Juliet and Dan came all the way from New York City, where they live and work, to have our engagement session at Juliet's parent's home on the banks of the James River. The forecast did not call for rain, but on my drive to them, it began to sprinkle. I abandoned all hopes for any rays of sunshine, but luck was in our favor. The skies opened up and the light was incredible. I couldn't think of any better light for these two wonderful people.
If any couple was meant for each other, Meredith and Patrick certainly are that couple. Their wedding at the Glenview Mansion just down the road from their home in Rockville, MD was the perfect occasion and place to walk through the threshold to promising the rest of their lives to one another. There were so many moments throughout their day that I found myself crying and although I'm always affected by important, meaningful, remember for the rest of your life moments, every time tears would well in my eyes, I could look around and take comfort because I wasn't even close to the only one.
Some of my favorite parts of the day:
- Patrick is such a character for the pure entertainment of Meredith. He is constantly so happy and silly, making Meredith laugh every time.
- The dress that Meredith wore was not the dress she had originally chosen. Some weeks before the wedding, her original dress arrived and when she tried it on, she realized it just wasn't the dress she wanted to walk down the aisle in. Just a few weeks before the wedding she went in search of a new dress and purchased this one she wore off the rack. What a brave decision!
- Meredith and sisters ordered the flowers online and arranged their bouquets - which were stunning.
- Meredith and Patrick wrote their own vows to one another. If there's anything that makes a ceremony so incredibly personal and moving, it's the vows.
- Meredith's mom gave the best speech. One of my favorite lines was, "A loved man makes a strong man and a loved woman makes a strong woman." She's too right.
Congratulations, you guys. I know you'll remember this day for the rest of your lives.
And last but not least, a big thank you to Val for photographing this wedding with me. You'll find some of her images mixed in.
Last year when I launched my new website under my new name - Of Fate and Chaos - I held a contest and gave an entire wedding day's coverage away to one lucky couple. This is the one.
Ingrid and Hamilton got married at the Adam's International School in Maidens, VA on a rather sunny day in June. Some of my most favorite things about their day:
- Ingrid has a presence that you can just feel when she walks into the room. Her spirit touches everyone she meets and her smile radiates in every direction. We met first over Skype, second over tacos, and again at her wedding - we celebrated with tacos. A girl after my own heart, for sure. (Hamilton, I like you too!)
- Taco truck. Obviously.
- As gifts to her bridesmaids, Ingrid gave each of them a ring and a special ring dish chosen specifically for each of her dear friends.
- The wedding party walked down the aisle to harmonica played by a groomsman and a spoken word poem that Hamilton wrote just for the occasion.
- As part of the ceremony, the mothers of the bride and groom placed a wedding quilt over the couple and their guests shouted all the many things that they wished for the couple - some of which were lots of love, children (to much laughter), and a life full adventure.
- Ingrid and Hamilton both spoke of their union as more of a rebirth. Shedding the old skin that they have carried and coming together as one.
- Their dance party was off the hook and I do so love the dancing part of wedding days. I'm pretty sure Ingrid's gorgeous earring flew off and landed on my head at one point.
If you didn't know - Ingrid and Hamilton are both poets and actors. You can find their website here. They're amazingly talented! Thank you so much for sharing your day with me you guys. And thank you to all the vendors that participated to make their day amazing! For a full list of vendors, scroll allllllll the way to the bottom.
August was a blur. July was a blur. The summer has disappeared before our eyes and while I wouldn't say that we wasted even a second of our time - it does feel like it all went by faster than usual. Probably because we were making such good fun.
Summers for us are always full of family visits, trips to the pool and the beach and the zoo, Henry's birthday in August, William wishing his birthday was in August, misbehaving and turning the hose on outside, and other general silliness.
The boys are growing and changing so quickly. I know that people say, "It All goes by so fast." While their childhood is far from over, it's true. It feels like these little people have been with me my whole life and for only a second at the same time. Every wedding that I photograph the mother son dance I am touched and saddened with the reminder that someday my boys too will grow up.
You'll find a mix of our summer here... I can't tell you if there are only 10 photos. I am not inclined to count but these are my favorites from what we managed to take during the Month of July and August. We purchased an underwater camera/housing to take to the pool. Unfortunately I used it twice and took it with me somewhere and forgot the housing part in another state so we'll try again when I retrieve it. Ha! Henry's Birthday and the second year in a row that I have cleaned their faces, combed their hair, and forced them to stand near the window to have their portrait taken. Henry didn't change quite so much, but William with his haircut looks so much the little man.
Papa Jeff came to visit the last week of August and we went to the zoo and the beach a few times. We finally got to see the lion clearly - after living here for 4.5 years! Through a crack in the rock enclosure, we could see him relaxing in the shade. Henry finally became comfortable in the water. We've tried spending time in pools, taking him to organized swim lessons, taking him to lakes, even just filling up the bathtub at the house so that he could practice floating - nothing until this summer has worked. I have never seen a person sink so naturally like he did. Humans are supposed to float! He needed to take his own time to get comfortable and trust himself as well as the water. He has always held back until he's ready, no matter my encouragement or assistance and I try to remember to give him the space he needs.
So that's most of our summer - short lived, and busy, but traces of magic here and there.
As is the tradition in our little blog circle of friends that post our favorite 10 every month (I'm absent sometimes)... after looking through our summer, continue on to see how Sarah's summer has been going by clicking here or here.
I can barely believe that I've managed to keep Pat and Carrie's beautiful wedding at the Williamsburg Winery off this journal for so long. Pat and I met during my days in the Navy and we've been friends for a number of years. I was overjoyed when I heard that he had proposed to Carrie and when I met her, I knew they were the perfect fit.
The forecast called for rain. As I drove up the driveway to the winery, the clouds loomed overhead. We all waited, anticipating raindrops to fall any minute, but the clouds held our for us. Carrie was determined to get married outside no matter what the weather did. I have a feeling that the skies knew who the day belonged to.
They said their vows in front of a small number of family and friends - most of whom traveled to be present.
Here's a bit of their day.
The first week of summer, we spent in the mountains of North Carolina, somewhere between Asheville and Boone. As were making the trip from Hampton Roads, all loaded up in Chris's truck, I realized the last time we were on a real vacation, not just a long weekend, was 3 years ago. What have we been doing?
This trip was so good for our souls. For our spirits. For our family. The kids weren't able to pull up anything that they wanted on Netflix. Chris and I weren't overwhelmed doing busy work around the house - the endless chores and projects that are always ongoing. I wasn't pulled to my email and Chris wasn't checking his phone because there was no service. To get around the mountains, we relied on maps that had been left behind by the countless guests that have called this cabin their mountain retreat throughout the years.
One evening, the kids were playing in the loft and I leaned against Chris while he read a chapter out of a book to me for the first time ever. I felt so at peace in our tiny cabin in the woods with our children and our pups. Every morning we would get around, pack our lunch, and find our hiking destination for the day. By 3, we were done and headed back to the cabin to get dinner started. The evenings were spent outside by a fire, making s'mores, or rocking on the wrap around porch. The skies weren't full of light pollution, like at home, and the stars shined so brightly for us.
We saw waterfalls, climbed to the top of mountains, hiked around lakes, used film cameras, swam, jumped, yelled, laughed, rested, and gave thanks. We thought we were just getting away. What we didn't know is that we would be renewed.
If you don't know how this 10 on 10 thing works - several of us photographer mamas post 10 photos from the month, talk about our adventures, and then link to one another. Some of you cats call that a blog circle. I have been a bit absent this Spring, but am so happy to be joining for July. You also might notice that I couldn't decide on just 10 (sorry not sorry). We had so much fun adventuring, I could barely get my selection down to 15.
I invite you to continue on to see what Sarah has been up to. She lives in Kalamazoo - not too far from where I grew up. Small world!