Hi! I'm Laura! I'm a NJ + Hudson Valley NY based wedding and brand photographer for adventurous couples in love and creative, heart driven brands. I'm a storyteller at heart and am so blessed to call this my job! My photography style is organic and timeless and I can't wait to hear your story!. 

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Tunkhannock Pennsylvania Engagement Session | PA Wedding Photographer | Marlena and Antonio

Oh my gooodnessssss! What a bunch of cuties in the mountains! Marlena and Antonio’s engagement session on their family properties in Pennsylvania was so much fun!! Both their families have hunting cabins out in rural PA and I drove out to meet them out there for some spectacular views of the mountains and some amazing fields to frolick through (I mean does it get any better?)

These two were a bit shy until I got them to open up and now I am so so pumped for their wedding day!  That’s the major benefit to engagement sessions – getting all the shyness and jitters out of the way for the wedding day! Their wedding is right around the corner this September and I know it’s going to be full of amazing family traditions, heritage and good food! Not to mention a TON OF LOVE.

Because Marlena did such a great job at telling me their love story, I thought I’d do this blog post in her words because I couldn’t tell it any better then her!! So without further ado, here is their love story!!

How did you meet? I’d love to hear the details!

Well, our fathers met first. Marlena’s family has had hunting property in a small village/town in Wyoming County, PA since 1990. In 1998 Marlena’s father decided to build a pizza oven outside at their property. When construction was complete, Marlena’s family was in search of pizza dough to cook and test out the oven, and they stumbled upon Antonio’s family’s pizzeria restaurant in Tunkhannock, PA. Our fathers instantly hit it off, as they are originally from the same general area of Italy and found out that Antonio’s family has a hunting cabin not very far from the Padulas’. We were later introduced through our families.

What was your first date? I’d love to hear the details!

Antonio drove 2 hours to New Jersey so that we could have dinner together at an Italian restaurant in a town near where Marlena lives. Although we knew each other through our families, it was the first time we were hanging out alone together, and we really got to know the ins and outs of each other’s lives and souls. We also found out how much we both love food, as we covered our table and a few nearby tables in all of the dishes that we ordered! It was a Monday, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was nice since we are both kind of shy in front of others. We were there for hours just talking, laughing, and getting to know each other.

Do you have a favorite date you’ve ever been on together?

We get limited time together due to the distance and conflicting work schedules, so every date feels like such a heartwarming blessing. But one day together particularly holds a special place in our hearts–we got to spend literally the entire day exploring each other’s hunting properties (and getting caught in a thunderstorm!), eating lunch at a smalltown diner, and then sharing the night together with Antonio’s family at his home.

What does your perfect date night look like or include?

It would have to include a large, delicious dinner (either at a favorite restaurant or made at home) accompanied by great-tasting homemade wine! The rest of the night could include anything from taking a walk through the woods, exploring an outdoor goods store, watching movies, sitting outside around a fire talking about everything from A to Z, playing games and bringing out our inner child, etc. 🙂

How did he propose? Tell me the whole story!!

Antonio drove to New Jersey to spend Christmas with me and my family. Lunch was at my sister’s mother-in-law’s house, so we drove together to her house before exchanging Christmas gifts. As soon as we got there, Antonio asked me to go back out to his truck to open one Christmas gift. I was kind of reluctant as I had left all of Antonio’s gifts at home so we could open them together later on, but Antonio insisted that it was OK just to open one of my gifts together outside. He opened his truck to take out one small gift that was among a group of other bigger gifts (which I later learned were all empty decoys, haha!). Inside the gift bag was a small Yeti mug that I had been saying for forever that I wanted every time we saw it and I would be like, “Oh, next time we see it I will definitely get it!” I was so happy and excited to finally have this mug, that I did not even realize there was an open ring box with the most gorgeous engagement ring sitting inside! Antonio laughed at me and told me to look a little closer inside, and I finally caught sight of the ring, slapping my hand to my open mouth in shock and giddiness. 

From the start, we both knew we would end up together so it was not the act that was so shocking but just the timing of it all. We both laughed at each other’s silliness and were very, very excited to finally officially start this next step in our lives together. Given several circumstances, we actually kept the engagement a secret for the rest of the day and told Marlena’s parents of the engagement privately at home at the end of the night. <3

What are three things you love about your groom?

Just three!? Well…Antonio is incredibly hardworking and has a great head on his shoulders, he has great morals and always chooses to do the right thing even when it’s the hardest, and he finds humor in everything and makes me laugh sooo soo much!!

What are three things you love about your bride?

Besides being loving, caring, and compassionate, I love that Marlena is traditional, that she loves the outdoors, and that she is a huntress. 🙂

Describe yourselves as a couple. 

Outdoorsy, fun-loving, artsy, kinda goofy, quiet around others but very outgoing together, and slightly old-fashioned.

What do you both do for a living?

Antonio runs his family’s pizzeria restaurant, and Marlena is the office manager at her family’s marble and granite business.

What is something you are both passionate about (in life)?

For both of us our passions definitely root from our strong Italian heritage and families. We hope to live long, successful, moral lives at both home and work. We look forward to starting a family together and being able to support our family with every need and desire. We definitely are passionate about keeping our Italian culture as part of our daily lives and passing it on to our kids someday through love and togetherness.

I mean, that last answer gave me all the feels.  Honestly, their whole story did! It’s amazing!! Marlena and Antonio, I cannoooootttt wait for your wedding day coming up so soon! You guys were truly meant to be together and I know a lifetime of happiness, love, togetherness and Italian food and traditions are in your future! Cheers to the decades of laughter and love to come!

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