A Christopher Newport Engagement: Ashley + Eddie

It was so much fun to get to know Ashley and Eddie during their Christopher Newport Engagement Session. It was a little bit chilly outside, but these two didn’t let that stop them!

These two met in 2010 and instantly “clicked” and starting dating.  Eddie did right by Ashley on their first date by taking her to a seafood dinner overlooking the water.  Their first date at the Crab Shack led to many more, and they became inseparable.  However, Eddie was soon offered a job in Herndon, Virginia and Ashley was going to be staying at Christopher Newport University to complete her undergraduate and graduate degrees.  They knew a long distance relationship would be challenging,  but they were up for the challenge.  Ashley and Eddie have been dating long-distance since May of 2012.  Because of their long-distance relationship, they take advantage of as much time together as possible, especially during the holidays.

This past Thanksgiving, Ashley drove to Eddie’s family’s home for the holiday.  Turkey Day came and went, and on Saturday evening, when Ashley was least expecting it, she turned to find Eddie on one knee asking her her hand in marriage.  There, in the home he grew up in, Eddie asked Ashley for forever.  And she was happy to say “Yes!”

This engagement session at Christopher Newport University and Lions Gate Bridge was perfect.  These places are the places that grew this couple…where them met, fell in love, and still visit today.

How cute are these two!?!

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Don’t you just LOVE the coordinating, CNU colored, outfits?!?  Perfect.

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Ashley… you are beautiful.

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I always enjoy the individual portraits!

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Eddie… I think we got ya a good LinkedIn pic!

 

 

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Some of my favs…

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One of my favorite things about traveling for photo shoots…discovering locations I knew NOTHING about.  Lions Gate Bridge was a perfect finish to the session!

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And LOVE these J. Crew outfits!

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More favs…

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Ashley… Seriously?  You look amazing.

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Virginia Wedding Photographer Christopher Newport Engagement Photos Ashley and Eddie-9836

Well done, Eddie.  Well done.

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To view more of Ashley and Eddie’s Christopher Newport Engagement Session, Click Here!

Happy Friday, friends!

M xoxo

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A New Years Eve, North Carolina Wedding: Jamie + Josh

It’s no secret that I love photographing weddings. And that more than that, I love my couples. As in, if it wouldn’t be really weird, I might show up at their homes on random occasions and kiss hug them. So, when Jamie asked me to photograph her Asheville, North Carolina wedding, I was thrilled, as I always am when I have the honor of being hired for a wedding. But this wedding was a little bit extra special because I have known Jamie and her family since she was in middle school, at least. I was a small group leader for an Experiencing God group and Jamie was part of the group I led. And while she moved away, and we did not have regular contact through the last several years, I feel like I’ve known her forever. And I couldn’t be more honored to be part of this special day for her and Josh.

Jamie and Josh chose to get married and have their reception at The Venue in downtown Asheville. I had looked at the venue online so I would know how to prepare in terms of gear,but the online images do NOT do this venue justice.  Not.  At.  All.  I kinda fell in love with this venue, and it was utter perfection for Jamie and Josh’s special day.  Have a look!

Jamie and Josh chose black, white, and silver as the colors for their New Year’s Eve wedding.  One word:  STUNNING.Jamie and Josh Blog-6107

I’m in LOVE with her ring!

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…and her shoes…

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Who doesn’t want a little bling on their wedding day?!?!  Exactly!

Jamie and Josh Blog-6131Jamie and Josh Blog-6226Jamie and Josh Blog-6221Jamie was probably the calmest, most relaxed bride I have ever worked with.  Really, all that mattered was that she was marrying Josh.  And that’s the way it should be.  Jamie and Josh Blog-6233

If you are thinking about a North Carolina mountain wedding, check this place out.  No joke.  AMAZING!

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Josh’s daughter, Mandy was more than happy to add some finishing touches to Jamie’s look.  Talk about adorable!  That pretty lady was super sweet and so much fun!

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The beautiful bride…

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This moment?  PERFECT.

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The ceremony was later in the evening in light of the wedding being on New Year’s eve, so we did a few portraits inside The Venue.  Jamie was stunning.

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Jamie and her lovely ladies!

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Take a look at the gorgeous details for the ceremony… and that chandelier!

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Such a sweet moment!

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I think we can all agree that Josh was beside himself to see his bride walking down the aisle.

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Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie! Congratulations!

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Love them.  LOVE.

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Again…gorgeous details in the space set up for cocktail hour…

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And then it was time for the reception.  Seriously.  Can I shoot another wedding here, please!??!

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The excited newlyweds!

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The First Dance series of images are some of my favorites, for sure!

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Melt.  My.  Heart.  Daddy/Daughter dances always do that.  And this one even more!

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And they danced well into the night and brought in 2014 as husband and wife!

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Happy New Year!

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And they ended the evening with a little photo booth fun!
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Happy Friday, and Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

M xoxo

A Regent University Snow Engagement: Brittany + Rand

I don’t know if it’s snowing where you are right now, but here in Central Virginia, the ground is covered in the white stuff!  It seems appropriate that this snowy engagement session is hitting the blog tonight.  This couple braved the cold and rocked their session at Regent University!  But before we get to their images, let me tell ya little bit about Brittany and Rand.

Rand and Brittany met in 2010 at a regional work training for Schubach Jewelers in Utah. Brittany worked in Layton, UT and Rand worked in Sandy, UT – a whole hour apart, but they found out they only lived five minutes away from each other. Within a few months, they were inseparable. Their favorite dates were spent eating wings at Wingers, sushi at Happy Sumo, and going boating (They like to eat!). Brittany quickly learned that the way to Rand’s heart was through his stomach – they both love to cook.

In 2012, Rand took a promotion that moved him to Indiana. In 2013, Brittany was accepted to law school in Virginia. In the mix of all of the hardships that come with a long-distance relationship, Rand popped the question on July 4, 2013 in downtown Indianapolis. Rand had flown Brittany from Utah to Indianapolis on a last minute trip, and she thought the plan was for dinner and fireworks. When the waitress asked if they wanted dessert, Brittany said no she was too full. Rand insisted on dessert, and with dessert came the sweetest proposal and the most beautiful ring. Brittany said yes with a big smile and tears in her eyes.

The waiting and the long-distance are finally over! Brittany and Rand now reside in Virginia Beach and are planning a June 2014 wedding at Winterham Plantation in Amelia, VA.

Brittany attends law school at Regent University, so we thought it was a fantastic place for their engagement session! We also lucked out to have some pretty, white snow on the ground. Check out these two cuties…

Love the red door!  Good idea, Brittany!

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So comfortable together…

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Some of my very favorites!

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Loooooove!

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Seriously.  I can hardly stand it.

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It was pretty chilly this day, but these two braved the cold.  I do believe it was worth it.  And get a load of that light!

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Another fav…

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So cute!

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And a GORGEOUS ring…

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Brittany.. you.  are.  beautiful.

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And ya aren’t so bad yourself, Rand!

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These fun candids definitely make me smile!

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Congratulations, Brittany and Rand!  I cannot wait until your June wedding day!

Happy (snowy) Thursday, friends!

M xoxo

A Virginia Snow Engagement: Abby and Zo

So, Abby and I have been plotting this for months… Abby loves the snow, so we were determined to wait on that blessed white covering to have an engagement session.  The night before the big snow, we talked.  THIS COULD BE IT!  The big day for the big, snow-filled, engagement session! But, let’s be clear here.  Abby and I couldn’t have been more excited about the opportunity.  Zo, on the other hand?  Not so much.  But he was still a trooper and pushed through the cold for a fun…and very fast…engagement shoot.

Five years ago, Abby and Zo met downtown in Shockoe Bottom while they were both out on the town.  Since that night, they never looked back.  Since that time, they have grown together and build a relationship made to last.  Late last year, the two of them decided to buy a house together.  They had already gotten a dog together, so a house seemed the logical next step… right? Well, during their annual beach trip, Zo convinced Abby that they should make their way out to the ocean to watch the sunrise.  As Abby stood, barefoot and in pajamas, Zo offered his love and his life to her.  And he asked her to be his wife.  Forever.  Obviously, Abby said, “yes!”, and they are now planning a John Marshall Ballroom wedding for September of this year.

I have known Abby and Zo for many years, as Abby and I were in graduate school together.  They are kind and fun and the kind of people it’s a joy to be around.  I could not be more thrilled to be sharing this special time with them and to be able to be part of their wedding day in the Fall.  So, without further ado… Here’s Abby and Zo!

Due to the snow, and as a matter of convenience, we chose to do the session at Abby and Zo’s new home in the West End.  So special!

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Yes, friends, it was COLD.  Fur covering was imperative.

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I kinda wanted to steal this blanket.  LOVE it.

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Can’t you just see how much fun these two have together.  They are blessed to have each other for sure!

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Some of my favorites!

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Beautiful ring!

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This one is my absolute FAVORITE.  It’s just so… THEM.

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Photo on left:  When I grabbed Zo’s very soft, very WARM hat off his head for a few shots without it.  Makes me smile!

Photo on right:  When he was able to get himself together… Although I think I still see some amusement in Abby’s face.

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Love these photos.  Love these people.

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Happy Thursday, friends!

M xoxo

A Prince William Forest Park Engagement: Andrea + Jake

So many times I have brides call me about scheduling engagement sessions in the winter, and they always have the same concern. Won’t the pictures look awful when the trees have no leaves?” And my answer is always a resounding, “NO!”   I send them to Whitney and Ryan’s engagement session as an example, and from then on they are usually sold!  Andrea and Jason were no different.  They decided on Prince William Forest Park for their engagement session.  None of us had ever been there before, so we didn’t know what to expect.  However, the results were AMAZING, and within a very small radius, there were plenty of options for photos.  But we’ll get to that in a minute.  First, let me tell you a little bit about how Andrea and Jake met.

It was 2010 and Andrea had decided to try online dating.   And so had Jake.  When Andrea received Jake’s message on Match.com, she was very interested.  She liked what she saw about Jake online and was eager to get to know more about him.  So, when he asked her out for lunch, she quickly agreed.  However, she was so nervous about the date that she almost didn’t show up.  Fortunately, she wrangled her nerves and met Jake for the first time at Mia’s Pizza in Bethesda, Maryland.  They clicked immediately, and neither one of them wanted the date to end.  Because Andrea had to go into work later that day, they decided to meet the next day for dinner and a movie.

On date number 3, Jake took Andrea to Old Rag mountain for a day of hiking.  This date was especially adventurous when Andrea fell, spraining her ankle, and having to be escorted down the mountain by a state trooper.  Despite Andrea’s embarrassment, Andrea and Jake enjoyed their time together and decided to take their relationship to the next level.  From that point on Andrea and Jake were a couple and haven’t been apart since.

On November 24, 2013, Jake took Andrea back to Old Rag mountain.  It was freezing cold, as in 17 degrees, but that didn’t stop them.  A few friends came along, and they enjoyed a day of hiking.  At the first overlook, a friend asked them to pose for a photo on a boulder.  As soon as the shutter clicked, Jake grabbed Andrea’s hand and began to share with her just how much she meant to him.  He told her about how amazing life was with her…how loved she made him feel…how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.  Only her.  And then he asked her to be his wife.  Of course, she said, “Yes!”

It was a perfect representation of their relationship to choose this location as the location for their engagement session.  Andrea and Jake share a love for the outdoors, and the scenery was stunning.

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LOVE.

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Andrea.  You killed it.

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Oh, that winter light.

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It’s pretty clear they love each other.

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Beautiful.

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Love the black and whites.

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This may be my fav.  Gah!

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And we found a log going all the way across the stream.  Perfect.

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More favorites!

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Good job on that ring, Jake!  Gorgeous!

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Work it, Andrea.  Work.  It.

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Seriously.  Just… SERIOUSLY.

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Happy Wednesday, Friends!

M xoxo

A Mill At Fine Creek Wedding: Sara + Dan

When they planned their Mill at Fine Creek Wedding, setting the date for November 22, 2013, they were taking some chances with the weather. See, the ceremony would be outside beneath a canopy of stars and strung lights… and in November, in Richmond, VA, anything can happen with the weather. But Sara and Dan must have known exactly what they were doing. The weather that November day could not have been any more perfect. It had been freezing the week before, and it was freezing the week after, but on this day, their wedding day, it was the perfect temperature. The weather, however, was not the only thing that was perfect. Sara and Dan had planned this wedding down to the tiniest of detail, and everything about it was gorgeous.

Sara and her bridesmaids excitedly prepared in the bridal suite on the second floor of the venue. They listened to music, laughed, and cherished the moments together before Sara would say, “I Do.” Dan, in a nearby location, also listened to music and prepared to meet his bride. They had waited for this day for a long time, and the two of them could not wait to be joined as husband and wife.

On the arm of her father, Sara met Dan at the alter made of stone and strung with lights. The night sky was clear above and the stars twinkled above them. They laughed and they cried. And in front of their friends and family, they promised each other forever. And I have no doubt that’s how long they will be together.

Sara and Dan,
From the moment we met, we were fast friends. Your warmth and kindness have been appreciated every step of the way, and it was truly an honor to be a part of this time in your lives during this past year.  Your wedding day was exquisite, and the love you share is apparent in every look, touch, and moment you share. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do and that they always remind you of the unshakable love you share.  Much love, Michelle

Check out Sara’s accessories.  LOVE the Toms!
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Well done on those rings, Dan.

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And that DRESS!  I’m kinda in love with it.

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I must take a moment to give a huge shout out to Keith Andes of Fleur  by Everything But Your Groom.  AMAZING florals.  He did a fantastic job on Whitney and Ryan’s wedding as well.  Definitely give him a call if you are planning your wedding!

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I love the part where they read love letters and receive gifts.

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The future Mrs. Cowan in her adorable white robe!

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There were tears all around as she read Dan’s letter and opened the gift he had chosen for her…her “something blue.”

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So sweet!

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A First Look with her Daddy…

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Hey there, Handsome!  Dan is happy and ready to see his bride.

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Have I mentioned how much I LOVE a First Look!?!?  Here’s why…

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LOOOOOOVE.

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Still a favorite!

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I so appreciate the time couples can give when they have a First Look.  It allows for more walking around the venue and some very intimate portraits.  Now, the bridal party!

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Yes, friends!  You can thank Pinterest for this one… requested by the couple!

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Let’s get married!

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And dance the night away!

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This dessert was delicious.  And I know from personal experience.  …only one of the perks of being a wedding photog. 

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Congratulations, you two!

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To view more of Sara and Dan’s Mill at Fine Creek Wedding, hop on over to Jeremy Mitchell’s wedding day video!  He’s amazing to work with!

Happy Friday, friends!

M xoxo

Photographer:  Michelle Renee Photography

Cinematographer:  Jeremy Mitchell

 

A Virginia Mountain Wedding: Courtney and Shane

As I drove the winding, mountain roads on the way to Courtney and Shane’s Virginia mountain wedding, I was reminded of what a beautiful, diverse state Virginia is. The Shenandoah Mountain skyline was breathtaking and the leaves still had a variety of colors as I climbed Afton Mountain. And I gotta tell ya… having the option to stop on the side of the mountain for kettle corn and some hot cider was pretty awesome too.

Once I arrived at Royal Oaks, I knew this was going to be an amazing day.  Not only are Courtney and Shane two of the most genuine, kind people you could ever meet, but Courtney also has exquisite taste and pays extensive attention to detail.  Courtney had so many beautiful DIY items incorporated into her day, and the finished product was perfect.  Courtney prepared for the day in a cabin with her sister and closest friends.  They laughed together throughout the afternoon, and it was clear that Courtney was in the best of company.  They surrounded her with love and support, and they made sure she had everything she needed as she prepared to meet her groom.  In the meantime, Shane was just down the gravel path in another cabin putting the finishing touches on his suit.  He was sure to tie his tie just right.  He wanted this day…the day when he would marry his best friend and love…to be perfect, down to every. last. detail.

Courtney was radiant as she rounded the corner and walked down the wooden steps to her father who was waiting to walk her down the aisle.  She and Shane met under a white gazebo and promised their forevers.  Afterwards, they greeted friends and family under a white tent for dinner.  The band played on a nearby stage, and a bon fire was started when the temperature dropped.  Good music and good friends surrounded them throughout the night, and a fantastic time was had by all.

Courtney and Shane,

It has been such an honor to get to know the two of you.  You have been the epitome of kindness, and I couldn’t be more grateful.  I enjoyed our time working together, and I look forward to celebrating alongside of you as you build your life together.  I have no doubt that the two of you will love every moment of your life together, laughing along the way.  Thank you so very much for choosing me to be part of this special time in your lives.  I hope these wedding day images will always bring you the fondest of memories.  M xoxo

 

Who doesn’t love a bride with some cowboy boots!?!
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Check out that ring!  Shane had Courtney’s rings designed especially for her.  He’s a keeper, Courtney! 🙂

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This dress?  To die for.  The only thing better was how Courtney looked when she was wearing it.

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Check.  Her.  Out.  Told you.

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Courtney did not have a separate bridal session, so we took a few moments on her wedding day to capture some images of her in her dress.  Stunning.

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My Fav.

 

 

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And look at this handsome fellow!

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Courtney and Shane opted for a First Look.  I do love first looks, and these images are some of the reasons why…

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Such a great group of ladies!

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And very cooperative groomsmen.  This photographer definitely appreciates it. 🙂

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One of my favorite bridal party images.  Love this.

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What a gorgeous ceremony location!

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Remember those DIY items we talked about?  Here is one of them.

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I love this image of Courtney.  You can see the joy in her eyes.

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Married!

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More DIY touches…  Amazing, right!??!

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The image on the right is another favorite.  But let’s be honest.  I love them all.

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An amazingly delicious gluten free wedding cake.  Delish.

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Congratulations, Courtney and Shane!

Happy Sunday, friends!

Michelle 🙂

Sara: A Mill at Fine Creek Bridal Session

A month or so ago, Sara and I (and her fabulous bridesmaid, Jen), met at the Mill at Fine Creek for a bridal session. The grass was green, the weather was perfect, and we wondered around the grounds taking in the variety it offered for portraits. There were beautiful brick ruins, a creek, grey rocks, and green, green grass. It was stunning, and it was the perfect backdrop for this beautiful bride. Take a look!

This.  DRESS.  Looooooove.
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Look at that lace detail!  Sara, you couldn’t have chosen a more perfect gown for your wedding day.

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Swoon.

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One of my many favorites…

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Perfection.  Seriously.

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I always love to take advantage of the evening light!  Here, we caught it before it hid behind the trees.

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Sara was working IT!  So beautiful!

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This series of images are some of my favorite.  LOVE the way the dress and veil pop in front of the green background.

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Of course we had to take some photos inside the ruins…

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Sara.  You. Are.  Gorgeous.

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And a BIG shout out to Keith Andes of Fleur by Everything But Your Groom on his florals!  I’ve worked with him on more than one occasion, and he NEVER disappoints.  How gorgeous are these florals!?!?

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Happy Friday, friends!

M xoxo

A Shenandoah National Park Engagement: Marsha + Andrew

When Marsha and Andrew asked me to travel to Shenandoah National Park for their engagement session, I was super excited! I always love photographing couples at new locations and the leaves were expected to be beautiful! However… thanks to a government shut down and a postponement of the session, we didn’t have quite as many colorful leaves, but the session was perfect just as it was.. besides the crazy cold temps.
Marsha, Andrew, and I bundled up and headed to Big Meadows in the National Park for the session. Deer walked around us leisurely and the trees blew in the (very cold) breeze. Still, Marsha and Andrew were troopers, ignoring the fact that they could not feel their hands or faces, and they rocked the session out! Take a look at these two…
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Marsha and Andrew are so in love.  They couldn’t keep their hands off of each other or stop smiling at each other.  It was perfect for me… I didn’t have to coax them into anything!

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LOVE this sun shining through the trees!

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Some of my favs.

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This series of images are some of my favorite from the day as well… the tree and their profiles against the blue backdrop were stunning.

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Whenever I travel to beautiful locations for sessions, I’m reminded just how diverse and special our home state of Virginia is.

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Just can’t get enough of each other, and I loved it!

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She so loves him.  And by the looks of it, I think he likes it.

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