Smithsonian Castle DC Engagement Photos | Kristel & Josh

I was so excited to head up to the Smithsonian Castle in DC to meet this 2019 couple for their engagement photos! The groomed gardens and medieval (maybe a hint of Gothic?) style castle they chose for their engagement session was absolutely stunning and it felt like such a small little oasis in the middle of the city. It was so quiet and meticulously groomed there and during our session, it was pointed out that you almost feel like you’re not even in DC anymore, but entirely somewhere else!

Kristel and Josh met during law school and you’ll read more about the two of them below. The love and chemistry these two have for each other made capturing them so much fun. They know how to seize the moment and were able to focus on each other and enjoy the moment together and I had the best time working with them! I was immediately drawn to their laid-back vibe and amazing senses of humor. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to get to know them and document their love story and wish them the best of luck in their future together! Hope you enjoy this preview from their engagement session!

How did you meet?

Josh: We met at a bar crawl where I wasn’t drinking and having a miserable time until Kristel came out of nowhere and asked me what my tattoo is of. I told her it was a stormtrooper and she said she had never seen Star Wars. I knew then that I could get at least 3 dates out of possibly getting her to watch the original trilogy with me.

Kristel: We met at our law school’s annual bar crawl. Josh was a first-year law student and I was in my third and final year so I had no problem going up to him and striking up a conversation! He has an interesting tattoo on the back of his arm so I used that as an excuse to start talking to him. He started explaining that it was from Star Wars—I had no idea what he was talking about but I kept listening because he was cute!


What was your first thought when you saw or interacted with him/her for the first time?

Josh: How beautiful she was and how infectious her outgoing and friendly personality was.

Kristel: I thought he was so sweet. He was talkative and genuinely interested in hearing what I had to say.


How did you start dating?

Josh: I asked her if I could call her my girlfriend after we had been on a few dates and hung out together. She said “I guess.”

Kristel: Josh will say he was planning on asking me out but I asked first! I suggested we get coffee and Josh was ready with a time and place instantly. It was sweet.


What did you tell your friends or family about each other after your first date?

Josh: I told my friends how we talked over coffee for 3 hours and she never once complained about how much I talked. I waited to tell my parents until after we were dating because I didn’t want to get their hopes up and find out she didn’t like me as much as I liked her.

Kristel: I told everyone I had met a southerner who did not have a southern accent! And that he basically checked all of my boxes..smart, funny, sweet, tall…


When did you know that your partner was the one?

Josh: Probably when she yelled “thank you” as we were leaving the drive-thru at Chic Fil A just to make the cashier say “my pleasure.”

Kristel: I was *pretty sure* he was the one very early on when he belted out Toto’s Africa in the car on one of our very first dates. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to completely be himself. I was certain he was the one when we moved in together as I started studying for the Bar and he was the most supportive and caring person to me. He encouraged me every day and kept reminding me that I was capable of passing the silly Bar and much more.  (I did pass!)


How did the proposal happen?

Josh: I nervously slid the ring across the dinner table at Del Mar in DC and said “so do you want to get married?” Luckily for me, the restaurant was prepared and brought us champagne and a dessert after to celebrate.

Kristel: Josh had made reservations for an early Valentine’s Day dinner, and insisted on wearing a suit. I got a sneaky feeling then. Then as we headed to dinner, he was acting nervous. It was so endearing. He popped the question over dessert (my favorite)!


What quality/qualities do you love most about your partner?

Josh: That we make each other laugh constantly and that she’s always supportive of me.

Kristel: I love his genuine interest in learning more about anything and everything. When we first met, he told me he spent a good amount of time reading about Albanian history because I’m Albanian. I’m certain he knows more than I do!


What are some of your partner’s quirks that you love or appreciate?

Josh: How she can carry on a conversation with our cat while he just meows back at her and that she won’t accept any kisses that aren’t “real” kisses, like blown kissed or kisses transferred from my hand to her cheek.

Kristel: I was warned about “Barnett Time” by the non-original Barnett people in Josh’s family. Essentially, if you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time. Anything after that, you’re late. I love his punctuality because I *try* to always be on time. He’s making me better at it! I also appreciate the fact that he’s a total nerd because I am, too. He gets my Harry Potter references and has gotten me to be competitive at board games.


What moment of your wedding day are you most anticipating?

Josh: Being pronounced husband and wife!

Kristel: I can’t wait for the first look. My dress is basically the only thing I can keep a surprise and I can’t wait to show him.

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Northern VA Photographer

Sara and Adam are a husband and wife photography and cinematography team based out of Fredericksburg, VA. Our primary work consists of weddings, engagements, portraits, studio photography, and pets. We are available for travel within Northern Virginia, DC, Charlottesville, and Richmond and would love to speak with you. Please shoot us a quick message in the form to the right and we will be in touch shortly!

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