Months of planning went into that particular trip to Newport, although Hillari probably had no idea. As far as she knew, it was just one of their usual weekend trips - the main goal being a relaxing couple of days away. Danny had another goal in mind, to ask Hillari a question that he been wanting to ask for months. But he couldn't just ask her like it was any other question. He had to do it his way. And he decided to do that by incorporating the other love of his life - flying model airplanes.
So he started working with one of his planes, one that he had been flying for years so Hillari wouldn't see it coming when he brought it with them on their trip. These aren't just your run-of-the-mill model airplanes, either. These are serious machines, hand built by Danny, that have moving parts and can soar in the air like nobody's business. He spent weeks getting it just right, making a banner that would pop out of the plane with the flick of a switch on his remote. He tested it, refined it and finally had it exactly the way he wanted it. It was time.
They packed up the car and headed out to Newport, the plane having a special place of honor in the trunk. When he took his airplane out of the car Hillari thought nothing of it. It was a typical occurrence on these trips. So typical, Hillari wasn't even paying close attention to the plane at first. Danny encouraged her to look up as he hit a button on his remote. The banner popped out of the back of the plane and began soaring in the breeze. Hillari squinted into the sky and tried to read it. "What does it say?!" she asked him. He laughed and lowered the plane and had it fly right past them. Suddenly she could read it and she got the message. "Will you marry me?" it read. Hillari started laughing too and shouted "Yes!!" He landed the plane, took out the ring and slipped it on to her finger.
After all those months of planning, Danny could finally breathe a sigh of relief. He spent the rest of that afternoon at the beach with Hillari, sitting side-by-side, taking in the significance of what just happened and watching the plane soar in the sky.
* * *
There was really never any question about where we would do Hillari & Danny's engagement session. We had to return to the scene of the proposal. Not only was it a significant place to the two of them, but it was also the perfect place to reenact the proposal a bit. We just had to incorporate the plane into the session. So we started the session down at the beach, walking along the sand, exploring the dunes and finally sending the plane up into the air. It was insanely windy, but it totally worked. To say that we were both excited about the shots with the plane is a total understatement. From there, we headed to downtown Newport to mix it up a bit. We hit up some of Hillari and Danny's favorite streets before ending the day among the sailboats down in the harbor.
So you probably know by now the we love the tall beach grass. But you probably didn't know we're also total suckers for the beach fences that protect the dunes. Love them!
It really wasn't difficult to get Hillari to smile. She does it without thinking pretty much every time she looks at Danny. Doesn't hurt that he is always making her laugh too.
You want to know just how cool Hillari is? She didn't even flinch about sitting on the beach in white pants. She was up for anything.
You can't really tell here, but it was CRAZY windy, but Hillari and Danny totally brought it, bringing out their inner models.
One of the best parts of what we do is seeing how happy couples make each other. With Hillari and Danny, it was obvious from the very beginning of the day.
This is Rob's shot...
...and this is my shot at the same moment. Doesn't this look like it could be a postcard for Newport?
Climbing up to the top of this life guard tower was no easy task, but Hillari & Danny didn't even hesitate. They hopped right up.
I really love this shot that Rob captured when he climbed up to the top of the lifeguard chair to meet them.
A beach with two different kinds of beach fences?! Total bonus! Sometimes it's really strange the little things that make us happy!
We totally loved the soft textures of their clothing against the rusted fence and overgrown greenery. Just says beach to us.
We had Danny take out the plane for the mini-reenactment. He was LOVING it. You could totally tell this is a passion for him.
Come on! How cute is that? Can't you just imagine how it was when he surprised her with this?
Danny actually built the entire plane himself. The wings actually move up and down a bit.
After a quick outfit change, we hit up the streets of downtown. Danny works in construction, so he loves all of the old buildings in Newport.
A white picket fence too!! Even bigger bonus!!
There is a really genuine sweetness between Hillari and Danny, probably most obvious in moments like this one.
You can't really go to Newport without spending time down by the boats, right? These types of harbors are such a quintessential New England landmarks.
We totally lucked out with some colorful boats happening to be in port. Something about the next couple of pictures totally reminded us of Venice.
Hillari & Danny, thank you for a wonderful afternoon and for braving the wind with us! We can't wait to see you both again in September!