Joe + Jen | Penn State Proposal

As soon as Joe reached out to Samantha about a surprise proposal, I got so excited. These are, by far, my favorite events to cover! Hearing the excitement in their voice as they tell us their proposal plans and listening to them talk about their significant other is such a cool experience.

To me, the proposal is, in most cases, the guy's time to shine. It's his chance to surprise the person he wants to share forever with. But hey, we're here for the girls who want to plan a proposal too!

Speaking of the guy's time to shine, LET ME TELL YOU. Joe is THE sweetest guy and it was so fun to see him plan this surprise for Jen. Joe was granted leave, and in about two weeks pulled together Jen's surprise. He would propose to Jen at the place they connected, on Penn State's campus! He would do it at the Lion Shrine before the Penn State vs. Pitt Game, and spend the rest of the day celebrating!

Joe wanted to make this moment extra special for Jen by asking SMF to be there and capture it. Jen is a friend of Samantha's, and we were flattered to later learn that both Jen and Joe's mom have been sharing our work with him for quite a while!


Joe gets Jen to the Lion Shrine between 8-8:30 AM. Joe asks a stranger to take their picture. Joe asks stranger to move far back and get the "whole lion shrine set up". This really meant, get the stranger far back enough and out of the way so that Catherine and I can get the shot.


For the first time at a major event, Samantha was out of town, so was up to Catherine and me to get it done. We arrived around 7:15am to get set up and get some establishing shots. While we were doing this, we were expecting Joe and Jen anytime between 8 and 8:30am. Typically with a proposal this ends up meaning around 8:45, but at 7:30, I checked Joe’s location and they were just down the road! Should have known military guys are always early! So, Catherine and I got into position (behind a bush) and waited for Joe and Jen to get to the shrine.

As they approached we slowly made our way out and watched as Joe began telling Jen how much she means to him before he dropped onto a knee and asked the big question.

Now, you all can meet Jen! Jen is a truly amazing lady that lights up any room with her bubbly personality. She is the type of person that makes you feel special and gets along with anyone! If you couldn't tell by her reaction, she was NOT expecting this to happen when it did. The photo session following the proposal was filled with spurts of joy and shock that Joe "DID THIS"!

Penn State Proposal l Samantha Malizia Films l Penn State Wedding l Penn State University
Penn State Proposal l Samantha Malizia Films l Penn State Wedding l Penn State University

We LOVED Jen's reaction when she noticed it was us behind the cameras! She yelled to Joe, "I KNOW THEM!"

Penn State Proposal l Samantha Malizia Films l Penn State Wedding l Penn State University

It is so obvious as to how much Joe cares for Jen. One trick we often use to get genuine smiles and laughs is to have the guy whisper something funny into the girl's ear. Realistically, around 90% of the time the guy says, “poop” (I know, real original guys) to make the girl laugh. We asked Joe to do this, and he leaned in to Jen and said, “I love you”. While this is not exactly what we were looking for it still gave us a great moment to capture!

Penn State Proposal l Samantha Malizia Films l Penn State Wedding l Penn State University

While this Saturday morning was so beautiful, I'm excited for these two spend forever together, and keep spreading their love with others. We are so thankful that we got to be there for such a special surprise.

Congrats, Joe and Jen!


Evan and the SMF crew

P.S. Just in case anyone was curious, the stranger DID return the phone to Jen and Joe... just as Joe was getting ready to kneel haha

Check out another one of our favorite Penn State Proposals HERE!

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