Looking back at my calendar from 2021 is an explosion of color coded tags. juggling 2 businesses, 100s of miles between photoshoots, amazing business collaborations, adventures with friends, and ohhh so much beautiful scenery. I CAN’T UNDERSTATE my gratitude for all of the amazing wedding couples, second shooters, associates, and vendor connections that led to being a part of 27 Wedding Days • 19 Engagement Sessions • 24 Family Mini Sessions • 67 Galleries Delivered • 7,734 miles driven to photoshoots • 2 destination weddings • 30,164 images delivered and countless photos shot… because seriously ain’t nobody have time to count that. To celebrate all of my wedding clients I created a round up post with a few fun superlatives and highlights from this unforgettable year.

Venue Change MVP’s

Regan & Jarrett | The Estate at River Run  

After months of rescheduling, backup guest lists and pandemic planning, Regan and Jarett opted to swap their venue less than a month before the big day, in hopes of celebrating safely with the growing restrictions in Virginia.  The Estate at River Run did not disappoint! This venue featured spacious getting ready suites and grand staircases leading to their ceremony overlooking the water. The mid day rain shower didnt even make a dent in the excitement with endless ballrooms for photo opportunities.

Beautiful details for a beautiful wedding in Richmond Virginia Groom reads letter from his bride at the Estate at River Run Bride leaves her bridal party in awe of her beauty as she gets ready at the Estate at River Run Bride and groom stop time with timeless love after wedding in Richmond Virginia Bride and groom say "I do" during wedding at the Estate at River Run

Biggest Mountain Lovers: 

Caroline & Drew | Irvine Estate

After calling Colorado home for the last few years, Caroline & Drew have fallen deeply in love with the adventure hiking to find a view can bring. Like most couples, they dreamed of a sunny, spring day, surrounded by the mountains in Lexington VA. However what we got was a frigid, rain filled wedding, covered in fog…we quickly learned that rainy day weddings run in the family! So it must be good luck! Caroline wasn’t phased by the 40 degree mountain breeze and didn’t hesitate running through the rain in her full tulle skirt and Kate Spade Keds! Their beautiful venue at Irvine Estate featured the perfect covered porch to allow for photos outside with a peek of the mountains, without getting soaked!

First look with bride and groom at Irvine Estate Bride and groom pose with bridal party and cardboard best man at Irvine EstateBride and groom laugh in the rain at Irvine Estate Bride and groom kiss in the rain at Irvine Estate

Masters of Last Minute Shuffling

Kelli & Christopher | Keswick Vineyard 

Kelli & Chris were scrambling to finalize their wedding plans up until 2 weeks before the big day! With the guideline restrictions lifted in Virginia they called up their closest friends and asked them to join as part of the wedding party! With only a set of color swatches to go by, the bridesmaids managed to pull off the most beautiful mix of soft blues, neutrals and florals that seemed too perfect to be pulled together on a whim! ⁠⁠They had the most gorgeous spring weather for their wedding day and celebrated well into the night with heartfelt speeches, about this couple’s adventurous spirit and travels from around the world! 

bride and groom say "I do" at Keswick Vineyard wedding ceremony bride and groom cuddle at Charlottesville Virginia bridesmaids walk with bride at Keswick Vineyard wedding groomsmen hug groom at Keswick Vineyard wedding bride and groom look into each other's eyes at Keswick Vineyard wedding

Most Intimate Guest List

Elise & Nazz | The Clifton Inn 

Just like most couples this year. Elise and Nazz had to reschedule their wedding celebration with all of the covid restrictions in place. They knew they didn’t want to extend their engagement out another year and decided to honor their original wedding date with a small family gathering! The Clifton Inn was the perfect destination with their secluded garden space and lodging for the whole family. They were even able to have their dog participate in part of the ceremony.  They’ve got a full reception celebration schedule for next year! 

Longest Reigning Relationship

Lexi & Hunter- Glen Ellen Estate

This bride and groom have been friends since elementary school but it took YEARS of convincing for them to finally start dating! During their welcome toast there were quite a few “I told you so’s” to go around! Their families joy and emotion was inspiring. You could see just how invested their entire guest list was in being a support system for their marriage! They did one of the most unique ceremony unity traditions by building a cairn of stones places by different members of the family. The remainder of the evening featured heartfelt speeches, hilarious stories and the most amazing band that kept the dance floor packed all night!

bride and groom build stones at Glen Ellen Farm wedding bride and groom hold each other close at Glen Ellen Farm wedding bride and groom hold each other close at Glen Ellen Farm wedding

Longest Engagement Award!

Christina & Ryan | Chisholm Vineyard 

When I first met Christina & Ryan’s in 2019 for their engagement session our biggest worry was that the updated renovations to the wedding chapel would not be done in time. Ohhh how little we knew then! Fast forward, 2 years, 3 dates, 4 venues, and a pandemic later, and fate brought us all back together to Chisholm Vineyard for their wedding day! We hopped all around Charlottesville to highlight their favorite places, from the UVA lawn for some wedding party portraits to the intimate gardens and Rotunda! Our final destination of the evening at the Lakehouse at Chisholm Vineyard with private mountain views, open fields, and winery vibes as the perfect spot.  I could not be more grateful to be one of the only remaining wedding vendors from their original plan!

Rainy Day Rockstars

Liesel & Mark | The Barn at Edgewood

Their wedding day called for 100% chance of rain, Liesel and Mark didn’t let it stop them from having the absolute best day! Every chance we got, we rushed outside to take advantage of the clear skies. I am always amazed by my couples with zero hesitation to get the perfect photos. Liesel & Mark powered through the rainy ride in an uncovered golf cart to get some just married portraits. The Barn at Edgewood was perfect with their covered porches and Indoor ceremony option with a peek of Blue Ridge Mountains in the background! 

Entire wedding party before wedding ceremony in Charlottesville, VA Bride & groom before wedding ceremony in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom in the rain after wedding ceremony in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom in the rain after wedding ceremony in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom in the rain after wedding ceremony in Charlottesville, VA

Largest Group Photos! 

Amanda & Andrew | King Family Vineyard

Amanda and Andrew’s wedding day was full of emotion and joyful celebrating! This was the first wedding day in weeks without a chance of rain in the forecast! All thanks to Amanda and Andrew who made sure to bury a bottle of bourbon on King Families property a few weeks earlier. When it came time to take family formals following the ceremony it was clear that their family extended well beyond just their immediate relatives! This wedding had the largest group family photos I have ever taken. A bit of organized chaos grabbing photo groups of 40-50 people! Their friends and family truly came together to celebrate them and their love for each other.

Bridesmaids and bride getting ready before wedding in Charlottesville, VA Groom & Groosmen before wedding in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom digging up bottle of whiskey and toasting to their new marriage with their wedding party in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom digging up bottle of whiskey and toasting to their new marriage with their wedding party in Charlottesville, VA

Longest Distance Wedding Planning

Danielle & James | James Monroes Highland 

Danielle and James were friends for years working for UVA football before they finally started dating. They soon became inseparable and all of their friends and family knew it was forever. A few months into wedding planning, amazing job opportunities took them across the country to California to start a whole new adventure! We even squeezed in their engagement session a few days before their cross country trek! I’m so glad they could come back to Charlottesville, the town where it all started, to celebrate their Marriage!

Wedding Ceremony set up at James Monroe's Highland in Charlottesville, VA Bride with her bridesmaids before her wedding ceremony at James Monroe's Highland in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom celebrate their wedding day at James Monroe's Highland in Charlottesville, VA Bride and groom celebrate their wedding day at James Monroe's Highland in Charlottesville, VABride and groom celebrate their wedding day at James Monroe's Highland in Charlottesville, VA

Most Dynamic Couple

Monika & Wes | Amber Grove 

These two are seriously the most interesting and dynamic couple I’ve ever met! They have lived enough adventures to fill 20 lifetimes, and are just getting started! Wes is a combination of wildly athletic, aka running a 50 miler with no training, and an amazing artist who had a hand in creating almost every detail throughout their wedding decor. Monika has the kindest heart and even dropped everything last year to be a traveling nurse and help care for Covid ICU patients. Their wedding weekend included a collection of friends and family who traveled from all over the county, and even a special shout out from Tony Bennet the UVA basketball coach! It was clear to see just how excited the guests were to celebrate this amazing couple!

Bride and groom taking their vows at the alter during their wedding ceremony in Richmond, Virginia at the Amber Grove Bride and bridesmaids in their dresses before the wedding ceremony in Richmond, Virginia summer wedding Groom and groomsmen dressed and ready for the wedding ceremony in Richmond, Virginia summer wedding Bride and groom celebrating their wedding day at Amber Grove in Richmond, Virginia Bride and groom dancing with friends during their wedding reception at Amber Grove in Richmond, Virginia

Highest Elevation Ceremony

Casey & Kyle | Mt. Rainier National Park 

After years of rescheduling, this couple followed their hearts to create a wedding day that truly represented their relationship. Their intimate vows took place on the Pinnacle Peak Trail, at just over 6,500 feet of elevation. The snow covered peaks and crystal blue glacier waters looked like they were painted in the sky. This couples spirit of adventure was inspiring. The day of their wedding they hiked up the Mt. Rainier trail, carrying backpacks stuffed with wedding outfits, local bouquets, and of course a few bottles of champagne.As the newlyweds made their way down the trail we were stopped by every hiker we passed, with congratulatory cheers and dozens of questions about Casey getting her dress dirty. She just repeated “she’s living her fullest and best life”. Looking back, I am still in awe of this destination elopement!

landscape of mt rainier national parkbride and groom reading vows to each other on top of mt rainier bride and groom kiss during elopement ceremony on top of mt rainier entire wedding party celebrating the newly married couple on top of mt rainier bride and groom in dress and tux with their hiking backpacks on with mt rainier in the background

Most Intimate First Look

Megan & Conner | King Family Vineyard 

Megan and Conner’s wedding day featured some of my favorite non traditional add ins to personalize the day just for them! They started with a private first look in the vines at King Family Vineyard, where they shared their vows and soaked in some alone time before the festivities of the day. They toasted with champagne before joining their wedding party for the official photos and ceremony! They also added in time to eat dinner uninterrupted in a private suite,  before greeting all of their guests at the reception. The rest of the night was filled with tears, laughter, and some of my favorite dance moments of all time. 

bride and groom holding their his and her vow booklets before the wedding ceremony bride and groom first look on their charlottesville wedding day bride and groom walking through the vineyard during their charlottesville wedding day bride and groom holding each other close and laughing together on their Charlottesville wedding day bride and groom sharing a kiss with the mountains and vineyard behind them on their wedding day in Charlottesville, VA

The Most Wedding Dates

Adam & Anne | Montfair Resort Farm

Third wedding date’s the charm! Adam and Anne are another one of my carry over couples who had to endure multiple rescheduling. They knew that after years of dating they did not want to wait any long to be officially husband and wife. They opted for a small private ceremony on their original date. PLUS a ceremony via Skype so their extended family could join in the celebration. When if finally came time for their “official” Wedding, they had the best time getting fully dressed up and showering each other with little surprises throughout the day! 

Most Personalize Wedding Destination

Anne Russel & Ben | Thornton New Hampshire

Ben and Anne Russell  have moved all over the country with their shared love of the outdoors, and traveling with their adorable pups. When it was finally time to say their vows, they knew they wanted to honor that spirit, and choose Ben’s incredible family property, tucked in the mountains in Thornton, New Hampshire. This homestead featured, gardens, greenhouses, chickens, goats, and a few bears… which luckily didn’t make any wedding day appearances. There were so many special touches to this intimate wedding, like getting married in the same orchard as Ben’s parents from 30 years earlier. All of their friends and family traveled to this magical destination and were able to spend a weekend sharing personal stories and confirmation of just how well matched this couple is! 

Longest Distance Engagement

Natalie & Josh  | Keswick Vineyard

It’s not very common to get a wedding inquiry a few months before the date.  But when Natalie & Josh inquired to finalize their last minute wedding celebration before moving to Germany, I just know I had to work with them! This couple planned their entire wedding via handwritten letters and email while Josh was finishing Army Ranger school. With this couples crazy travel schedule and last minute prep before moving across the world, we weren’t able to meet until 72 hours before their wedding day! We found an instant friendship and one of my most treasured weddings of the whole year! 

wedding ring in jewelry box on top of a handwritten letter bride and groom share an intimate first look together before their wedding ceremony bride and groom share an intimate first look together before their wedding ceremony groom kissing brides forehead before their wedding ceremony at keswick vineyards bride and groom leaving the ceremony after they are officially married

Most Furry Friends Present

Brittany & Bryan | Family Farm

From the first time I chatted with Brittany, I knew that her love of rescue animals would be a feature of their wedding day! Over the years they have created a love filled farm with their horses, donkeys, chickens, piglets, dogs, and are constantly open to adding to the pack! Their wedding day was filled with family, and friends who have been along side to celebrate their relationship. And of course a few cameos from their furry family! 

Best Getaway Car

Kathleen & George | Early Mountain Vineyard 

Kathleen & George looked like royalty all day! Their detail filled wedding made for the most stunning event. Plus the high energy couple, and their squad of friends were up for making hilarious memories all day! One of the highlights was the Vintage Jaguar they were able to utilize as a focal point for portraits! We got plenty of epic shots as George rode into the ceremony entrance, as well as sunset portraits overlooking the vineyard. I’m so thankful their Fall wedding day came together perfectly for these two! 

Best Dance Moves

Kaitlyn & Dylan| Shenandoah Valley Golf Club

After photographing Kaitlyn and Dylans mountaintop engagement session, I knew that these two would be pro’s in front of the camera. They were perfectly posed and fully in love with every direction I gave, so I had no worries about how this would come through on their wedding day. What shocked me the most was seeing this reserved couple come to life on the dance floor. After their beautiful ceremony concluded and the dinner and speeches ended, this bride and groom joined their guests for an evening of true celebration. Their dance floor was packed for hours, with the best throwback chants, dance-off circles, and even a few backflips. I’m so thankful I was there to witness the action. 

Most Fit Bridal Party

Mikayla & Tyler | Mt. Ida Farm

From the first time I met this couple I knew we would be fast friends! Their spunky energy and love story was inspiring! Following Mikayla on social media since their engagement I knew she was an amazing Crossfit athlete. What I didn’t know was just how many of their wedding party and guests would be just as strong. Mikayla’s dress fit her like a glove and these two were overflowing with joy to finally be husband and wife! 

Best Double Wedding Dates

Stephanie & Jason | King Family Vineyard

I can’t believe I got to celebrate two wedding dates with one of the most gracious and laid back couples! Stephanie and Jason’s original wedding ceremony featured less than 20 people, but was just a meaningful and joy filled, despite the chilly March ceremony we were able to squeeze in so many amazing portraits for the first half of the celebration. They opted to postpone their full reception for later in the Fall when they could safely gather all of their friends and family. When the day finally came it was like no time had passed. They were able to reuse all of their original decor, outfits, and simple picked up where they left off with a full wedding party group, and an amazing night of dinner, dancing and speeches! 

Most Custom First Looks! 

Katie & Kelsey | Countyline Vineyard & Venue

I was lucky enough to meet this couple in 2020, when I photographed Katie’s sisters wedding. When they got engaged the following year I was so excited to be part of another Duncan family wedding! Katie and Kelsey are known for their athletic style and opted for custom nike tennis shoes to go under their dress. Getting to see them glammed up was a fun treat for all of their family! With a bit of shuffling in the getting ready suite, they were able to do two separate Father-Daughter first looks that were emotional for everyone involved! These two brides kept their dress picks a surprise for each other and after spending the morning getting ready together they wanted to make the big reveal as special as possible. They had an amazing private first look before sharing their personalized vows with each other! 

Most Elegant Wedding Details

Tara & Baber | Keswick Vineyard

When I first met Tara and Baber the year before for their engagement session, they were like most couples, timid about getting their photos taken for the first time. But when it came to their wedding and they slipped into the role of bride and Groom their simple, elegant, and stunning wedding details took their portraits to the next level. The streamline black mens tuxedos and long sleeve gown paired perfectly with their Fall florals and olive green bridesmaid dresses. I find a new favorite every time I relive their wedding photos!

Most Epic Sunset

Ashley & Brian | Keswick Vineyard 

After stalking the weather radars all day, we were ecstatic to get Ashley and Brians ceremony in without any rain showers! Their love of the vineyards and secluded scenery at Keswick Vineyard was a focal point of the day. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes before the sun had set that the golden hour glow finally peeked out! We had technically already finished all of the bride and groom portraits for the day, while Ashley and Brian were enjoying cocktail hour. As soon as the sun made its first appearance of the day, Ashley and I locked eyes and said “we have to do more” OBVIOUSLY I was on board. Those last 10 minutes of sunlight were my favorites of the entire day! 

DIY Decor Champions

Zarah & Kyle | Montfair Resort Farm

I had seen a few peeks at the thrifting Zarah had been doing for months on Instagram leading up to their wedding. The mix of fall color pops, textures and decor displays came together beautifully for their wedding day! When it came time to assemble all of the details, Zarah had organized an entire Uhal truck of goodies and an layout plan for their amazing planner with Mary Elizabeth Events to bring to life. The bold orange was a common theme of the day and was such a welcomed addition with the dark overcast skies!


Most HDP Couples in One Place

Caylee & Blake | Virginia War Memorial Richmond

When I first connected with Caylee and Blake we quickly realized that we had so many mutual friend connections! When I moved to Richmond I knew that I wanted to become real life friends! Over the past few months I’ve gotten to connect with their family multiple times for other photoshoots and even booked at 2023 wedding with Caylee’s younger sister. PLUS by a chance of fate I became friends with another Richmond couple through intramural Kickball, who booked me for their 2022 wedding, and OF COURSE is also family friends with Caylee & Blake. So when it came time for their wedding day I felt way more like a guest than a vendor, with all of the familiar faces and was able to enjoy the dance floor in-between epic photos with 3 amazing HDP couples! 

Coldest Wedding Day

Leigh & Andrew  |  King Family Vineyard 

When it finally came time for Leigh and Andrew’s Fall wedding day, a cold front had swept through Virginia. Which made the mountain surrounded venue at King Family a chilly 40 degrees with wind gusts flowing all day! Despite the less than ideal temperatures, the bright sun and excitement for the day kept this couple smiling the whole time! We even found some creative ways to keep Leigh’s long flowing veil in place during the ceremony. They powered through their beautiful outdoor ceremony and took a few minutes inside to warm up before sneaking back out for some amazing sunset portraits! 


Most Non-Traditional Reception

Caroline & Charlie | Westover at Maymont 

Caroline and Charlie were one of the sweetest and most welcoming couples. They knew that they wanted to keep their wedding celebration more intimate and found the perfect space to allow for an all inclusive ceremony space and reception. Instead of a traditional sit down dinner, their venue allowed for them to utilize each room for different activities. With a buffet station in one and passed horsd’oeuvres flowing all night. One room was the perfect bar set up, as well as a cozy fireplace, sitting area, and open dance floor at the bottom floor. You could even sneak out under the bistro lights for some time outside by the fire pit. I loved getting to explore this venue and spend the day with this amazing couple for my final wedding of 2021!

If you need another full dose of fun couples, check out last years 2020 wedding round up HERE! 

Best of Weddings | 2021 Superlatives | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Dec 29, 2021

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I'm Heather, a Wedding & Brand Photographer serving Central Virginia & Beyond! I love sharing beautiful love stories, inspiring wedding details, and practical tips for a stress free wedding!

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