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Couple Has Engagement Photo Shoot at Same Restaurant Where They Had Their First Date (Exclusive)

"We wanted our pictures to be personal to us and emblematic of the love we have — beginning in a Friendly’s booth seven years ago," Michael Ford tells PEOPLE

<p>David and Shayna Photography LLC</p> Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

David and Shayna Photography LLC

Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

A Connecticut couple put a sweet spin on their engagement photo shoot.

When it came time to choose a location for their portrait session, Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford went back to the place where their love story first began: Friendly's.

The ice cream-loving pair, who began dating in 2016, not only had their first date there, but their second, third and fourth.

<p>David and Shayna Photography LLC</p> Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

David and Shayna Photography LLC

Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

"When Michelle suggested doing the pictures at Friendly's, we both immediately fell in love with the idea," Ford, 27, tells PEOPLE. "Our relationship is so unique, and we wanted our pictures to be personal to us and emblematic of the love we have — beginning in a Friendly’s booth seven years ago."

They also knew Friendly's would deliver the nostalgic charm they wanted for their engagement photos. "It's reminiscent of going to get ice cream with your parents when you were a kid," Fleming, 29, says of the chain's retro decor and ambience.

Related: Engagement Shoot at Olive Garden Goes Viral: 'Tennessee but With a Little Italy Spice'

The couple posed for shots both outside the restaurant and inside, as they browsed the menu from their booth and shared a milkshake.

<p>David and Shayna Photography LLC</p> Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

David and Shayna Photography LLC

Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

"The pictures are focused on all the different ice cream Friendly’s offers because that was our go-to meal [while dating]," Ford notes. "We tried everything from Fribbles to the iconic Monster Mash."

Ford's favorite photo from the shoot is the one where he’s dipping Fleming for a kiss in front of the Friendly’s sign outside. "It looks like something out of an old magazine, and the retro look is visually appealing and fun," he tells PEOPLE.

Fleming loves the shot of the pair kissing across their booth with a banana split between them. "It’s the picture we used for our save-the-dates," she says, jokingly adding, "I think it's a fancier version of what we looked like on our first date."

<p>David and Shayna Photography LLC</p> Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

David and Shayna Photography LLC

Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

Their family and friends love the photos as much as the couple does. "They heard the story of our first date many times and thought it was a really creative way to personalize our engagement photo shoot," Fleming says. "Our parents pointed out how genuinely happy we are in the pictures, especially when the ice cream is in front of us."

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Fleming and Ford first met at Western Connecticut State University, where she was a student at the time. Ford was there visiting a friend, who introduced him to his future fiancée.

The couple struck up a friendship before Ford asked Fleming out a few months later. On their first date, they dug into some ice cream together — a Reese’s peanut butter cup Friend-Z for him and a Jim Dandy sundae for her — and ended up talking for four hours.

"After that, we decided it was our spot and continued to go on dates there through the end of the year before Michelle left to study in Europe for six months," Ford recalls. "We spent countless nights sitting in a booth or getting ice cream to go and driving around just talking and getting to know each other."

<p>David and Shayna Photography LLC</p> Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

David and Shayna Photography LLC

Michelle Fleming and Michael Ford

Seven years later, on Oct. 20, 2023, Ford popped the question one morning while the pair was packing up for a weekend trip to Baltimore to see the Ravens play, an annual tradition of theirs.

"Although we talked about getting engaged in the near future, I assured Michelle it would happen in 2024. While packing, I surprised Michelle by getting down on one knee in our living room and asking her to marry me," Ford recounts.

"We celebrated with family in Washington, D.C., for two days and then continued down to Baltimore to watch our favorite football team win," Fleming adds.

The couple is set to tie the knot on Nov. 2 with a church ceremony, followed by a reception at a castle in central Connecticut. And naturally, there will be ice cream for them and their guests to enjoy.

"We plan to have a tribute to Friendly’s by having an ice cream sundae bar at the end of our reception," Ford shares. "We will be sure to have Reese’s peanut butter cups and all the Jim Dandy toppings available for our guests to enjoy!"

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Read the original article on People.