Tag archive for : Virginia

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