Published: Elopement at the Watergate in Every Bride

So excited that Joanna and Ryan’s Fall wedding has been published in Every Bride today!

The wedding took place the afternoon of September 21, 2018 at the Watergate hotel. Because of the perfect day the ceremony and cocktail hour following took place on the roof of the hotel, Top of the Gate.

The two met in Georgetown for their first date after connecting via Tinder. Ryan totally surprise Joanna when he proposed to her while on vacation in Hawaii. The couple is clearly a beach and water lovers since soon after the wedding, the headed off to Tahiti for 2 weeks in an over-water bungalow!

Erin + Chris


Erin and Chris

Wedding at Airlie

Wedding Venue Airlie

Wedding Planner Day/week-of coordinator: Patty Frank

Bride’s Gown Cristiano Lucci  Anna’s Bridal

Bride’s Shoes Kaari Blue

Bride’s Jewelry Earrings-Lord & Taylor; Bracelet-Swarovski; Bracelet-John Esposito, Personal Touch Jeweler designed with John & brides mom, using stones that belonged to her mom & 2 sisters. Bride HS matching bracelet with other 2 sisters.

Bride’s Veil Bridal Impressions

Bride’s Hair & Makeup Hair- Christine Abi-Najm; Make-up: Shirin Ratner

Groom’s Tux The Black Tux

Groom’s Shoes Giorgio Brutini

Groom’s Watch Citizen

Rings John Esposito, Personal Touch Jewelers

Bridesmaid’s Dresses Azazie

Groomsmen’s Attire The Black Tux

Florals Aimee Harp The Bouqs Co.

Catering Airlie

Cake Pastries by Randolph

Dessert Bar Cookies by Karen ; Krispy Kreme

Invitations Minted

Officiant Jim Burch

Entertainment Double E Entertainment

Photographer Jacqui DePas

Videographer Lucarelli Studios

Favors Sparklers

Frenchie Love


Suzanne and Greg

Suzanne and Greg got married on October 13, 2018 in Old Town Alexandria.

Getting ready was held at The Alexandrian Hotel, Autograph Collection. Suzanne and Greg’s dog served as assistant and best man! The Ceremony and reception was held at the historic Athenaeum.

Greg is a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and based in Washington, DC. Suzanne is a Procurement Analyst at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and on the weekend teaches classes at Gold’s Fitness.

Wedding Venue The Athenaeum

Photographer Jacqui & Sergey, By Jacqui Photography

Catering Old Blue BBQ

Officiant John Slye

Entertainment Dominion Wedding Entertainment

Florals The Enchanted Florist

Rings Blue Nile and Rustic & Main

Bride’s Gown Global Bridal Gallery

Bride’s Shoes Converse All Stars

Bride’s Jewelry Alexis Bittar

Bride’s Hair & Makeup Hair: Monica Pugliese makeup: Markella Prather

Editing Snack - Roasted Chickpeas


With wedding season in DC deeply upon us, so is the editing of all those wedding. Now, with digital editing is done in front of a computer not over a trash can like it was with film. The hours spent sitting or standing at my desk means I also need a snack to keep my energy and concentration going.

Enter…the roasted chickpea! Full of vegan protein and nutritionally dense carbohydrates, I can eat them at my desk without making a mess or getting anything on my keyboard.

Here is the recipe that I make in huge batches to keep on hand this time of year.

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 T of olive oil or coconut oil

1 tsp of salt.

Toss in a bowl and throw on a baking sheet in a preheated oven (375F) for 15 min. Shake the pan and cook for an additional 5-10 min.

Yep, its that easy.

Finished product - the roasted chickpea

Finished product - the roasted chickpea

What do I wear?

That’s the question I am asked most often.  “What do I wear to my engagement, family, business, or other photo session?” For the client, this is one of the hardest questions they deal with - harder than location, date, and choosing the final product. The answer I start with for all of these sessions is always “be yourself”.  I want to capture a picture of you and/or your family as you are - and, trust me, you want that too. Don’t try to overthink it or over do it. The biggest wardrobe complications occur when people try too hard to dress up or to dress in a way that doesn’t fit their personality or the environment.  I’ve broken down a few key notes here to help guide you through what can be, for many people, a trying situation. But first and foremost, remember to be yourself and to feel comfortable.

The Family Photo Session

The key to a family photo session is to blend the colors appropriately, keeping everyone’s wardrobe color choices in the same family. This doesn’t mean everyone should wear navy blue and nothing else.  Far from it! Staying away from being too matchy is just as important. You want everyone to choose colors that compliment one another and don’t clash. If everyone in the portrait is in pastels, and one person is in bright orange, that person is going to draw all the focus of the picture.  But just as important as blending in with one another, you want your choice to blend in with the background you choose. The image below is a great example of the family using color to coordinate with one another, and with their background.

PI6A0150 (1).jpg

In the case of parents with a baby or a single young child, having the parents wear neutral or similar tones works well.  Having the infant then in a complimentary color brings the focus to the child, making the baby the center of the photo and drawing our eyes to her.  It adds that ‘pop’ of color that will make the photo all the more vivid. For larger families with children, dressing everyone in a color family (think Autumn colors) or with two set colors (navy and yellow) for dresses and tops works well.  Pants, shoes, belts and accessories can then be set as neutral to break up the monotony of the color pallet - think white, black, brown and gray, also jeans and khakis for pants, shorts, shoes, etc.

And of course we need to talk about prints.  Plaids work well as long as they fall within the color palette you choose.  In our example of navy and yellow above, a subtle navy plaid shirt for a gentleman would be fine.  However, a loud yellow and blue Hawaiian print shirt would draw all of the viewer's attention. A good rule of thumb is to stick to solids or subtle patterns and textures (plaids, lace).  The ultimate goal of the picture is to see your family and your smiles, and the clothing shouldn’t distract from that.

The Engagement Shoot

While similar to a family shoot in terms of rules, Engagement shoots also elicit a lot of emotion - love, excitement, intimacy, comfort - and wardrobe choices should reflect that.  While many of the pictures will be a close up of your faces and upper body, there will be also be many full body pictures showcasing your relationship. You want to choose clothing that you are comfortable in, from head to toe.  You also want your clothing and your partners clothing to compliment each other - meaning the colors should remain in the same color family (cool colors or warm colors, with neutrals mixed in where needed) and your clothing should also be similar in style (formal, casual, romantic).  Solids again are going to be where you want to live in this case, adding in a pop of an accent color through jewelry, a tie or scarf.


Furthermore, it is important to take into account your location, and to dress to compliment it.  An outfit that works well in an urban setting may look out of place in an open field. Softer colors work exceptionally well in outdoor settings to give a romantic look, while bolder colors can be used in indoor settings to offset neutral backdrops.


Finally, don’t go overboard on multiple wardrobe changes.  You want your pictures to flow together and to tell the story of your engagement.  Too many contrasting outfits will leave the viewer focused on what you are wearing rather than on the overall picture.  Choose two outfit changes at most, focusing on solid colors and coordinating outfits that really make the two of you feel like your best.

Headshots and Business Sessions


When choosing your attire for a professional headshot or business portfolio portrait, stick to the classic.  Solid black, white, or gray jacket with a bold pop of color either in the shirt or in the tie brings attention to the face while keeping a professional appearance to the image.  Jewelry should be understated for women, stud earrings or a simple necklace are all you are going to want to incorporate. Again, the focus is the face, not as much the attire in the professional session.  When addressing makeup, keep it simple and natural, bringing the attention of the viewer to the eye, rather than to the mouth. The ultimate goal of the business session is a clean, more conservative, professional portrait that highlights your face and image.


With over 18 years experience, Jacqui DePas lives her personal philosophy – ‘Capture moments while you make memories.”  A second generation social and commercial photographer with offices in McLean, VA and New York, NY, By Jacqui Photography covers the entire range of photography (from commercial real-estate and corporate events to newborn sessions and weddings) with Jacqui DePas's signature artistic touch.  Started in 2000, By Jacqui Photography has grown her team by cultivating relationships with seven creative and talented photographers, offering their clients the best.


Reality Isn't Pinterest - Part II

Capturing ‘The Perfect’ Day

Every bride and groom envisions their perfect wedding – the clothing, the venue, the food, the flowers, the kiss.  And compiling pictures from magazines and wedding websites help us put together that ideal and can act as a springboard for our imagination to creating a perfect event.  It’s key to remember that a lot of behind the scenes work goes into creating those perfectly beautiful images. Hours are spent ensuring that the lighting is perfect, the guests in the background are properly placed, the bride’s (and the groom’s) hair and makeup are flawless and the background is set to capture that only the happiest, most perfectly placed moments.  Those images are designed to be inspirational, to help you create your own ‘perfect day’.


As a couple, it is important to keep in mind that a lot goes into creating that one “perfect” picture.  So much of your day you can control, but there are many things that cannot be controlled – weather, emotions, illness, and any number of unexpected hiccups that come along.  In the quest to capture that ‘one perfect shot’, a couple shouldn’t lose sight of enjoying their day and embracing reality – and enjoying all the unique things that make the day yours.  Essentially, enjoy your moment and realize that reality should be ‘your perfect’. A little girl imitating a bride, that spontaneous laughter in the moment, an unexpected ‘photobomb’ – all of these are more than a photo, they are a treasured memory, a snapshot in time, a priceless piece of a priceless day.  Above all, they are real, and they are perfect.

Many of those perfect images you see on Pinterest, in magazines and on wedding websites are staged.  By staged, I don’t mean posed. A photographer and/or handler can always help pose the people in the shot.  What I mean by staged is that there are often multiple photographers, lighting people, handlers, makeup artists and scouts that set up that seemingly ‘in the moment’ picture, that perfect snapshot in time.  The shot may or may not even be during the wedding event itself. As I mentioned, weather and lighting can play a huge factor in creating that ‘it’ photo.

That is not to say you won’t get that Pinterest perfect photo – you will – as long as you embrace reality.  A photo you see online or in a magazine will never be exactly like the one your photographer takes for any number of reasons (setting, artistic license, weather), but if you remember that, the photo that is taken will be even more beautiful.

Embracing Reality


One of my favorite pictures highlights how things out of our control can make for the most ‘perfect’, most memorable of moments.  In this image, I had lined up the ideal wedding vows picture when the flower girl decided to drop in and say hello!  This image is one of the couple’s favorites – it inspires them to laugh, to remember family, and to smile. It is a prime example of an imperfect, perfect shot.

And it is those moments, both the perfect and unscripted, captured by your photographer, are what you will remember, what you will cherish, when you look back.  These moments tell the story of not just your day, but of the life you share. And while not all of those pictures will be the perfect posed images of a bridal magazine, what they will be, is your own perfect.

With over 18 years experience, Jacqui DePas lives her personal philosophy – ‘Capture moments while you make memories.”  A second generation social and commercial photographer with offices in McLean, VA and New York, NY, By Jacqui Photography covers the entire range of photography (from commercial real-estate and corporate events to newborn sessions and weddings) with Jacqui DePas's signature artistic touch.  Started in 2000, By Jacqui Photography has grown her team by cultivating relationships with seven creative and talented photographers, offering their clients the best.

Photography Tips for the Beginner Photographer


Photography Tips for Beginners

Did you geta camera over the holidays? 

If you are just starting into photography or you have just been taking pictures and want to improve, here are some very useful tips that would not only transform your photography experience but would also transform yourself into a professional photographer. Here are some of the essentials,

Know your Camera.

Before you even begin taking your first few pictures, you first need to get accustomed to your camera. This will be beneficial as you will get to know the best camera settings, knowing what each and every button does, knowing what to do when you get stuck and how to reset your camera to the default settings in case of anything.

Learn the Basics

This is the time to take your camera for a test run. Take a few pictures, this can be of anything as you get to learn more and more about the basics. On the other hand, there are a lot of helpful information online on your specific camera and the basics into taking great pictures. This will give you an added advantage in working with your equipment.

Learn to edit

Photography does not just stop at taking pictures with your camera. It extends beyond the lens into editing. You will also need to learn how to edit the pictures you have taken in order to transform them from basic photos to world-class pictures. There are a lot of editing software available both free and paid. Know what works best for you and master each and every inch of the program


Equipment Care

Lastly, you need to know how to clean your equipment and safely store them for future use. This will not only ensure that your equipment lasts longer but will also ensure you get the best results from them.