It took a decade of knowing each other for Sara Cirba and Chris Frattone to give romance a try. “I’ve been a smitten kitten since I was 17,” says Sara, now a lawyer. “We attended high school together, and after a few false starts, we started dating seriously ten years after we graduated.” The pair reunited one Christmas holiday, while both were visiting their families in upstate New York, and Chris finally took a chance and invited Sara on a date to the movies.
Exactly two and a half years later, Chris, a telecommunications engineer, wanted to propose by creating a day Sara would never forget. He woke her up at 5 AM on a Saturday, suggesting they rent bikes and head to the Lincoln Memorial to watch the sun rise over the Mall and Reflecting Pool. “Although to some the idea of watching the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial might have been a dead giveaway for what was about to come, I had actually been the one to mention the idea previously to Chris and didn’t think anything else was up his sleeve,” says Sara.
When they got to the memorial, they began to reflect on their relationship—and then Chris pulled out the ring and got down on one knee. “It actually took a full minute for me to get out a proper ‘yes’ amid the tears of joy,” says Sara. Afterward, Chris suggested they walk toward the World War II Memorial to continue their morning of celebration and take some photos to remember the moment. As they turned the corner toward the landmark, Sara saw that Chris had surprised her yet again by sneaking both of their families into town. “They were all standing in one long line at the WWII Memorial cheering their heads off for us, with fun signs, props, and bottles of Champagne to celebrate,” she says.
For their engagement photos, the couple headed back to the Lincoln Memorial for a shoot with Natalie Sinisgalli. “We wanted the engagement session to reflect our favorite places in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial and the Georgetown waterfront,” says Sara. “Both of these areas are really special to us, and it was important to capture them during this very special time of our lives.” Sara and Chris are set to marry on October 4, 2014, in New York.