Sarah Title and Gavin Hilburn, who both claim they are “NOT morning people,” would have laughed at the idea of waking up early to take their engagement photos at sunrise. But, when their Connecticut-based photographer experienced car trouble on the way to the way to their sunset session at the DC monuments, the couple had to have a change of heart. “We had a tight window to get these photos,” Sarah says, adding that not only was their photographer from out of town, it was already the end of September, and they didn’t want to reschedule for a later, possible colder, date. Equally important: Sarah had rented a timely summer dress from Rent the Runway that had to be returned the following day. So, when their photographer suggested a sunrise session, the couple agreed to wake up at the crack of dawn for their engagement photos.
Little did they know their change of plans would lead them to some gorgeous photo opps, sans the touristy crowds, at the National Mall. Check out their sunrise engagement photos below to learn more about the couple and their wedding plans, while also learning how they were able to pull off the last-minute time change (and how Sarah snagged a very early hair appointment). Even if you and your fiancée aren’t morning people, these sunrise engagement photos will have you considering an early morning session.
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Gavin proposed to Sarah with a dazzling radiant-cut diamond. The sparkler is surrounded by a shimmering halo and set on a pave diamond-filled band, which gives the ring an extra touch of bling.
How They Met & Got Engaged
“We met in the fall of 2013, after graduating from our respective colleges, Miami University and Virginia Tech,” Sarah says. They had both moved to DC and ended up hanging out in the same friend group. The two remained close friends for a year and a half before they realized there was something more than just a friendship. They had their first date at Cheesetique in Shirlington, and shortly after, Gavin asked Sarah to be his girlfriend while on a walk around the Washington Monument.
The pair dated for four years until Gavin proposed after brunch at Sequoia by the Georgetown Waterfront. Sarah had grown slightly suspicious of Gavin’s lack of indulgence in the bottomless brunch, but was happily surprised by the romantic proposal that followed. “Gavin also surprised me by having all of our friends and family from all around the country waiting back at our apartment to celebrate,” she recalls.
The Picture-Perfect Location for Their Sunrise Engagement Photos
“We decided on the monuments for a few reasons,” Sarah says. The couple, who are planning to marry in Sarah’s hometown in Connecticut, wanted to highlight the city in which they met, fell in love, and also call home. So, they knew the best place for their sunrise engagement photos would be the exact spot where Gavin first asked Sarah to be his girlfriend. “It felt like a perfect reflection of our relationship!”
For their outfits, Sarah knew she wanted to wear something blue because it’s one of their main wedding colors. She found a dress at Rent the Runway that fit their September, outdoor session and then began looking for something Gavin could wear that would match the dress. “We emailed different options for Gavin to our photographer because I had no idea what would clash with my dress,” Sarah explains. “She gave us great feedback [and] I highly recommend brides send their outfits to their photographers beforehand, [since] she told us about what to avoid!”
As for Sarah’s last minute hair appointment, she feels lucky she managed to book something so early. “[Most salons don’t] even open that early,” she says. But, after browsing around she was able to snag an ultra-early-morning spot at Cherry Blow Dry Bar in Arlington. “Thank God for them!”
The Wedding Plans
Sarah and Gavin are planning to wed at Sarah’s grandmother’s beach house in Madison, Connecticut. They chose an early September date and are hosting both their ceremony and reception at the beachfront home.