#lifewithteamrickards : that time we hiked the grand canyon

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Yes, you read that right.  It’s hard to believe, but one year ago today, Jason and I began our descent into the Grand Canyon.  On foot.  With about 30 lbs on my back and 55 lbs on his.  Not to return to civilization (or cell signal, or a real mattress, or a shower) until our feet carried us back out the next day.

We had flown into Flagstaff, AZ the day before (side note:  Flagstaff has got to be the smallest airport ever – even smaller than our little regional airport here in Roanoke, VA!) and stocked up on our perishables at Walmart.  That morning, we loaded up our packs with tons of water and the other essential items that we would need to hike roughly 16.5 miles of trail and just shy of 5,000 feet in elevation change (each direction) – all in about a 28-hour period of time.

I literally couldn’t even type that without laughing, because y’all.  We. were. crazy.  And I still can’t believe we actually did it.

But we did.  And we made it.  [If I could put emojis in a blog post, I would put all the praise hands here.]  All 16.5 miles and ~4,800 feet of elevation change each day.  And if we’re being honest, I never would have made it without Jason.  (Of course, I probably also would never have attempted this if it weren’t for him, but that’s beside the point, right?  Haha!)  I can laugh about it now, but it was – hands down – the most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life.  I was definitely suffering from heat exhaustion by the time we reached camp on the first day.  (And did you know that once heat exhaustion sets in, it takes your body 2-3 days to recover?  Yeah.  Fun times.)  Thank goodness Jason didn’t mind setting up camp all by himself.  I had a legitimate breakdown (y’all. crying.)  halfway up on Day 2 because what I desperately wanted was to push through and just keep walking so we could be done, but my body wasn’t cooperating.  It’s super frustrating when your body doesn’t line up with your willpower.  BUT, Jason lightened my pack by taking my camera and some of my other heavier items from me, and eventually, we did make it out.  And now, I really can laugh about it.  And I can be a little proud of myself because I did keep going (albeit, a heck of a lot slower than I wanted to) and I did carry myself into the Grand Canyon and back out in just over one day (literally, started in at 10:30AM on Thursday and hobbled out around 2:30PM on Friday).  Which, by the way, I don’t recommend – see above where I said we were crazy. #truestory

But I do have some pretty breathtaking images to show for it, if I do say so myself…

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Jason took this panorama on his phone:

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And we snapped some more iPhone shots along the way, because it was just easier than unpacking my big girl camera from my pack every 5 minutes!

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This sign in the photo on the right was about halfway down on the first day.

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Can we stop and talk about the fact that the trail is literally just cut into the side of the ridge?!  it was crazy!

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I mean, you guys – this VIEW, right?!  And to think we walked all the way down into the depths of that and back out in about 28 hours.  Have I mentioned we were crazy?

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It was sometime after this point that I really started feeling rough, so I didn’t break my camera out much the rest of that day, but I did snap an iPhone shot of this bridge we had to use to cross the Colorado River!  (See the tunnel opening in the lower right-hand corner of the frame that we had to walk through to get to the bridge?) We were probably an hour or so from the Bright Angel Campground at this point.

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When we finally made it to the campground, I passed out for about an hour or so while Jason set up camp (bless him) and then when I finally felt like moving again, we explored Bright Angel Campground a little.  Here’s our little tent and camp site!

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Thank goodness Jason had done #alltheresearch and made sure we had #allthethings we could possibly need to survive in the wilderness!

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Who knew there was so much vegetation in the base of the Grand Canyon, right?!  And it was SO. HOT. down there!  I don’t think the temperature got below 80 degrees overnight.

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We broke camp and started the trek back up super early the next morning… I think we were packed and on our way before 6AM.  (Those of you who know me well know that this in and of itself is a miracle!  Haha!)  But I’m so glad we did, because we made the best progress before the sun got too strong, and some of my favorite images are from those early morning hours on that second day.

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We took the South Kaibab Trail in on Day 1 and took the Bright Angel Trail out on Day 2, so we crossed a different bridge early on Day 2.

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Have you ever wondered how much of a hot mess you’d be if you had hiked 7 miles into the grand canyon and then slept there with no shower?  See below.  I don’t even know what is happening with my hair.  I actually think this is how I woke up and I just left it, because… what was the point.

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We literally made it almost exactly halfway up on Day 2 (roughly 4.5 out of 9 miles) in the first three hours (before the sun made it directly overhead), which was awesome and we were super excited about it.  (Little did we know it would take us about 5 hours to conquer the second half of the trail, because my body was boycotting this whole endeavor.)

But this grainy, out-of-focus, terribly-unflattering-of-both-of-us iPhone shot is one of my favorites from the whole trip, because in this moment we were excited, we were proud of what we had accomplished, and we were ready to face the rest of this challenge together.

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This view right here, though.  Oh my goodness.

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It wasn’t long after this that I really started struggling.  I was nauseous, my legs felt so weak, and I had to stop and rest WAY more frequently than I wanted to.  We encountered a determined little squirrel who kept trying to steal our trail mix.  (Also, peep the distinct dirt line above Jason’s socks!  Y’all, I’ve never been so filthy in my life.)

Aaaand then I had a breakdown.  Crying.  Because I just wanted to be done and we still had like 2 or 3 miles left to go and my body was letting me down.  And what did Jason do?  He took a PICTURE of me.  Yes, the image on the right is literally me having a breakdown in the Grand Canyon.  He’s a smart guy, though.  He didn’t share this with me until days later – when I could appreciate it.  Haha!

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This was the very last photo I took on my way out, with my iPhone, because nobody had the energy to fish my big girl camera out of Jason’s pack at this point.  But my gosh, I had to get a shot of this, right?!

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When we finally made it back to our rental car, we had roughly a 6 hour drive ahead of us.  (My cousin was getting married in Beaver, Utah that weekend and I was shooting the wedding, alongside two of her good friends, also photographers.  Check out that gorgeousness here!)  We were starving (did I mention all I could stomach eating that entire second day, thanks to the heat exhaustion, was trail mix?) and were so ready to reach the next town and sit down and eat a hot meal.  So we hit the road, and we drove.

And we drove some more.  Through the desert.  Where there was literally nothing.

And we came to a stop light where there was a gas station and a burger king.  And we decided, we wanted REAL food and we could make it to the next town.

And y’all, I swear we went 4 hours without seeing more than a gas station and maybe another fast food joint every hour or so.

FINALLY, we crossed the Utah state line and we found ourselves in a real town. With real restaurants.  And we hobbled out of the car like hunchbacks and we ordered the biggest plates of fried chicken and mashed potatoes I think I’ve ever eaten.  And somewhere along the line (actually, I’m pretty sure it was before we ever made it out of the Canyon), between my heat exhaustion and my blistered feet and our sore muscles, we decided it probably wouldn’t be wise to attempt the second overnight hike we’d planned for the tail end of our trip, after the wedding weekend festivities.

So we booked a hotel room in Las Vegas instead.  At Caesar’s Palace.  And this girl right here, who’d said she had no desire to visit Las Vegas and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, enjoyed every second of the two days we spent in Las Vegas.

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You guys, there were directional signs IN Caesar’s Palace.  Because otherwise you would literally get lost.  IN the resort.  I’m so not kidding.

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We don’t drink and we don’t gamble, but we do like a little pampering every now and then and we love some good food and we love to shop.  And you don’t have to go far to find those things in Vegas.  In fact, there was an entire shopping mall (and TWO Starbucks) IN. OUR. RESORT.  I literally did not have to set foot outside to find an iced caramel macchiato and some normal clothes to wear (because, you know, I had only packed for a wedding … and hiking).  So we slept in, and we traipsed around Vegas, and we ordered room service and we ate amazing food and got as many caramel macchiatos as my little heart desired.

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And we saw the Venetian and we reminisced about our dream trip to Italy (now almost two years ago!) when we walked around Venice and shopped in the real Rialto Bridge.

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And Jason played one slot machine.  (I mean, I think this is a slot machine?)

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And we saw the fountains a the Bellagio and took the obligatory shot of the faux Eiffel Tower at night.

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And the only time we actually saw the phenomenal pools at Caesar’s Palace was at night, but I actually think they were even prettier at night.  Yes, this shot below is just the POOLS at Caesar’s.  Everything in Vegas was so over-the-top and ornate.

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We splurged on a room service breakfast our last morning (first and only time either of us have ever ordered room service – haha!) and it was 100% worth it.  🙂

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Thanks for re-living our trip with me, friends!  I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions in the comments below!  Have you ever been to Vegas or the Grand Canyon?  What was your favorite part of your trip?  Or, if you’ve never been, what would definitely be on your wish list if you were to plan a trip out west?!

pigott family {blacksburg, va lifestyle session}

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Oh. my. gosh.  Get ready for some of my favorite images EVER!!!

But first, let me back up.  Kimmy (the gorgeous mama in these photos) is my sister-in-law, and she and her hubby, Justin, and their three kiddos, Lydia, Lily, and Lewis, came up from Florida to visit us the last week in July.  We were able to coordinate a family session for them while they were here, and I am so glad we did!!  I’m not sure when the last time was that they had family photos done, but I know it has been a very long time, so being the one they trusted to capture this season was a tremendous honor for me!

Kimmy took full advantage of all of the info & tips in my Portrait Session Style Guide (and she and I took some time to hunt around town for some seriously on-point accessories during the early part of their visit!) and if you ask me, it paid off in spades!  Their outfits were so perfectly coordinated, I can hardly even stand it!!!  But that is just the icing on the cake.  The thing that really makes these images some of my all-time favorites is how naturally Kimmy, Justin, and the kids interacted and genuinely connected with each other.  Giggles came easily to the kids, and sweet, romantic moments seemed effortless when Kimmy and Justin were together.  Basically, they made my job too stinkin’ easy.  😉

Without further adieu, check out some of my very favorite images of this gorgeous family!

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This little guy.  SUCH a ham, and I loved every second of it.

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And these two … married for 15 years and still so sweet & romantic together.  ❤  I love this sweet shot of them.

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I asked Lewis to climb up on that ledge next to Justin, and he just naturally pulled his knees up to his chest like this without any direction from me – and I’m convinced I could not have posed him any cuter if I’d tried.  stinkin’ ADORABLE.

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This next one is one of my absolute FAVES of Lydia, Lily, and Lewis together!

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I was legitimately #obsessed with this floral clip Kimmy and I found for Lily’s hair!  GAH!

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My beautiful sister-in-law!  Kimmy, I love this shot!

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Oh my gosh, these two.  15 years of marriage looks so stinkin’ cute on them, doesn’t it? ❤

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I absolutely adore this next frame of Lydia and Lily on the left!  (And I basically just can’t look at Lewis’s cute little face without smiling!!)

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I wasn’t about to let this session end without a little slow dancing… 😉

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One last shot of the whole family together!

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Kimmy, Justin, thank you so much for letting me capture this sweet season y’all are in.  It was a joy and an honor!  Love y’all!

LRP “Yes!” List : part 2

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I’m so glad (and honored!) that you’re here! Today’s post is part 2 of this little idea I’m calling my “Yes!” list – a list of photography-related opportunities I would love to say “YES!” to, as my little business continues to grow. (If you missed last week’s post with 5 types of sessions/events I would love to say “yes” to, you can check it out here!)

While last week’s post was all about certain types of sessions/events that have really been on my heart lately, this week’s post is going to highlight specific locations that I haven’t yet had an opportunity to shoot at, but that I know would make super dreamy session/event locations! So, if we’ve got a session on the books (or you’re thinking about booking one) but have no idea where you might want to have it, today’s post might just inspire you!

1. Market District in Downtown Roanoke, Center in the Square, and Hotel Roanoke.

It might be a bit much to try to hit all of these in one session, but I think pairing two of them together would make for the perfect downtown/urban session location! The Market District has that old city-street feel that any downtown session should have – so I could totally see pairing the Market District with Center in the Square for a session with a sleek, modern edge!  Or, choosing to highlight the Market District alongside Hotel Roanoke would offer more of a classic, upscale setting!  I haven’t photographed many sessions with a downtown feel, but I would absolutely love to – and I think downtown Roanoke would be the perfect setting for it!

2. Carvin’s Cove Reservoir (Roanoke, VA).

So I have a confession to make: although I haven’t photographed a session here myself, my talented friend Kaitlyn Phipps photographed an anniversary session for me and Jason here last summer, and I have wanted to shoot a session here ever since! I mean, how can you go wrong with those mountains behind that water, am I right?!

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3. Swannanoa Palace (Afton, VA).

Oh my goodness, this place is gorgeous!! Wikipedia calls it an “Italian Renaissance Revival Villa” – built in the early 1900’s, with a beautiful white marble exterior and grand archways and staircases, it is actually on the National Register of Historic Places! It is absolutely stunning – but don’t just take my word for it. Take a peek at this styled anniversary session at Swannanoa, by Katelyn James Photography! Isn’t this just the most beautiful old-world setting for an engagement, newlywed, or anniversary session with a little bit of luxurious European flair?! GAH! ALL the heart eyes!

4. Yorktown Beach (Yorktown, VA).

Jason and I visited Williamsburg last October for my birthday, and while we were there, we took a little drive down the road to Yorktown Beach. The beach itself (along the intracoastal waterway) had a natural, serene beauty, and the quaint little downtown square was absolutely adorable. This would be a perfect setting for a relaxed session with a small-town coastal feel!

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5. Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA.

This one is a little bit of a stretch, but y’all – if it worked out?!  I would have to PINCH myself!  The more we visit the low country, the more I fall in love with it.  Both of these cities are so quintessentially Southern, and they are just brimming with history and charm (and live oaks draped in Spanish moss). I mean, really, need I say more? Jason and I are actually going to visit Savannah for the first time this September (eeeep!) and I cannot WAIT to wander the streets (and Forsynth Park!) and take it all in!

If you’ve hung around to the end of this post – thank you!! I would love to know which of these locations sounds the dreamiest to you – leave me a comment and let me know! Or, if there’s a location that isn’t on my list but should be – tell me about it!! I am always up for discovering and exploring someplace new!

Happy Wednesday, friends!!

LRP “Yes!” List : part 1

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Ahhh, y’all, this is a post I have been wanting to write for months!!!  (And if you’re sitting there like, what the heck is a “yes!” list (and did you just make that up, Lindsey)?! – yes, I did make it up and I promise I’ll answer that question for you!)

I have been blessed with the absolute sweetest clients and some of the most enjoyable weddings and sessions over the last couple of years, and I am SO, so grateful for that! I have absolutely loved getting to know each of my sweet couples and families, and having the privilege of capturing moments they will treasure forever. Some days I can’t even believe how fortunate I’ve been to have worked with people I really truly adore and would now consider friends! How fortunate I am that they trusted me enough to invite me into their stories and allow me to capture glimpses of their lives together. Their trust in me has allowed me to learn and grow as a photographer, and I am so incredibly grateful for that!

As I’ve grown more confident in my aesthetic style, and as I’ve grown comfortable in my own creative skin, I’m finding that I’m wanting to push the boundaries of my comfort zone a little. I’m finding that the little creative corners of my heart pitter-patter at the thought of capturing stories in ways I may not have done before!  I’ll randomly find myself thinking, “Gosh, if I had the opportunity to shoot a __________, I would just love to say ‘yes’ to that!!!” And it occurred to me a few months ago that I should totally share this “Yes!” list of mine on the blog!

So, today I’m sharing five types of sessions/events that have been on my heart over the last few months! There may be couples and individuals out there who would really be blessed and encouraged by one of these 5 types of sessions/events, and I would just love to be the photographer they trust to capture these moments for them!

So here’s part 1 of the LRP “Yes!” list:

1. styled newlywed session

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This one has been so strongly on my heart! Y’all, weddings are expensive. And the reality is, 8 to 10 hours of coverage by a professional wedding photographer is an investment that not every couple can make for their wedding day. But I think every couple deserves to have beautiful “wedding” portraits to be able to display in their home and put in an album for their babies and grandbabies to treasure one day! A styled newlywed session is the perfect way to do this! It is an opportunity for a newly married bride & groom to wear their wedding day attire one more time (maybe even get hair & makeup done and pick up a bouquet reminiscent of her wedding day florals!), and spend an hour or so flirting and giggling and slow dancing in front of the camera. They’ll walk away with beautiful portraits their families will treasure, for the investment of an anniversary session!

While a newlywed session is truly not a substitute for having a photographer there on the wedding day to capture each of the carefully chosen details and the many sweet moments that transpire as the day unfolds, my heart for this session is that it would be a blessing to a couple whose wedding day passed without any (or maybe very few) bride & groom portraits that captured their relationship in a way that is timeless, joyful, and authentic to them.

2. small business owner session

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I absolutely loved photographing this team head shot session for the amazing ladies at Chantilly Lace Bridals back in March, and it’s made me realize how much I would love to capture images for other creative small business owners (#bossladies!) more often! This could be anything from just a head shot session, to a combination head shot + lifestyle or behind-the-scenes session showcasing what the everyday looks like for a wedding planner, blogger, shop owner, calligrapher, or fellow photographer! If you’re a fellow small business owner in some sort of creative or wedding-industry field and you’ve found yourself needing fresh, authentic images of you and your process, then let’s definitely chat soon! 😉

3. anniversary session (20+ years)

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Y’all, this is another one that has really been on my heart! A marriage that has stood the test of 20, 25, 30 or more years is such a treasure and I feel so strongly that it is something that should be honored and celebrated. It may have been years or even decades since a couple at this point in their love story has been dressed to the nines and spent time in front of a camera, just the two of them.  This is the perfect opportunity to dust off his best suit (or invest in a new one!) and rent a show-stopping gown from Rent the Runway, to mark the milestone of 20 or more years of life side by side!  What an incredible honor it would be to capture a love story 20 or 30+ years in the making!

4. personal stylist session

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If we’re friends on instagram, you probably already know that personal style is another creative outlet for me.  So the fact that I would love to photograph a session to showcase a personal style brand + merchandise for a fellow small business owner who sells clothing / accessories (think Lula Roe, Stella & Dot, etc) probably will not surprise anyone!  I think it would be so fun to be able to get a little creative with this and highlight multiple different outfits or items over the course of a session, and provide images this consultant could use on her website and/or social media to promote her products!

5. romantic elopement

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Can I just say that I think elopements can be super romantic?! (And they can be super elegant and classy, too – I mean, check out this stunning NYC elopement captured by Abby Grace Photography. All the heart eyes, am I right??) When a couple has decided to elope, their priority is clear: they just want to be husband & wife. They’ve chosen to forego something that our culture holds in very high esteem (a “traditional” large wedding celebration) in favor of an intimate gathering with all of its focus on the most important element of that day’s events – two becoming one. And honestly, I think sometimes these couples question whether it’s “worth” having a professional photographer capture their day. I might be a little biased, but my answer would always be a resounding “YES, it is worth it! YOU are worth it.” This is the beginning of your life together. The first day of your forever. The day you will tell your children and grandchildren about for years to come. The day you were a bride and a groom. And it deserves to be documented. I am in the process of creating a wedding package just for the couple who has decided to elope – who have chosen to have an intimate ceremony (with fewer than 15 guests and without a formal reception), that they know they want to remember for the rest of their lives. Friend, if that’s you, hop on over to the contact page and send me a little note so we can talk about your wedding day!

If you’ve stuck with me to the end of this post, THANK YOU so much!!! I can’t tell you how honored I am that you would spend a few minutes catching a glimpse of what’s been on my heart lately. I’m guessing you may have even stuck with me because one of these types of sessions is something that’s been on your heart, too – if so, tell me about it! I would absolutely love to chat with you about your session. Or maybe you know someone else who would be so blessed by one of these! Feel free to share this post with them!

And friends, if you enjoyed today’s post, you might want to stay tuned for part 2 of this “Yes!” list – a list of specific locations (some right here in southwest Virginia, and others a little farther away) that I would love to showcase during a session!  Can’t wait to share those with y’all!

mary beth & hunter {dublin, va wedding}

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When I first met Mary Beth & Hunter, I instantly felt like we were friends.  They are both so genuinely warm and friendly, and I found it so easy to relate with them!  We chatted about everything from how they had been attending the same church for years, to the beautiful family-owned residence where they wanted to have their wedding reception, and the conversation just flowed so naturally that it hardly felt like a business consultation at all!  I was able to get to know them even better when we met up for their engagement session, and I have been fortunate enough to shoot newborn sessions for two of their family members during the last 6 months – so by the time their wedding day arrived, I was so fortunate to already know 4 of their bridal party members personally!  It was kind of like a little reunion and I loved every minute of it!!! 😉

Mary Beth & Hunter were married in their church, where they have both attended services for years (Mary Beth’s parents have been attending the church for 40 years!!!), and celebrated with their friends & family afterward at a beautiful, privately-owned residence.  I loved how personal their entire wedding day felt – their pastor shared parts of their story during the ceremony, their entire bridal party was SO full of joy for these two, and Mary Beth’s besties even wrote and performed a rap to Usher’s “Yeah!” during toasts at the reception!  It was one of the most fun wedding days I’ve had the pleasure of being part of, and I think that says so much about Hunter and Mary Beth.  They are two people you can’t help but have fun with, and I’m so excited that they are now Mr & Mrs!

Congratulations, Mary Beth & Hunter!  I hope you enjoy re-living your wedding day as you look through these images!

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I absolutely adored the gorgeous lace detailing in Mary Beth’s dress from Chantilly Lace Bridals!

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And then it was time to get married!!

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Mary Beth and her dad exchanged the sweetest moment when he gave her away – one of those moments that had me tearing up a little behind my camera!

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After the ceremony, we took family photos, full bridal party photos, and bride & groom portraits at the residence where the reception was getting started, and it was just the most gorgeous scenery – tall old trees and rolling hills!

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I loved their personalized gold cake topper!

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Mary Beth’s uncle owns a winery, so OF COURSE Davis Valley Winery beverages got the party going! 😉

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Aaaand here’s the rap I told you about…

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And just as the sun was setting, we were able to sneak out for a few more bride & groom portraits – and they were SO worth it!!!

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These two laugh ALL the time when they are together, and I loooove it!

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I love twirling shots because they make for some of the sweetest moments… see below.  😉

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Mary Beth & Hunter had SO many amazing friends and family who shared their talents (like floral arrangements, day-of coordinating, and cake decorating!) with Mary Beth and Hunter on their wedding day, and it’s easy to see how loved these two are!  So many thank you’s to all of the friends and family who worked together to bring these gorgeous details to life!

And thank you to the professional vendors who provided top notch service for these two and their guests!

Chantilly Lace Bridals

Hethwood Market

Ryan of RSI Entertainment

And a special thank you to Megan Myers for second shooting with me!!!

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Mary Beth, Hunter, thank you again for allowing me to be part of this season in your lives – it was an honor, and I had SO much fun celebrating with you!!!  (and I hope Jamaica was amazing!)

Big hugs to you both!

 

mary beth {bridal portraits}

mary-beth-bridals-featured_0001Can I just say that one of the hardest things about shooting bridal sessions is keeping the images a secret until after the wedding day?! I have SO been looking forward to sharing some of Mary Beth’s bridal portraits with y’all, and now that Mary Beth and Hunter are MARRIED (eeep!), I can finally share my favorites from her bridal session!

We took Mary Beth’s bridal portraits at the family estate where she and Hunter would celebrate with all of their friends and family at their wedding reception just a few weeks later!  Despite a LOT of rain on the day of our session (it literally downpoured less than an hour before we started shooting!), Mary Beth opted to continue with our session and she had the absolute BEST attitude about it!  “We’ll make the best of it!” she said to me.  And I think that says so much about her character!  In this life, we are going to encounter circumstances that aren’t ideal, and the way we choose to carry ourselves in the midst of those circumstances can make all the difference in how we come out the other side.  I don’t know about you, but I want to surround myself with people like Mary Beth – people who choose to see the good and make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.

… And I just have to say, the rain most definitely did not ruin our session!  I absolutely love the way Mary Beth’s images turned out!  We started with a few shots inside this beautiful old home (and her sweet pup Ellie joined us!), we maximized our shooting opportunities on the gorgeous front porch (y’all, the porches on this house – oh. my. goodness!), and the rain eventually did subside and we were able to get some really stunning images on the front lawn during the last 30 minutes of daylight!  But don’t just take my word for it – take a look through my faves from Mary Beth’s session!

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A little obsessed with the gorgeous lace on Mary Beth’s dress!!

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I love these shots with Ellie!

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These next two shots are two of my FAVES!

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Ahhh, this next one is a fave, too!

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I looove both of these next shots, but especially the one on the right!

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Ahhhh, this next one is another fave!  So timeless!

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I love how bridal sessions give me another opportunity to play with detail shots like these images of Mary Beth’s gorgeous ring!

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Mary Beth, you are a gorgeous bride!  I had so much fun celebrating with y’all this weekend and cannot wait to share my favorites from your wedding day on the blog soon!!

Big hugs to you both!

rachel & matt {rockwood manor wedding}

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One of the things I love to hear about when I am meeting with a couple for the first time is how they met and started dating – the early parts of their romance!  It actually rained on the first three dates Rachel and Matt had together – so it was only fitting that there were a few sprinkles on their wedding day, am I right?!  😉

No bride wants rain on her wedding day, but this is especially true for brides who really want an outdoor ceremony!  Rachel had envisioned their ceremony taking place on the front lawn at Rockwood Manor, and although the threat of rain had us all guessing for a while, it (thankfully!) held off (with the exception of literally 5 sprinkled drops during the ceremony!), and they were married on that beautiful front lawn, just like Rachel had hoped.  And, just like every other carefully chosen detail of their day, their ceremony was elegant and classy and absolutely gorgeous.

But I have to say, I think the best part of this day was the sweet moments these two savored once they were officially husband & wife!  Just like during their engagement session, these quiet, romantic moments came so naturally to them, and I just adore them for it!  They would hold each other close and Matt would smile that smile that is just for her, and Rachel would giggle and nuzzle in closer to him and they just made my job an absolute dream.  And now I’m going to stop telling you about it so you can scroll down and see for yourself!  😉

Rachel, Matt, thank you for inviting me into this season of your lives – it has been so fun getting to know both of you, and it has been such a pleasure to be the one to document your relationship.  Y’all made my job so easy!  I hope you enjoy reliving your wedding day through these images, and I hope they always remind you exactly how it felt to officially start your life together!  (And I hope you are having an absolutely AMAZING time in Hawaii!!)

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So I have to brag on Rachel for a second – she did all of her own florals, with no formal training, on the morning of the wedding day!  I don’t know how she did it – but they are absolutely gorgeous, aren’t they?!

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I absolutely loved the combination of the blush and peach florals with the girls’ dusty blue dresses!

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And then Rachel’s earrings?!  LOVE!

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You should probably be sitting down for this next shot – because Rachel is STUNNING!

I literally. can’t. even.

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I’m a little obsessed with this detail shot that my second shooter (who also happens to be my bestie) Megan got of the girls’ bouquets, on the right.  GAH!

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Seriously, those bouquets, though.  All the heart eyes.

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The guys all looked so sharp in their navy suits!  I love that Matt’s whole side of the bridal party was family – his dad, brother, and cousin!

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I also love that they were all such good sports for their photographers!  😉  haha!  thanks for that, guys!

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And then it was time to get married!

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Can’t you see why Rachel had her heart set on this spot for their ceremony?!  So pretty!!

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Husband & Wife!!!

(and I loved Megan’s angle on the kiss, too!  y’all, this is why you want two photographers at your wedding!!)

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I absolutely love Rockwood’s grand porches, and of course we had to grab a few epic, wide portraits of Rachel and Matt on the porch steps!  Tell me I’m not the only one who swoons over shots like this next one on the left?!

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OH, these two!  With their super romantic moments like this next one!

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I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of obsessed with this next shot.  There always seems to be one unassuming moment from each session or wedding that will sneak up on me and kind of steal my heart.  It won’t be anything grand or epic – just a sweet little in-between moment that is so natural and genuine – and I think that’s why they get me.  It’s that authenticity, that in-between-the-big-moments kind of sweetness, that I absolutely love to capture!

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LOVE this next shot of Megan’s!

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Then it was time to join the party!  I loved the blush, ivory and gold reception decor!  So elegant! blush-and-gold-wedding-receptionvirginia-estate-wedding_0058blush-navy-gold-wedding-receptionvirginia-estate-wedding_0060virginia-estate-wedding_0061virginia-estate-wedding_0062virginia-estate-wedding_0063

We had just a few short minutes to sneak Rachel & Matt outside during the reception to take a few more portraits in the vineyard before the rain really started coming down – and I’m so glad we did!  These are definitely some of my favorites!!  (I mean, really though, how can you go wrong in a vineyard, am I right?!)

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We seriously only had about 5 minutes before the rain started really coming down, so we headed back inside for father-daughter and mother-son dances!

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And then JC got the party started…

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… and they were still going when Megan and I left!

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A thousand thank you’s to the amazing vendors who worked together seamlessly to make this day perfect!

Amina of Simplicity Event Planning

Pumpernickel Pickle Catering

JC of Castillo DJ Services

Rockwood Manor Bed & Breakfast

David’s Bridal

Invitation design by Swell and Grand

And a super special thank you to Megan Myers for second shooting with me!

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Rachel, Matt, it was such a pleasure being your engagement & wedding photographer!  I am so happy for y’all!  Congratulations!!!

Big hugs to both of you!

 

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