Tag archive for : rustic wedding

This past weekend I got to travel down to Northern Virginia to document Elle and Jamie’s wedding, a sweet, homespun, rustic and deeply personal affair on the bride’s parents’ farm.

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Elle not only treated Jamie to a special “first look” moment, but she also had a special moment with her parents before the festivities got underway.

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The father of the bride asked if they could take a moment to pray, and he held his wife and daughter’s hands for a few moments of blessings and peace.

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Oh man. Every time the dads cry, I get misty-eyed behind the camera. Every. single. time.

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We took some lovely family portraits at that point, and trust me, I will be giving you dozens of lovely poses and classically composed moments to choose from in the highlights slideshow and the full edited set… but oh, how I love this one of everyone making silly faces! I just couldn’t wait to show you this!

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Then it was the groom’s turn to take in the gorgeousness that is his bride in their own first look. He murmured sweet words that only she could hear as he took her into his arms.

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The weather report had been changing all week long, from partly sunny to mostly cloudy to thunderstorms every two hours…. Frankly, Weather.com was KILLING me… so I wanted to be sure to get lots of great photos of the soon-to-be newlyweds on Elle’s family’s farm before it rained and before guests started to arrive.

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When I asked Jamie how he knew that Elle was the one, he told me all about how much he loves her quirky sense of humor. He said that their initial attraction to each other only grew stronger as they fell in love, but it was her intelligence and sense of humor that really won him over. I feel like this shot sort of captures that dynamic.

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We took a few more photos and then it was time for the main event!

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Elle requested a shot I’ve never been asked to take before- which is rare- but I loved her idea! Here are four generations of ladies’ rings on the bride’s side of the family. Her great-grandmother’s ring is on the left, then her grandmother’s, then her mom’s, and finally, Elle’s engagement ring and wedding band are on the right.

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Then it was time for the ceremony to being in a small, white gazebo on the farm. So much loving care and hard work went into making the property beautiful for the big day, and then finally, the moment was upon us.

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Elle’s friend did a reading about salt, about the way that sodium and chloride come together from two elements that on their own are poisonous but together form a substance that is essential to life. Salt can preserve food for a long journey, amplify flavors or purify an infection. It is found in blood, in sweat, and in tears. This led to a unity ritual where the bride and groom had intended to combine grains of salt, which they would never again be able to fully separate…. but they realized they forgot to get a bowl. I actually love these little moments where things supposedly “go wrong.” It truly was a little thing, no big deal, but the way the couple laughed together- the way they just rolled with it, sprinkled their salt wherever it would fall and then planned to do this unity ritual together later- was actually very touching, endearing and meaningful.

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So many tears of joy!

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Both mothers offered readings…

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And then the newlyweds were showered with dried rose petals and potpourri as they kissed!

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Then it was time to get hugs all around, sign the marriage license and take a few more photos.

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The kids got to pet a few of the animals on the farm while the bridesmaids worked their bustle magic, and then everyone gathered for an intimate meal on the cutest collection of mismatched thrifted china plates you ever did see. Elle pulled all the place settings together herself, and it turned out beautifully.

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After dinner, there were toasts and cupcakes, and best of all the clouds began to part in time for some truly dramatic sunset light. (Thank you, guys, for coming back out for the final silhouette shots; I know it wasn’t ideal as the sun broke through in the middle of the party, but I’m so pleased with how they turned out. And thank you, dramatic weather clouds, for cooperating. :)

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Then it was back to the gazebo for a few special dances. Jamie had worked really hard putting up the twinkle lights- his mom says he learned it from watching her decorate for Christmas all through his childhood- and the effect was magical.

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Everyone gathered around the fire pit for s’mores as the evening drew to a close. It was homey and warm and everything the bride and groom wanted.

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Congratulations, Jamie and Elle! I know you’re relaxing on a tropical island as I write this. I hope your honeymoon is as magical and loving as your wedding day!

Filled Under : Wedding

Early on in my work as a photographer, I found myself drawn to stories, assignments and pictures that feature the themes of faith and family, in every way those two things can be defined. I’m not just talking about faith in terms of religion, but leaps of faith, acts of courage, choosing to love and be loved. I’m a big believer that families are organic, living, breathing, ever-changing things, and there’s power in the moments when those new bonds are formed.

Carter and Greg’s wedding was everything a wedding should be. They are so in love, and their family and friends are genuinely supportive of their union in every way. The families genuinely like each other. The wedding party attendants were amazing, committed to doing whatever they could to help things run smoothly and make the reception a fabulous party. It was great.

Now, people find love, create new families and branch out their family trees in all new ways throughout their lives. It’s actually quite unique to witness a wedding where both the parents of the bride and groom are still happily married after decades together. It’s not better or worse, of course, than parents of brides and grooms who’ve made bold choices for love and happiness and remarried. Finding love, choosing it, day in and day out, takes courage, whether you’re still with the person you married thirty years ago or a person whose love has been a blessing to you later in your life. I’m not saying either way is better or right, only that I had to smile, seeing the love in the bride and groom’s parents’ marriages.

And it goes both ways, generation wise. People joke about their in-laws, and there’s no denying that those relationships can be fraught. The stakes are high. At this wedding, however, the groom was walked down the aisle not just by his mother, but his almost mother-in-law, too. The mother of the groom hugged her new daughter-in-law in the moments after the ceremony and said, simply and genuinely, “I love you.” The groom chose his dad to be his best man. That’s really saying something. In his toast, Greg’s dad said, basically, if they only got Carter as a daughter-in-law out of this deal, that would be amazing. The fact that they were uniting with her family, too, her sister, and her friends… Well, THAT, he said, (and I’m paraphrasing) is icing on the cake. That’s really saying something, too.

My point is, while this wedding had a gorgeous sunset, delicious barbecue, thoughtful DIY details hand-crafted by the couple, moving speeches, and heartfelt vows, I also really wanted to capture the subtle bonds between everyone there. I really tried to shoot pictures that captured little gestures that mean so much.

The bonds I’m talking about, the love I saw, it was in the little things. It was in the look of pride on Carter’s dad’s face when he came to see his daughter in her dress. It was the way Carter’s sister Blythe ran to find a backup “something blue,” wept with joy during the ceremony and made her sister cry during her maid of honor speech. It was the way, when the mother of the bride got choked up doing her ceremony reading, Carter reached out and held her hand. It wasn’t just the newlyweds’ big “You may kiss the bride!” kiss at the end of the ceremony, it was in the way they pulled back and beamed at each other immediately after. The couple didn’t just float down the aisle on a tide of goodwill. Carter literally bounced in the air and exclaimed, “I’m your wife! I’m your wife! I’m your wife!” as they walked back to the inn.

When the mother of the groom returned to her seat after an emotional mother/son dance, she sank into her husband’s supportive embrace. It was in the way Greg pumped his arms, victory-style, while kissing Carter as everyone clinked their wine glasses with flatware. It wasn’t just that Greg’s grandmother made it to the wedding. It was in her joyful smile as Greg showed off his wedding ring before signing the marriage license, and then when he whirled her around the dance floor. It was the attendants’ cracking each other up, tap-dancing, having Madonna dance-offs and corralling all the guests for a big lovefest/photo opp on the dance floor before I left for the night.

There was just so much love in the air last Saturday. I thank you wholeheartedly for the chance to document that. I hope these photos remind you of your love, expressed in gestures both big and small, as your family continues to grow and change over the years, for many years to come.

Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

What can I say about Erica and Frank’s wedding? It was A-MAZING. It was so fun. Their relationship began when they were working on an archeological dig at the Queens County Farm Museum, which, if you’re super lucky, you can visit on any given weekend and see Joel’s dad giving tours of the Adriance farmhouse. He’s the guy who looks like he just got off tour with the band ZZ Top. If you’re really lucky, he’ll introduce you to the chicken that supposedly “thinks it’s a turkey,” and force you to take my business card. Luckily, Erica and Frank didn’t hold that against me. When Erica saw me featured on Offbeat Bride and put all the pieces together, they asked me to shoot their wedding after they got engaged in Iceland last year.

Frank proposed in Iceland in this awesome Elven church, which was reflected in the gnomes that peeked out of their centerpieces, adorned their programs, and formed one of their cake toppers. (There was an entire cake buffet, with many toppers. I’m doing Weight Watchers again, so I can’t even talk about it. It looked delicious. I died a little, but they had delicious barbecue for dinner, so hey- I got some amazing mac ‘n’ cheese.)

Erica and Frank are animal-lovers, so we got lots of pictures with alpacas, sheep and their dog, Eva, who visited during cocktail hour just for pictures. I LOVED their burlap wedding favors full of alfalfa for goat-feeding. They literally thought of everything. There was an Elvis impersonator, a paper flower boutoniere, a special photo memorial on Erica’s bouquet, shiny purple shoes, and rubber animal masks. It. Was. EPIC.


Congratulations, you two! I am so much happier for you than I can say.

Filled Under : Wedding

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