Meadowlark Gardens Engagement | Gina + Sebastian | Virginia Photographer

I love photographing engagement sessions and this was a perfect setting for this sweet couple! Gina and Sebastian had me laughing from the beginning and we had so much fun walking the paths in the gardens. I absolutely can’t wait for their big day in June 2016! Enjoy a few of my favorites from their engagement session at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia.


Gina & Sebastian’s Love Story

Despite Gina and Sebastian living less than a quarter of a mile from one another, going to the same gym, walking their dogs along the same paths, and shopping at the same grocery store, it took a “hello” on an online dating site to bring the couple together. Their first date was at Passion Fish in Reston Town Center and their date was filled with 3.5 hours of fun and interesting conversation.

About a year later, Sebastian told Gina that he was taking her to Charlottesville, Virginia for a weekend as a late birthday gift. After touring Monticello and a local vineyard, the couple headed out for a dinner at a nice restaurant. After the server poured the couple a glass of wine, the server brought out a plate with a jewelry box placed on it! Gina, unfazed by the jewelry box in front of her, kept reading the label on the wine bottle. Sebastian then got down on one knee and asked his very surprised girlfriend if she would spend the rest of her life with him!

The couple is busy planning a June wedding and a lifetime of good conversation, good wine, and lots of love!

















Congratulations, you two!!

Meadowlark Gardens Engagement | Ron + Sharon | Vienna, Virginia Photographer

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Ron and Sharon’s beautiful engagement session at Meadowlark Botanical Garden was so amazing. I had the best time walking the pathways through the woods and around the delightful pond of Meadowlark Gardens with them. Signs of Fall were beginning with the falling leaves and orange & purple thistle which automatically sparked a Pumpkin Spices Latte craving! It is so apparent how happy they are together and I am honored to have been chosen to capture their Wedding Day memories! They are naturals in front of the camera and I loved sharing this special time with them before their wedding.

The gardens are such a perfect magical spot tucked away in Vienna, Virginia for couples to walk and spend some time for romance and relaxation. Thank you Ron and Sharon for so much fun photographing around Meadowlark Gardens. Wish you both the best during this exciting time of you lives and I’m looking forward to seeing you very soon!!!

So Sweet!

So Sweet!

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Sharon and Danny|Mt. Jackson, Virginia Engagement Photographer


Danny proposed to Sharon at the historic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge, which is known as one of the oldest bridges around. After taking fun images on the bridge and capturing the very spot where he proposed, we hiked down to the creek where we found lots of people wading and the perfect tree trunk to sit for a while by the creek’s edge. The views of the mountains and cornfields stretched for miles. The Meems Bottom covered bridge is an ideal place for a proposal and of course what better place for their engagement session.

Amazing Couple!

Amazing Couple!


Danny and Sharon’s Love Story
On June 7, 2014 we were invited to a bon fire at my daughter-in-law’s parent’s home. I knew something was up from all the questions he was asking me, like where this place was and any special landmarks that might be around it. So we get there and socialize, but Danny seemed nervous, after an hour or so, we all here this loud noise from the sky! Danny calls me out into the a clearing from the trees and points up to the sky, ant it’s a plane with a banner flying above the read, “Sharon will you marry me…love Danny”. I was SO happy, but there was no ring given at this proposal. I was just so excited to be engaged and looking forward to marrying the love of my life.

In the next several weeks, we began to shop for engagement rings and eventually found a small jewelers in Reston, where a friend of the family worked, and had picked out a beautiful ring, but of course t had to be special made and that would take 4 to 6 weeks. On Friday July 3rd, Danny said he wanted to take me to dinner somewhere. The place was called Dan’s Steakhouse and it was in Luray, so we leave after work and start driving to the restaurant. We go past it and and he said we were early. so we were going to drive around for a while. Then he stops at this covered bridge that he has always loved. We get out and walk around and we sit down on the bridge and he goes to his truck and gets a rose out of the truck and comes over and gets down on one knee and says the most beautiful words, and asks me to marry him. Again, I was so surprised because it had only been a couple weeks since we ordered the ring. of course, I say yes and as we are both wiping away tears, he goes back to the truck and gets a bottle of champagne and 2 glasses and we toast to our future.

And now as we prepare to take those vows, I can’t tell you how this man has changed my life and how happy he has made me. I can’t wait to become Mr. and Mrs. Callahan.


So Sweet!

So Sweet!

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Thank you Danny & Sharon for an amazing engagement session! Looking forward to your Wedding Day! Enjoy the preview! xoxo – Donna Gilroy, Gilroy Photography

First Look Wedding Advice

The First Look is becoming more and more popular. Seeing your fiance for the first time before you walk down the aisle gives you both a quiet moment to yourselves, and from a photographer’s point of view, it helps with the overall wedding day timeline while allowing for beautiful intimate moments. But it also breaks the traditional rule of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding, and takes away the initial surprise of the bride coming down the aisle. Take some time and talk to your fiance about what you are comfortable with to decide if a first look is right for you and review our advice.


Having a private first look is a great way to ease some of those wedding day jitters and remind you both of your love for each other and why you are getting married. A wedding day is long and can go by in a blur, so taking a few moments alone with your fiance will allow you to be in the moment and enjoy being together before the rest of the day begins and you are surrounded by family and friends.


A first look gives your photographer the opportunity to capture the love between the bride and groom. A first look is more intimate than the traditional route of seeing each other coming down the aisle for the first time surrounded by your guests. A first look is often a more emotional moment when done in private and allows your photographer a unique chance to capture real emotion and we’ve seen it all, from tears to laughter, dips and passionate kisses!


A first look will allow you to get bridal portraits and maybe even some bridal party photos or family photos done before the ceremony. This could give you more time to travel to another location you may want to have bridal portraits done, either after the ceremony or plan to do your first look at a separate location that may have special meaning to you as a couple. Having photos done before the ceremony might also allow you to get to your cocktail hour earlier, allowing you to have more time with your guests and more time to enjoy everything you spent months planning.




Event – Hilton Garden Inn Fairfax Tasting


I had so much fun at the Tasting Event at Hilton Garden Inn Fairfax. I’m so excited to share a few of my photographs from this special event.




Lizzy & Grace are the Hilton Garden Inn’s extraordinary private events team!







A Special thank you to all the vendors that participated in the Hilton Garden Inn Tasting Event. Your talent and professionalism is remarkable!

Event Vendors:

Photography: Donna Gilroy of Gilroy Photography
Lighting: Hilton Garden Inn
Wedding Venue: Hilton Garden Inn
Floral: Buttercups
Cake: Unique Cakes
DJ: Firedog Entertainment
Linens: Everything Linens

Fort Myer Officers’ Club Wedding: Keith and Chris

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This wonderful couple met on their first date at the Fireside Grill. A year and a half later Keith proposed to Chris in an intimate gazebo setting in the courtyard perfectly placed nearby. I got to know the couple and photograph their engagement portraits in and around the gazebo where Keith proposed. I’m so happy for these two! The couple had a Winter Wedding at St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church and a lovely wedding reception in the elegant Koran ballroom at the Ft. Myer Officers’ Club.

Keith and Chris both adore their families and it was so sweet to witness the smiles, winks and meaningful glances exchanged between them and their families throughout the day! It was a lovely wedding that brought together two beautiful families. A special touch during the Catholic ceremony was when the bride walked in alone and her groom met her halfway to walk together to the altar. The couple laid flowers at the foot of Mary and said a prayer during the ceremony. Hundreds of people attended the ceremony and the couple received all the guests after the recessional. The groom wore his military uniform for the ceremony. In spite of the Winter weather the couple ventured outside briefly on a hill overlooking the Washington DC monuments. It is a beautiful vista of Washington DC from Ft Myer Officers’ Club! Their gorgeous wedding reception was held at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club in the grand Koran Ballroom. Chris made a sweet sentimental gesture by having her Mom’s cake topper from their wedding, grace the top of her beautiful wedding cake by Heidelberg Pastry! The Koran ballroom’s high ceilings, enormous chandeliers, wall murals and the gorgeous golden light made for an elegant grand wedding reception for this beautiful couple! Congrats, Chris and Keith and Aloha!

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Love the sweet heart pattern!

Love the sweet heart pattern!

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The topper on the Heidelberg Pastry Cake was Chris's parents at their wedding!

The topper on the Heidelberg Pastry Cake was Chris’s parents at their wedding!

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Keith and Chris, thank you for honoring me with documenting your special day! Best Wishes to you both!

Photographer: Gilroy Photography, Donna Gilroy
Ceremony: St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church
Venue: Fort Myer Officers’ Club
Transportation: K&V Limousine Service
Dress: Oscar de la Renta
Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Bridesmaids Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Florist: Royal Floral Design
Caterer: Fort Myer Officers’ Club, five star catering
Cake: Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe
Hair & Makeup: Luigi Parasmo Salon in Georgetown
Music: JK Music Production, DJ John Koslin

Trummer’s on Main Wedding | Northern Virginia Photographer, Clifton, VA

I have been looking forward to photographing at Trummers on Main in Clifton, VA! The bright and beautiful Winter Garden Room is full of sunlight and warmth in spite of the chilly weather! The grand room has walls of golden yellow and is filled with glowing sunlight from the skylights and beautiful full length windows. Magical, is the best way to describe the experience when you enter the space.

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The Historic town of Clifton, Virginia has the charm of a Norman Rockwell painting. In 1902, Clifton Station was established as a town. Quaint shops, restaurants and a romantic gazebo are located in the heart of Historic Clifton, Virginia. This wedding vintage style is perfect for a Wedding celebration in the quaint Clifton town setting combined with the elegance of Trummer’s on the Main. Wrapping up this season as the weather is turning chilly winter! This shoot is featured just in time to make the blog this week! I hope you enjoy the bridal portraits at the lovely Trummers on Main and the quaint town of Clifton, Virginia! The weather is turning chilly in time for hot cider and yummy Austrian Linzer cookies filled with raspberry jelly to warm our hearts!

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The “Golden Hour” is also known as the magic hour! I love the lighting during this time, which is the hour right before the sun goes down. The magic of the hour gives beautiful warm light which is glowing! Changes in lighting occur very quickly in the “Golden hour”! These Bridal Portraits are a few of my favorites of the day!

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Trummers on Main is a beautiful wedding venue in Clifton, VA! Contact me at Gilroy Photography at or email at to check my availability for your Wedding day!

Venue: Trummer’s on Main | Photographer: Gilroy Photography – Donna Gilroy | Florist: Fleurtations | Hair and Makeup: VA Spa and Salon | Paper Goods: Papyrus | Dessert: Corner Bakery | Dress: Oriana Designer, St. Anthony’s Bridal | Jewelry: Macy’s | Vintage Rentals: La Bella Luce |

Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast Wedding |Middleburg, Virginia

This elegant vintage styled wedding was inspired by the vibrant Autumn color palette of burnt orange, amber, coral, and gold. The venue is Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast in Middleburg, Virginia with fine art wedding photographer Donna Gilroy of Gilroy Photography. The theme incorporates beautiful elements of crystal glasses, tapestry linens, vintage plates, amber glassware and decanters. From the paper goods to the floral designs, full of rich Autumn colors and elegant touches of gold celebrate the crisp and beautiful season.

Vintage plates fill the tables with sprigs of rosemary and dinner menus at each place setting. Bittersweet branches adorn the autumn floral arrangements in ornate gold candelabras. The beautiful gold lace and antique brooch designs encircle the unique wedding cake. The exquisite bridal bouquet is rich with roses, mini calla lilies, pepper and hypericum berries, lisanthias, eucalyptus, and dusty miller greens. The bride echoes the vintage theme with pearls and a gorgeous lace wedding gown.

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Venue: Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast
Photographer: Donna Gilroy, Gilroy Photography
Floral Design: Flower Gallery of Manassas
Cake: Fabulous Wedding Cakes
Stylist: Pamela Hutzell
Linens: Everything Linen
Vintage Rentals: Bella Villa, Fabulous Vintage Dishes
Hair and Makeup: Makeup by Brooke
Wedding Dress: Juliet’s Bridal Boutique
Paper Goods: Lettering by Lynne

Denise and Chris | St Leo the Great Catholic Church Wedding, Fairfax, VA | Fairfax Wedding Photographer

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I am delighted to share Denise and Chris’s beautiful summer wedding at St Leo the Great Catholic Church and their family estate in Fairfax, Virginia with you today! Denise and Chris shared with me that they met and decided it was true love in their College Vector Calculus class. After 9:10 pm class they started an impromptu salsa dance class in the hallway! So, it was such a perfect choice for the bride to wear a pair of white Salsa shoes on her Wedding Day!

The couple chose a classic church ceremony at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax, Virginia. The beautiful “Ave Maria” was sung from the church balcony while the mothers were seated. Denise and Chris faced family and friends as they exchanged their vows. From the balcony the organist played Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5. The adorable ring bearers and flower girl brought great joy to the wedding procession. Denise and Chris placed the bridal bouquet at the foot of the Blessed Mary after the ceremony.

An intimate outdoor reception was held at the family estate in Fairfax, Virginia under a tent draped canopy. Red and white lanterns strung from above and rows of twinkle lights. Each table was adorned with a glass filled with a floating red rose. The backyard garden reception setting was lovely with flowers and hostas and dappled sunlight filtered through large old oak trees. The reception was joyous with champagne and dancing into the night.
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The ceremony was held at St Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax, Virginia

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It was a perfect day for Denise and Chris and I could not be more happy for you both! It was an honor to photograph the special moments of your day! CONGRATS!
Venue: Family Estate, Ceremony: St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, Celebrant: Fr. David Whitestone, Hair and Makeup: Natalie Chanfreau, Gown: JJ’s House, Bridal Shoes: Exotica Salsa, Groom’s Attire: Azad American Formal Wear

Gilroy Photography attends AWP with Dr. Maggie Daniels Associate Professor at GMU

I enjoyed The Association of Wedding Professionals (AWP) of Greater Washington, DC meeting at Maggiano’s in Tyson’s Corner last night. I met and enjoyed the Speaker, Dr Maggie Daniels, an associate professor at George Mason University. I’m an Alumni, and I earned my Bachelor of Arts at GMU with a major in Photography and minor in Psychology. I learned tonight that Professor Daniels was named one of Modern Bride’s 25 Trendsetters! Her discussion was enlightening and full of ideas from her research in event management.

Donna Gilroy of Gilroy Photography with Dr. Maggie Daniels Associate Professor at GMU

Donna Gilroy of Gilroy Photography with Dr. Maggie Daniels Associate Professor at GMU

I am continually researching and learning the new trends in weddings and always interested in finding new inspiration to excel in my wedding photography profession. So many wonderful and talented wedding professionals were in attendance last night. I was happy to meet Ellen Goldberg the owner of the Briar Patch B&B in Middleburg, Virginia. It is such an ideal Virginia countryside setting for a wedding event. I look forward to touring the Briar Patch and photographing weddings at their beautiful venue. As a true Virginian girl I grew up in the countryside of Virginia and love the history of our area.

I enjoyed meeting Michele Marquez, Director of Special Events at 2941 a nice wedding venue in Falls Church, Virginia. Here are a few images at the event. Special thanks to Jon Fleming, event photographer.

Donna Gilroy of Gilroy Photography with Michelle Marquez Special Events Director at 2941 Restaurant

Donna Gilroy of Gilroy Photography with Michelle Marquez Special Events Director at 2941 Restaurant

Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant in Tyson’s Corner created a wonderful dinner for us to enjoy with Chicken Saltimbocca, and Asparagus Ravioli and sumptuous desserts of Crème Brulee and Chocolate Zuccotto Cake. A lovely evening out for all us hardworking wedding professionals! – Donna Gilroy