The theme of 2023 weddings was “expect the unexpected”. TRULY these weddings were filled with new traditions, epic reception celebrations, constantly changing weather and oh so many wedding details that were brand new to me. Which is wildly impressive after photographing over 100 weddings. This year brought destination wedding couples from all over the country dreaming of the Virginia scenery. I loved exploring a few new Richmond Wedding Venue’s close to home. Each couple put their unique spin on their special day and I can’t wait to share so many unseen photos! Before we dive in, here’s the year in numbers review:
64 galleries delivered, 15 Wedding Days, 46 Engagement & Milestone portrait sessions, 14 branding sessions, 4,783 miles driven to photoshoots, and countless images shot. Seriously ain’t nobody have time to calculate that. Choosing favorites to share almost impossible, so I love this mini trip down memory lane with fun superlatives to highlight the couples from this year!
Most Vibrant Spring Colors: Jenn & Tate:
Venue: Keswick Vineyard | Coordinator: Details & Lace | Video: Joe Hutzler Media | H&MU: A More Beautiful You | Catering: Pumpernickel Pickle
I’ve gotten to photograph 13 couples at this stunning venue in my wedding career and Keswick Vineyard never disappoints. But I’ve never been on the property during the peak spring blooming season! These natural colors gave the most vibrate warmth to Jenn & Tate’s wedding day. Their dusty blue and neutral color palette was the perfect compliment to the background colors. Jenn & Tate shared a private first look to read their vows together before the ceremony and I could have taken all of their portraits in front of the blooming bush!
Flower Dogs of the Year: Meredith & Chris
Venue: The Market at Grelen | Florist: Verde Florals | Planning: Hannah Rose Design | H&MU: Posh Bridal |
Meredith & Chris had the most lovely, lavender filled wedding Charlottesville mountains. The Market at Grelen features an array of greenhouses, rolling hills, and vibrant colors around every turn.When it was time for their first look, Meredith and Chris were adorable at complimenting each others outfits and sharing their excitement for the day. With all of the morning portraits we even stole a few moments with their adorable fur babies! They’re springer spaniel pups, were the sweetest flower dogs, stealing pets from all of their guests as they made their way down the aisle! This pet loving couple couldn’t forget to highlight their other fur baby during the big day and Meredith even passed on official adoption papers for their cat to her new husband!
Longest Reigning Relationship: Lisa & Kevin:
Venue: King Family Vineyard | Planner: Details & Lace | Florals: Meadow Wood Farm | Beauty: Locks & Lashes | Catering: The Local
This wedding day was an explosion of joy and color! I adored getting to hear the background stories of this decade long love story. Lisa and Kevin had the sweetest first look with the Crozet mountains in the background. With one of their best friends officiating their ceremony they had a wedding day filled with personal touches and hilarious speeches, with Lisa’s dad even passing the torch with his down his hand drawn coupon book from her childhood (cue the tears). Y’all have to see the incredible florals that made their wedding day come life!
Most Unique Reception Events: Julia & Joe
Venue: Keswick Vineyard | Coordination: Boundless Love Events | Catering: Pumpernickel pickle | Florals: Gregory Britt Design | Hair: Captivating Complexion | Makeup: Flawless On Site Madison | Video: Joe Hutzler Media
From the first time I met Julia & Joe, and their adorable daughter Hadleigh, I knew their wedding day would be full of energy! They didn’t disappoint, with some of the most unique reception events and personal touches to fit their personality. Staring off with an Expresso Martini bar and everyones favorite late night snacks that were crowd favorites. PLUS they ICED their wedding party with Smirnoff as soon as they arrived on the dance floor. Other fun features included Julia’s custom embroidered jacket and epic t-shirt toss! My personal favorite that had all of the guests holding back tears. Julia and Joe choose to honor all of the parents during their special dances by bringing up any mother son or father daughter duos in attendance to join them!
Most Secluded Wedding Venue: Cayla & Jack:
Venue: Mountain & Vine (previously Delfosse Vineyard)| Planner: Mary Elizabeth Events | Catering: The Catering Outfit | DJ: King Studios | Florist: Bloom Room | H&MU: Brooke Gildner | Cake: Carpe Donut
This was my second time photographing a wedding at Delfosse vineyard. It always takes my breath away, driving the long country gravel road to arrive at the stunning vineyard cut into the mountain side! The challenging of this venue with no cell phone reception and steep hills throughout the properties, are certainly outweighed by its beauty. Delfosse brought back memories for Cayla & Jack of falling in love in Blacksburg, VA. The perfect mountain privacy for their celebration! Cayla and Jack have the most calming energy and were truly unphased by the changing plans, and looming rain showers while we tried to squeeze in all of their pre-ceremony portraits.
Most Adventurous Sunset Portraits: Emma & Jacob
Venue: Castle Hill | Coordinator + Florist: Laura Blair Hayden | H&MU: Shear Innovations, Jordan Simpson | Catering: L’Etoile | Dress: The One Bridal Salon |
The one thing I know for certain about Virginia weddings and no weather forecast is 100%. All day we were battling passing thunderstorms trying with capturing the natural beauty of Castle hill and shifting timelines to accommodate the passing rain clouds. Luckily we had the perfect window for Emma & Jacobs outdoor ceremony, but I knew we hadn’t gotten any portraits with the Mountain Views beyond the venue! After hours of stalking the radar, we had a 20 minute window before the sunset, this was our only chance! We hesitantly ventured into the open field that was seeped in mud from the downpour during cocktail hour and Jacob and Emma didn’t miss a beat! Thank goodness we carried umbrellas just in case, since after only 5 minutes the fog and clouds rolled in to storm again! We documented the final few portraits under romantic rain cover, running back inside to join their reception for an epic first dance which just so happened to be by candle light when the power temporarily kicked off! Seeing the joy and spontaneous laughter from these two are some of my favorite images from the day!
Most Personal Wedding Vows: Andrea & Hunter:
Venue: Market at Grelen | Planning: Something Blue Events | Video: Bravo Film House | Beauty: Envy Hair & Lashes, Captivating Complexion | Florist: Tupelo Floral co | Catering: Serendipity Catering
Going into Andrea and Hunters wedding I knew it would be filled with tradition and southern charm. Getting to witness their intimate first touch, with such intention and deep promises in their hand written vows was a true honor. They prayed over each other and their future family, and all of the tiny moments that led them to find each other. We were so lucky to squeeze in all of their pre-ceremony photos before a summer storm pushed the ceremony inside. Unfazed by the location adjustments, these two were giddy to explore the property for golden hour when the storms finally passed and OH BOY was it worth it! After all of the romance and happy tears passed, the celebration on the reception dance was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed!
Most Figher Fighters at One Wedding: Danielle & Sean
Venue: Dover Hall | Planning: Lane Stewart Events | Florals: Petal & Twig | Beauty: Captivating Complexion & Grace Salon | Entertainment: DJ Malcolm Epps | Officiant: Christine Haines Greenberg
Danielle & Seans wedding day was filled with their lively friend group, carefully planned details. Every thoughtful touch to honor their relationship and special features to surprise their guests. Not the mentioned their dance floor NEVER had a quiet moment. They even had a grand entrance walk out song for every member of their wedding party. This Firefighter filled wedding party meant Seans groomsmen knew how to have a good time and get shit done! Leading to some hilarious photos!
Most HDP Couples at One Wedding: Courtney & Josh
Venue: Trinity Episcopal Church | Coordination: Dawn to Dusk events | Catering: Serendipity | Florals: CS Farmstead | Beauty: Georgetown Bride
Truly one of my favorite weddings of the year getting to explore a brand new venue! The mix of colors, textures and welcoming spirit of Courtney & Josh made the day perfect. Going on year 6 as a wedding photographer means that I have the amazing pleasure of referrals from past couples where their group of friends books me for their wedding years later. This number seems to grow every year and Courtney & Josh’s big day was the peak with 4 HDP couples all in one place! When the crazy weather kicked in during the ceremony, we had to get extra creative with portrait locations! Having that squad of HDP couples support and help navigating clearing out guests or organizing group photos made the experience so much less stressful! When the storm cleared for a final few foggy sunset portraits OH it’s magic!
Most Personal Wedding Venue: Elizabeth & Peter
Venue: Crozet Family Farm | Planning: Little Acorn Events | Catering: Fried Rice Collective | Beauty: Radiant Reflection | Florals: Foxtail Cottage | Dress: Pronovias (The One Bridal Salon)
These two took “backyard wedding” to a whole new level. Elizabeth & Peter were able to create a sophisticated elegant and thoughtful wedding day transporting their family property in Crozet Virginia. Driving up the country road to see the spacious white sailcloth tent surrounded by the mountains was breathtaking. With simple pops of white and green, they focused on celebrating with their favorite people. We packed the morning with pre-ceremony portraits to leave the evening free for endless champagne sabering! Plus open seating and gourmet food stations that kept their guests mingling, eating and dancing all night long!
Most Welcoming Wedding Couple: Margaret & Adam
Venue: Upper Shirley | Planning: Greenery & Grace | Florist: Fleuressence Floral Design | Beauty: FBJ Weddings Dress: Monique Lhuillier Bride Stationery: Merry Maker Fine Paper
Margaret & Adam have this instant welcoming presence, the type of genuine and thoughtful spirit of friendship and curiosity giving everyone their full attention when they speak to you. I picked up on this beautiful quality when we first at their Georgetown engagement session. Wedding day, they were constantly mingling with their guests to make sure they had quality time, and would sneak away to the dance floor for a few songs to battle it out with their flashing props and live band. This destination couple had so many out of town travelers and gifted rivaling stationary and koozies from Texas and Virginia. This was my first time photographing a wedding at Upper Shirley and I was hooked, with the spacious grounds, ceremony overlooking the ceremony, bright white naturally lit reception, and plenty of covered porches, what a dream!
Most Vibrant Wedding Party: Jordyn & Jared
Venue: Keswick Vineyard | Catering: Pumpernickel Pickle | Florist: Colonial Florist | Beauty: The Veil Bridal Co | Drone: Joe Hutzler Media
The most perfect Fall wedding at Keswick vineyard. Of course filled with changing leaves and amber velvet bridesmaid dresses. The pops of orange and red through the lush green property were only some of the vibrance on display. Jordyn and Jared had one of my favorite wedding parties from the whole year. They never hesitated to jump in for a lively photo or pass out props on the dance floor. Even their fur-baby got in on the action. With two very excited first looks with his humans and getting to be the perfect flower dog walking down the aisle. When we snuck back for the final sunset photos of the day the epic golden hour glow was showing off with their all white attire!
On the Spot Alteration Queen: Kylie & Sean
Venue: Cumberland Estate | Planner: CCS Events | Entertainment: Sam Hill | Florist: VCS | H&MU: Amanda Perry | Catering: Mosaic Catering
I still can’t believe I took scissors to my brides dress the morning of her wedding! Let’s back up that story… Kylie & Sean were one of my out of town couples who brought a little Texas flare to the Cumberland Estate venue. I knew their wedding day would feature a smaller guest list and some fun and personal first looks with their family. Since their wedding morning was my first time meeting them, I was trying to get to know their personalities on the fly! I could tell instantly that Kylie was go with the flow but a beautiful eye for detail. She mentioned the original dress she bought was a ball gown style, but altered to make it less full and more of an A-line style. As I helped get Kylie ready she still didn’t love the way the way her dress was fitting so (with her full blessing) I started cutting! We removed the entire underneath panel of the skirt and voila!! She was so excited to show off her remodeled dress all day with the flowing fabric and despite the gloomy Fall weather. Kylie and Sean had the brightest wedding celebration!
Most Custom Wedding Details: Payton & Peter:
Venue: Keswick Vineyard | Florals: Colonial Florist | Catering: Exchange Events | Beauty: Lou Stevens | Dress: Grace Loves Lace | Video: Priceless Productions | Guestbook: After the Tone
I’ve known these two for a few years! After photographing Paytons sisters wedding plus dental school grad pics, engagement and now wedding. I know they would go all out on fashion and glam, but was blown away by the beautiful personal touches they included throughout their big day. Starting with the cocktail napkins featuring hand written love notes from throughout their relationship. They even laid out sentimental memorable from love ones who had passed to reserve their ceremony seats. The cutest answering machine guest book (After the tone) to be able to record their guests well wishes with their real voice! NOW onto the reception where things got even more fun! Including the massive group photo on the dance floor, playing a round of thunderdrunk, and cereal late night snack! Plus the sweetest moment where Payton snuck away with her mom to share a private sentimental dance!
Most Colorful Fall Wedding: Jennifer & Andy
Venue: Upper Shirley Vineyard | Planning: Greenery & Grace | Florals: Fleuressence Floral Design | Video: Folks Film Productions | Dress: Carol Hannah | Beauty: fbjweddings
The peak of fall foliage came together perfectly with Jenn & Andy’s vision! With the pops of red, orange and yellow throughout their florals and signage the stunning backdrop at Upper Shirley was showing off. The groomsmen were rocking textured tweed jackets that added an extra flair to the fall vibe, despite the unseasonably warm October temperature. Every detail of this wedding was carefully planned and decorated. From the matching invitation set to compliment their abstract shaped signage. Plus the floral archway of my dreams!
What an honor to be able to document so many intimate moment and wedding celebrations full of love this year! I am always amazed just how many unique and personal touches these couples add to their wedding day. This year was even more special, being engaged myself, every wedding was even more emotional and fun trying to plan the details for my own wedding weekend. PLUS getting to work along side my other half, Joe Hutzler as a second shooter and videographer made this year even more sweet.
Best of Weddings 2023 Superlatives | Virginia Wedding Photographer
Jan 10, 2024