June 4, 2019

Pat & Tara | Airlie, Warrenton, Virginia Engagement Photographer

I’m Stephanie Messick, a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Warrenton, VA. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels right 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!

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Tara and I had a phone meeting months ago and during that meeting, we figured out that we were both engaged on the same exact day … December 15th!!! Right then, I knew I would adore Pat and Tara. 🙂 Although Pat proposed to Tara on a VERY cold day, I think they knew that their wedding day was not going to happen in the winter. But a proposal was doable. 😉 Haha! Then, of course, we ended up with a very humid, hot day for their engagement portraits … But I have a feeling that their October wedding day will be just right now that they have been through the elements! Well, maybe not through ALL of the elements (thank goodness!)…

Why? Because we had initially made plans for this engagement session to happen earlier last month, at a different location. After a threat of severe storms (thank goodness we didn’t take a chance — I’m looking at these dreamy photos below, and a stormy session would not have been “so dreamy!”), we decided to postpone. After hopping on the phone with them the day we needed to change our plans, I knew they wanted a beautiful garden look so I tossed out the idea of Airlie! This got Tara excited because her family has an annual tradition to go there for Easter. 🙂 The stars aligned and we met last week to frolic the gardens and sunshine! And… gosh! That glowy light we had at the end of the session was the perfect way to conclude our fun time together. 🙂 I loved the white dress Tara wore the last half of the shoot too, especially after she told me she grew up dancing. It was the perfect flowy dress! I cannot wait to see what her wedding dress looks like later this year!!! AH! I know Pat will be twirling her all night long. <3 CANNOT WAIT!!!

Tara and Pat’s Love Story

HOW TARA AND PAT MET

Patrick and Tara met while apprehensively testing their luck on Bumble, a well known social media dating app. Trusting in the magic of the interwebs, they met on a chilly Sunday evening in February at Coastal Flats in Fairfax, VA. Little did Pat know, he had already scored bonus points by suggesting one of Tara’s favorite restaurants. What started as “a drink” inevitably led to dinner, more drinks and hours of conversation. Pat jumped straight into some taboo first date topics of religion and politics. Tara found this oddly very refreshing after a string of rather BAD dates. Pat asked Tara on a second date and suggested Ozzie’s, a sister restaurant of Coastal Flats (Tara has always made fun of him for being such a creature of habit). Over the next several months, they shared more dinners, went on fun adventures and met family and friends before becoming an official couple in April 2017. It should be noted that Pat tried to get Tara to watch golf with him every chance he got! The couple dated for 20 months before they made one of the biggest decisions of their lives…

HOW PAT PROPOSED TO TARA

Despite his unsuccessful attempts to make Tara into a golf lover, Pat proposed on the cold and snowy night of December 15, 2018. Tara was under the impression that this would be a casual night out in Washington, D.C, but Pat had much greater plans for them. The night began with a glass of red wine in hand while watching Christmas carolers sing at The Willard hotel. While admiring the beautifully decorated halls of the hotel, Pat pulled a key card out of his pocket and completely took Tara by surprise as she learned he had gotten them a room there for the night. Of note: she did not believe him at first and thought he was playing a joke on her after finding it on the ground! After a brief hiccup in his plan due to a non-functional key card (she was really skeptical now), he opened the door to the room and escorted her in. What she found inside was beyond her wildest imagination as Pat had rarely exposed his romantic side. There were banners, candles, rose petals, chalkboard signs, chocolate, “bride” pajamas, champagne and several other gifts awaiting her. Pat had enlisted the help of Tara’s friends Lacey (Matron of Honor) and Ashley (Bridesmaid), who decorated the room earlier that day. From what Tara is told, they made it out with only minutes to spare and were hiding out at a nearby bar! In effort to prevent Tara from noticing any changes in Pat’s behavior, her Maid of Honor (Tracy) kept her distracted during the day. As Tara was turning around to hug Pat, he got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife! OF COURSE, SHE SAID YES!! He kept bugging her about taking pictures by the Christmas tree in the lobby, which she found a bit odd…they rode the elevator to the lobby and when the doors opened, Tara’s family and friends were there to join them in celebration. The night continued (can you believe there was more?) with Pat surprising her with dinner reservations at Filomena, their favorite Italian restaurant in Georgetown. Other than Pat accidentally breaking a lamp at dinner, the night went off without a hitch! They ended the weekend with a delicious hotel brunch and headed home that afternoon.

Thank you, Pat and Tara, for bearing through the heat and ROCKING these photos!!! I enjoyed your enthusiasm from start to finish, and I cannot wait to photograph your love again with family and friends later this year! CONGRATS and enjoy these photos!!!

CONGRATS!!!!

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