Kristen & Darrin - Chinese Lantern Festival Proposal Photography - Cary, NC

Hello, hello!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which makes these proposal photos feel really appropriate for today! I hope you’re able to celebrate love tomorrow, whether that’s love you share with a significant other, love you share with friends, or love you finally feel for yourself. Better yet - I hope you can celebrate that love every day. Why not?

Kristen & Darrin

Chinese Lantern Festival Proposal Photography - Cary, NC


I had the pleasure of meeting Kristen & Darrin at a Durham Bulls baseball game as part of a local JMU Alumni meetup night. (Go Dukes!) My husband and I enjoyed chatting with them that evening, and I mentioned that I’m a photographer during part of our conversation.

Months passed, and Darrin eventually knew he wanted to propose to Kristen sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2018. The Chinese Lantern Festival felt like the perfect place for them to celebrate such a momentous occasion (actually, while celebrating Darrin’s graduation from seminary, too!). As soon as he told someone he was going to propose, they said he needed a photographer, and he went and called me right away!! (Gentlemen, take note. Photos of your proposal are basically expected at this point!)

I am so thankful that he thought of me, acted on it, and worked it out for me to share that evening with them - secretly at first, then actually with them once Kristen said yes and we could get some portraits :) The Chinese Lantern Festival was such a cool place for their proposal and photos!

Enjoy the scenes and the love!


I had some time to walk around the festival before they arrived, and I highly recommend going next time! The displays were so intricate and impressive!


A little while after they arrived to the festival, I found where they were and was able to trail them from a safe distance until it was time for Darrin to pop the question :)


See if you can spot the “monkey” in the next photo… I’m so surprised at how many times I looked at this photo without noticing her!


Ya know that phrase, “Dance like nobody’s watching…”? How about “dance like you don’t know you’re being photographed”? Haha! LOVE this!


After walking around the festival for a while, Darrin led them back to the big heart to pull out the ring and ask her to marry him!


She was SO EXCITED and astounded that it was actually happening! They had talked about getting engaged at some point, but she had no idea it was going to happen that evening. It was so special for me to be able to document it!!


Look at Kristen’s raw emotion!! They’re engaged!


Kristen eventually saw me out of the corner of her eye while they were enjoying their first moments as fiancé and fiancée, and she thought, “Oh, the festival has someone taking photos! How cool!” She had no idea, yet, that Darrin had arranged for me to be there!


After letting them savor those moments, Darrin called me over, we explained everything, and I loooved being able to experience their feelings of surreal excitement as we took some portraits and walked around the festival together.

They were so excited, I was so excited, and we loved taking photos in this tunnel of lights!


They’re so precious.


The lanterns at the entrance/exit of the festival were another one of my favorite photo spots… That ambient lighting was just beautiful! Coupled with the beauty radiating from Kristen and Darrin, it was perfect.


If you’re wondering about the metal roses they’re carrying, they bought those at the festival from a craft vendor before they got engaged! It ended up being really cool to have those in the photos, and now they’re even more of a memento!


Yay!! I love love!

I have the warm-fuzzy feelings in my heart all over again after putting this blog post together with their proposal story and photos from the evening. I love that these two will always have these photos to look back on to relive the evening, and they’ll also have photo art to enjoy in their home together, too!

After taking some time to narrow down the photos they would order (always the hardest part but a good problem to love so many), they decided to order a gallery image and prints to enjoy. I believe the gallery image will go in Darrin’s place for now, they’ll probably split the prints, then bring everything back together once Kristen moves in when they get married!

Thank you so much for joining us for this blog post! Join me in wishing Kristen & Darrin a happy engagement by leaving a comment!

There was lots of love in this post & a little silliness, too… Be sure to check out last week’s post with many more silly photos from 2018!

Know someone else who is getting engaged soon or recently engaged? Send them my way! IS IT YOU?! (Congratulations!) Please get in touch with me here - I’d love to capture your exciting proposal, engagement, and/or wedding. All my wedding collections come with a complimentary engagement session and photo art credits, and I try to make them accessible to all with pay-what-you-can pricing and flexibility.

Thank you again! ‘Til next week!

In light & love,