Before you click on the “More” link to view this entire blog post, I want you to take a moment to enjoy the details. The flowers and shoes, the gazebo and the raindrops, the dress – Every bit of it tells part of the story of this wedding day and it’s important. Color and design, so many different “small” decisions that go in to a wedding day that speak to the way the bride and groom want their guests to experience their wedding.
But I want you to forget about that for the time being and focus on what comes next. With the sheer volume of information about weddings available online, on television, in print, it’s very easy to get caught up in the details and stop there. It’s also easy to get caught up in beautiful, sun-drenched portraits of couples in sweet afternoon sunlight. With a few exceptions due to weather or time of day, I can make you look like you were photographed in a wild-flower filled valley north of Santa Barbara. That’s certainly one advantage of hiring an experienced photographer.
But it’s not the point of it all, is it? No. Not to me.
If you remember the weekend of October 8th, you’ll recall that Hurricane Matthew was dousing Richmond with rain and there was no end in sight, at least not for any weekend plans. Every wedding with some sort of outdoor theme or event was being quickly moved to Plan B. And what bride who has decided to have an outdoor wedding has not cringed at the thought of the very scenario we were faced with on this wedding day.
So what do we do? It’s simple. We all go have a wedding. We celebrate the start of a marriage. If rain is the only problem, you still have absolutely every other wonderful thing. And as a photographer who thinks your wedding story should be YOUR wedding story and not my idealized version of it, I’m going to find every little moment, every great angle, and make a collection of images that will make my couples smile every time they pull out their album or stop to stare at their galleries. Rain is part of the story. Wet shoes, and mad dashes from car to tent is part of your story.
So here we introduce Christine and Joey. Once you skip past those lovely colorful details I created an entire story to reflect the power of their day, them as a couple, and each as lovely and happy individuals. I went back to my roots of black and white to make everything about expressions, and emotions – distilling the moments down to their best essence. What you’ll see are two people very much in love with their soggy, gray sky day and with each other. You’ll see a whole host of family and friends who simply want to enjoy these newlyweds, their hours-old marriage, and a fantastic party.
What you have, is the essence of a wedding, and the real reason you want us there.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Event Planning and Design: CCS Events
Rentals: Party Perfect
Florist: Photosynthesis Floral Design
Cake Artist: The Mixing Bowl Bakery
Entertainment: Dance Candy
Lighting Design: Lighting Professors
Hair and Make-up: Avenue 42 Style Studio
Dress Salon: Tiffany’s Bridal
Bridemaid’s attire: BHLDN
Groom’s Attire: Suitsupply
As a photographer my main goal, my purpose as an artist really, is to reveal great stories. That’s what weddings are, the beginning of a lifetime for two people together – the first in a series of amazing stories. So where I choose to look, the moment that I choose to press that shutter button, is exactly the story that will be told.
Think about that for just one moment. I’ll wait.
Yep, that’s right. When you look at a photographer’s work, it doesn’t reflect everything that was happening around them. No artistic medium known can do that. What you are truly seeing is how that photographer feels about the world around them and, in particular, that event. And while I would love to hear your thoughts on my personal psychological profile after browsing this blog and my website I’ll go ahead and take it from here.
I love people. I love interactions. I love crowds. I am at my best when I am surrounded by fun, happy, authentic people. I didn’t go in to photography thinking that I’d be hanging out with brides 40 times a year. But I’m really glad I shot that first one, because 13 years later I’m pretty pleased with how it’s all going.
Which brings us to Anna and Matt and this classic, elegant – yet fun and relaxed – wedding day. From start to finish there was just this great energy. On that day, everyone in attendance could tell you this was an exceptionally hot day even for Richmond in the Summer. But can you tell? I can’t. In fact, I had to be reminded. Not even the San Franciscans who flew across the country to experience the textbook definition of suffocating humidity, looked the least bit unhappy. Look at that first look between Anna and her father. See that expression as the couple leaves the ceremony as husband and wife for the first time. And…that reception tent was rocking.
Take a moment and enjoy just this small selection from Anna’s and Matt’s day. See if you enjoy their story as much as I do.
Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation
Day-Of Coordination: Windy Jennings of LK Events and Design
Catering and Cake: A Pimiento
Floral Design: Terry White
Lighting Design and Tenting: Skyline Tent Company
Make-up, Hair Salon and Styling: Elle Style Studio
Dress Designer: Rue De Seine
Dress Salon: Lovely Bride – San Francisco
Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Bridesmaid’s Attire: Amsale
Groom’s Attire: Indochino
Isn’t it awful when you have a beautiful and hilarious couple, stunning venues, and a perfect Fall afternoon? Just terrible.
Seems in poor taste to point out our good fortune like this, but it’s actually to make a point about what all that actually means. Yes, absolutely. I will definitely take a well appointed ballroom over a cinder block basement. Who wouldn’t? But is that really what makes a wedding and, more to the matter at hand, wedding photographs jump off the page? Not to me it doesn’t.
I’ll take that basement over that ballroom if you fill it with happy people that are truly enjoying themselves.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to choose. Will and Heather are two of the most genuine and genuinely fun people you’ll meet. St. Peters (amazingly our first trip there) is a truly lovely cathedral. Their friends kept us rolling all day and evening and the party didn’t disappoint. Ok. Yeah. I might be bragging a bit now. I’ll stop.
Enjoy the images and check out the links from many of the vendors that helped with this perfect wedding day.
Ceremony: St. Peters Catholic Church
Reception: The Country Club of Virginia
Floral Design: Tommy’s Garden
Cake Artist: Gourmand Bakery
Ceremony Music: Belle Arte Quartet
Entertainment: Klaxton Brown Band
Hair Stylist: Mango
Make-up Artist: Michael Pressnermango ha
Dress Designer: Anne Barge
Dress Salon: Annalise Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid’s Attire: Bella Bridesmaid/Amsale
Groom’s Attire: Alton Lane
Groom’s Shoes: Smythe and Digby
Sometimes it seems as if the stars aligned in just the right way on a perfect day for the perfect couple. Except, what we know is that it is actually the couple themselves that came together and no matter on which day it might be, they would make a moment – or an entire series of moments – magical. Such was the case for Jessica and Christian. It was hard to imagine that you were not in a dreamy wedding wonderland with these two, because their joy was so infectious, and that of their family and friends so much the same, that one couldn’t help but get caught up in it. Take a look at these images and tell us you don’t agree – we dare you!
Some of the impeccable vendors that Jessica and Christian enlisted to pull off their celebration included:
Florals by The Green Flamingo
Rentals from Paisley & Jade
Cake created by Sugar & Salt
Music from Eric Cunningham at Debonaire Entertainment
Family and friends. Family and friends. No matter what is said about weddings – the pomp, the circumstance, the dazzle of dress and shoes – it always comes back to those two most critical things. You could only spend about three minutes with Francesca before you realized she epitomized everything you hear about Italians and family. And right then I knew…keep your eyes open Don. There’s going to be some crazy beautiful emotion about to take place. And I was not disappointed in the least. Just take one look at her father seeing her for the first time as a bride. How do you not fall in love with weddings each and every weekend when you see something like that?
And for all the weddings we’ve shot all over Richmond and the state of Virginia, this was our first visit to the ballroom of the Altria theater. It’s quite simply a beautiful space with inherent charm that you can’t fake. Check out the way The Lighting Professors and Swoon Soiree transformed that classic space in to an impromptu ceremony of lights. It’s pretty stunning.
And as always, please check out the list of folks who made the day possible and spend a little time on their sites. After mine, of course 🙂
Event Planning and Design: Lauren Purcell of Swoon Soiree
Entertainment: Debonaire Entertainment and Gary Gauldin
Florist: Vogue Flowers
Cake Artist: Candy Valley Cake Company
Dress Designer: Roz La Kelin
Dress Salon: Ava Laurenne Bride
Lighting Design: The Lighting Professors
Funny titles again. Trust me, it’s hard to find ways to summarize a full day’s worth of story in to three or four words when there’s just so much to tell you. And honestly, the images are so much better at giving you what you want than my words ever could. But still, I do love to give a little context to the proceedings. Plus, there’s a bit of a local celebrity bent to this wedding that’s too fun not to share.
Anyone who’s been in Richmond longer than a few months has either heard of or shopped at Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market. Heck, the road out front is named after the place. Well, you can imagine how cool it is to find out that not only is the guy getting married, but we’re getting invited to photograph it. From our first meeting with Karen and Tom, it was obvious what kind of wedding day this was going to be. You couldn’t ask for a more down-to-earth and fun couple. Just like we love our photographs, they are real. They are easy going. And they’re fun. And cue the music…..
Seriously, the details were perfectly simple and elegant. The planning and design were seamless. The people were so warm and loved to party. You really couldn’t ask for a better party. And for you emotion junkies, check out that up/down sequence with Karen and Tom as they read their letters to each other. Look at her face right as she reaches Tom at the end of the aisle. Throw in some surprise fireworks over the lake and top it off with what looked like a troupe of professional dancers.
Enjoy the images and thanks again for visiting.
Yes, yes. I know. It’s a bit of a cheesy title. But, I’m not asking to be forgiven on this one. When I’m going through the images from any wedding, there’s often a narrative that starts to form in your mind. Sometimes it is a very subtle thing, perhaps a set of details or the conditions of the day that pushes your way of thinking about the wedding. Other times it’s right in your face like a bold party theme or color palette. And then in others…it’s the faces. It’s the expressions. While that may seem obvious if you’re on my blog. Lindsay and I are consistent in our message that, while portraits and details are lovely, weddings are about people and interactions.
So, why mention it then? Because of this couple, that’s why. As I looked through the entire collection, the one consistent theme I could not take my eyes off of was how happy they were and how everyone around them seemed to feed off that energy. The getting ready portion between the girls, Kristen and her father sharing several tear inducing moments, Ken and his guys being hilarious at pretty much every moment – there was no way not to notice that. And I’d love to tell you that those insane sunset pictures were the product of my expert direction (ok, some of it) but they just melted together on camera. There was so little needed from us other than to hit that little button at the perfect time.
Venue: The Mill at Fine Creek
Florals: Mary Henry
Cake Artist: Pierre Tocco
Entertainment and Sound: Eric Cunningham of Debonaire Entertainment
Hair and Make-up: Lou Stevens Glam Squad
Paper: Wedding Paper Divas
Calligraphy: Ginny Rogan
Bridal Dress Designer: One Love Designs by Rachel Gordon
Bridesmaid’s Attire: BHLDN
Groom’s Attire: Jos A Bank
We love the unexpected. It’s part and parcel one the foundations of a wedding day. Two families, tons of friends, throw in a party – mix and go. To us, having a preconceived notion of how things *should* happen keeps you from capturing what *did* happen, and then you just miss the point of photographing a wedding entirely. So, keeping our eyes and our minds open is a requirement for each and every weekend.
But…this one is a little different than the rest. Due to geography, work schedules, and the often insane task of planning a wedding while attempting to lead the normal life of a 20-something with a career…I didn’t meet Lauren until the day before the wedding. Her mother Anne was incredible with the planning, the conversations – but not one meeting or chat with the bride until it was less than 24 hours to start the photography. So…truly. Tons of the unexpected.
What happened? See for yourself. Beautiful couple. Lovely designs. Hilarious guests. More laughter and smiles than I could every care to ask for on a wedding day. Cross-town adventures between iconic locations like The Jefferson, The Berkeley Hotel, and Willow Oaks
In other words – blissfully and wonderfully unexpected.
To our colleagues that helped make the day as wonderful as the couple, we thank you:
The Jefferson Hotel, The Berkeley Hotel, The Willow Oaks Country Club, Party Perfect, Blooms at the Jefferson, The Buttercream Bee, Black Tie Entertainment, Jimmy Oliver Events, Keith Reagan, James River Transportation, Provonias of Barcelona at Belle’s Boutique of Charleston.