One of the awesome perks of being a wedding blogger for the city in which you live, is that you personally know not only a bunch of the vendors that you feature, BUT the couples too – such is the case with today’s Alexandria, Virginia engagement session!

I actually know the bride-to-be from a LONG long time ago [it turns out our moms are best friends from like 8th grade or something!], so I have actually known Alex for a REALLY long time. After years of forced awkward meetings when our parents would get together, Alex & I re-connected when we both found ourselves in DC post-college and became friends. I also apparently crashed her first date with her now-fiance Jim [I did not know this!] and am super excited today to share that story AND her beautiful Alexandria, VA engagement from Stephen Gosling Photography [submitted via Two Bright Lights]

Alex & Jim are getting married early next year ~ and will be having a totally Capitol Romance-like affair, as Alex is footing most of the wedding costs herself. Which means: DIY & non-traditional wedding details … all things we love here :)

A bit about how Alex & Jim met:

A ginger and a semi-ginger walk into a bar.  I never thought you could meet someone at a bar in Clarendon and spend the rest of your life with them, but lo and behold here we are.  It was one of those Friday night happy hours where the “hour” turns into a few.  We were at Spider Kelleys and my friends bumped into a few of Jim’s friends. Both groups got to talking and I was about to turn back to the bar when Jim suddenly appeared across the circle that our friends had formed, grinned and shouted a simple “hi!”  Within the first five minutes of talking we realized we had a ton in common, including loving hockey and being the palest people we know.  Jim asked me to go to dinner with him the very next day, and the rest is history.

And now, the story of how I Crashed Their First Date [!!]

The night I met Jim, I was dogsitting Bree’s dachshund, Sadie Monster.  The next day we decided to go to dinner somewhere in Courthouse so I could be close to my apartment for the pups (I have one of my own, a pointer/boarder collie mix, London)

When we were finishing our first date dinner at Fireworks and trying to figure out what to do next, Bree called to say she was ready to pick Sadie up and would be there in a few minutes. Jim and I both decided we weren’t ready for our first date to be over, so we   ran over to my apartment building to meet Bree.  So Bree, you’ve been able to watch our relationship develop from the very start!

Click inside for the rest of this adorable Alexandria, VA engagement session ~ including a shot of Alex’s STUNNING solitaire engagement ring & their proposal story!

The Proposal:

Sometime in December, Jim decided he was going to take me to look at rings.  We picked out the perfect round solitaire and thin diamond encrusted band.  The jeweler let us know it wouldn’t be in for quite awhile so I thought I had some time to wait for Jim to pop the question. I thought it wouldn’t be in until at least February.

I was wrong.

On January 20th, Jim texted me around 3pm when I was at work to tell me we had dinner reservations at the Wharf in Old Town Alexandria.  Jim never made reservations so I immediately started to hyperventilate.

Our dinner at the Wharf was excellent.  She-Crab soup, Manhattan Clam Chowder, lobster, shrimp, crab, oysters.  Too bad at that point I was so nervous I barely finished my meal.  Jim kept dropping hints the whole time, casually saying how he spoke to my dad today, how he left work early, and how pretty I looked “especially tonight”.

Jim then suggested instead of dessert we stick with caffeine and we walked across the street to Starbucks.  After securing our coffees Jim asked that we go on a walk.  We wandered over to the boardwalk along the water.  It was EMPTY.  It was supposed to snow later that night and there was no one around [which never happens in Old Town].

We got closer to the water when Jim said there was something wrong with his jacket and handed me his coffee.  He then pulled the ring from his jacket got down on his knee and asked me to marry him.  After a brief freak out of me thinking “omg I need to put these coffees down where do I put them?” I said yes and we sat on a bench in the freezing cold laughing, a little bit of crying (me),  and planning how we’d tell all the people we love.  :)

Even though I got to hear this story first-hand, I still get goosebumps reading it here – proposal get me … always.

Congratulations Alex & Jim – I am SO freaking happy for you both AND so happy to get to hear all the awesome wedding planning details along the way! A special thanks to Stephen Gosling Photography & Two Bright Lights for making this Alexandria, VA engagement submission possible!



  1. These images are so beautiful! Stephen, you did a lovely job. The images of him spinning her around and the B&W of them in front of that wooden door are definitely my favorites!

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