Gabe and Heather’s Wedding | Washington D.C. Wedding Photographer

Gabe and Heather have known each other since they were 12 years old when they met at a church function in Indiana. They dated for some time, but eventually went their separate ways and Heather moved to California at 18. Years later thanks to social networking, Heather found Gabe on Facebook and they instantly became more than just “facebook friends.” They reunited and found that those old sparks from their teenage days had never died–talk about romantic! Taking  that they were always meant to be, Heather moved from California to be closer to Gabe, who is on active duty in the Army, stationed in the Washington, D.C. area. They are expecting their first child together, a boy, who they intend to name Ethan Joseph (love that name!), in August.

Gabe and Heather made the most of their sweet and simple wedding by using the gorgeous gardens at The Carlyle House Historic Park in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia as the backdrop for their ceremony, which can be used for free as long as there are no private events going on at the same time. (A really great option for brides planning a small, intimate gathering and looking to keep their costs down.) Their ceremony was attended by family, friends, and coworkers who later joined the newlyweds at The Charthouse for delicious seafood and dessert, which by the way, if you haven’t tried their Hot Chocolate Lava Cake, you are seriously missing out!

Being pregnant on your wedding day doesn’t mean you can’t still be stunning and feel amazing in your dress. Heather found the perfect maternity dress with a gorgeous and lacy keyhole back from David’s Bridal, which looked amazing in her photographs!  She carried a sweet bouquet of sunflowers and daisies, put together by Lake Ridge Florist.

Please enjoy some of my favorites from their sweet day. Their story is scheduled to be featured this week on United With Love, a blog for local wedding inspiration in the Washington DC area, so keep an eye out :)

Washington D.C. Wedding Photographer Jessica Veltri Photography

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Finally home from Afghanistan! | Washington D.C. Family Photographer

This post is definitely overdue, but I’m still very excited to share! Mike spent a year in Afghanistan and his family was so excited to see him finally return home safe and sound! Here are some of my favorites :)

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Other friends and coworkers came to welcome him back too, including this little cutie who made this adorable welcome home sign!

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Mike’s wife and son were decked out in red, white, and blue, and had flags to wave and “Daddy Dolls” to carry!

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How cute is this! He saw him and just started running!

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And this is just epic….

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Veteran’s Day Walkabout | Washington D.C. Travel Photographer

Yesterday, Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts at the Washington, D.C. campus held a Veteran’s Day Walkabout led by Paul Simkin, the Director of Photography. We were blessed with beautiful weather and a great group of people. The walkabout started at the Iwo Jima Memorial and continued on to the Arlington National Cemetery. From there we made our way to the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials where we soaked up the last bit of light from the day.

I saw this woman walk by the memorial dressed in the nation’s colors with her proud dog beside her and just had to get her photo. She walked by so fast, I had to run to catch up with her. It worked out well though because by the time I caught up to her the memorial was perfectly positioned in the background. Thank you Caroline for being such a proud supporter of our Veterans and for allowing me to take your photograph!

When we arrived at Arlington Cemetery, we went straight to Section 60, where Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism are laid to rest. We were greeted immediately by a swarm of Secret Service members who wanded us for weapons before we were allowed in. Rightfully so, as the President himself along with the First Lady and the Vice President were visiting at that very time.

After the President moved on to his next location, Vice President Joe Biden stuck around for a little, greeting anyone who wanted to say hi. My first glimpse of him was this image below….he was hugging and consoling a grieving loved one. I’m not sure if she lost her son or her husband, but it was very touching to see him holding her so tightly and telling her how very sorry he was for her loss.

He didn’t turn anyone down and stayed around long enough to say hi to everyone. This little boy went bravely right up to him and asked for his autograph.

The photo below wouldn’t mean much unless you heard the story behind it. A young man was talking to the Vice President and explained that his father was a Veteran. Vice President Biden handed his personal cell phone to the man and asked him to dial his father so he could thank him himself. His father answered and the young man said, “Dad, I’m calling you from Vice President Joe Biden’s cell phone. He wanted to say thank you.” At that point he handed the phone to Vice President Biden, who said, “Sir, your son tells me you are a Veteran and I wanted to call to personally thank you for your service and sacrifice.”

And then came the highlight of the day….I had been standing around watching and photographing the Vice President for a good 15 minutes by this point and had no intention of saying hi. I just wanted to get some good photographs. Well, as he started walking away he started walking towards me and said hello to me first. He shook my hand and asked my name and then asked me to tell him something about myself. So I figured the most appropriate thing to tell him was that I was a CW2 on Active Duty in the Army. At that point he smiled, put his arm around me, and started walking with me! I had my arm around his back and he was telling me about his son and other family members in the military. Honestly I don’t even remember exactly what he was saying, I think I was still in shock about what was going on. ;) Thanks to my new friends Matt and Kristyn for the three photos below!

After our encounter with the Vice President, we moved along to the Vietnam Wall…

While at the Vietnam War Memorial, the buglers played Taps for the retiring of the colors. All of the Veteran’s in the crowd proudly stood up and rendered their salute.

My last images of the day were of this cutie. I came across him at the Lincoln Memorial right as I was heading back to the car. He was just enjoying the day and eating his popsicle. Too cute for words!

Photographs from Bogota, Colombia | Washington D.C. Travel Photographer

One of the reasons I joined the Army was for the opportunity to travel. Of course one expects to travel to to such places as Iraq and Afghanistan in today’s Army, but every now and then some unique assignments present themselves and I just so happened to be in the right place and the right time for this one. My latest travel adventure brought me to Bogota, Colombia; my very first trip to South America! While I only had about half a day of free time, I tried my best to make the most of it. Here are some of my favorites from the trip.

This was the view from my hotel, the Andino Royal, located in a desirable area in Bogota near shopping districts, restaurants, and bars.

One of my favorites from the trip. Maybe not technically correct, but for me this one was about the moment. This little girl had just come home from school and was enjoying the last few minutes of daylight by playing with her paper airplane.

One of the many friendly street vendors who was more than happy to let me take his photo…

The next few are from the Monserrate, a definite must see if you visit Bogota. With an elevation of 10,341 feet, the Monserrate is a mountain with a small white church atop that overlooks the entire city of Bogota. A small fee grants you access to a shaky yet scenic cable car ride to the top where the view is absolutely breathtaking. It is chilly up top, so if you do visit, be sure to bring a light jacket. There are also plenty of shops with souvenirs and restaurants.

These last images are from the Bolivar Square and La Candelaria in the historic district of Bogota, Colombia, a busy little section of town that is beautiful to see and full of color. The streets were crowded with people from all walks of life: businessmen, beggars, military officials, and large groups of uniformed children on educational tours. Go there and enjoy, but travel safely and be on guard because crime in this area is high.

Follow me on twitter @jessveltri and find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/jessicaveltriphotography!

Reenlistment at the Martin Luther King Jr., National Memorial

A few weeks ago SPC Robinson reenlisted at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. A few people from the unit were there along with several members of his family. Unfortunately due to the park policies the ceremony had to take place just outside the memorial, even with a permit! That was a surprise to me, but It turned out great anyway as we ended up taking a few family shots in front of the memorial after the official ceremony.

Prior to the ceremony, myself and several others were standing just outside the memorial just talking and waiting, and random strangers, mostly kids, were coming up to us to say, “thank you for your service,” and offering handshakes, and asking for photos. It was so fun and cute to see even the little ones walking straight up to a Soldier in uniform, look up, and say thank you.

During the ceremony itself, we made quite a scene, even with only a handful of us there. We formed sort of a half circle in front of the flag and the unit guidon, while SPC Robinson said the oath that reenlisted him for another six years in the United States Army. A little bit of a crowd gathered and they helped add to the applause when it was over. After the applause died down, everyone turned around to hear three tiny voices calling out the Pledge of Allegiance with their hands over their heart. It was the cutest thing and a great ending to the ceremony!

I love how the one on the right is using the wrong hand!