        or strife,


but I fear         deficient.


Dreams do not endure:


phony aromas;

dissimulated visions;

phantom embraces,

I Just Want To Live.

 I don’t want to dream alone anymore;

I don’t want to wake in dismay–

afraid to look over

            and see you’re not there.


Dreams aren’t animate –

            we have a pulse;


            exist with me.

 After reading her her poem, I looked deep in her brown eyes and confessed my unending love. I described her perfection, her heart, and her soul. I dropped to my right knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. She said, “YES.” If she hadn’t then it’d be pretty creepy of me to submit this online.

 We had to sit down for quite some time before leaving the book store. We called all of our family and friends, and I have to admit we’ve been on cloud nine ever since. We’re planning an October ceremony. Wish us luck!

Laura and Andrew became engaged on December 23, 2007, and will be getting married on October 10, 2008.


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ENGAGEMENT STORY CONTEST- Surprise at the Winery

We were at the Finger Lakes in NY on a wine tour that we go to every year. On the 2nd day, at the 1st winery, Kip said we should get our picture taken outside on the deck with the view of the lake and snow in the background. When we went outside to take the picture, my sister (who was supposed to take the picture) never came outside. Before I realized what was going on, Kip was down on his knee and asked “Will you marry me?!” And of course I said “yes!” When we finally came inside, all of our friends were there applauding and able to celebrate the day with us! Even the bus was decorated with “Congratulations” decorations for the tour that day!

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This has become so popular to our readers. Please send us your engagement story and our team of judges (Philadelphia TV Journalists) will pick the winner to win our gift package from Victoria Secret for the future bride and Sharper Image for the future groom. So give us your best shot and inspire other couples!




Check our website’s blog- to read these touching stories. We will post stories as they come in.

RULES: Stories from couples, who got engaged between Oct. 2007-April 2008 are eligible. Please make sure you attach a photo of the two of you when you send your story to




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