November 2009

Our last wedding anniversary of the year is for our dear friends Shawn and Mary! They’re celebrating at their home in Cape Cod, and it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already since we shot their wedding celebration at William & Mary’s Wren Chapel and Williamsburg Winery. We recently chatted and asked them about the images that mean the most to them from their wedding, and this is what they had to say. First, Shawn’s picks:

I love this picture of Mary. It’s hard to put into words what it makes me feel. I just love how she can look gorgeous, dignified, and regal all at once. She just looks so beautiful.

Our first kiss. We were up in front of everyone and the center of attention but I felt felt like we were the only people in the world at that moment. All the anticipation leading up to that moment was now in the past and the only thing left was to enjoy!

Mary’s picks:

Of course all photos capture a moment in time, but this one makes that notion ever present, which I love. I look at it and see Shawn’s enduring calm and sweetness and wonder what he was thinking just then – at 3:12 p.m.

Okay. First of all: My husband is H.O.T. So handsome! I love the whole series of photographs taken just before we were to see each other for the first time that day, but I chose this one because it so beautifully captures how stupidly happy we both were. That morning and early afternoon were frenzied on my end, which is often hard from which to recover (can set the tone if you let it), but as soon as I saw Shawn, all that fell away. He moots the point on my head like no other.

Their joint favorites:

Bill and Anne are amazing. We’re not very good at posing for pictures; this was totally organic and we love it.

We love everything about this photograph, not the least of which is its composition. It’s beautiful.

Candid again. A private moment in the wine cellar just prior to joining the party upstairs. How happy we were for this stolen moment! Shawn says it just seems to capture who we are together.

Shawn’s grandpa: A man like no other. We’ll always remember him dancing – with a line of ladies waiting their turn.

As a personal note, Anne and I both have photos taken at weddings by professional photographers of our moms before their passing, and these images remain among our very favorite, so it warms out heart to know that this one photo of Shawn’s grandpa is among their most prized. Shawn’s grandpa had a tough-as-nails, yet gentle presence about him that day. We loved him immediately.


2009 portrait and wedding clients, check your email inbox for details on this weekend’s sale on prints! It’s a great opportunity for gifts for loved ones as well as for yourself. Now through Sunday, for every $100 you spend, we’ll reward you with a $25 coupon that you can use toward any product we offer.

Plus, we’ll custom-wrap all orders and ship them to the recipient if you like. Enjoy, and have fun today picking your prints!

If you haven’t already, you can read part one of Andrew and Julie’s incredible wedding ceremony at the Cathedral. Below, check out this wonderful, incredible evening light! It truly could not have been more beautiful, and we were so lucky to have timed things to allow us to create these portraits for them both.

Take a look at some of the day’s highlights below, then follow this link to view their entire wedding online. The password is Julie’s last name.

One of Bill’s favorite shots that Anne took that day.

And one of Anne’s favorites of Bill’s.

We love this for its Old World-like charm and feel.

The rain left a lot of standing water on the ground, much of which was reflecting the Cathedral in the background.

Julie and Andrew had decided on the historic Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Hall to host their reception, and, as Andrew is a law librarian, it was apropos to have some lucky guests seated among the stacks in the great library.

Andrew and Julie arrived at DAR with just enough time for some quick portraits as the last of the day’s twilight extinguished.

Bill O’Leary, the talented Post photographer who was covering the day’s events for thew newspaper, gets a shot of Julie’s bling, aided by Anne holding the video light. Being documentarians, of course we had to shoot this wild scene.

Their dynamic and exciting first dance. There may have been some good-natured heckling of Andrew’s dancing, for which Julie jumped to his defense.

Julie is also an accomplished baker and decided that another way to personalize their wedding would be to make dessert, which was a big hit with their guests. The morning before their wedding, Julie hosted a frosting party for friends to come over and help top each of the cupcakes. In lieu of bride and groom cake toppers, the couple hid ninjas throughout the cupcake display! The truffles below were also made by Julie, and darned delicious!

Gathering all their guests into the Great Library for toasts and cupcakes, they gathered in one of the ornate hall’s opera boxes (the library was once a performing arts hall) so all their guest had a great view.

This was the first wedding we saw that had its cake feeding narrated by someone, in this case, the incredibly funny Brad who had his own twisted outlook on the happenings going on in front of him. Julie also took the opportunity to do another Holland Photo Arts first…she continuously updated her Facebook page throughout the day, even taking a couple of photos before the ceremony and during the reception with her phone for upload to her page!

This next part is well, not for the faint of heart.

Seriously. You might not want to go any further.

Okay, but you can’t say we didn’t warn you!

It is a tradition among Andrew’s college friends to spend a few minutes at each of their weddings performing “pantless drinking” (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like). The general understanding here is to wear boxers. One of the guys apparently did not get the memo this time. Given this dismaying display, we’re rather glad Andrew was the last of his friends to marry (Brad also had pantless drinking at his and Heather’s wedding, which also included large blond afro wigs as props–one can never have too many, you know). When we showed this next shot to our production assistant, her only words were, “Oh. My.” Something tells me Andrew is thinking something a bit more strongly worded at this moment. I think we can leave it at that.

Andrew’s boxers were adorned with colored flashing LED lights. He would have fit right in on Dancing with the Stars! Sorry, Andrew – Anne just couldn’t resist.

They spent a large part of the evening simply having fun with their friends and family, but of course spent some time together on DAR’s picturesque portico for some dancing before the party ended. Once over, they invited their guests, many of whom were staying at the J.W. Marriott a couple of blocks away, to grab one of the table lanterns and walk with them. We of course tagged along for a bit and loved the reverie they all shared as they strolled across the Ellipse toward the Marriott and their suite.

This is one of our all-time favorite photos that Anne took.

We could not have had more fun, and were absolutely delighted to be a part of your wedding celebration, Julie and Andrew! Thank you so much for having us be a part of your day. We truly look forward to all growing extremely old together!

Once in a while we’re blessed enough to be able to document a wedding incredibly different and unique to a particular couple, as was the case with Julie and Andrew, whose wedding we share in celebration with you today. We had first met Andrew five years ago when he served as Best Man at Heather and Brad’s wedding which we had also shot (and whose adorable little daughter Opal has been the subject of many a fun portrait session since). Coincidentally, Heather and Brad also celebrated their five-year anniversary the night of Julie and Andrew’s wedding, so it was wonderful for us to be able to spend time with both couples. Heather also served as Julie’s hair stylist, and we enjoyed seeing Heather’s creations. She’s done several of our past wedding clients and we always love what she does! As Julie got dressed, she placed a peacock feather, symbolizing her late father and their relationship, just inside her gown so that he could be with her throughout the day.

You may have already read the story in the Washington Post about this couple and their engagement, but suffice to say the National Cathedral played a large part in their courtship and thusly with their wedding celebration. Julie sings with their renowned choir and Andrew has become a docent, so it was a doubly emotional time for them when it came time for their ceremony there. During the majority of the day, the skies opened and rain fell in buckets, but the clouds cleared and sun reappeared at just the right time (right after their ceremony!) for some amazing light–the kind of light photographers dream of. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The couple really wanted to spend time creating some fun and unique portraits around the Cathedral before the ceremony and while the weather inhibited our movements, we were still able to do quite a lot with them, especially at the moment when they first saw each other. True to their uniqueness, Andrew had already seen Julie’s choice of wedding gown, but his gift from her was a new tailored suit for the occasion, which Julie didn’t want to see until the day of the wedding. Their first sight was incredibly emotional, as one would imagine. Julie and her bridesmaids also carried, in lieu of a traditional bouquet, a Spanish fan in a nod to her heritage. First some a couple of beautiful details from around the Cathedral. We could do an album just of those alone!

The beautiful Rose window, a centerpiece of the Cathedral’s architecture.

First sight!

Instead of a bouquet of flowers, Julie carried a Spanish fan!

Which Andrew couldn’t resist playing with. Try and do that with a bouquet! 😉

This was the scene outside moments before the ceremony was to begin.

The National Cathedral remains open to visitors during services, and their wedding was no exception, so tourists watched in delight as Andrew, Brad, Julie, and her bridesmaids marched down the center aisle toward the choir area where the ceremony was to be held. Their guests sat in the choir seats, usually reserved for those singing but because of the wedding’s size they held everything in an area promoting intimacy. Another thing they did that was unique was to return from the high altar to the very middle of the choir pews to exchange rings and vows in a nod to including those they loved the most – all their cherished guests. Because of their involvement with the Cathedral, we were lucky enough to get access to otherwise off-limits places in the altar area where we could shoot and capture their ceremony in all its glory, such as the musician’s gallery high above the altar.

Julie was positively spinning with joy!

This was about the time the sun began to come back out again, and drew the two of them toward the beautiful Rose window like a magnet.

We’re going to continue this incredible wedding shortly with part two, so check back here this afternoon!

Fall in Virginia means beautiful fall foliage and finicky weather, both of which were on display for Allison and Brett’s fantastic wedding celebration, set among the grounds where Alison attended school. Early in the day, we started with Alison’s getting ready at Farmington Country Club with make-up done by the fabulous Jennifer Skriloff, and where Alison donned her gown and gorgeous vintage veil. We all converged at the University of Virginia Chapel where Alison’s longtime pastor from Virginia Beach officiated the pair’s Catholic service. As the mass ended, we were stunned by the beautiful afternoon sunlight streaming through the south stained glass in the chapel as the couple receded outside to greet family and friends.

(Read on to continue with the highlights. To see the entire gallery, click through and enter Alison’s maiden name as the password.)

Everyone had a break after the ceremony so after doing a few portraits on Grounds, the four of us took the opportunity to head up atop Carter Mountain for some incredible views of the Shenandoah Valley among the tree-ripened apples. It was apropos to shoot among the fruit as the couple used an apple theme with their wedding. We got some great portraits of the two of them and headed back down the rocky dirt road toward Farmington, where their reception was soon to be held. Because the weather was rather chilly, cocktails were served indoors in the elegant Peacock Alley, but the fall foliage was so beautiful we suggested the family members head outside for brief portraits among the orange- and yellow-colored leaves. Just beforehand, Alison’s dad retrieved her dog, Louis the IV, from their house in town, and it was a white blur, bounding across the club’s back lawn toward Alison and Brett. Louis was so excited he left a couple of paw prints on Brett’s tux shirt, as if to make his mark, at least temporarily, on the wedding.

Revelers for cocktails in the dining room enjoyed a nice surprise–a large ice sculpture with enormous oysters and flavorful shrimp set out on the multi-tiered lit structure. Everything that evening looked just stunning, thanks in large part to the design talents of Sheila Motley of The Event Company and of course the wonderful Pat and Sherry of Pat’s Floral Designs. The couple also brought in a cigar roller for the occasion, a big hit which prompted several to brave the elements late that evening and enjoy a custom-made cigar on the patio long after the sun had set. It certainly wasn’t a tough call to get on the dance floor until late into the evening, thanks to the expertly-chosen tunes of DJ Bill Gilliam. We were also pleased that evening to work with the easy-going Ian Atkins for video production. At the end, all congregated at the club’s front steps for a spirited sparkler departure for Alison and Brett, who left for the evening in a beautiful vintage car, a nice prelude to their Bora Bora honeymoon to come.

Congratulations, you two! We’re glad the weather held out in all the right places for you, and are thrilled to have documented your wedding for you.

We think you’re going to love Stephanie & Ryan’s from their gorgeous fall day’s celebration and can’t wait to post more! We’ll soon be posting some full blog entries for the past couple of weddings too, so keep your eyes peeled to this space, and enjoy.

Little Ryan (the flower girl) was adorable that day. Here’s she’s reconsidering waking up from her nap.

This cracked us up, given the “assist” by their priest during the unity candle lighting.

Stephanie’s workin’ it at the Jefferson Memorial.

What a cool idea to get members of the wedding party to sign the inaugural whiskey bottle!

First dance at Hotel Monaco.

Cutest. Nephew. Ever. Yes, I just had to say it. But you don’t have to take my word for it, just see for yourself! Bill and I had a wonderful time getting to photograph him recently, and of course his awesome Mom and Dad who are always great sports around our cameras, and can’t believe he’s already a year old.

Loyal readers may remember his 6-month shoot and it’s so cool to see how much he’s grown in such a short amount of time. He could barely sit up on his own before and now he’s walking! He has hair (and had just had his very first haircut a few days earlier!), loves clapping and look at those teeth! He’s a little boy now, compared with being a baby and it’s delightful to see his personality emerging.

“Pre-Photo Shoot” ;-D



It was a beautiful, chilly day so we decided to head over to Belle Haven park besides the water in Alexandria for some great Fall color.



If there’s one thing for certain, little ones *love* to grab at the big, black lens.


Contrast the lens-grabbing with the session from six months ago:


Back to one year…Gilly? Gilly? Gilly!



No, the biker did not run over him.


Uncle Bill blowing wishes makes it all better, though.


Well, it does look like a lollipop!





One of my all-time faves for sure. He’s going to love this one when he gets older. Okay, maybe not at 15. 😉


Showing us his hands (and his belly button? 😉





Thank you, Andy, Jen & Bobby for such a fabulous day! We can’t think of a better way to spend a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Love you guys!

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