May 9, 2018

Graham & Rachel | Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Iโ€™m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether Iโ€™m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

light chaser, dreamer, go-getter.

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Graham & Rachel | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Oh, man! I’m excited to share these photos with you all today! ๐Ÿ™‚ The Shenandoah National Park is always a favorite destination of mine, whether it’s for business or personal reasons. The views combined with one incredible sunset is a guaranteed winner in my book! Graham and Rachel love the Shenandoah as well, so it was an obvious answer where we should do their engagement photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

Graham and Rachel met me two hours away from their home to make this session happen, which I call that a hike! I would say the drive was worth it, though!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have SOOO many favorites from our time together! They weren’t afraid of being playful in front of the camera, and I couldn’t help but smile and laugh along with them!!! Speaking of laughs, while talking about adventures, Peru came up in a conversation since Alex had just returned from his trip to Peru the day we got together. Alex had shared a story with me about someone falling off the edge at Manchu Picchu, which is a terrifying thought. After telling them that story, I welcomed them to the edge of a cliff to take photos. LOL! I made sure it wasn’t a dangerous spot, but it wasย ironic timing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m grateful they trusted me, even after telling them how people do ridiculous things for a photo. HA! But they were complete naturals and didn’t show any signs of worry!!!! I’m glad I didn’t scare them off. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And the sunset we ended up having that evening was Lion King status! Haha! You have to see for yourself!!! They are the cutest! <3

Graham & Rachel | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Graham & Rachel’s Love Story

How Graham and Rachel Met
from Rachel’s perspective

When I first met Graham, in person, I was incredibly nervous and excited. I had just graduated college and was visiting my friend Elizabeth who was still in school. She had heard of this app called Tinder, and we decided to sign up and use goofy math pick-up lines on guys to see how they would react. Sure enough, we got some awesome reactions, but through the swipes I saw one guy who looked really fun and nice- that was Graham! Thankfully, he swiped right on me as well. We began talking about our love of National Parks, and the rest was history. We finally decided to meet in person after talking to each other for a while, and we met up at his favorite bar in DC, the Big Hunt. I was a bit of a nervous Tinder user, so Elizabeth came with me to the bar and sat downstairs in case Graham was much different than I expected. Thankfully, he was even better than I could have dreamed. I walked up to the rooftop patio, and we talked for hours about pretty much everything you could imagine. I tried to order what I had thought was a โ€œcoolโ€ drink (a gin and tonic), but it was so strong that I only took about three sips the entire night. He joked that I was a cheap date, but thankfully we followed up that date with many others in DC and Baltimore. I fell for him very quickly, and even though it may sound cheesy, I feel more in love with him every day. Through fun and stressful times in graduate school, trips all over the world (including National Parks), and everyday life, Graham has proved to be a better partner than I ever could have imagined. I think that the best decision I ever made was to walk up to that rooftop and say hello!

How Graham Proposed to Rachel
from Graham’s perspective

I decided to propose to Rachel at the Big Hunt, where we had that first date. It was a little cool outside, so thankfully there weren’t many folks out on the patio save for two very chill guys, who kindly vacated the space immediately when I told them my plan. I convinced Rachel to drive down to DC that night under the ruse that we’d be having 50 cent wings, so I’m prettyย sure she didn’t know what was going on until the proposal itself. When she got there, I was set up at the same table we first met at; I had also made a little paper lantern from Tangled, one of her favorite movies, to set the scene. I didn’t want anyone else to come out on the patio and interrupt, so I think I made my proposal a tiny bit rushed–but thankfully, she said yes! And after a celebratory drink, we did go out to a restaurant–so as not to set the baseline for the next several decades solely at 50 cent wings ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, Graham and Rachel, for making the trip out to the Shenandoah National Park and sharing your smiles and laughs with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had the BEST time with you guys and have way too many favorites to count!!!! I cannot wait to photograph you guys again this fall season! <3 CONGRATS!!!

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Congratulations!!!

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