Katie + Mario's Manassas National Battlefield Park Engagement Session

Katie + Mario engagement 20.jpg

This past May, I'd planned a trip up to Washington, D.C. with my mom for a girls' weekend of museum-going and visiting family. As we were emailing back-and-forth, my uncle asked if I could bring my camera gear (I don't go anywhere without it so that was a given!) because he and my aunt wanted to do an anniversary shoot. I loved the idea (and still do - we should do that next time I'm in town!) and we had it all planned for the afternoon after mom and I had landed. Little did I know, we were in for a big surprise!

As it turned out, my cousin Katie's then-boyfriend had flown up from the Dominican Republic to ask a very special question and was totally in cahoots with my aunt and uncle to make this the surprise of Katie's life. As my mom and I were sitting in the family kitchen chatting about our trip plans, in walked Katie and Mario glowing with excitement to tell us the new: they were engaged! 

Somehow, the timing of our trip coincided perfectly with Mario's (without any prior planning) and that photoshoot that I'd planned was actually intended as an engagement session for the happy couple. 

We had a beautifully overcast afternoon out at Manassas National Battlefield Park for our shoot, the soft light contributing to the romantic mood of our session. I'd never met Mario until the previous evening so I didn't know initially how to capture their relationship, but even as we were driving to our location I saw the natural chemistry they had and the comfort they shared in simply talking together. Once we got them in front of the camera, they opened up even more; constantly grinning, giggling, dancing and soaking in their new status. 

It's hard to pick, but this is probably my favorite photo from the shoot. After a while of happy photographing, I wanted to add a more serious and intimate mood to the photos so I asked Katie to whisper into Mario's ear what she was most thankful to him for. I have no idea what she said, but the results speak for themselves. 

I loved getting to know my cousin more from behind my lens and getting to know her new life partner in the same manner. My assistant and I leave tomorrow to drive up to D.C. to capture their wedding vows and I can only imagine that it will be another beautiful day! 

See their engagement photo album here