Karina + Melvin | Historic Polegreen Church | Richmond, VA

Delta Hotel Richmond | Historic Polegreen Church | Richmond, Virginia Wedding Photographer

You have to be brave to have your wedding in August in Virginia, or anywhere else at 37 degrees latitude.  But I suppose that when you're as in love with one another as Karina and Melvin are, being brave comes quite naturally.

They ignored the heat, the humidity, and the hazy sun - and pushed through their tears and laughter to say their vows that they wrote to one another.  In the pocket of light between the trees, in the open air that Polegreen Church affords, with almost 2 dozen close friends and family standing proudly by their side, they promised and jumped the broom into their future.

Karina is one of those women you wish you were.  She has this fierceness - this love of being alive.  She's herself, unapologetically, and you know that Melvin just gets all of that.  And gets her.  Because Melvin, himself, is kind of amazing.  Funny, kind, selfless - his father-in-law spoke of what a wonderful man he is and how lucky they are to have him as family.  There aren't many moments where people publicly sing your praises and that's some of the magic of weddings.  When everyone realizes that it's more than a tradition, more than two people coming together.  It's families blending, parents sharing their adult children with one another.  It's a new chapter for everyone.  So you take a moment and reflect on the fond memories and look towards a new future made possible by this union.  And you do that by eating tacos, pinning money to your clothes, and dancing until you fall over.

Shout out to Andrea for sweating the day away with me.  Really sorry about the headlight mix-up.  That was scary.

Karina - thank you for shoving that Peruvian cookie in my mouth.  It was amazing. 

Katie + Adam | Lovewell Lodge | Blacksburg, VA

I couldn't imagine a better way to kick off the Fall season than with Katie and Adam's beautiful wedding at Lovewell Lodge just outside of Blacksburg, VA.  Maybe July isn't really Fall, but I'll take any day in the mountains, all the same.

We met in the Spring, when the weather was crazy and unpredictable.  Our family went out to the mountains to Lexington, Natural Bridge, Roanoke, and Blacksburg - driving all over on a bit of a tour to find beautiful locations for camping and hiking, and literally chasing waterfalls (I had a whole list to find).  We were supposed to have their engagement session at the top of a mountain, but a freak snow storm (I thought it had quit snowing at this point in the year) closed the road to our spot.  We found a back up location and ran around in the chilly mountain air.  If you don't remember seeing it on the blog, you can find it HERE.

I probably say this about every couple that I work with - how kind and warm they are.  And it's true, each time.  Every wedding that I'm invited to photograph, they somehow manage to make me feel like a long time friend, welcome and so cherished, just like each and every one of their guests.  Katie and Adam were no different, of course.  As I sometimes do, I came early to their venue to look around and brought my tiniest babe with me, Finn - born just shy of 8 weeks prior.  He was all tucked in a ring sling, sleeping away, when I found Katie.  She was so excited to see that he was with me and the joy on her face in that moment, thinking of it now brings tears to my eyes.  That's the kind of amazing that Katie is.

There are always things... moments throughout weddings days that stick out when I think back.  Their custom vows to one another, who they spent their time with getting ready, the lace that Katie's grandmother made set out everywhere to remind them of her, the way Adam's best man looked at him as Katie walked down the aisle, and the way Adam couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the night after kissing his bride.  We couldn't have had a better day.

Full list of vendors at the end... and a big thank you to Andrea for coming all the way out here with me.  A few of her photos are mixed in as well.

VENUE - LOVEWELL LODGE
FLORALS - STONECROP FARM
CATERING - DUE SOUTH BBQ
DRESS - CASABLANCA BRIDAL
DRESS SHOP - LADIES OF LINEAGE FORT MILL SC
MC/DJ - YAEL OSSOWSKI

Courtney + Brian | St. Peter Catholic Church + Upper Shirley Vineyards | Richmond, VA

St. Peters Catholic Church | Canal Walk | Upper Shirley Vineyards | Richmond, Virginia Wedding Photographer

We couldn't have asked for a better day for Courtney and Brian's wedding in Richmond with their follow on reception at Upper Shirley Vineyards.  That's the kind of thing you say at the beginning of blog posts, right?  But that's not what I want to write.  I want to write about how special Courtney and Brian are to me... because their story is so much like my own.  You might remember these two from their at home engagement session with their gorgeous Labradoodle.

Both architects - they met at Architecture School and it was only after Brian recommended Courtney for a job at his firm that they started dating.  Perfect in for getting a girl to go out with you, right?  I imagine them hanging out in studio, working side by side through the night, traveling around Europe together completely unaware that someday they would look at one another and see something very different.  Someday, they would see a lifetime in one another's eyes.  It's so strange, time and place, and suddenly this person who was just a friend can become your entire world.  How that person can change your life if you wait for the right moment.  And then that person asks you to move in and get a dog and have babies and be super happy or sad or mad or anything at all if you can just do it together - for ever and ever. 

A couple things that I loved about their wedding day...

- Brian and Courtney were so intentional about the places at which they spent time.  From the hotel, the church, the walk we took together for portraits near the canal downtown Richmond, and the reception at Upper Shirley Vineyards - every backdrop was carefully selected to capture their moments in an artful way that was authentic and unique to them.

- The couple greeted every guest at the vineyard as they arrived.  There was such an outpouring of love and joy and maybe a few tears shed.

A big thank you to Val and Andrea who helped me photograph this wedding at 35 weeks + 1 day pregnant.  A few of their photos are mixed in as well.

And of course, to all the vendors who make this day possible, thank you thank you thank you for serving Courtney and Brian with your awesomeness.

Reception Venue + Catering: Upper Shirley Vineyards
Ceremony Location: St. Peter Catholic Church
Planning/Coordination: CCS Events - Colleen Cook
Make-up Artist: Lou Stevens
Dress: Bijou Bridal
Florals: FloraWorx
DJ/MC: Black Tie Entertainment - Tony Cummings
Getting Ready Location: Courtyard Marriott Downtown Richmond