Five couples share their engagement photos in picturesque locales across Virginia, along with their romantic proposal stories.
Greg + Keri—Old Town Alexandria
Photo by Katelyn James
Why the location is picture-perfect: “This location was chosen because the couple wanted to capture the historic architecture while also having a garden feel — and Alexandria is a perfect location for those requests!” says photographer Katelyn James.
Proposal story: Sneaky Greg disguised his proposal to Keri as a date spent celebrating their 13-month anniversary along the National Harbor. The couple spent the day sightseeing and after dinner Greg took Keri to the top of the ferris wheel to watch the sun set over the harbor. “Once we started moving, Greg mentions that for this anniversary, he had wanted to write me a letter to tell me how much I mean to him, but he decided that rather than writing it, he would just tell me in person,” says Keri. After asking Keri to marry him, Greg kept the surprises coming. He took Keri to the Gaylord where her family and friends were waiting to celebrate.
Eric + Courtney—Virginia Tech Campus in Blacksburg
Photo by Katelyn James
Why the location is picture-perfect: “They are both Tech grads who loved their Hokie experience and wanted to capture their engagement portraits where their story began,” says photographer Katelyn James. “What makes this location great for engagement photos: It meant something to them as a couple, but also provided amazing fall colors!”
Proposal story: Eric convinced Courtney to take a day trip to their alma mater by saying his family was taking his brother on a campus tour. “I also have two younger siblings at Tech, so he said it was also a good excuse to visit them,” says Courtney. “As it turns out, his family was not coming to Blacksburg, as it was just the cover story.” Eric left work early the day before to ask for Courtney’s parents’ permission, and after they gave their blessing he whisked her away to Blacksburg where he popped the question at the Duck Pond on Virginia Tech’s campus. “Everyone was very sneaky!” says Courtney.
Sarah + Trent—Belle Isle in Richmond
Photo by Alex Tenser
Why the location is picture-perfect: “Belle Isle is always a favorite to shoot at,” says photographer Alex Tenser. “The juxtaposition of the rocks and rushing water against the downtown city skyline is so unique to Richmond. Old and new, nature and city — it’s such a fun mix to play around with. There are so many angles and locations to play around with that you could go down there and always find a new perspective.”
Proposal story: Trent popped the question while the couple was vacationing with Sarah’s family in Charleston, South Carolina. “I had a feeling it was going to happen that week, but the proposal was perfect and beautiful in every way,” says Sarah. In a romantic gazebo shaded by Charleston’s grand live oak trees, Trent asked Sarah to marry him. “It was special having my family there to celebrate with us too,” she says.
Madi + Will—Sierra Vista in Bedford
Photo by Lindsey Hinkley
Why the location is picture-perfect: “The incredible views and mountains grabbed our attention, especially at sunset,” says photographer Lindsey Hinkley of the locale, which also is a wedding venue.
Proposal story: Will told Madi that he was taking her out for a special dinner and that she should dress up before coming to pick him up from his fishing spot at Ivy Lake. When Madi arrived to the lake, Will gathered sentimental letters and photographs from all of her favorite people and created a path out of them. “He was standing at the end of the path and got down on one knee when I made it to the end,” says Madi.
Venke + Heath—Assateague Island
Photo by Allie Beckley
Why the location is picture-perfect: “The beach — Assateague Island, in particular — is the perfect spot for engagement photos because you don’t need anything else but you both and your surroundings,” says Venke of Assateague, which also holds a special place in the couple’s heart because they grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. “The natural beauty of the waves crashing, breeze in your hair, and the sand beneath your feet is everything you need. No props, just the beauty of nature itself.”
Proposal story: A weekend getaway at Busch Gardens Williamsburg provided the perfection locale for Heath to pop the big question. After a day spent riding roller coasters and enjoying drinks, the couple took a ride across the park on the skyline. “As I was taking mindless selfies of the two of us, Heath got down on one knee and asked me to marry him,” says Venke. “Of course, I replied, ‘Oh my gosh! Are you serious?,” and then screamed ‘“Yes! Yes!’ I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Marissa Hermanson is a Richmond, Virginia-based journalist who writes about arts and culture, food and drink, home and decor, travel and weddings. You can find her stories in Apartment Therapy, Domino, Dwell, Houzz, Southern Living, The Kitchn and The Knot.