For their engagement shoot in August, Jenn, an editor here at Weddings Illustrated, and John, the recruiting coordinator for Duffy’s Sports Grill restaurants, headed to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. “We love Palm Beach and enjoy strolling Worth Avenue, and it’s also the location of what will be our reception venue, The Colony Hotel, so it was meaningful to take pictures here,” says Jenn.
“The sidewalk along the street changes—some parts are covered, for instance—and connecting side streets lead to beautiful, Italian-inspired alcoves called vias, each of which is different,” she says of the setting. “Worth Avenue offered plenty of photo opportunities, which we discovered organically with our photographer, Ryan, as we walked from west to east.”
Along the way, the couple and their photographer snapped a few colorful pictures at the Living Wall, and in front of the very Tiffany & Co. store where John purchased Jenn’s ring. The shoot ended at the Worth Avenue clock tower, located on the beach.
Jenn and John’s love story began on Match.com—”It actually worked!” Jenn says—when John “liked” one of Jenn’s photos. In response to the gesture, Jenn sent John an email, a move that launched a weeks-long conversation.
“After about six weeks of emailing each other—including a week when John went to Europe and emailed me from overseas—I was pretty impatient for him to ask me out (instead of just being pen pals),” Jenn says. “So, I basically tricked him into a date by suggesting we meet up after he returned from Europe so I could hear about his trip in person.”
Her plan worked.
“We hit it off at one of my favorite restaurants in downtown West Palm Beach, and after a few more weeks of dating, we officially became a couple,” Jenn says.
Fast forward 10 months, and, happily settled into their relationship, John and Jenn went to her hometown of Ponte Vedra Beach to visit her parents, who, Jenn says, “always treat John and me to dinner and other activities, no matter how much we try to pay.” This time, however, John wanted things to be different.
“John suggested we outsmart my parents that weekend by making an advance brunch reservation at the Casa Monica Hotel in downtown St. Augustine,” Jenn says. Little did she know that she would be the one outsmarted in the end.
“On March 1, when we arrived at the hotel for brunch, the hostess led us to a private room. When I walked in, I saw six of my closest, lifelong friends from middle and high school standing there holding a banner that read ‘Will you marry me?'” Jenn recalls. “When John walked in behind me, he began playing a song on his phone, and I immediately recognized the tune as a piano version of our song, ‘To Get To You (55th And 3rd)‘ by Kenny Chesney.” (The piano recording, she later learned, was an arrangement written, performed, and recorded by one of her close friends in New York City who is a professional musician.) “As the song played and everyone looked on, John said sweet words, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him, holding the engagement ring I’d long been admiring.”
From there, the group went into celebration mode. “After I shouted, ‘Yes!’ and came back down to reality, we all enjoyed brunch together,” Jenn says. “My parents, John, and I then spent the day walking around St. Augustine with huge smiles on our faces, calling everyone to spread the happy news. I was beyond shocked by the proposal and the incredible thought behind it, particularly how John found ways to include my loved ones near and far. It could not have been more perfect.”
The couple will tie the knot May 28, 2016, at St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach.
Photographs by Earthmuse Photography