Starting this week off with a BANG ~ an insanely gorgeous (and fall inspired!) Washington, DC engagement shoot from Washington, DC wedding photographers Andrea & Renata. I love Katie & Jon’s fall-inspired attire and I also love when couples take advantage of all the parks we have in the DC metro area for their engagement shoots.

There is SO much love and happiness happening in this feature, it is sure to brighten your Monday [especially if you are like me, and hurting EXTRA this Monday]. Andrea & Renata are such awesome photographers ~ I am thrilled to be sharing their work on my blog :) Plus, I am pretty much in love with the fact that they are two best friends that not only work together, but bought a house together. Seriously. Go check out their about us page. It’s nothing short of an incredible story, IMO.

 Katie & Jon’s gorgeous Great Falls, Virginia Engagement Shoot

We also have a TON of details to share about this awesome couple!

The two originally met while serving in the Army National Guard. At the time they met, both were involved in other relationships and would interact sparingly. However, in the spring of 2007, Katie and Jon were both selected for a deployment to Baghdad, Iraq. [Katie: After we got engaged, Jon and I found out from a dear friend, the selection may not have been as business oriented as we thought. We can only speculate as Rob will never tell but I think we were victims of Rob’s love arrow!] Initially, Katie and Jon would endure the long, tedious work nights together discussing the latest threats, political afflictions, and tribal dynamics. Over time, the friendship blossomed and the two would spend countless hours each night, on the balcony, discussing every subject imaginable. Under those bright stars and amongst the warm Iraqi air Katie and Jon recounted story after story from their past, things they wanted for their future, and foundations for happiness. Although still nothing more than good friends, Katie and Jon spent more time talking during 2007 than probably should have been allowed.


Katie’s smile here!? I just LOVE it.

And the pic on the left is my favorite of the bunch [hands down]. is anyone surprised by that?

their love story continues …

 Upon returning to the United States in early February 2008 something clicked and feelings changed. Their first night back Jon summoned up the courage to ask Katie out on a date. To his surprise Katie excitedly accepted and so began a new phase of their story.
[Katie: I have to interject here because I find it incredibly important to note the strategic location of where Jon decided to awkwardly ask me out on a date. On post in Mississippi, Jon called across the barracks quad (military version of a courtyard) and just outside the communal bathrooms Jon decided to start a new chapter in both our lives… quite romantic in a way! ;)]

Read more to see a TON more from this beautiful, crisp Virginia engagement shoot at Great Falls Park from Andrea & Renata.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder …

Fall of 2009 would be the start of an unfortunate phase of Jon’s career and some difficult time apart. Jon was deployed to Iraq that November for a period of three months. This would be the first extended period of time away from one another since before their friendship really developed in Iraq. This time apart, however, seemed to only bring them closer as they realized just how much it meant to have the other in their daily lives. [Katie: Boy oh boy did I miss Jon the first time I had to scoop the litter box and fold my own laundry! How did I ever live without him? :)] Numerous emails and routine phone calls helped them make it through this rough time and Katie was sure to send off care packages with more snacks than a single person should ever eat.


The proposal!!! …. in a BATHROOM! [hah! i love it!]

Jon returned home to Katie mid-January 2010 and promptly planned out his next move. After purchasing a ring, Jon set up for a proposal scenario that will surely keep Katie laughing for years to come. He purchased a dozen bags of peanut butter cups and scores of candles prior to rushing home from work in order to set the scene. On the floor of their, freshly cleaned, bathroom Jon piled the peanut butter cups (Still in their packaging) into the shape of a big heart. Using the candles, Jon spelled out the phrase, “Marry me”, and lit them. [Side note – The Peanut Butter Cups are significant based off of a purely coincidental occurrence where Katie began calling Jon ‘peanut’ around the same time he had started calling her buttercup. Just so happens that Jon is a fiend for peanut butter treats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are their favorite candy. All too fitting. ]

Katie came home from work that night after a particularly bad day and began cooking dinner. Jon helped out in the kitchen and persistently tried to get Katie to go upstairs to change out of her work clothes so as to run forward with his plan. Unfortunately, Katie was in no mood for this and kept on with preparing dinner. Jon realized his candles were burning and at risk of burning out or, much worse, being tipped over by one of the cats and simply burning the house down. Finally Jon coaxes one mighty grumpy Katie to go up stairs and he followed swiftly behind as she stepped into view of the display.

In Katie’s awestruck moment Jon popped the question. Katie said yes, of course, but was absolutely perplexed by the odd display and the chosen location for this meaningful moment. But again, this was a fitting moment for the two because Jon is constantly surprising and amusing Katie with his oddball ideas. What better place than a bathroom to propose?


this light is just freakin’ dreamy, isn’t it?!

But then John get’s deployed …. again!

 Unfortunately, less than a week after they became engaged, Jon was asked to once again leave for Iraq. A freak snowstorm delayed his departure by a week and the two were able to spend some quality time together snowed in at the house.[Katie: Haha!!! Quality time shoveling, snowball fights, and most importantly sipping cocoa with marshmallows on the couch. One of my favorite weeks!] Jon would be gone this time for four months. Yet again, the two emailed constantly and spoke on the phone as often as possible.


A home to build their life together.

The summer of 2010 brought on the exhausting home search as the couple looked to purchase their first home inside DC. Months and months of searching finally produced a nice condo in the North West section of DC and the two began to settle in.

  i love these shots with the guitar. serene & beautiful without coming across overly fake or styled. love it.

this looks like an album cover to me!

One chapter closes …. but another big one will begin.

Katie and Jon were able to spend the holidays together this past year before Jon would leave once again in mid-January to head back to Iraq, leaving poor Katie alone to finalize many of the wedding plans. They will get through this separation, just as they have ones past. Jon will be back only a few weeks prior to the wedding and hopefully not have to leave again for quite some time. Katie may not let him leave again after everything she is dealing with this go around.

One thing is for sure, life has a wonderful way of working out and the engagement of Katie and Jon is living proof. Two lives converged in June of 2006 without either one knowing what the future would hold. [Katie: Cheers to not knowing what the future holds. What I do know now is it’s no longer my and your, it’s our future and I can’t wait to experience the adventure together. ]

their love story so far is beautiful … and so is this next image!


the two of them are just too cute! i seriously cannot get enough!

Congratulations Katie & John! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful love story with us and best of luck on your upcoming wedding!! A special thanks again to the wonderfully talented Andrea & Renata for sharing this gorgeous Great Falls engagement session with us!




  1. Andrea & Renata’s photography captures John & Kate perfectly. They are truely a gorgeous couple. If you liked the engagement photos, you should see the wedding photos!

  2. What a wonderful surprise to come home to! I never get tired of looking at these shots or Andrea and Renata’s work, period! They are such amazing photographers and such lovely souls to be around! Thanks Bree for featuring our E-session!

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