Maddie + Ben | Virginia Museum of Fine Art

I had met with Maddie and Ben several times leading up to their wedding, over lunches and their engagement session (where I snuggled up to Ben to demonstrate a pose to Maddie. Cuz, professionalism).  Quite simply I really like them. They are quiet, a little shy and really pleasant – a word not used enough in my opinion. Kind of regular folk.

However…. On their wedding day they were transformed! Regular folk were replaced with glamour and sophistication. Maddie was a princess and Ben was evoked James Bond in the best, most classic tuxedo I have ever seen. This, coupled with stunningly perfect weather, the VMFA as a backdrop and a horse and carriage ride up Monument Avenue, is the kind of palate a wedding photographer dreams of! Family and emotion and love are what weddings are all about, and I was honored to be witness to it all on this day.

 

Anne & Richard’s Hurricane | Country Club of Virginia Wedding

Even when you know it is coming, it’s disconcerting when you enter the room where the groomsmen are getting ready and your son is among them. When you have reached that point in your life when your children’s friends begin to get married, this kind of thing will happen.

I have known Anne and Richard for many years. I watched Richard grow up, and saw Anne and he start their path together. Obviously I do not normally have this level of visibility into the lives of my wedding clients, and it was special to see the culmination of that love.

They are seamless, a couple devoted. They seem to dovetail so well, Anne’s exuberance perfectly offsetting Richard’s reserved demeanor. Their shared passion for Game of Thrones only serves to demonstrate just how well they go together (and their good taste).   Being allowed to record the memory of their wedding was both a treat and an honor.

But there was the small matter of hurricane Matthew. Endless sheets of rain outside only made us appreciate the fortress-like protection of St Stephan’s Episcopal more. We were all snug as bugs from church to the County Club of Virginia’s reception location. Family and friends celebrated and danced in defiance of the storm outside. Sometimes that is the best thing, to defy the coldness of the world outside and circle your family, your clan around you for support and love.

Anne and Richard understand that – the Starks would too I bet.

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Sarah and Nick by the River | Richmond Wedding Photographer | The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing

I have photographed many weddings and portraits over the years – and consequently worked with a lot of people. As it is everywhere in life, some people resonate with you and some do not. I think I have been fortunate in my experience never to have been involved with clients who ended up being nasty or difficult – and for that I am eternally grateful.

Still, some people you connect with.

I met Sarah and Nick at their home in Oregon Hill. Their dog Nismo met me at the door and might be the sweetest Chihuahua (thank you spellcheck) I have ever encountered. They were quiet, but friendly – and easy to talk to, which is important to me (because, let’s face it, I ramble on). From the beginning, it was clear that they were a team, which is something that is increasingly important to me as of late. They were different, but united; and I liked that about them immediately.

I have met with them a couple of times leading up to their wedding last week, and each time I enjoy their company more. The fact that they laugh at my humor certainly goes along way as well.

Sarah and Nick were married this past week at the wonderful Boathouse at Rocketts Landing. It was a brilliant day, and it was hot – because Richmond in August – but they were cool. Sarah’s cocktail-style wedding dress was the perfect choice for the day. Nick’s Batman logo cuff-links and socks told me a little bit more about him as well.  Of course, when I saw the Batman themed cake, I truly realized how deep this mania went.

Surround yourself with people you enjoy being around sounds like the kind of meme that shows up on Facebook so often, but that makes it no less true. My experience with Sarah and Nick only confirmed that truth.

 

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The Willis Family | Revisiting South Port, NC

Sometimes it is nice to go back. It’s nice to revisit old wedding clients, who are now friends, to see how they are once newlywed bliss evolves into real life – real life being work, parenthood, moving, etc.

Real life.

I photographed Mallory and Jimmy’s wedding back in 2009, at the stunning Orton Plantation outside of Southport, NC. Sadly, I do not get down that way often – something that needs to change – so when I vacationed at nearby Oak Island with the family last week, I wanted to catch up with a family portrait session.

And it is a family session now, since Mallory and Jimmy had Brody about four years ago. Brody is polite and sweet, with a love of toy cars and Legos (who doesn’t?)  Willful as well of course; he told me what he was and was not going to do during the session. But he was polite about it.

They are all doing fantastic, which does my heart a necessary world of good. They seem very happy, polite and respectful of each other and Brody in a way you don’t often see with young couples. They are the best parts of southern charm and I could spend days with them, and this town. We wandered around the waterfront of Southport and they both waved and spoke to countless people. When you are a local builder and work at the bank in a small southern town, you pretty much know everyone.

I never wanted to leave this town. Maybe they will be willing to adopt a grizzled photographer.

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Columns at Sixpenny Farms Wedding | Virginia Wedding Photographer

I have known Jamie for several years. She is a heady mix of fierce and emotion; salty and sweet as my daughter might say. She knows what she wants and I love that about her. I just met Calvin in the last several months and he struck me with just how perfect a match he is for Jamie. He is strong, outdoorsy and calm, and I envy what they have together.

We did their engagement session last fall, along the banks of the James River near their home in Smithfield and I knew then that they were naturals. So that I was excited to see them again a few weeks ago for their wedding outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Columns at Sixpenny Farm is a wonder of a venue, tucked into the amazing Shenandoah Valley. I was completely blown away by this place and look forward to visiting there again.

The weather was threatening – as it had been throughout May – but we dodged the rain and only had moody clouds and mist to contend with; which was kind of perfect here in the mountains. The couple, family and guests reveled into the chilly night. Virtually a perfect evening in every way.

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