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Boxwoods Celebration Venue | Ted and Samantha
Wedding at Boxwood Celebration Venue in Culpeper VA

Driving out to Ted and Samantha's wedding at Boxwoods Celebration Venue in Orange County, Virginia set the stage for the day ahead. It was beautiful October weather, slightly warm, but comfortable with the breeze. Long expanses of country farms, fields, and thick woods lined the roads leading up to the venue.

Boxwoods Celebration venue is situated in a small valley right next to a lake and surrounded by rustic fields at the end of a gravel road. For someone who lives in the suburbs, works often in busy cities, but loves the outdoors, this was heaven! The two main sites at Boxwoods include the large rustic reception area barn and the ceremony site; a gazebo nestled on a small hill with many nearby trees and a lane of Boxwood shrubs that create an interesting tunnel.

This was a perfect venue for Ted and Samantha. I got to know the two of them last year at their engagement session in the Shenandoah Valley. There I got to see their very down-to-earth relationship that loves the country, loves family, and loves each other deeply. They weren't subtle with the theme, this was a full-on country wedding! Ted and his guys wore cowboy hats, the ladies wore cowboy boots; even Ted's wedding ring is country themed. Each of them love to hunt and admitted it was tough to have their wedding on the first day of hunting season.

One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing Samantha's interaction with her little brother-in-law Remington, who has Down Syndrome. Samantha shared how she grew to have a deep bond with Remi after babysitting him during the summer that he had heart surgery. It was that time with Remi that lead her to start down the road of becoming an occupational therapist. In her words, "he ignited a spark in me and made me want to work with children with special needs."

Ted and Samantha have a deep love for people, for family, and for those in need. They are two of the best clients I've had the pleasure of getting to know and I am so excited for their life together. Enjoy their story below!

Fall Shenandoah Wedding | Gio and Mandy
Mountain Wedding

Gio and Mandy's wedding was held at Skyland Resort in the Shenandoah National Park, where high temperatures were in the low 50's! It happens at least once a year and this was my first wedding of the year where I wish I had brought a jacket. Now just think of what the ladies went through!

When I asked Gio and Mandy what made this venue special to them, they replied that it was more than just loving the outdoors and beautiful scenery. The truth is that they both had hiked and stayed in the Shenandoah before they ever knew about each other! When you both love a place in the world that much, before you ever meet, what better place is there to hold your wedding?

This was a fantastic day all around, complete with incredible mountain views, a dancing 96 year old grandmother, and rings made by Mandy's Dad! But definitely check out the shots of Mandy singing and performing a song to Gio on the ukulele. She had everyone laughing and crying.

Enjoy the highlights, and be sure to pass along this blog to someone you know who just got engaged!

Wedding at The Mill at Fine Creek | Chris and Emily
Mill at Fine Creek Wedding

Just outside of Richmond, in Powhatan Virginia, sits one of the most unique wedding venues I've ever been to. The Mill at Fine Creek is just that, a 1730's gristmill set alongside a small creek. Today the ruins of the mill have been converted into an event and wedding area, with rows and seating and a corner podium surrounded by the stone shell of the original mill. It makes for a truly special wedding space.

I first got to interact with Chris and Emily at their engagement session last October. It was there that I got to see firsthand their caring, simple way of supporting each other. Neither of them is a hugely outgoing person (although you should have seen them on the reception dance floor!), instead they have calm and strong personalities that work very well together. It was this strength that I got to see in action on their wedding day.

A few days before their wedding, they received the terrible news that Emily's mother had gone into a coma. As a result, Emily's sister and father, who was going to walk her down the aisle, would not be able to come to their wedding. Three of the most important people in Emily's life would not be able to attend. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been. In the end the wedding day moved forward, with Emily and Chris supporting each other the whole way.

The day was a celebration even through the pain. I was impressed by Emily's strength and Chris' servant heart and tenderness toward her. Most wedding days are nothing but celebration and happiness, but that wasn't the case here. This is life, with all of it's joys and sorrows, and I was thrilled to be able to capture the start of Chris and Emily's life together.

Wedding at River Farm Alexandria | John and Erica
Alexandria VA River Farm Wedding

River Farm in Alexandria is home to the American Horticultural Society. It is filled with lush greenery and a huge variety of unique natural life surrounding an early 20th-century country style home. It was a beautiful place for John and Erica's wedding!

The day started for me by capturing memories of John and Erica's getting ready with family and friends. It was special to be there for this time Erica got to spend with her family and friends. John and Erica wanted to see each other for the first time that day at their ceremony. I personally love this tradition, and John's reaction to seeing Erica for the first time was priceless! 

What I loved most about this wedding was hands down the reception. Not only did we have great, meaningful speeches, but we had some of the most fun dancing I've ever seen at a wedding! Everyone was out there on the dance floor! John's grandfather was putting a lot of people to shame with the moves he was pulling! 

Enjoy these highlights from their wedding day!

Washington DC Mall Wedding | Ray and Leah
Wedding at the DC War Memorial along the Washington DC Mall.

One of the aspects of wedding photography that I love is capturing the everyday moments of life, not just the big epic wedding shots. These are the ones that show who you are, your story, your history, your family. On this weekend with Leah and Ray I got to shadow them and do exactly that, capturing the in-between moments throughout their wedding day. With all of it together it tells an amazing story.

For me it started at 6:30am at their apartment, shooting images of their getting-ready process and Leah's makeup. I love that it was at their apartment, this way the images could include the aspects of their home that make it special to them. Ray's daughter was also with us, so this was really a family morning that I was a fly on the wall to capture.

Their wedding was held under the DC War Memorial south of the reflecting pool between the Lincoln and the WWII memorials. We left their apartment early in order to capture portraits around the Mall, and fortunately, we arrived before large crowds had formed and while there was still great morning light. It was here that I truly began to see the wonderful details of Ray and Leah's relationship, from the way Leah smiled at Ray, to the way they randomly danced together during the portraits, this is a beautiful relationship.

Their family and guests arrived together in a bus just before their ceremony at 10am. This was no traditional wedding day and no traditional ceremony. Leah didn't wear a traditional wedding dress, her father officiated, everyone stood at the ceremony, and someone brought a three-foot pencil. Say what? It is a family joke gone crazy and it was great seeing Ray and Leah's reaction to that surprise.

After the ceremony and a time of portraits around the Tidal Basin, everyone stood ready to ride the bus back to Bethesda. While we waited, a few of Leah and Ray's family brought everyone together into two lines to cheer on passing bikers as they rode by on the sidewalk. In addition to that, the bus ride back was nothing but a sing along the whole way. This was a fun family to get to know!

From there we all had a break and didn't see the couple again until late afternoon when we gathered back to get ready for the reception. Their reception was held at the Redwood Restaurant in Bethesda, a modern style restaurant in the middle of a courtyard of shops. From there it was a night of spending time with their most important people in their lives.

All in all, it was a blessing to be a part of this weekend celebration. I was honored to get to know these two special people and their incredible family. Enjoy the photo story from their day below!

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