I’ve always been attracted to the beach. As a child, I would go to the beach about once a year. It took over two hours to get there, but it was worth the drive. Every winter, the thought of my next beach trip would keep me going.

I moved to Florida after years of traveling. And my reason for moving there? The warm summers and the constant beach access. I don’t take the beach for granted. Every week, I make time to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf.

On my birthday, my girlfriend (Melanie) gifted me professional family photos. She let me pick the venue. And, as you might expect, I chose the beach. Delnor Wiggins has always been my favorite local beach. Before I had my son, I spent many days there contemplating the future. After I had him, we went together to build sandcastles and look for wildlife. We celebrated many holidays there – birthdays, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas Day.

Delnor Wiggins State Park
Family photo shoot at Delnor Wiggins State Park, Photo by Rachel Covello

I chose Delnor Wiggins for one reason. Never before had I worked with a professional photographer. All the pictures of me and my loved ones were blurry smartphone pictures. For this one opportunity to get great photos, I wanted the backdrop to be a place that remained close to my heart. After all, the photos would be worthy of more than just a dollar store photo frame.

Delnor Wiggins is small state park made up of pristine coastline. Although the beach can get busy, the driftwood and vegetation make it seem like a secluded island. There are several picnic areas, grills, and a pavilion that serves as a popular wedding spot. In my mind, it was the ideal place for cherished photos.

The Surprise of a Lifetime

The night before the photoshoot, my girlfriend was sweating the details. Although I loved the idea of high quality family photos, I didn’t understand her worries. It wasn’t until the next day that I found out the source of her anxiety.

The next afternoon, we went to Delnor Wiggins. The day was windy, cloudy, and warm. The water was tumultuous, but not in a bad way. It made the beach feel charged with positive energy.

Melanie and my son were by my side on the beach. My parents and sister soon arrived. They all seemed excited to get a beautiful family photo. Our photographer, Rachel, was looking for the perfect backdrop. She found a few breathtaking spots that captured the ruggedness and natural beauty of the park.

We started with a few pictures of everyone. Once those were done, Rachel decided it was time for me and Melanie to get some alone time on camera. We went to a more secluded area and Melanie suggested we hold hands and look at each other. It seemed a little unnatural for a photo shoot, and I laughed. Although we are sappy and romantic, this photo would be permanently documenting our sappiness.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the photo wasn’t about being sappy or corny. Melanie looked into my eyes and said, “You know why we’re here, right?” I was still oblivious. She started telling me some very sweet things that will remain in my heart forever. Then, she bent down on her knee and proposed.

It all seemed so unreal. After she slipped the ring on my finger, my son came running towards us. He was completely unaware of what happened, but his innocent joy made the moment even more special.

proposal
“She started telling me some very sweet things that will remain in my heart forever. Then, she bent down on her knee and proposed.” Photo by Rachel Covello

An Everlasting Memory

I knew we would get married, but didn’t know when. The proposal came as a complete surprise – a great surprise. No matter where she proposed, I would remember it forever. But the way in which she did it makes for a story that I will tell forever.

The whole day was unforgettable. Whether or not you’re celebrating a special event, you can have an unforgettable experience in Naples. Places like Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park are unlike anywhere else in the world. You might just like it enough to make it the venue for your proposal or your wedding.

Delnor Wiggins State Park

Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park is located in North Naples off of Bluebill Avenue and Vanderbilt Drive. It’s open from 8 a.m until sundown 365 days each year. You can call (850) 245-2157 for more information about the park or visit the website here.