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Engagement Photos

Modern Engagement Photo Shoot at VA's Mosaic District and the Warner Theater in DC

Yodit Gebreyes of Favored by Yodit took photos around town with her fiance, Andy Endale.

By Caroline Cunningham

Yodit Gebreyes has been helping couples plan for their wedding day for years through her Northern Virginia-based event management and design company, Favored by Yodit. But this year, her work is getting personal as she plans her own wedding to Andy Endale. We always love to watch how wedding planners pull together their big day, drawing on their wealth of experiences to plan their dream celebration. We know Yodit will be no exception, especially after seeing these stunning engagement photos taken at creative spots around Washington by Danielle Real Photography.

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Engagement Photos

This Groom-to-be Proposed During Their Engagement Photo Shoot

Victoria Stiles and Jackson Nisewaner are set to wed in July 2015.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Genevieve Leiper Photography.

Business was booming with her wedding and event hair and makeup company when Victoria Stiles realized she needed to make a change. She’d been working long hours and investing in her brand, but she hadn’t been devoting time to her health. Realizing that she needed to refocus on taking care of her body, she began to eat better and to train hard. She’d lost 100 pounds when she went to meet friends at a restaurant. It was there that Jackson Nisewaner spotted Victoria, and he knew he wanted to get to know the gorgeous blonde. He asked Victoria’s best friend if he could join them for brunch the next day, and it was there that he finally had the chance to introduce himself.

When Victoria found out that the handsome, but goofy, stranger was a personal trainer, she was immediately intrigued. They went for a first date at the gym, where their romance blossomed over deadlifts and squats. The pair had dated for two years without much talk of the future when they decided to get married in the summer of 2015. They planned an engagement photo shoot with Genevieve Leiper Photography, and while they were taking photos around Leesburg, Jackson got down on one knee to formally propose with a beautiful vintage diamond ring.

Victoria wore a whimsical flower crown created by Morgan Walker of Petals & Hedges, and she and Jackson snapped pictures at their favorite Leesburg coffee shop, while riding a tandem bike, and outside of Victoria’s A Little Wedding Studio. They are set to wed at Patowmack Farm in July 2015.

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Engagement Photos

Engagement Photo Session in a Monastery Courtyard

Mallory Mpare and Bradley Quarles are set to wed on September 19, 2015.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Kristen Lynne Photography.

It took just a few words for Mallory Mpare to pique Bradley (Brad) Quarles’ interest. Both in their freshman year of college, Mallory was chatting with some of Bradley’s friends when she excused herself to go catch the University of North Carolina and Duke basketball game. As soon as Brad heard that she was a Tarheels fan, he knew he needed to get to know this girl.

They decided to go see a movie and grab pizza afterwards, and they were surprised by how easily the conversation and laughter flowed. That feeling grew over the next seven years of dating, when in the fall of 2013, Brad asked Mallory to go ring shopping, just to get an idea of what she liked. But though Mallory was excited, she waited through the holidays—followed by New Year’s, then Valentine’s Day—wondering when he was finally going to propose.

On Mother’s Day, Brad brought Mallory to a couple’s massage that he’d won at a happy hour. After their session, they decided to grab brunch in Dupont Circle. But as the walked towards the intersection, Mallory saw some familiar faces in the crowd of pedestrians, and she soon realized that all of their family was waiting there for them. Whether Brad, overwhelmed with emotion, actually got the important question out before Mallory said "yes" is debated by the pair to this day.

The couple joined Kristen Lynne Photography at the secluded Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America for their engagement photos. They snapped some photos in formal wear, as well as some casual clothes to best capture their everyday selves. Mallory and Brad are currently planning a wedding for September 19, 2015 in Durham, NC.

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Cherry Blossom Engagement Photos at the Tidal Basin

Emily Harmon and Jon Lin got engaged on July 4, 2014. 

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Terri Baskin Photography.

Emily Harmon wasn’t pleased when her friend Michelle announced that she had—yet again—found a great guy to set her up with. Though Emily told her friend she had no interest in getting to know Jonathan (Jon) Lin, that didn’t stop Michelle from throwing a party and secretly inviting them both so that they’d be forced to meet. As soon as Emily found out what she’d done, she was so annoyed so refused to speak to Jon and spent the night avoiding him.

But Jon, who took her reticence as shyness, sought her out and finally, halfway through the party, got her to speak with him. Emily soon realized that Jon was a genuinely nice guy, so they went for a first date at La Tasca in Arlington. Three and a half years later, they were on vacation with Emily’s family in Ocean City, Maryland over the July 4 weekend. Jon asked Emily to go on a midnight stroll on the beach, and it was there that he got down on one knee and proposed.

Considering that Emily is a floral designer and the owner of Love Blooms Here, it was only fitting that she and Jon take advantage of Washington’s best floral landscape for their engagement photos. They met at the Tidal Basin with Terri Baskin Photography and to snap some shots in front of the cherry blossoms, and captured a few photos throughout Georgetown’s picturesque streets as well. Emily and Jon have their wedding date set for August 29, 2015 at St. Francis Hall.

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Engagement Photos

Fall Engagement Photo Session in Georgetown

Kathleen Goulding and Ryan Ward plan to wed on May 2, 2015.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by BB Shots Photography.

When Kathleen Goulding’s friend canceled on Ryan Ward for the lacrosse date party at their college, Kathleen agreed to fill in, accompanying Ryan to the event. Ryan was immediately attracted to the easy-going and confident girl, but there was one problem: she had a boyfriend. When they parted for the night, they didn’t see each other for several months—until fate stepped in again, putting them in the same class. This time, they decided to be friends, and remained so for the rest of college.

But one year out of school, they both felt a change in their relationship. “We knew we had feelings for each other, so we went to dinner at Faccia Luna in Arlington to talk and decided to give dating a try,” says Kathleen. “We were both worried that dating might ruin our friendship if things didn’t work out, but decided it was worth the risk.”

They quickly realized that this new relationship would last. The pair had dated for four years when Ryan asked Kathleen to go hiking at Cascade Falls. The snow on the ground and the cold winter temperatures meant that they had the trail to themselves as Ryan got down on one knee and asked Kathleen to marry him. Little did they know, another hiker in the distance caught the moment on camera, and was able to send them a picture as a memento of their proposal.

Ryan and Kathleen are planning their wedding for May 2, 2015. For their engagement photos, they wandered Georgetown and DC monuments with Becca Bronkema of BB Shots Photography to capture their Washington romance.

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Engagement Photos

Kaisha Sutton and Quinton Huguley Are the Winners of Arena Stage's Wedding Giveaway

This couple won the wedding of their dreams through their YouTube video submission.

By Caroline Cunningham Photographs by Cameron Whitman Photography and Jeff Brooks, Photog4Naturals.

If you were handed $80,000 to spend on your wedding, what would you do with it?

That’s the question Kaisha Sutton and Quinton Huguley have had to answer as they prepare for their celebration on January 2, 2015, after winning Arena Stage’s wedding giveaway.

The contest, which coincided with the theater’s performances of the classic matchmaking musical Fiddler on the Roof, required that couples submit videos and photos of their love story for a shot at winning the wedding of their dreams.

Kaisha and Quinton, friends since their first day of college in 2008 and together for the past six years, got engaged on March 22, 2014, after seeing Cirque du Soleil’s "Michael Jackson: The Immortal" at the Patriot Center.

More than 100 couples entered the wedding giveaway, but it was this pair’s spunky YouTube series about their relationship that won them the package, complete with use of Arena Stage as their venue, a reception for 175 guests, cake, flowers, decor, engagement and wedding photography, a wedding videographer, a bridal suite, event-planning services, and more.

The hardest part of the planning? “The guest list!” says Kaisha. “Both of our families are local, and we have lots of friends in the surrounding DC metropolitan area. There are so many people who want to attend our wedding—who wouldn't want to attend a wedding that was won in a contest valued at $80,000?”

As they prepared for the big day, the pair decided on two engagement photo sessions: one with the photographer provided by Arena Stage, Cameron Whitman Photography, at the Jefferson Memorial and Arena Stage, and the second with close friend Jeff Brooks of Photog4Naturals at their alma mater, Mount St. Mary’s University.

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Engagement Photos

Engagement Photos: Jessica Lagoy and Kevin Cullen

The Blue Ridge Mountains provided the perfect backdrop for this fall-themed shoot.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Mantas Kubilinskas Photography.

When Jessica Lagoy and Kevin Cullen met as freshmen at Villanova University, living one floor apart in the dorms, they may have guessed they’d be good friends. But over the next year, as their conversations got longer and their nights got later, they quickly realized they were meant to be more. A year and a half into their friendship, the pair went on a first date at a local sushi joint, and both were a little surprised at how effortless the new stage in their relationship felt.

Eight years later, Kevin took Jessica on a getaway to Middleburg to visit wineries and picnic with friends. Thinking they would enjoy some alone time, they booked a night at the their favorite bed and breakfast, Glen Gordon Manor, where they sipped wine and chatted late into the night. The next morning, Kevin walked Jessica to an old tree swing on the property. With the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains behind him, Kevin got down on one knee and asked Jessica to be his wife.

The pair returned to this special spot with photographer Mantas Kubilinskas in the fall to recapture the perfect moment on the swing, using the mountains and fall foliage as their backdrop.

Jessica and Kevin are set to wed on May 7, 2016, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

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Engagement Photos

Engagement Photos: Vanessa Schutz and Neal McDonald

Bocce and bowling got the ball rolling on this pair’s Washington love story.

By Caroline Cunningham All photographs by Thomas Van Veen, Documentary Associates.

When Vanessa Schutz and Neal McDonald met in the spring of 2011, they were both ready to get the ball rolling on their relationship—quite literally. Vanessa had signed up for a season of DC Bocce on Capitol Hill, and Neal was one of the black-shirted aides. After a few post-bocce hangouts, the pair agreed a first date was in order. Things may not have gone as smoothly as possible—Neal took Vanessa to Matchbox for pizza, which she’d already eaten earlier that day for lunch, followed by bowling, which she’s avoided since the time in college she was hit in the face with a bowling ball. But they decided to give it another go, and for the next three years, the two were inseparable.

On January 25, 2014, when Neal asked Vanessa (now an online account executive at Washingtonian) to stroll along the banks of the Potomac River because he had “never seen a frozen river before,” she may have had her suspicions of what was to come next. Still, that didn’t do anything to diminish her emotion when Neal knelt down in front of her and asked her to be his for the rest of time. The couple captured their Washington love story with photographer Thomas Van Veen of Documentary Associates at some of their favorite spots along the National Mall, celebrating the city that provided the backdrop to their romance.

Vanessa and Neal are set to wed at the Whittemore House on February 14, 2015.

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Engagement Photos

Engagement Photos: Casey Linsey and Travis Wells

This couple got engaged at the World War II Memorial, where they also ended their first date.

By Caroline Cunningham Casey and Travis are set to marry on April 18, 2015. All photographs by Matoli Keely Photography.

When Casey Linsey approached Travis Wells on the eve of the Fourth of July on Public’s rooftop deck, the attraction was instant. “She was the first woman to take the initiative to talk to me—she was a go-getter,” says Travis.

There may have been some bumps leading up to their first date—he was running late, and she was convinced she’d been stood up—but when Travis showed up with a beautiful bouquet and took Casey on the best first date of her life to Great Falls, she was charmed.

On the second anniversary of the day Travis asked Casey to be his girlfriend, he took her out to the National Mall, under the guise of giving visiting family members the grand tour. “We strolled along the Mall and found ourselves at the World War II Memorial, the spot of the end of our first date and our first kiss,” says Casey. “Getting down on one knee, he told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life loving me.”

The couple later returned to the World War II Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial with Matoli Keely Photography later to capture their love story, and enjoyed cupcakes during a photo session at the Old Stone House Garden in Georgetown.

Casey and Travis are set to marry at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle on April 18, 2015.

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Engagement Session: Cristina Spiewak and Joseph Parker Jr.

While Cristina was vacationing in Mexico with her friends, Joe flew in to surprise her and proposed.

By Valeria Boucas Photographs by Keith Cephus Photography.

Cristina leapt off the slate stone wall of USNA’s stadium and forever into Joe’s heart. From the start, it was huge hugs and even bigger smiles. Joe recalls feeling a cloud lift within seconds of their first hug. When Cristina met Joe, during a stop-over in Maryland on her way from Boston to San Diego, it was fortuitous, the result of fate's intervention and patience. Joe and Cristina had almost certainly crossed paths before, or just missed catching sight of each other with Cristina having walked the sidewalks and streets of the downtown Annapolis community where Joe lived during Cristina’s first stint back home after college. Had they met then, Joe says, he might not have been so lucky. Having not crossed paths, life afforded them the experiences, triumphs, and failures that define a person, and allow them to “know when you know.” Effortlessly they fell into place beside one another, Joe desiring to protect the freedom and inviting joy in every one of Cristina’s smiles and Cristina using that joyous spirit and love of life to encourage, support, and inspire Joe. They found each other and never let go.

While Cristina was vacationing with her friends in Mexico, Joe flew in to surprise her and proposed. They wed earlier this year on September 27, 2014, on Cristina's father's private estate that he had built years prior with her wedding day in mind. Keith Cephus captured the evening with beautiful photos of their special day, while Tanya Wilbon of The Event Group International made sure the night went off without a hitch. "She did everything!" Cristina told Washingtonian. "I didn't realize how much we needed and relied on our planner, but she really did an amazing job and with her; we weren't stressed at all and could really enjoy the night." The couple now calls Annapolis home.

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