Fall engagement photos around the city in Alexandria, Virginia
Rachelle and Samantha explored Alexandra, Virginia, during their fall engagement photos, including the riverfront and alleyways in the city. Rachelle and Sam when out one night and have been inseparable since then. Rachelle proposed to Sam with the ring in a handmade box that was made by Sam’s dad.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?
Rachelle: We met on July 3, 2016. We were both participating in some pre-4th of July festivities at a bar we both frequented, though I swear I had never seen her there before. Samantha marched right up to me and introduced herself, the conversation not lasting long before she excused herself to the restroom. One of the bar managers called me over and said that she was very excited to meet me and I didn’t think much of it because the LGBTQ+ scene is pretty rare in our part of town.
A few minutes later, I felt someone brush past me and it was Samantha. She ended up disappearing without a trace shortly after, but I was determined to see her again. Finding out she was another regular at the bar, I went back every day with a mission to find her. Lucky day number three, she was there but pretended like she didn’t know me until I embarrassed her in front of her friends asking if she remembered speaking with me the other night. After that, the rest is history.
Samantha: I like to think of our meeting as a Cinderella story. Some use a glass slipper and others use a glass from the bar.
What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. (example: pushing each other to new limits, love to travel, huge comic book fans, foodies, etc.) What makes your relationship unique?
Samantha: Whenever things get stressful, we go grocery shopping together. Just walking the aisles and discovering new products that fit our diet allows us to soak up the day-to-day stuff. Find adventure in the simple things!
Rachelle: We find fun and excitement in the little things. We both work pretty demanding jobs that require us to work late or work extra hours at home, so we end up turning our everyday “chores” into meaningful activities to enjoy each other’s company. We’ll find new recipes to cook together, turn on some good music and dance in the kitchen in between our slicing and stirring.
Samantha: Dancing in the kitchen makes the food taste better I swear! Whether it’s in the kitchen or professionally, we always encourage each other to reach for our goals.
How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship?
Samantha: From the moment I sashayed over to her at our local watering hole, I just chose her. From our second meeting, it was something electric. No one particular moment per se because she makes everything special. I was drawn to her because she drew something from within me, and here we are—engaged!
Rachelle: Things were just different with her. I’ve had my fair share of relationships and let downs, but with Samantha, there was always excitement and never a disappointment. I knew very early on that she was special. When you know, you just know.
Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?
Rachelle: I had the ring for a couple of months before I proposed. I knew she didn’t want a public proposal or anything in front of family, so I made a list of places or activities, just the two of us, if we ended up doing any of them, it would just happen. I never really thought about what I was going to say, it was just going to happen. I took her to a baseball field by our house to hit some balls, one of our first date activities. After a few swings, I made a call to the pitcher’s mound and dropped down on one knee.
Samantha: Such a surprise! Thankfully, it was dusk and she was already in love with me. On the last day that I had to report to work before the summer break, we went out for a walk because it wasn’t nasty humid June on that particular day, but I was all dusty from packing up my classroom. Definitely did not have a social media-ready outfit on or non-baseball dirt hands, but it was real. I appreciate that so much about the proposal—real life. Sometimes life gets messy and who else would I rather have by my side than Rachelle. Plus, she had to stall for time by taking silly so-called baseball card photos so that people in passing didn’t know what she was up to. It was so much fun! After that, we met my parents for ice cream to tell them, even though my dad already knew.
We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!
Rachelle: Engagement was no surprise. It’s something we had talked about throughout our relationship, so one thing she always mentioned was that she absolutely did not want a diamond! I’m not sure if that made it harder or easier for me to pick something out! Knowing her favorite color is green, I decided on a green sapphire—something very classic and vintage looking, to match her vintage style.
Samantha: Oh my green goddess of a ring! Beautiful green sapphire with a lotus setting in yellow gold with a diamond-encrusted band. Classic, yet unique bling.
Rachelle: I had Samantha’s dad do something special to go along with the ring. Being quite the woodworker, I asked him to make a ring box, so that when I finally did propose, she would know he approved.
Samantha: My dad made the box upon Rachelle’s request for not proposing to me with a gaudy red box. (Red is NOT my favorite color.) She asked for my hand and then made another request for him to make a ring box. He kept his vision for the box a secret and the proposal from everyone else in my family. As it turns out, he thoughtfully made a heart-shaped box out of Philippine mahogany which is extra special because it was a little bit me and little bit her being that she is Filipino. I’m so glad to have something so special to hold my ring and something to treasure forever.
Are you excited to start planning your wedding day? Do you have any ideas in mind yet?
Rachelle: Yes! Family is so important to us, so I’m personally looking forward to having all of our family and friends in one place to celebrate! We already have a beautiful venue booked and of course, have the lovely Darcy photographing our special day. Having her take our engagement photos helped make it all real. A nice fall wedding, thinking about incorporating some Filipino wedding traditions.
Samantha: Of course! I plan things all the time for children, but rarely plan something fun for myself. Let’s just say I am ready to plan for lots of dancing and fun memories to look back on. One of the first things we knew we needed to book was an amazing photographer, and Darcy was our first pick. We were so excited to share our engagement photos with friends and family—even to print and hang them in our home! The rest is falling into place little by little.
Photographer: Darcy Troutman Photography
Location: Old Town Alexandria