Philly Love Engagement: Congratulations Jess and Mike!

Jess and Mike love Philadelphia! Although they live in Alexandria, VA, they both have family ties to the city of brotherly love and will be married there this December.

These amazing murals really capture the city, their love and their story. I had so much fun photographing Jess and Mike and these unique and funky pieces of art!

Philadelphia love wall murals engagement photography

Philadelphia wall mural hold tight

Philly love wall murals engagement photography

Jess and Mike met at a Phi Alpha Delta interest meeting at James Madison University in the fall of 2005. Jess says, “We wanted nothing to do with each other.  I thought he was really lame and he thought I was a complete snob.  Looking back now I laugh, because he truly is the funniest guy I know!”

Mike adds, “Somehow, despite our obvious incompatibility, we managed to kindle a friendship in the months to follow and the rest is history.”

Philadelphia love wall murals engagement photography
Philadelphia love wall murals engagement photography

Jess shares the story of the proposal, “Mike isn’t a big planner, but somehow he managed to pull off an amazing engagement, although I made it extremely difficult.  He took me to see “The Nutcracker” (box seats included), which he told me he got for free from his job (this wasn’t unusual as he was always getting things for free).  It was a great story line because this was the exact same thing I told my sister the night of her engagement in order to get her dressed and ready. He used my own story against me. After the show was over he told me his dad and stepmom were visiting and staying at the Willard Hotel and wanted to get drinks with us, which was all another part of his scheme. We went to the Willard and up to the hotel room where his dad was supposedly staying. He let me knock for a good two minutes before pulling out a room key. I walked in and the room was decorated and on the table was a cake that said “Will you marry me, yes or yes?” Given that yes was my only option, I accepted his proposal, happily.  :  )

Mike shares his side of the story, “The Proposal 2013 was one of the most stressful, anxiety-filled moments of my early adulthood. To say that I was nervous about executing such a risky (and possibly fruitless) plan is wholeheartedly understated. I conned her into thinking that I was given tickets to see “The Nutcracker,” which was only half true. Yes, I wanted to take her to her favorite ballet but I had actually purchased the tickets myself in hopes that I could somehow get her to the Willard Hotel (in downtown D.C.) where I had planned a semi-elaborate proposal. Of course, it was an unusually warm December evening, which was great because that meant I didn’t have to wear a jacket but also terrible because I didn’t have to wear a jacket, which would have better concealed the awkwardly large ring box stowed in the interior pocket of my suit jacket. (I still can’t believe she didn’t notice my limp right arm, which I used to cover the boxy bulge.)  After the show, we walked over to the Willard Hotel under the guise that my dad and stepmom were in town and wanted to meet up. Well, did I fool her! Back in the room, I had some flowers and a cake that read, “Will You Marry Me,  yes or yes?” Thankfully, she chose the latter and here we are. It’s a great story that I don’t mind telling because it’s one of the few instances where I was able to successfully plan an evening.”

Philadelphia love wall murals engagement photography

Philadelphia love wall murals engagement photography

Philadelphia engagement photography

I prefer the drummer

philly engagement photo

Jess works for a consulting firm in downtown Bethesda as a marketing manager and Mike just started his new career as a content writer for a small startup company. They both love to travel, especially to lesser known places–they will be honeymooning in Namibia!

Jess shares, “The Green Day shoes were a gift to Mike early on in our relationship.  He is without a doubt the biggest Green Day fan EVER.  I think I am a pretty good gift giver, and this is probably one of my favorite gifts I ever gave. The engagement shoot was the first time he actually ever wore them, he’s super protective!”

Mike continues,  “Anybody who knows me understands my love of rock music and Green Day. My best friend and I first listened to Green Day’s “Dookie” on blue cassette tape, probably on a boom box sometime in 1994 or 95. I wouldn’t say I’m an obsessive fan but I’ve traveled over 600 miles to see shows back to back on more than one occasion. Meeting them was one of the highlights of my young life. Maybe “slightly obsessive” is appropriate after all.  As for the drums,  I’ve been playing unprofessionally for about 10 years. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Jess putting up with all that racket I call “practice.” If she wasn’t such a heavy napper, I’m not sure it would have worked out between us! I hope to find a band as soon as our lives settle down post-wedding activities!”

green day converse

If you plan two nearby locations and two outfits you can really get two completely different looks for your engagement session! Jess and Mike made a quick change and went from an urban city look to a chic Parisian-feeling look in just a matter of minutes! The street lights in Rittenhouse Square look so romantic!

paris inspired engagement shoot

paris inspired engagement shoot

philly engagement photo

ritten house square philly

Oh, I love a twirly blur photo!

twirl blur engagement

paris inspired engagement shoot

philly rittenhouse square engagement shoot

night engagement shoot

Mike shares, “I casually mentioned getting married on 12/13/14 a few months prior to our engagement because I thought it would be kind of cool and because we won’t get an opportunity like this for 89 years (1/2/2103) and I didn’t think Jess wanted to wait that long (understandable). Thankfully, the date worked out and we’ll be getting married at the Monaco Hotel across the street from Independence Hall. We’re looking forward to seeing longtime friends, family and celebrating the official start of our lives together.”

Congratulations Jess and Mike!

Hair and Make-Up: Blo/Out Rittenhouse Square
Murals: A Love Letter for You by Steve Powers
Jess’ Wardrobe:
Black Pixie Pants – JCrew,  Jacket, Drummer shirt, Paris shirt: H&M, Shoes: Converse
Red Skirt: ASOS, Shoes: Zara, Bag: Chanel
Mike’s wardrobe:
Black Pants, Shirt and Jackets: H&M
Shirt and Tie:  Express 
Shoes: Vans, Green Day Converse: Punk Your Chucks


  1. […] out the couple’s engagement session featuring some really fun street art in […]

  2. Linda Hersperger says:

    Really outstanding pictures, pretty, fun, sweet,interesting and ready for a life time together! ! Great fun to see.

  3. Pat Schmidt says:

    I think they are beautiful, dramatic and exciting engagement pics. Wonderful! Congratulations !

  4. Jess says:

    Thanks Maryann! I had so much fun taking these photographs! I can’t wait for the wedding!

  5. Maryann Murray says:

    The second time around photographing one of my daughters, you have done it again, SIMPLY SUPERB!!!! You captured the real Jess & Mike. You are the best without a doubt. I can’t wait to see all the photos from the shoot. Maryann










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