This was the second time I had made the drive to Clover Forest Plantation in Goochland, Virginia. The first time was for Whitney’s bridal session, and it was amazing. This time, however, it was for her wedding, and I was even more excited. Whitney and I had spent the last year getting to know each other and becoming fast friends. I had already fallen in love with her, Ryan, and their families, so that made this day even more special. I knew a good bit about all the little details Whitney had chosen to make this day uniquely hers and Ryan’s, and I could NOT wait to see how it all came together.
The morning air was crisp when I arrived, but the skies were clear. Vendors were scattered about putting the final touches on all of the well-planned wedding decor. The bridesmaids were busy having their hair and make up done while Ryan the fellas were at another location preparing to make their way to the venue. Whitney could not have been more calm. She greeted everyone she met with a hug… as she always does… and quite honestly, she was simply ready to marry her man. And there was no reason to be nervous about that. They were in love, and they had planned this day for a year. And the day had finally arrived.
The exquisite details came together perfectly, and as the day progressed, the excitement grew. Smiles and tears, only good ones, filled the walls of the plantation house as Whitney shared her love for those around her. Whitney is not the type of person to hold anything back, and her wedding day was no different. She was determined to make sure that those she loved knew just how much they meant to her. Whether a gift or a kind word, Whitney shared from her heart. And as she stood at the flower-laden alter, she shared with Ryan what he meant to her… Her heart was full of love, and she poured it out to Ryan. They wrote their own vows, and every. single. word. was perfection. They laughed and they cried. And they promised to always keep Georgia football a part of their lives.
Whitney and Ryan,
…and Mamma and Pops, and Martha and Ken… and Tommie… and Ethan… and everyone who opened their homes and heart on this wedding day and in the days leading up to it…
You. Are. Amazing. I have sincerely enjoyed every moment of being around all of you. Your love for each other is clear in all of your words and all of your actions, and I could not be more blessed to have spent this time with you. I photograph a lot of weddings… a WHOLE lot… and I have to tell you that it is rare to find people who are as sincere and genuine as you all are. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to walk this path with you. You all are wonderful and so very appreciated.
Whitney and Ryan, I know I don’t have to tell you, but you are blessed. You are blessed with an abundance of fantastic friends and family, and you are blessed with each other. My wish is that these images may carry you through the certain-to-come valleys between the mountains and that your children, and your children’s children, and THEIR children will look at them and see the legacy of love that you all have begun. I am honored to call you “friend”, and I look forward to our paths crossing again in the near future. M xoxo
Now, here’s the wedding!
There were several of these monograms hanging around the property. This one was on the back door. Don’t you LOVE them!?!?
Every room in the main house on the plantation is a different color. One is blue… one is pink… and this one, obviously, is yellow! We chose the Yellow Room for getting ready photos because it was bright and complimented the bridesmaids dresses and florals well. I love how it turned out!
Whitney purchased her dress from Ava Clara. It was stunning and perfect for her!
Keith Andes of Fleur by Everything But Your Groom did an AMAZING job on the florals! If you are looking for a floral designer, definitely call him.
Whitney and Ryan are very sentimental and their families mean the world to them. Whitney wore this blue topaz ring on her right hand on her wedding day, Not only was it her “something blue”, but it also belonged to Ryan’s, now deceased, great grandmother.
Did I say GORGEOUS florals? Yes, I did.
Fall is such a beautiful time of year for a wedding. I’m thrilled that Whitney and Ryan embraced it and make it part of their wedding story!
Whitney’s a southern belle, for sure. Love the boots! She also got each of her bridesmaids a pair of boots. But you’ll see that in a minute… Keep scrolling!
Ryan, in all his southern charm, sent over a gift for Whitney to open. Her mother, soon-to-be mother in law, and two bridesmaids look on as she joyfully reads his letter to her. There were tears all around.
All the details mattered to Whitney. This photo of was with her in the room as she got ready.
DIAMOND. EARRINGS. Ryan… it’s pretty clear now, if it wasn’t already, that Whitney’s got herself a catch!
Whitney took a moment to share with her mother just how much she has meant to her throughout her life and throughout the wedding-planning process. She gave her a special bracelet to wear. Again… tears.
And then it was time to get that gorgeous dress on!
Whitney… you are GORGEOUS!
It’s pretty apparent that she adores her dress… as she should!
This is one happy… and beautiful… bride! And we have the amazing Samantha McDonald of Makeup Artistry by Sam to thank for this gorgeous makeup!
Whitney is blessed by amazing friends, and these bridesmaids were so sweet… and FUN!
Ryan is a Georgia fan, so Whitney surprised him with a Georgia garter! He loved it! …but you’ll see that later, too!
Mother/daughter moments… Melt. My. Heart.
Some bridal portraits before the ceremony. I so appreciate it when brides allow for ample time for photos. That way, we can take a few moments for images like these. They are stunning.
And the final touch… The Veil. Gah!
Hey, Handsome! Ryan was so excited to marry Whitney. Throughout the day, I overheard him MANY times telling people how lucky he was. He so loves that girl!
Whitney and Ryan decided against a First Look with each other, but Whitney wanted a special First Look with her father. Yes, friends, there were more tears… Check this out. Simply beautiful!
When he asked her to spin around….
The venue looked fantastic. The backdrop didn’t need any help, and the florals and details made the ceremony location beautiful.
On her daddy’s arm to meet her groom.
The service was full of love and laughter. Whitney could hardly contain her excitement, jumping up and down during their exchange of vow and when they were pronounced married!
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Mead!
I don’t usually post family formals, but I knew this post would not be complete, nor true to the wedding story, without it. Whitney and Ryan are family-oriented and so admire their parents for the example of love they have given them. They incorporated many sentimental family items into their day, and this photo is a representation of the gift of love that they have received over the course of their lives. Besides, these people treated me like family, too, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Look at these lovely ladies! All equally stunning and happy to be by Whitney’s side. If you recognize one of the bridesmaids, it’s because she’s another Michelle Renee Photography bride getting married next year!
There are those cowboy boots I mentioned earlier!
And the guys rocked those suspenders… Looking sharp, guys!
That’s one good-lookin’ bridal party!
Some of my favorites from the day… These candids are so true to Whitney, Ryan, their personalities, and their love.
Because Whitney and Ryan valued photography so much, they scheduled ample time after the ceremony for photos. They had a Cocktail Hour-and-a-half which allowed us plenty of opportunities for bride and groom portraits. Thank you so much for this, you two! I think the extra time paid off!
So in love…
We moved to the entrance drive of the plantation for some more portraits. It’s so great to have such a variety of options in a small space. These happen to be some of my favorites from the day as well! Oh, who am I kidding!?!? They are ALL my favorites!
And then out to the field overlooking the lake for some sunset photos before the reception started! Simply perfect.
Another fav. Go figure!
Whitney, her friends, and her family worked hard on these special details for her day! How cute is THIS!!??! The seating chart was laid out on the hay bails! Love!
The reception location, under a white tent on the property was decorated in browns, reds, and burlap. There were a variety of centerpieces, adding the perfect touch to the space.
String lights and lanterns covered the ceiling and provided a simple, romantic feel to the evening.
Whitney’s “mamma” made, and jarred, her homemade BBQ rub as favors! Yet another fantastic, personal touch to the day.
The cake, from Ukrop’s bakery, looked just as good as it tasted. Alongside the cake, there were mini pies in a variety of flavors for everyone to enjoy! I had coconut. Delish.
The First Dance! I don’t think they even knew there were other folks in the room…
Father/Dauther and Mother/Son Dance are always tear-jerkers!
The happy Mead’s!
And then it was time to par-tay!
Ryan found the Georgia garter! His excitement is evident! 🙂
A fun sparkler exit to end the evening!
Happy Thursday, friends!