Kyli and Omar tied the knot in a beautiful celebration at Tuckahoe Plantation in Richmond, Va. Their wedding was a gathering of friends and family from across the world, all there to toast to Kyli and Omar and their big step. Although the setting was decisively Southern with the little flower gardens, rolling fences under ancient trees and countryside views that make Tuckahoe Plantation so beautiful paired with late afternoon light sifting through those ancient trees and coating everything around us, this celebration had a few extra touches meant to honor Omar’s roots and his family. Prayer beads in the groom’s pocket, a professional belly dancer to dazzle the guests and a hookah lounge set up under bistro lighting all contributed to tell the story of Kyli and Omar and their wedding day. A particularly rowdy wedding party got the fun started right from the portraits and the rest of the guests continued the party on the dance floor. And, you know it’s been a good time for all when the happy couple runs through the sparklers with a cigar and drink in hand! All the best to Kyli and Omar as they continue their journey together. Following are my favorites from the day: enjoy!
“One woman, my one woman
One woman, my one woman
And I’m yours
What can I say, what can I do
I love you”
(Ted Nugent – “One Woman”)
It was such a huge honor and such a blast to document Lindsay and Phil’s Richmond, Va., wedding. Their outdoor winter ceremony at The Carillon was breathtaking. The cool weather was made barely noticeable by cozy blankets, grilled cheese and tomato soup snacks, hot chocolate…oh, and all those warm and fuzzy feelings everyone had to get once they saw Lindsay and Phil lock eyes, as Lindsay made her way down the aisle, and both let the emotion of the moment visibly wash over them. With Lindsay being Lindsay of LK Events & Design, I knew every detail of the day would be beautiful and perfect. However, their day was really beyond that. It was a perfect representation of their sweet and fun-loving spirits, the awesome people they are surrounded and supported by, and their connection. MP (my husband and trusted second photographer here) and I love love love these two and we quickly realized at this wedding that we are not alone in the sentiment. And, as far as their connection goes, it’s a beautiful thing to see how Lindsay and Phil look at each other, how they exist together, natural and intertwined, and how good they seem to be at keeping smiles on each other’s faces and laughter in the air. Following are my favorite images from the day. And the quote above is for you Phil! Anyone who knows Phil, also knows how big of a Ted Nugent fan he is (see his impressive air guitar to “Stranglehold” in the photos below) and how hard I had to look to find an appropriate and publishable Ted Nugent quote for this blog post. So much love to you both and I wish you a lifetime of love, laughter and air guitar!
Day-of planning assistants: Shelley Smith, Courtney Elliot, Nikki Hanger | Second photographer: Mika’il Petin
Christina and Shereef were married this winter in a beautiful Coptic Christian ceremony at Saints Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, in Potomac, Maryland. Their ceremony completely nurtured my documentarian’s soul with its rich cultural and religious traditions. I have been blessed the past year to have the opportunity to witness many different types of wedding celebrations, from a mountain ceremony in Colorado to a backyard Indian wedding, and Christina and Shereef gave me the wonderful gift of a wedding ceremony that I had not yet seen. Between the church interior, which is rich with elaborately painted iconography, and symbolic aspects of the ceremony like the crowning of the bride and groom and the use of incense, everything had a very majestic and regal feel. (My husband in particular is a big fan of the crowning and has expressed his regret at our not being crowned during our wedding ceremony…) However, Christina and Shereef’s families and their palpable love also helped to make the ceremony extremely intimate, spiritual and emotional. The reception at the Waterford at Springfield offered an equally majestic setting thanks to the hard work of Heba Al-Tamimi at Gardenya. Luscious fabrics, pink undertones, tables of mouth-watering desserts and a mix of Middle Eastern music and American hip hop welcomed guests from as far as Egypt, and Christina and Shereef danced the night away surrounded by their friends and families. Many congratulations to the two of you and thank you for bringing me into your celebration. Following is a selection of my favorite photographs to tell the story of Christina and Shereef’s day. Enjoy!
At the end of each wedding, as I unpack my gear and absorb the day, I try to make a mental note of my favorite parts of the whole experience, what I think made it just that much more unique. Caroline and Reid’s day was filled with love and sweet gestures, moments with family and friends, gorgeous flower girls and a baby nephew, late night dance moves that I’m glad I had my camera ready for, and an exit complete with noisemakers and smiles. Their day also had a few other elements: Caroline’s infectious excitement, lack of nervousness and joy; a breathtakingly elegant, wintry, warm dining room created by LK Events & Design at Williamsburg Winery; and Gangnam style, the dance that started early (as the boys were getting ready) and kept its momentum throughout the post-ceremony portraits and right into the reception. Since Reid proposed as they were decorating their Christmas tree together, it was perfect that he and Caroline tie the knot in December. And we most definitely lucked out with our December weather! Best wishes to Caroline and Reid as they continue their journey together and thank you for making me a part of your wedding. Following are my favorites from the day. Enjoy! Also, check out Caroline and Reid’s Williamsburg engagement session here.
I have so much love for Meshayla and Cherod. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know these two a little bit over the course of the last year and a half, and I know that they had to roll with a lot of changes in their wedding plans and lives, mainly due to Cherod’s military deployment on an overseas hardship tour. After having to postpone their wedding, Meshayla and Cherod finally tied the knot this past December in Richmond, Va. Thanks to Nica Lewis and her team at Once in A Lifetime Events, the day was a perfect mix of family, laughter and just the right details. When asked recently what Meshayla and Cherod loved about each other, this is what they answered: “Most of all, I love her because she loves me. I am a Soldier in the US Army, which instantly made her a military spouse. This life I know has it’s challenges; however, she embraced the military life, because it is a part of me. She makes me a better husband, father, and a man.” And this is what Meshayla had to say about her Cherod: “From the day we became a couple, he has poured out so much love. So much that you wouldn’t think that just one person could do that. Even though he is halfway across the world, he never lets a day go by without calling, texting, or skyping to let me know that he loves me. I never have to question it. Not to mention the fact, that he cares for, loves and is soooo attentive to my son. That’s just who he is, a GREAT man with a GREAT heart. Who could choose one thing with a man like this.” Meshayla and Cherod, thank you for making me a part of your wedding experience!
“I Love You This Day”
Whenever I meet with a new couple I make a point to ask how they met and fell in love. You see, the beauty of the job is all in the love, and the best way for me to get a glimpse of that love during a first meeting is when people lean back, crack a little smile and let the emotion peak through as they tell me their story. Brad and Frazier’s story had me captivated in a Nora-Ephron-romantic-comedy kind of way. They had known each other through Richmond circles for years and reconnected over a business lunch. Brad invited Frazier to a Super Bowl party, Frazier invited Brad to the ballet…the ballet won. The two met up for their first date and, as they were crossing the street to head into Richmond CenterStage theater, Frazier hooked her arm through Brad’s arm, and they both knew. Just like that. They both felt it. They both just knew. You’re thinking, how can it get more romantic than that? I’ll tell you how: the proposal. Brad didn’t choose just any old place to pop the question, he chose Paris. He chose the city of love and he proposed to Frazier at sunset, on the lovers’ bridge. The tradition is that couples lock love padlocks, called ‘cadenas d’amour’, onto a chain link fence on the bridge over the Seine and then throw the key into the river as a symbol of their eternal love. Well, Brad had their padlock and an iPod, he proposed, she said yes and they danced, on the lovers’ bridge in Paris. “I Love You This Day” is what Brad and Frazier say to each other and it is what they had engraved into their rings. And, their candlelight ceremony at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and their reception at the VMFA were full of romance, love and family. Thank you both for making me a part of your wedding day and I hope you continue to look at each other like you did on this day for many years to come!
Emily and Gaurav wanted to honor both of their cultural traditions in their wedding experience. So what did they do? They had two weddings! Two full, back-to-back weddings that meant a weekend packed with family, emotion and fun. The collection of photographs that follows are from the Indian wedding, which kicked off the weekend in style with lots of shimmer, a dancing parade lead by a white horse and hands in the air from all ages and nationalities. The day was a succession of beautiful imagery, such as the Indian aunts helping the many bridesmaids don their saris, and beautiful moments allowed for by the mixing of two cultures and two families. I loved all of the symbolism attached to the wedding ceremony traditions, from the rock Emily and Gaurav placed their feet on, meant to inspire them to be strong together in the face of life’s challenges, to both sets of parents placing the bride and groom’s hands in each other to facilitate their union as equal partners. The ceremony peaked when Emily and Gaurav took their first seven steps together, beginning their journey through life as a married couple. Each step carried with it a vow, for example to create a home full of joy and laughter, to embrace each other’s families as well as their own yet to come, and to forever be best friends and partners. My favorite part of telling wedding stories is witnessing real love and Emily and Gaurav have exactly that. It is evident in how they look at each other, dance together, the energy that passes between them when they are close and the way their families have embraced each other so completely. Many thanks to Emily and Gaurav for asking me to document their gorgeous wedding and to Adena Stevens from Studio A Images for being my second for the weekend. Also, kudos to Parker Knight who handcrafted the beautiful mandap that Emily and Gaurav were married under. Enjoy!
With Meshayla’s groom, Cherod currently serving in South Korea, we wanted to give her Richmond, Va., bridal session a military twist. We chose the Virginia War Memorial, a beautiful, solemn, peaceful location overlooking the James River and downtown Richmond. Here, we were aiming for a more pensive, elegant vibe and we took advantage of beautiful light hitting the west side of the memorial. Our second location was Tredegar Iron Works, which provided us with color, texture and great metal and brick surfaces to play with. Meshayla, wearing Vera Wang, provided her fun, playful spirit as well as a few details that were the perfect touch for our session. Many thanks also to Nica Lewis from Once in a Lifetime Events for her styling expertise. Following are our favorites from the shoot. Enjoy!
If there is one family that knows how to throw a killer wedding it is Darci’s family. I had the great pleasure of photographing Darci’s brother Jeff’s wedding to his lovely Cristin in 2011 and it was a blast. So, I was pretty excited when Darci and her William came to me with the news of their nuptials. I was even more excited when I heard that the whole day would take place at the Virginia Center for Architecture in Richmond, Va., a beautiful venue, packed with all sorts of nooks and crannies that exist to make a photographer’s heart beat a little faster. However, the absolute best part of the experience was getting to watch Darci and William tie the knot. These two are the cutest, their excitement is contagious and their families were so openly emotional that it was hard not to get swept up right with them. Darci and William, thank you for making me a part of your special day!
Planners: A Perfect Day
Caterer: Groovin Gourmets
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Flowers: Blooms at the Jefferson
Ceremony Musicians: Corey Blake and Amy Thompson
DJ: Justin Spears
Dessert: Krispy Kreme and Simply Southern Pies
Dress: Bella Rosa
Groom suit: Indochino
“To those who love and are loved, know that life’s true riches lie in the moments spent with family and friends.”
This is a quote from Lisette and Angel’s note to their family, which was included in the program from their wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Va. It is a perfect representation of this beautiful couple and their celebration. When Lisette and I first met to talk about the wedding, she teared up while describing Angel and their relationship. She spoke about how they met in college, were separated by his deployment to Iraq, grad school, careers, but how they were now finally in the same place at just the right time. She described him as strong and tough on the outside, but as someone who would play barbies with her nieces and who valued her family as his own. This focus on family, commitment and love was everywhere on Angel and Lisette’s wedding day. From a suite full of mothers, sisters, aunts and cousins getting ready right alongside the bride, to touches and details like Lisette’s grandmother’s lace and black and white family photographs placed throughout the reception. With Lisette’s Cuban family and Angel’s Puerto Rican family joining, an amazing Afro-Cuban salsa band was a must and guests didn’t disappoint with their salsa moves. The traditional Catholic ceremony meant an earlier end to the festivities and warm golden light to send Angel and Lisette off with. Following are my favorites from the day: enjoy!
Ceremony: Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Reception venue and catering: The Jefferson Hotel
Planner: LK Events and Design
Music: Son Quattro
Cake: Sweet Fix
Flowers: Tropical Treehouse
Video: Eric Lee Productions
Makeup: Makeup by Millicent
Hair: Yuni Suarez
Transportation: Gill’s Limousine Service
Live painting: Barbara Mann Myers
Jackie and Ben tied the knot in front of their friends and families at First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Richmond, Va. After fun photos along Monument Ave, we headed over to their reception at The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing. However, Jackie and Ben didn’t make just any entrance… They surprised their guests (who had been conveniently given streamers and lured out on the balcony for a photo by the ever talented Dean Hoffmeyer) with a grand entrance by boat! A night of dancing ensued, capped by Billy Joel’s Piano Man as the final song of the evening, which was played as Jackie and Ben danced in the middle of a circle of their guests. This awesome couple treated their guests to beautiful wine stoppers (which Ben made by hand, as he demonstrated during their engagement session) as well as many other thoughtful details, all pulled together flawlessly by Lindsay Averette at LK Events and Design. The streamers came in handy once again for their exit as they sped away in Ben’s truck, cans in tow and all! Following are my favorites from the day. Enjoy!
reception: The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing
coordinator: LK Events and Design
cake: Cakes by Graham
DJ: Mike Beene at Choice Entertainment
second photographer: Dean Hoffmeyer
Becky and Blue’s love for Charleston, SC, came up very early on in our initial conversation about their wedding. Having decided not to make their friends and families travel there for a destination wedding, Becky and Blue wanted to bring a little bit of Charleston into their Richmond wedding. So, we opted for a destination engagement session instead! This was more like three engagement sessions in one, but when you’re in a place as beautiful as Charleston, you can’t help but snap away. We wandered the alleys, found bright vibrant colors, great texture in the stucco and wrought iron and little hidden corners soaked in Southern charm. The beach on Sullivan’s Island, the porch swings along the waterfront and the gas lanterns that lit up at dusk allowed for quite the variety of images. Finally, we stopped by one of Becky and Blue’s favorites, Savannah Bee Company in downtown Charleston, to sample some sweetness. Following are my favorites from the day. Enjoy!
For Alexandra and Tim’s engagement session we wanted to spend the afternoon playing at Tuckahoe Plantation. The site is beautiful to begin with. Add in vintage bikes, an old gray barn in the perfect light, a carpet of autumn leaves and a field and the rest is history. Alexandra and Tim were wonderful to work with and it always makes it more fun when a couple is willing to hop a fence for pretty light or throw around some leaves. Following are my favorites from the session. Enjoy!
For Kyli and Omar’s engagement session we wanted to tap into the feel of Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood. We split our time between Libby Hill Park, with its gorgeous view of downtown, Captain Buzzy’s Beanery, a neighborhood staple, and one of the many old advertisements one can find all over Church Hill’s old buildings and side streets. From golden light playing off the old cobblestone to a game of Ms. Pac-Man (really, who could resist?), I had a great time capturing this sweet couple. Kyli and Omar, I look forward to your big day in 2013!
Lindsay and Phil picked the PERFECT day for their RVA fall engagement session. 80 degree weather, gorgeous pre-hurricane fall leaves, late afternoon golden light…and one extremely happy photo lady. I admit I was a little nervous going into the session, feeling the pressure of photographing someone who has become a great friend and one of my favorite people in the wedding industry. However, soon after we started making pictures and Lindsay and Phil relaxed into just enjoying each other’s company and our beautiful surroundings, the session flowed and the photos with it. Then, you add in Jax the bulldog and who wouldn’t have a good time? We went from shopping for pumpkins to the Nickel Bridge, from the Pump House to Carytown and had a blast racing the setting sun and trying to get as much of a taste of Richmond into the session as possible. A huge congratulations to Lindsay and Phil on their engagement and I can’t wait for their dreamy winter wedding at the Carillon. Enjoy!
Ericka and I had a blast with this impromptu bridal portrait session at Meadowbrook Country Club, in Richmond, Va. Once she realized our venue visit fell on the same day as her hair and makeup trial, as well as the day she was scheduled to pick up her dress, we decided to take advantage of all those stars lining up and make some photos in the Gillette Garden. Following are some of my favorites. Enjoy!
Dawn and Josh tied the knot with a gorgeous, rustic, mountain wedding in Pine, Colorado. This wedding is particularly close to my heart, because these two are family. I remember Dawn coming with my sisters, mom and I years ago on a road trip down the East coast and introducing us to both her unusually loud snoring (for such a small person) and her taste for Nirvana. Living so far apart, we didn’t get to see her often, but Dawn has always been a wonderful addition to and a natural part of our family. When I met Josh for the first time this past year, I immediately loved him. I loved the way they looked at each other, the way they both cared for Josh’s son Dylan and how they seemed to really work together as a family. Then, I got to witness their excitement as the wedding drew nearer and they professed their love and affection for each other more and more, for all of us friends and family to see via Facebook. Every day it felt like I would see a status update from Dawn acknowledging how blessed she felt to have Josh by her side. So, you can see how it was an absolute treat to document their wedding day. And, I could not have asked for a more beautiful setting to shoot in. With mountains surrounding us and breathtaking weather, the photos just kept flowing, kind of like the beer at Golden City Brewery in Golden, Co., where we stopped for a pre-wedding toast with the wedding party. The folks from Lower Lake Ranch and Fiori di Flavio were great to work with and I look forward to getting back to Colorado as soon as I can. Dawn and Josh, I hope every day is as full of joy as this day was! Much love to you both!
I am super excited to finally get to share Jackie and Ben’s engagement photos. They’ve been kept secret until now because the first part of the session was dedicated to photographing Ben’s amazing woodworking talent. As this couple’s guests now know, each one of them was given a unique and handmade wine stopper that Ben personally sculpted in his wood shop in his and Jackie’s backyard. No instructions or designs, just Ben’s imagination, his woodworking tools and his hands. As you can imagine, the wedding favors were a huge success and I look forward to sharing how the wine stoppers and these photos were displayed at the reception. After such a fun start, Jackie and Ben decided to continue the engagement session with a picnic, complete with wine, on the campus of Jackie’s alma mater, the University of Richmond. And, since our session fell on their joint birthday, yes, there were cupcakes!
Mary Elizabeth and Paulin tied the knot in a beautiful Catholic ceremony at Church of the Epiphany in Richmond, Va.. Mary Elizabeth wore her mother’s veil, carried her grandmothers’ wedding prayer books and walked down the aisle looking simply stunning. The ceremony was full of stolen glances and smiles between the two of them, allowing anyone paying attention to see how excited they were to be in that moment. Later we made our way to the reception at Willow Oaks Country Club, where we took this lovely couple and their dog, Charlotte, out near the golf course for a brief shoot. Mary Elizabeth and Paulin then proceeded to celebrate in style with an evening full of laughter, family, children and dancing to the great live music of The Venture Rays. Many wishes of continued love to Mary Elizabeth and Paulin. Following are my favorites from the day. Enjoy!
band: The Venture Rays
cake: Bakers Kitchen
flowers: Sprigs and Twigs
venue and catering: Willow Oaks Country Club
ceremony: Church of the Epiphany
Elli and Rob tied the knot at Rob’s family home in Solebury, Pa., in a beautiful and intimate outdoor ceremony. When they described the wedding plans and location to me over the phone during our initial meeting, I started visualizing the stone barn out in the country, the ceremony by the pond and the rows of arbor vitae to top it off. The visions in my head did not do Glen Oaks Farm justice. The red wood and stone barn was not only beautiful, but had been completely restored for this celebration. Inside and out, it provided a gorgeous backdrop for fun portraits and a joyous and raucous party. The pond set the scene for a quiet and elegant ceremony made unique by details such as the challenging task of Rob and Elli drinking from a traditional bridal cup, simultaneously, and all those attending blessing a stole that was then used to officially “tie the knot.” Finally, the rows and rows of lush green arbor vitae allowed for a few moments of time for Rob and Elli to enjoy their newly married state just as that golden light reached its perfect peak. Many wishes of continued love and joy to this beautiful couple. Following are my favorite images from the day. Enjoy!
catering: Peasant Grill Catering
coordinator: Dee Harris
venue: Glen Oaks Farm
With Darci and William, let’s just say that it’s a family thing. Last year I had the privilege of photographing Darci’s brother’s wedding and one of my favorite reception photos was of Darci and William getting their groove on on the dance floor. Shortly after, they got engaged and I was thrilled when they asked me to document their wedding this coming October. The photo didn’t lie and these two are fun, sweet and most definitely in love! When talking about locations for their Richmond, Va., engagement session, we decided to use Comfort, one of my personal favorites and Darci and William’s date night favorite as well. The Broad Street area around Comfort has a great feel to it that we decided to try and capture a little bit of for the second part of the session. Lucky for us the G40 Art Summit was in Richmond shortly before our session and 12 of the top mural artists from around the world were called on to create 23 large scale murals throughout Richmond. Well, William picked the panda mural and I can’t blame him one bit!
For Mary Elizabeth and Paulin’s Richmond engagement session, we decided to walk on over to the VMFA. If you haven’t been, you need to go. I think this museum and the surrounding sculpture garden are one of Richmond’s new jewels and I have found a sunny afternoon wandering through the garden or hours spent soaking up the exhibits to bring me much peace and serenity. That aside, we had a lot of fun exploring all of the nooks and crannies of the garden, from the fountains all the way to the parking lot. Following are my favorites. Enjoy!
Caroline and Reid decided to have their engagement session in Colonial Williamsburg, near where Caroline grew up. First off, let me just say that I love when couples bring along their pet, but I really love when they make their dog wear a bowtie! Well, we played and played in Colonial Williamsburg. Caroline and Reid let me drag them all over and even tried on a few hats to get into the spirit. Once we were satisfied with the results from the shoot, we decided to pop on over to The Williamsburg Winery and check out where they will tie the knot this December. Most of you probably know that when the light gets good, photographers get excited. As soon as we reached the winery, the light became subtle and golden and beautiful, so I started dragging this awesome couple all over the place all over again! Luckily they obliged and I love the images that came out of the afternoon. Following are some of my favorites. Enjoy!
I recently had the opportunity to photograph S@mple, the latest addition to Richmond’s dining scene, for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Apart from the fun juxtaposition of metal and brick, the clean white lines, occasional orchid, and of course the abundance of technological geekery that was hard to pry myself away from, I had my choice of beautiful food to photograph thanks to the small plates by chef Todd Butler. In case any of you felt the urge to order one of these dishes, this is what yore looking at: the farmer’s basket with shaved brussels sprouts and kale, sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried cherries, pine nuts and parmesan peppercorn dressing; Shanghai fried rice with rock shrimp, shrimp tempura, forbidden black rice and egg omelet; royal trumpet mushroom kebab; the cubano, with roast pork, smoked bacon, gruyere, mustard and grilled onions (please, I want one now); cinnamon apple empanadas with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. To see my slideshow with an interview with S@mple owner Adam Bell click *here* and for Dana Craig’s review of S@mple click *here*. Enjoy!
Photos by Eva Russo
All photos @ Richmond Times-Dispatch
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