October 23, 2019

Curtis & Rachel | Old Town Alexandria, Virginia Engagement Photographer

I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’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!

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During my last business trip to Virginia, Curtis, Rachel, and I got together on one beautiful evening in Old Town Alexandria!! I love when couples have a place in mind for their engagement portraits that has significance to their relationship. 🙂 They loved the cobblestone side streets and the water, so it’s a beautiful mixture of textures/backdrops I enjoy photographing. Especially when there’s a super cute couple with the prettiest dresses! As soon as Rachel started raving about Vici, I immediately joined in the conversation because my favorite dresses came from there! 🙂 Rachel rocked the dresses and it was like she knew what would look great with the landscape! We even had admirers along our walks ask Rachel where she got her dress. Haha! Speaking of pretty dresses, I can only imagine THE wedding dress she has planned to wear next year. 🙂 EEEEPPPP!!!! Gosh, they are both going to look so good!

While looking through this blog post, you might admire Rachel’s hair and outfit as well as their sweet, enduring, fun love and their proposal story. But I cannot help but laugh about a little story that happened at the beginning of their relationship! When I asked Rachel to run up behind Curtis to jump on his back, she told me that early on in their relationship, she did just that which ended Curtis in the ER!!! They laugh about it now and thank goodness they didn’t let an accident end the best adventure of their life! 🙂 Hopefully, no more accidents together, but instead more hilarious moments to enjoy over the years ahead. <3

Curtis and Rachel’s Love Story


From Rachel’s point of view

So, we first met 7 years ago during undergrad. We went to small private liberal arts school in Ohio called Otterbein University and I lived in a sorority house at the time, and he lived in the house right across the street. In the summer me and my friends would always come out into our little pool or lay outside and conveniently he would always come out on his porch with his roommate (who had really long scraggly hair, and curt had a long beard at the time so we all thought they were just creepy locals, because they looked much older and it was off-campus housing) and they would come out at the exact same time as we would, so we began to catch on. I then saw him at a party, and he came up and talked to me, and we started a friendship from there. He would invite me then to Ohio State Football tailgates at his house (we are big OSU fans) and we essentially became best friends for 2 years after that. I secretly always had a big crush on him, and eventually decided to tell him that I liked him, and when I first told him he said “I don’t know what to tell you”, which then lead to me distancing myself from him. However, a few months later we saw each other out again, and he came up to me and said he realized since I was not around as much, that he really misses me in his life and was sad we were not as close, and asked me on a date to go to the Great Gatsby. So we went on the date, and the rest is history!


From Curtis’ point of view

I don’t think there was a defining moment when I knew Rachel was the one I wanted to ask to marry.  I always had it in the back of my mind that she was the one and seeing her happy with me, her career, where we were living, I knew it was time to start looking for a ring.

She had shown me images of engagement rings she liked and, of course, those that she did not like, so I had an idea of what I was looking for.  I asked around the office where others had bought their engagement rings and I gathered that a lot of my coworkers went to King’s Jewelry in Old Town Alexandria.  I thought, perfect, it’s close to MPR where I work so I can walk over when I’m done with the day.

Having what I wanted in mind, I quickly noticed they didn’t have the ring I was looking for so the jeweler ordered a couple diamonds based on my description.  Once the diamonds were in, I came back and knew the diamond I wanted as soon as I saw it.  I described the band I wanted and was out the door hoping I just ordered something Rachel would love.
I got a call from the jewelers about a month later indicating my ring was done.  I immediately went to pick it up, nervous to see the final product.  The jeweler showed me the ring and I was amazed.  It turned out exactly how I wanted.  As I left the jewelers, ring in hand, I started thinking about how I was going to ask Rachel.  Then I realized we were going to be leaving for Cancun in a week for a friend’s wedding.  I didn’t want to steal their show so I held back the urge to ask Rachel the week before we left for Cancun and the week while we were in Cancun.

These two weeks were killing me because I knew I had the ring but couldn’t ask Rachel.  Unable to hold in my excitement, I had to tell my close friends that were on the trip.  Curious about the details they all wanted to know how and when I was going to ask.  I hadn’t come up with an idea that I liked, so all I could tell them was that it was going to be soon after we returned from Cancun.  Thankfully, my friends were good at keeping the secret, because Rachel never found out before I asked her.

We returned from Cancun on Sunday and I wanted to ask her immediately, so I really started thinking about how I was going to propose.  I knew one thing, I wanted it to be a surprise.  I decided that I was going to ask her on the roof of our apartment with lights, flowers, and our favorite song playing (Home, by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros).  I wrote my thoughts down and put together a somewhat lengthy bit of words to say before I asked her to marry me.

On that Wednesday, December 12, 2018, I got home from work a little early to prepare for the proposal.  The nerves were really starting to kick in.  I cleaned up the place and set everything up on the roof.  When Rachel walked in the door we talked a little, but I don’t remember any part of that conversation because my mind was on the proposal.  A little after, I went upstairs and yelled down to Rachel that the grill wasn’t working and I needed her hand to fix it.  I assumed she wouldn’t want to help me with the grill and that it would take her a little while to come up.  However, she was on her way up the stairs as soon as I finished my question, which really threw me off guard.  I had to quickly start the song and as soon as I hit play she was walking through the door to our roof.  I thought I’d have time to go over what I was going to say one last time, but here she was.  Even though I had all these things I wanted to tell her, I couldn’t remember anything I had put together.  I got down on one knee, opened the box with the ring, and I muttered out two and a half sentences total, 1) you’re my best friend, 2) I love you, 3) will you marr—-.  During the third sentence, I got cut off by a very excited YES!.  The rest was a bunch of hugs and kisses.

Thank you, Curtis and Rachel, for having me photograph this exciting time of your life!!! It’s only the beginning of the most beautiful adventure yet! <3 I cannot wait to photograph the love and joy on your wedding day next year! In the meantime, enjoy every minute of your engagement! CONGRATS!!!




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