August 2008


Okay, so have we mentioned just how cool it is to see past wedding clients with their children? We documented Anne & Todd’s wedding back in fall of 2003 in Lynchburg, and even after they moved to Atlanta, Anne returned to Virginia with their toddler Grady to see family and of course get in a portrait session while he’s still just crawling. We met on the grounds of the University of Virginia and wandered around the historic parts of the school, looking for and finding great light and of course, great architecture. Grady couldn’t have been more curious, and happy to explore his environment and everything in it. He was such a delight (except for this one moment below where perhaps he wasn’t as happy) and generally content to just hang out and play with his toy and make googly eyes at his mom and grandma. It was wonderful, and I was glad to see them. Thanks, Anne, for making the trek! It was great seeing you again.

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If there was a dancing crowd to beat all dancing crowds at a wedding this year, it would be the families and good friends of Allison and Chas, who enjoyed a wonderful ceremony at Chas’s family church in Vienna, Virginia. They started out the afternoon on this typically hot Virginia day seeing each other privately in a local park across the street of the church, and taking care of most of their family portraits ahead of the ceremony. During the ceremony, their pastor spoke of the commitments they had made to each other and those commitments their friends and families make by being there for them. They were also lucky enough to have Allison’s friend Mary Lorraine, a talented soloist, sing during the ceremony while their parents looked on with a mix of love and pride for their kids.

Once they finished an excited receiving line, we all took off toward Westwood Country Club just down the street for a few short portraits on the golf course before they joined their cocktail hour as the sun was beginning to set that evening. They were announced into the beautiful ballroom with floral displays by Barbara of Growing Wild, a florist with whom we’ve worked since we got started many years ago. During the announcements, each of their wedding party and eventually Allison and Chas ran a gauntlet of bridesmaids and groomsmen, with alternate hi- and low-fives along the way. It was pretty exciting and got everyone up on their feet to witness it.

Allison’s parents welcomed their guests with a heartfelt, touching and, at times, tearful toast that had everyone riveted, followed by a very lighthearted turn with a song written by Chas’s dad and performed by the soloist and bridesmaids, entitled “Born in a Chevrolet” set to the melody of “Born in the USA”. Again, everyone cheered and loved every minute of it. It set the tone that evening for the dancing, the likes of which we haven’t ever seen. These folks were high-energy and wanted to get down and get groovy. In fact, for the tunes that DJ Derik Romanoff (one of our all-time faves) kept on the turntable, the party kept being extended by another hour here, half-hour there, then another hour, etc. until they could simply dance and celebrate no more. What a party! We so enjoyed ourselves that day and were thrilled to be a part of their wedding. Thank you, Allison and Chas, for having us out!

And of course, some kickin’ details…

On a very pleasant afternoon recently (pleasant Virginia afternoons in August can be hard to come by!), I was up in Vienna and got together with Andrew Martin and his family for a quick family portrait at the beautiful Meadowlark Gardens. His sister Kat was in town from her home in the Caribbean, and they wanted to have a portrait made while all the kids were in town. Of course I was more than happy to oblige. They were a wonderful and fun-loving family and I enjoyed the brief time we had together! Here are a couple of frames from the session.

Thank you, all, for the time that day! It was a lot of fun meeting you all.

Can we be any happier that our clients provide the greatest moments and most exquisite details for us to photograph? I think not! We entered several of our favorite images taken over the past few months to the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers‘s quarterly contest, and came back with some big wins, and the Photographer of the Quarter designation thanks in part to all of you! As for those clients whose wedding is coming up soon, all we can do is congratulate you on your good taste 😉 and say that we can’t wait to document your wedding! Below are all the images that placed, grouped by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, then honorable mentions.

1st place for Anne, Emotional Impact category – Martha & Steve’s wedding

1st place for Bill, Humor category – Marcie & Garrett’s wedding

1st place for Anne, Cake, Food & Drink category – Emily & Rob’s wedding

1st place for BIll, Framing the Subject category, Katharine & Saad’s wedding

1st place for Anne, Reception (not dancing) category – Lindsay & Josh’s wedding

1st place for Bill, Details category – Amanda & BJ’s wedding

2nd place for Anne, Family Love category – Kelly & Pete’s wedding

2nd place for Bill, Bride and Groom Portrait category – Rebecca & Chris’s wedding

2nd place for Anne, Decisive Moment category – Elena & Mike’s wedding

2nd place for Bill, Wedding Party Portrait category – Elena & Mike’s wedding

2nd place for Anne, Reception (not dancing) category – Marcie & Garrett’s wedding

2nd place for Bill, Framing the Subject category – Elena & Mike’s wedding

2nd place for Anne, Cake, Food & Drink category – Kelly & Pete’s wedding

2nd place for Anne, All About Light category – Martha & Steve’s wedding

3rd place for Bill, Family Love category – Elizabeth & Jerry’s wedding

3rd place for Bill, Cake, Food & Drink category – Sara & Nadim’s wedding

3rd place for Anne, First Dance category – Kelly & Pete’s wedding

3rd place for Bill, Reception (dancing) category – Sara & Nadim’s wedding

3rd place for Bill, Bridal Portrait category – Lily & Dan’s wedding

3rd place for Bill, All About Light category – Katharine & Saad’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Getting Ready category – Emily & Stanton’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Ceremony category – Sara & Nadim’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Motion & Movement category – Carry & Ryan’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, First Dance category – Emily & Stanton’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Emotional Impact category – Emily & Stanton’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Family Love category – Tessie & Matt’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Emotional Impact category – Katharine & Saad’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Decisive Moment category – Annalise & Ben’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Decisive Moment category – Elisabeth & Ben’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Humor category – Marcie & Garrett’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Decisive Moment category – Rebecca & Chris’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Family Love category – Jessica & Matt’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Bride and Groom Portrait category – Rebecca & Chris’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Bride and Groom Portrait category – Martha & Steve’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, All About Light category – Carrie & Ryan’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Details category – Carrie & Ryan’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Details category – Martha & Steve’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Details category – Sara & Nadim’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Details category – Emily & Stanton’s wedding

Honorable mention for Bill, Details category – Carrie & Ryan’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Details category – Tessie & Matt’s wedding

Honorable mention for Anne, Details category – Tessie & Matt’s wedding

Whew!

Congratulations to Marsha & Charles, who enjoyed a beautiful summer day’s celebration outside at Boars Head Inn here in Charlottesville. While many wedding parties are comprised of relatives and close friends, this one had only kids, specifically their nieces and nephews who offered sincere assistance and a good bit of entertainment while the two put on the finishing touches to their wedding garb. Just outside, their guests enjoyed poolside cocktails adjacent to the hill where the ceremony would soon take place and enjoyed a brief respite from the summer air. Earlier in the day, in fact, the kids were all invited to splash around and stay cool around lunchtime while the adults enjoyed spa treatments and casual conversation. Not a bad way to start a wedding day at all.

When it was time for the ceremony, a horse and carriage sequentially carried both wedding parties down the hill overlooking the lake and stood waiting until afterwards for the ride back with the bride and groom’s parents accompanying them. During the ceremony, we will occasionally see talented vocalists offer a solo performance, but this is the first time we witnessed a young girl do so. Hannah, Marsha’s niece, sang all verses of “There is Love”. We’d be willing to bet there wasn’t a dry eye among the guests after her beautiful performance.

After the ceremony, there were more casual cocktails for everyone back around the pool before dinner. Dinner was, as usual, delicious as the inn is a great place not just to stay but to dine. One of the local jazz ensembles entertained everyone while adults shared stories and the kids returned to their swim suits and jumped back into the pool. After well-prepared toasts by the young Sarah and George, Marsha & Charles enjoyed a first dance together before cutting the cake. Their cake topper had another first for us…a bride and groom with cell phones stuck to their heads. As they are both busy business owners, it certainly seemed fitting! As the evening wound down, we all enjoyed the cool night air and the avid golfing couple got ready to depart for Scotland with their clubs for a couple of weeks’ rest and relaxation among some of the most picturesque golf courses in the world. Congratulations both of you, and thank you so much for having us out to document your wedding!

And of course, some detail miniatures for inspriation:

I was given the most amazing opportunity when a talented local architect, Candace Smith, who had worked with us before on our home renovation, called to inquire about documenting a memorial service her family was planning for their parents at Arlington National Cemetery. Their parents had passed some months prior and it was an opportunity for the entire family to get together again and honor their parents. Her dad was an Army officer who served during wartime and was eligible for burial at Arlington.

Candy had wanted some family portraits that day as well, so we got together early on grounds to do those before the officer in charge of the processional ushered her and her family to the processional spot. A military band and color guard stood waiting to transfer the cremated remains of her father to a casson for the last trip to the burial site.

By the conclusion of the ceremony, my eyes had welled up with tears partially because of the incredible emotion of the service itself and partially because as a veteran myself, this brings home my own memories of friends who have passed (as well as those I never had a chance to meet) and were rendered military honors. It was an incredible experience and one I was lucky to have. So thank you, Candy, for calling and asking for this. It meant all the world to me to document this special part of your family history.

One thing we’ve noticed after wrapping up the last of the three Watch Me Grow sessions is that the series seems to be over too quickly. We recommend the last session usually be around the time a client’s baby is walking without assistance, which makes sense, but a year goes by awfully quick. Such was the case with Rebecca & Erik, clients whose wedding was in 2005 and who have had me over to document Grace’s first year of life at their cabin. I’ve been able to watch not only Grace grow, but the addition they made to the cabin to support their growing family. It’s been a fun ride, and each time I came over I was increasingly happy to be there. That personal connection you get with a client that grows stronger with time is an intangible benefit of our careers, and is something for which we’re very grateful.

We made sure while there to do some family portraits of everyone outside, but since it was a bit humid, we decided playtime would best be spent inside, where there was air conditioning. So that’s where we went, including Opie the family dog. Grace is the kind of child who is content to occupy her own time without much other human interaction, but if you add mom or dad to the mix then it’s easy to see her eyes light up and playtime really begin.  It was a great session and I look forward to watching their family change and grow in the coming years.

We tried to get Opie the dog in a few family portraits, but this is about as still (for mere milliseconds) as he could contain himself, he was so happy to just be hanging out with us all. But I think he looks pretty good here.

Hey, I recognize those people!

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