Iā€™m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether Iā€™m by the mountains of Colorado or Virginia, 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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September 13, 2023

Ryan & Paige | Washington, DC Monument Engagement Portraits

Ryan & Paige | Washington, DC Monument Engagement Portraits

Ryan and Paige woke up early to make this session happen ā€” But they made it look like a piece of cake! Months ago, we talked about a backdrop for their engagement session, and the Washington DC monument “row” came up. I like to call it a “row” because there are so many iconic landmarks in a short distance! And because they live in the metro area, it seemed like a perfect spot to document this season of their lives. During our time together, we managed to document the highlights of the monuments and even squeezed in some photos with their pups at their beautiful home! If you walked into their house, it looked like something out of a magazine. šŸ™‚ They said that their friend is an interior designer and helped them when they made updates. We could’ve done an entire session inside, but we took their pups outside.

I tell people it’s funny that I grew up about an hour away from Washington, DC, but rarely visited (unless it was for work or a field trip). And people travel from all over the world to explore the city! Nevertheless, I’m grateful sessions like this get me into the city to check out new parts, and I love finding new perspectives for my couples. And this was one of my favorite Washington DC sessions!! šŸ™‚ It helps that they had a great sense of style and photogenic. Ha! I cannot wait for their special day this winter!!

Ryan & Paige’s Story

from Paige’s perspective

How Ryan and Paige Met

Ryan and I met on a dating app. We talked for a short period of time before we met. I always tease Ryan because he asked for my phone number and the week went and I didn’t hear anything from him. I ended up following up with him and reminding him to text me.

Our first date was at a coffee shop/wine bar in Arlington on Father’s Day. It was really hot that day and I remember being very sweaty (I had walked from my apartment) when I arrived. We talked for a little over an hour and I did not think he was that interested. In fact, I texted my best friend afterward and told her that I didn’t think I’d be hearing from him again. Fortunately, I did! The second date was when we really started to click and realize that we could be a great match. We had dinner and I took him to my favorite wine bar.

From that point on, we really started to focus on getting to know each other and it became so easy and natural which is how I knew he was the right one.

Our first out-of-town trip together was to Charlottesville and that’s where we said I love you for the first time.

How Ryan Proposed to Paige

Ryan planned an epic proposal. For several months, he planned and coordinated and I had absolutely no idea.

Shortly after moving into our new house, Ryan told me that his mom and her friend were coming to visit. This was perfect on Ryan’s part because it forced me to get the house into decent shape and most importantly to get the guest rooms set up. A few weeks later he told me that his best childhood friend (who also lives in the DC area) invited us to attend a charity event at a golf club. So the plan was, on Friday, we would get dressed up and take his mom and her friend to this charity event where we would meet John and Ashley (his childhood friend and wife).

When the day came…

We arrived at the golf club and John met us out front. He offered to take us on a tour of the golf course so we both hopped into a golf cart. The evening was beautiful (75 degrees and sunny) so the ride was beautiful. At some point during the golf cart ride, Ryan handed me a handwritten letter (2 pages!) where he told me how much he loved me and how successful we would be in marriage. At that point, I knew that a proposal was coming. We arrived at the Potomac River and we walked next to the river and Ryan proposed. We fortunately had one of our friends there to capture the moment with pictures.

After the proposal, we grabbed a drink at the clubhouse to celebrate. From there, I thought the plan was to grab dinner with Ashley and John. When we got to John and Ashley’s house, I was surprised to the point of tears to see my Mom, sister, aunt, Ryan’s mom, friends from out of town, and local friends there to celebrate with us. We had the most amazing evening with food, drink, family, and friends.

Our out-of-town friends and family stayed the whole weekend with us and it was to this day, my favorite weekend of all time.

A Washington, DC Sunrise Engagement Session with the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Reflection Pool, and the Washington Monument.

Thank You!!!

Thank you, Ryan and Paige, for waking up early to make these portraits happen! You two are one gorgeous couple ā€” I loved how these Washington DC monument engagement portraits turned out!! But you two made my job easy, so your wedding day will be a breeze! šŸ˜‰ Congrats and see you soon for your big day! AH!

Stephanie Messick Photography, LLC is a Colorado Springs, Colorado Wedding, Engagement, Maternity, + Family Photographer, also serving Northern, Washington DC + Central Virginia. Learn more HERE or contact her HERE!