Cross Estate Gardens Engagement by Idalia Photography

Cross Estate Gardens Engagement Bernardsville NJ Photographer | Cortney and John


December 18, 2015

Cross Estate Gardens Engagement

That moment when you meet a couple for the first time and they have cupcakes for you. Delicious cupcakes. A whole box of them! Right from the start I could tell that we were going to get along just perfectly with Cortney and John! And not just because of the cupcakes =) but because they are the sweetest, most genuine couple and they are so excited to be getting married! Cortney has been following our work for a while now so we were incredibly excited that it was finally her and John’s turn to get in front of our cameras! For their engagement session, they chose to have their photos taken at Cross Estate Gardens and Jay and I just about died when we saw the beautiful tall grasses in the most perfect light! We seriously could have shot there all day long. It was the most epic light to end the season with!! We’re so happy that the weather cooperated because I think you’ll agree that the weather in New Jersey has been crazy this fall! Enjoy our favorites from our time with Cortney and John and get excited for their Indian Trail Club Wedding this coming June!! Congratulations, Cortney and John!! Can’t wait for the big day!!


How they met:

Cortney: I used to work the front desk at a gym where John became a member. I noticed his cute smile each time he scanned in with his little green backpack in tow. He eventually started working there as a personal trainer and we got to know each other better while working together. He was in a relationship at the time but we started dating not much longer after they broke it off. We’ve been together ever since!

John: When I was 19 years old, I started going to a gym where Cortney was working. I eventually started working as a personal trainer at this gym and worked closely with Cortney. Often, we would close the gym together on weeknights and open the gym together on weekends. Through this, we became very close and eventually started dating.

What they remember about their first date:

Cortney: It was my 21st birthday and John wanted to be the one to buy my first “legal” drink! He picked me up and took me out to the newest, most popular bar in town. We sat at a high-top table off to the side, and I ordered a martini thinking it would make me seem sophisticated. While I didn’t enjoy the drink, I remember having a fun evening and we got to talk a lot because it was a quiet weeknight and the bar was nearly empty!

John: I remember it like it was yesterday! It was Cortney’s 21st birthday so I took her out to a local pub that recently opened up. It was a weeknight so the pub was fairly quiet and we got to talk and get to know each other better. I remember being nervous because I liked her and wanted to make a good impression. We had a great time and I after our first date I knew I wanted to date her more.


When they knew they had found the One:

Cortney: While I was still in college, I had an interview for an internship at Bloomingdale’s that I was super nervous about. I saw John before I left and he gave me a hand-written note that I still have to this very day! He wrote how proud he was of me and that I would be great. Knowing how much he cared made me realize he was a keeper for sure.

John: During Cortney’s last semester of college she worked an unpaid internship that was a Monday through Friday 9 to 5 job. She did not want to give up her part time job at the gym so she would work 6-11pm after working all day at the internship. I was extremely impressed by her work ethic and her drive to be the best at whatever she did. cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0013cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0012cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0011

The proposal:

Cortney: It was Saturday, September 6th. I remember this specifically because it was John’s sister’s 1-year wedding anniversary! I made an early appointment to get my hair highlighted in the morning and then was off to NYC to help set up my company’s wallpaper, fabric, and furniture showroom. I didn’t even have them blow-dry my hair because I was so eager to get to work. John was texting me all day asking what time I’d be home. I was so annoyed with him asking that I finally gave him a snarky response like, “I’ll be home when I’m done!” I think he finally got the picture because I didn’t hear from him again until I called him on my way home to apologize for being cranky. He asked if I wanted to go out for dinner, and I was in no mood to cook so I suggested we go to a local sushi restaurant that would be an easy in-and-out. I was SO exhausted from a long day! John begged me to come inside and get changed, and when I walked in the door I noticed he was dressed nicer than usual. He said, “Why don’t you shower and get a little dressed up,” and I thought to myself, “What a nice treat this will be!” – a reward for a long days’ work. I don’t think we exchanged more than 10 words to each other over our meal – I was starving, and apparently he was nervous, even though I couldn’t tell! After we got the check, John suggested we go for a walk to get ice cream – and I LOVE ice cream! So we walk, and when we get to the ice cream store he says, “Let’s keep walking.” OK, so we kept walking…and stopped under a streetlamp where he swung me around and started saying the most adorable things like how much he loved me…and before I knew it, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him! Through an abundance of happy tears I said, “Yes!”

John: I remember Cortney had to work the day I planned on asking her to marry me and I was nervously texting her asking when she would be home. When she finally got home I encouraged her to shower and dress nicely so we can go out to eat. After we ate at our favorite sushi restaurant I asked her if she wanted to walk to a near by parlor for ice cream and she did, so we left and began to walk. Knowing the entire time what I was doing, when we got to the ice cream parlor I said I was still full from dinner and I wanted to keep walking. While we were walking I was playing with the ring box in my pocket and I even pointed at something for her to look at so I could quickly take the ring box out of my pocket to look at it to ensure it wasn’t upside down. I wasn’t sure where exactly I was going to pop the question but we eventually ended up under a nice streetlamp. Here I whispered some sweetnothings in her ear before I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. Through tears and nervous laughs she said yes! cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0015cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0016cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0017cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0018cross-estate-gardens-engagement_0019

One thing they love about each other:

Cortney: I love John’s enthusiasm and how he is always encouraging me to keep going! He is so supportive of me and honestly the most selfless person I know.

John: Cortney is still the hardest working person I know and I love that about her. Her drive to succeed pushes me to be the best that I can be and it is very inspiring.


Besides getting married, the one thing they are looking forward to on their wedding day:

Cortney: I’m looking forward to our first look! I can’t wait to see John’s reaction, and I also can’t wait to see him all dressed up. It will be so special for us, and will also hopefully settle our nerves for the ceremony!

John: I am looking forward to seeing how beautiful Cortney looks in her dress and spending one of the biggest days of our lives with our friends and family.


A Cross Estate Gardens Engagement Session by Idalia Photography, a husband and wife photography team based in Central New Jersey. CONTACT US for more information.

Cross Estate Gardens Engagement Session | Bernardsville NJ | Idalia Photography

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If we haven't met yet, I'm Alex! I'm passionate about discovering beautiful stories, documenting genuine moments, and capturing timeless images along the way. Here I share our latest work, a peek into my life, and helpful resources. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!







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