Where do I begin? How about from the remarkable beginning of a splendid engagement shoot with two love birds – Cladia Plantin and Khalif Mentor. Nestled away outside of Philadelphia lies the magical Hunting Hill Mansion at Ridley Creek State Park. If you have not had the chance to visit this treasure, I highly recommend setting aside time to experience this place full of adventure and history.
Philadelphia offers wondrous spots to capture engagement sessions. That’s why at Ridley Creek State Park, my job was made easy due to great company and the pleasant surroundings this place offers. When I got the message from Cladia and Khalif that they wanted their engagement photography session done here, I was euphoric to visit this beautiful place. I immediately knew this was going to a great day out with a fun-loving couple.
A short 16-mile drive from Philadelphia, Ridley Creek State Park is one for the books and is a must-see. There are endless opportunities for unique shots. This park includes 2,606 acres of woodlands, exquisite paths, meadows, creeks, greenery, classical gardens, waterfalls, and so much more. Tucked inside this majestic park, you will find the Hunting Hill Mansion, it is bound to make your imagination run wild. The woodsy area and classic cobblestone that makes up the Hunting Hill Mansion, a large English country manor, made the setting comparable to an enchanted forest. Talk about dreamy and romantic. More so, the entire location made for romantic backdrops. The grounds here are well-kept with their stunning landscapes, stone pathways and stairs, and magnificent fountains. The same stone that makes up Hunting Hill Mansion replicates itself throughout paths and structures in the park.
Sure, the location was beyond Heavenly, but what really aligned the stars was Khalif and Cladia. Inside and out, both were charming and full of life. The session did not lack excitement with this outgoing couple. Their warm hearts and high-spirits set the tone for the entire shoot and shined through their photographs. Hand-in-hand, the duo took a stroll around Ridley Creek State Park and savored each other’s time together. These are moments as an engagement photographer that I can simply acknowledge that I truly have the best career in the world.
Cladia was remarkable in her satin gown, and Khalif looked handsome in his suit and tie. Her dress flowed whichever way she maneuvered it, and Khalif’s grin was beaming as he watched her twirl it around. It caught the sunlight’s glimmer with each and every move, and Khalif is the kind of guy who can smile and light up an entire room. His sharp suit attributed to his personality well; what a dashing gentleman. I can easily understand why they are soul mates. Playful, serious, and genuine, their relationship created photographs that speak volumes of their affection towards one another. An engagement is a fleeting time – A time where their lives are shifting from dating to becoming a married couple.
As we ventured around the park, the lovely couple changed their attire to something semi-formal. The photos turned out wonderful, as they were full of belly laughs and ready for an adventure. When Khalif scooped up Cladia, I could instantly see why they choose each other. You might think true love only exists in storybooks, but they are lucky enough to experience it each and every day. The session was effortless, thanks to a beautiful location and a striking couple. I can’t even describe how excited I was to begin finalizing these images so I could share the results with them.
I look forward to capturing even more beautiful moments between these two on Sunday, August 9, 2020, at Riverdale Manor – another jewel located in Pennsylvania. Now that they broke the ice with their engagement session, the preparation starts. It will soon be time to face the camera once again on their big day. Here’s another congratulations to Khalif and Cladia on their engagement, and here’s to many more beautiful memories made. I have no doubt that their enthusiasm with life and love will take them far.
We met on December 1st, 2012 at Bougainvillers, a bar in South Miami. On this great night our friends coerced us to go out, and for whatever unknown reason, we both said yes. I (Khalif) went out to celebrate my friend’s David’s (The Best-man) birthday where he had one request: to leave with the number of one woman. What can I say? We were 21 and 22. I was reluctant to stay but he was my ride home so I played. I saw Cladia a few times that night, and though she looked amazing, I wasn’t brave enough honestly to approach her, so I settled. At the end of the night, when we all gathered, it turned out, one of our friends hadn’t completed the task. So there was no leaving yet. I decided I’d be his wingman so we can finally leave and of course the women he chose to approach were Cladia and her friend. My task was to distract Cladia while he chatted up her friend. However, once she looked up at me from her phone, I was smitten. I asked her to dance and if you know Cladia, you know what she said: “no, I don’t like this song and I don’t know you”. According to her, I was polite, so she didn’t chase me away.
We’ll go with that! We ended up talking the rest of the night until my friends had to come find me to leave. I did get her number, and texted her minutes later to make sure it was real. We had our first date 5 days later at Santa’s Enchanted Forest and I knew I was in trouble for real this time just by how my heart was beating while I was next to her.
Khalif and I, we both love to go explore together and try out new cuisine. We enjoy cooking and always bring a piece of our travels home with us. When we are reminiscing about our time in Thailand, we make sure to make some Pad Thai so satisfy the urges. We also LOVE brunch! So you can always find us exploring a new brunch spot! We both love the same TV shows so we spend a lot of time in our apartments on the weekends relaxing.Khalif is also such a supportive partner. He championed my dreams and celebrates every little milestones and I couldn’t be luckier.
I knew Cladia was the one very early on in our relationship, I was smitten quite nearly from the beginning. I think it was a gradual feeling for me. Khalif is one of the most caring souls I have ever met, he makes me feel like I’m the only girl in the world. When I saw how he got along so well with my family and his utmost attention to the most trivial aspects of me, I knew I had found the one.
I love the holidays and 2018 amplified this! We were preparing to drive to NYC for my dad’s Christmas extravaganza when I noticed Khalif was more hyperactive than usual. I thought my contagious holiday spirit had finally gotten into him! However, when we arrived to NYC, as the Plantins always do, we started opening presents when the clock struck midnight. After we’ve managed to open all the presents and recreate a Michaels aisle in the living room, Khalif said I had another present under the tree. My brilliant self looked and looked everywhere, perplexed as to what could be this small.
After what seemed like an eternity (it was 5 minutes), and after countless probing, I found an ornament hanging on the tree that read: ” Cladia and Khalif are engaged”. Again, my remarkable brain having not processed what was happening stated that we were not engaged. I then turned around, and Khalif was on one knee, as I temporarily lost my hearing due to my siblings screaming and maybe me screaming as well (just a little) , and I screamed YES, right after I said : ” It was about time!”
We got the ring from Zales. I knew Cladia would want something with a less traditional feel but not flashy, so I chose a four prong princess-cut set into a 14K white gold band. It speaks to her style of simplicity and elegance. I got the ring with the intention of proposing in the comings months, but after 30 minutes with it in my pocket, I knew I had to plan for something much sooner, like say Christmas 3 days away! There was no way I’d be able to hide it from her.
We are most excited about seeing our vision come to life. After months of gathering disjointed vendors like puzzle pieces, It will be an amazing sight to see them come together in celebration of our love for each other. We are also overjoyed at the fact that we will have our family and close friends with us to celebrate.