This Philly Guy Faked a Fashion Shoot To Propose to His Blogger Girlfriend

"I like to think I know when something is coming, but this caught me completely by surprise."


Photography by Erika Lynn Photography

If you’re into fashion and Instagram, you may have spotted blogger and influencer Danielle Maiale (@danimaiale) donning chic looks in Philly, NYC, and all over the country. Given her penchant for an unflappably stylish aesthetic, we’re not surprised at all that her picture-perfect surprise proposal near a fountain at the Morris Arboretum left us gushing. (The dress! The heels! The fountain!) See all the frame-worthy photos (plus adorable after party pictures featuring letters by Slay Displays) from this surprise set-up, all by Erika Lynn Photography, below.

The Couple: Danielle (Dani) Maiale, 25, and John Dombroski, 29, of Center City.

How They Got Together (as told by Dani): “My family has a shore house in Long Beach Island and I would travel down there every weekend in the summer. In the summer of 2014, one of my close friends Brett asked if I wanted to join him and a few of his friends for a boat ride on the bay on a summer afternoon. I am so happy I did! I met John on that boat ride. His smile was the first thing that caught my eye and I knew immediately I wanted to get to know him. We docked the boat at a restaurant on the water and pulled up to grab some quick bites and drinks. We sat next to one another and began chatting. On the ride home he asked for my number. I happily gave it to him, and a week later he had invited me to grab drinks in Philly. I drove from LBI after my shift at a local boutique on the island to meet John in Rittenhouse at Rouge. The rest is history. We’ve been dating for 5 years now.”

How They Got Engaged (as told by Dani): “I like to think that I know when something is coming, however this proposal completely caught me completely by surprise! My younger sister, Lauren, had told me two weeks in advance that we would be doing a photoshoot for one of her friends at a local garden on June 30th. Lauren told me to dress nice and to bring three outfits with me that day because we would change outfits in different locations of the garden.  The location of the shoot was The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

We parked the car and I stepped out with flip flops on. Lauren told me to wear heels. I put on my heels and began walking to the garden. We walked down this winding path where Lauren had told me the photographer would be shooting us at the rose garden first. The first thing I noticed was these beautiful wrought iron gates leading into the rose garden. It had a huge fountain in the center. I walked through the gates and immediately noticed a photographer snapping pictures and a man in a suit standing in the middle of the pathway leading to the fountain. I could not make out that it was John yet as he was some distance from me and it was a sunny day. I thought it was someone else possibly getting proposed to so I stepped aside and off the path as I looked behind me. I was thinking some other girl would be entering the garden! And then it all hit me. I recognized my photographer, Erika Medlin, (who is a close friend of mine) and then I saw John. I was in complete shock.

John had a huge smile on his face, meanwhile I could not stop crying. It all hit me at once: This is it! It’s really happening. I walked down the pathway, crying the whole time as he held my hand and said: “Danielle, you’re my best friend. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you so much. Will you marry me?” He then got down on one knee and pulled out the ring, and I began to cry more. He placed the ring on my finger and we hugged and kissed. I could not believe it. After it all set in, I saw that his friend Brett (the one who introduced us) was there in the corner flying the drone high above to capture the moment! Brett owns a company called Elevated Angles in Philly for drones.”

How they celebrated (as told by Dani): “John told me we would get drinks and dinner with my family and his family in the city at 5 PM. He said my friends were not able to make it for a surprise afterwards because this was done so quickly. I didn’t mind; I was on cloud nine. We parked in the city and walked to Attico across the street. Right away I noticed the big letters (J&D) created by Slay Displays. I walked into the private room on the terrace and all of my closest family and friends were there to celebrate! I started crying again as John had planned the entire evening so perfectly, We had an open bar, a ton of yummy food, a custom cake, and the room was decorated with pictures of John and I over the past 5 years. My dad, Nick Maiale, and John’s mom, Lisa Dombroski, made a beautiful speech after the cake was cut as everyone cheered and celebrated the night! It was a night I would never forget.”

Congrats to the happy couple! We can’t wait for your Big Day.

This story has been edited for clarity and length. Want to see your big moment on this blog? Learn how to submit your engagement or wedding photos to our editors here.

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