Matthew Thwing Photography: Blog en-us (C) Matthew Thwing Photography (Matthew Thwing Photography) Tue, 12 Jun 2018 18:58:00 GMT Tue, 12 Jun 2018 18:58:00 GMT Matthew Thwing Photography: Blog 120 80 5 reasons the Inn at the Old Silk Mill is one of my all time favorite wedding venues There are so many beautiful wedding venues to choose from for your special day.  Ranging from rustic to more urban settings the choice can be overwhelming.  This blog series is designed to help you determine the best choice for you by highlighting some of the venues I love working at and showcasing their features from an artistic yet practical perspective.  


5 reasons why the Inn at the Old Silk Mill is one of my all time favorite wedding venues

Ownership and Staff

Without quality ownership and staff the most beautiful venue in the world would fail.  I can confidently say that the owners of The Inn at the Old Silk Mill and every member of their staff are top notch.  I have been working with them for years not only on wedding days but also as a vendor for their excellent bridal shows.  You would have a difficult time finding a group of people more personable and friendly.  Getting in to the wedding industry can be daunting however I have always been welcomed into the Inn at the Old Silk Mill with open arms. Ed and Anna are easily some of the nicest people in the industry and they set the tone for everyone there.  I always look forward to The Inn at the Old Silk Mill dates on my calendar.

You might be wondering…Why is my experience there as a vendor important to you?  The answer is pretty simple really.  If the folks at the Inn at the Old Silk Mill are so great to work with for me as a vendor, I am confident that as a bride and groom, your experience will be even better!       


I fell in love with the Inn at the Old Silk Mill my first time there.  It was several years ago as a guest at a friends wedding.  I loved the reception space with it’s brick walled backdrop and grand, golden light emitting chandelier above the dance floor. Whenever I’m describing the space I say it reminds me of my perfect Manhattan, city-style loft.  You know, the kind in movies that the super cool, bad boy, cop type movie hero guy puts his car on the elevator and brings up upstairs with him?  Very Steve McQueen-esque.  I’m totally serious, it’s so cool!!.   I love the more urban feel it has combined with it’s classic elegance and unlimited nooks and cranny’s for unique photographs and incredible light.  

Another awesome feature are the seemingly endless spaces available for ceremonies.  You can choose to have your ceremony outdoors in several set ups as well as 2 different indoor spaces.  Each environment has it’s own unique feel and style.  They always do a fantastic job customizing each wedding ceremony and have so many ideas and experience to help make your vision come to life.  

Let’s not forget about the Gone With the Wind style staircase in the front foyer, it’s stunning! It showcase’s today’s modern yet classically inspired bride with perfection. From a photographers point of view it’s a dream.  The light is absolutely stunning in the space.  It’s perfect for bridal portraits, groom portraits, bride and groom portraits and small to medium sized family portrait groups.  There’s a gorgeous golden glow later in the day and the space offers almost limitless opportunity to showcase the most important detail of your day, you!  


Located in Historic Downtown Fredericksburg the Inn at the Old Silk Mill is close to so many of the areas must see destinations for tourism and photos.  The on sight grounds are beautiful offering some of the most unique photo opportunities in town.  The brick exterior of the Silk Mill itself and quaintness of the adjacent Copper Shop are stunning.  You will also see many Inn at the Old Silk Mill weddings featuring the surrounding building scape.  The adjacent buildings offer a beautifully unique and historic backdrop that compliment the scenes of the main grounds very well and offer couples an even more unique touch to their wedding day photos.  

Even after saying all of that, the Inn at the Old Silk Mill is located minutes from the colorful storefronts and classic architecture of Downtown Fredericksburg.  It’s also just across the river from Chatham Manor which is absolutely stunning.  Old Mill Park is just down the street as well should you want a few more open space images for your wedding album and wall décor as well.  

Canvas for creativity

I mentioned the beautiful vintage stairwell earlier but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg for a creatively minded couple.  There are beautiful doorways, framed windows, beveled mirrors and historic decorative pieces throughout.  The Copper Shop is an incredible backdrop for groom and groomsmen photos as well as creating juxtaposition for more typically feminine wedding gowns and the softer side of a bride’s jewelry.  It’s such an eclectic space and should not be overlooked on wedding day.  Across the street is the old power plant.  It’s currently unavailable for photos inside but still provides another unique, urban backdrop to add character to your wedding day portrait portfolio.  Behind it is a great place for sunset photos as well.  

Space for everything

I’ve photographed weddings of every size at the Inn at the Old Silk Mill and all of them have felt perfectly at home in the space.  From more intimate weddings of less than 100 guests to larger weddings of well over 150 guests, the space is perfect.  They are able to tailor it for your specific needs and it’s always beautiful.   Dj set ups, photo booths, bands all have space without taking away from the large dance floor and guest tables.   There are countless ways to set up tables including large round tables to long rectangle configurations.  They all work and allow for your style and taste to come to life.


They’re sparkler exits are second to none!!!  Seriously, they have the sparkler exit down pat!  From best choice of sparklers to coordinating guests and the timely lighting of the sparklers themselves.  The Inn at the Old Silk Mill is an epic setting for the perfect sparkler exit! 

If you haven’t already toured the Inn at the Old Silk Mill I highly recommend you add it to your prospective venue list.  An if you have already booked your wedding there congratulations!  It is absolutely beautiful, you are going to love it!  


If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

Book Matthew Thwing Photography 


(Matthew Thwing Photography) dc wedding photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer inn at the old silk mill richmond wedding photographer va wedding photographer Wed, 23 May 2018 10:30:00 GMT
Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding // Christina + Aaron Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding


I absolutely loved this wedding day!  It was just one of those days when things come easy.  Of course, photographing such a beautiful couple on the best day of their life is always a recipe for success and this day certainly did not disappoint.  This Inn at the Old Silk Mill wedding was gorgeous!


Christina and Aaron exchanged vows at St Mary’s Church in Fredericksburg and then we made our way to Kenmore Plantation for bridal party and bride and groom portraits.  It was such a beautiful day despite a temperature of about 170.  Ok, I’m joking…maybe….  Everyone was a trooper though and the images we came away with were spectacular.  


The only downside of the day came at cake time.  You see, Peggy and I have been participating in a “Biggest Loser” challenge with some of her coworkers which meant I was not able to indulge in what was a beautiful looking cake.  Even worse was at just about 9 or so fresh, homemade, ice cream sandwiches were passed around as a late night snack.  That was just pure torture!   It was also however, a very nice touch.  If I were closer to my fitness goals I surely would have imbibed. 


The perfect day of vows, celebration, tears of joy and laughter was finished off by an awesome sparkler send off as Christina and Aaron darted through the crowd and off to enjoy the rest of their lives together.  



The days exceptional vendor team:

Venue: The Inn at the Old Silk Mill

Wedding Dress: Ava Laurenne Bride

Planning and Design: Bella Giornata Events an Design

Cake: Tiffany's Sweets and Treats

Makeup: BobbyPins and Blush

Dj/Entertainment: Classic Entertainment

Caterer: Country Lane Catering

Second Photographer: Christina Gregory



(Matthew Thwing Photography) fredericksburg engagement photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer inn at the old silk mill wedding virginia wedding photographer Fri, 14 Jul 2017 00:47:40 GMT
Downtown Fredericksburg Engagement Session // Shannon and Will A downtown Fredericksburg engagement session is always a fun, beautiful time.  Shannon and Will were absolutely adorable during their session and had me cracking up so often I had to ask them more than once to do the “cute little thing” they kept doing on their own in between setups and me adjusting their natural pose.  It was really quite incredible to see how cute they were together and how much fun they have with one another. 


We visited a few locations for their session around town but I think my favorite was along the Rappahannock River where we found a cozy little beach area and got some really pretty “stolen moment” images. 


I’m so glad to have been chosen as their wedding photographer and cannot wait to be there as they exchange vows next spring!





If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

Book Matthew Thwing Photography 


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Engagement session engagement photographer engagement photography fredericksburg wedding photographer Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:36:28 GMT
Braehead Manor Wedding // Diane and Danny Braehead Manor Wedding 

Diane and Danny

Fredericksburg, VA


A Braehead Manor wedding is always special for so many reasons.  Not least of which being because it’s the venue Peggy I were married at a few years ago but even more still because of the rich history and simply beautiful grounds.  They chose Camelot Classic cars as their method of transportation in a 1968 Chevelle Convertible on the way to Braehead from St Matthews Church and the Cherry Red Muscle car was honked at and waived from during the entire ride!


Diane and Danny themselves however were far more beautiful than any of their décor or surroundings.  Their excitement, smiles and laughter were incredible and never left their faces all day.  I know all of my couples are so in love and ecstatic on their wedding day but I couldn’t help but be blown away by Diane and Danny.  As their closest family and friends surrounded them the joy was palpable.  


I just loved watching them during their vows, during picture time and especially during their first dance.  They were simply captivated by each other and I’d be surprised if their eyes ever left one another’s gaze.  







The days exceptional vendor team:

Venue: Braehead Manor

Wedding Dress: Ava Laurenne Bride

Kilts: USA Kilts

Coordinator: Deborah Johnson

Transportation: Fredericksburg Limo

Camelot Classic Cars

Cake: The Icing

Makeup: Terri Rinko - Mary Kay 

Caterer: Chef Ryanne Sassano

Cocktail Hour: Mercantile

Bartending Service: Louie's Mobile Mixology

Linens: Fredericksburg Rentals

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas 

Second Photographer: Christina Gregory


If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

Book Matthew Thwing Photography 




(Matthew Thwing Photography) braehead manor wedding charlottesville wedding photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer inn at the old silk mill richmond wedding photographer spring wedding virginia wedding photographer wedding pics Wed, 14 Jun 2017 14:49:19 GMT
Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer // Megan and Jordan // Downtown Engagement Session Megan and Jordan


I was super excited about Megan and Jordan’s downtown Fredericksburg engagement session for a few reasons.  One of the biggest ones was because we planned on stopping by Carl’s Frozen Custard.  Not for a treat, at least for me anyway #fitby40, but for night photos, my favorite! 


We started the session at Old Mill Park and moved downtown near Mary Washington’s House.  Then over to Carl’s to cap things off.  The session went great and Megan and Jordan were perfect.  After their early session nerves subsided and their comfort level grew, the love they feel for each other became transparent.  It’s my favorite part of a session when that happens.  Viewing them from behind the lens I could see it.  It’s almost as if their breath let out and magically they’re at ease with one another just like they would be if I weren’t there with may camera following them around and telling them to kiss every once in a while, lol! 


As they walked around downtown holding hands and telling each other little jokes in between camera clicks their relationship came to life for the camera.  I cannot wait to celebrate their wedding with them this fall and capture even more moments they’ll treasure forever!   










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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Charlottesville wedding photographer Engagement Session Fredericksburg wedding photographer Luray wedding photographer Richmond wedding photographer Wed, 07 Jun 2017 11:16:19 GMT
Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding - Sarah and Chris I’m so excited to share these and Sarah’s photos from her bridal session that I’m having somewhat of a case “bloggers block” thinking of a way to begin this post.  So, I’m just going to dive right in.  This wedding day was awesome!  Looking at the photos I feel the same joy I felt during the day from everyone there.  There was so much sincerity, camaraderie and love (I know that’s cheesy, Chris, but it’s true!) for this couple in celebration of them.


I don’t think anyone stopped smiling the entire day.  Thinking back, all I can remember is everyone laughing and being just so excited for these two.  Even in the 120-degree heat (#exaggerated) the mood of the day was overwhelmingly joy filled. 


Of the many highlights there are two moments that epitomized the mood.  The first is when Sarah’s father took his phone out just after walking her down the isle and began taking selfies.  Below you’ll see the outcome of that hilarious moment. 


The second stand out moment happened when Sarah was lifted up above the crowded dance floor.   This was a “timing is everything” moment as I had stepped away from the action for a second to get a drink of water and saw what was happening from a distance.  I was in the perfect spot to capture it.  The photo is hysterical because one guest must have noticed I wasn’t right in the action as both my second photographer, Chris, and I had been all day.  Her expression is as if to say, “did you get that?”  I sure did! 


Many of these photos have already become favorites of mine.  There is such an incredible warmth and sincerity in them and I hope Chris, Sarah and their family and friends cherish them forever.  


Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Kuper!!!





The days exceptional vendor team:

Venue: The Inn at the Old Silk Mill

Wedding Dress: Something New

Coordinator: Occasions by M&K

Bridal Bouquet: The Floral Palette

Hair: Kristen Stewart Clemons

Makeup: Irina Gerasinova  

Caterer: Country Lane

DJ:  Alexandra Schmidt

Second Photographer: Christina Gregory


If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

Book Matthew Thwing Photography 




(Matthew Thwing Photography) Charlottesville wedding photographer Fredericksburg wedding photographer Inn at the old silk mill Virginia wedding photographer richmond wedding photographer silk mill wedding spring wedding wedding pics Wed, 03 May 2017 15:56:35 GMT
Shenandoah Park Engagement Session // Claudia and Thomas Thomas and Claudia’s engagement session was epic for a lot of reasons.  I always say that engagement sessions themselves are my favorite way to get to know my couples so I look forward to them for more reasons than just photos.  It’s definitely the best way to see how they interact with one another and to help understand my process as well. On wedding day this translates into a much smoother time since they know what to expect and we basically just pick up where we left from the engagement session.  It’s also a great way to help relieve some of the nerves that can be present in front of a camera and I’ve never had a couple say it wasn’t time well spent. 


This session was in a class on it’s own however.  Claudia let me know ahead of time that we were going to be visiting the bridge where Thomas proposed along a trail in Shenandoah National Park.  What an awesome opportunity, I thought to myself. The park is one of my most favorite places on earth so any time I can get out there to shoot I’m game.  What Claudia didn’t tell me, or even realize herself, however, was that the bridge was at least 40,000 miles down the side of the mountain.  Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit.  It was probably 2 and change miles or so.  But, carrying all of my gear on my back certainly made it seem that far, lol! 


The scenery was incredible and the downhill hike seemed to breeze by.  Thomas seemed to float through the woods like the Predator bounding from rock to rock suggesting to Claudia and I where the best foot placement was on the sometimes wet terrain.  Claudia held her own too and I came to find out hiking is a regular thing for them and they visit the trails in Shenandoah fairly often.  Then there was me…  The guy who recently pledged to himself to be “fit by 40” and has been lucky get in the gym or jog a few times a week, carrying 30 pounds of camera gear on his back.   Lets just say I feel lucky to be alive! 


I’ve mentioned a few times that first half of the trip was down the side of the mountain.  Which subsequently meant that the return leg was…up hill!  I know what you’re probably thinking.  This is one of those “both ways to school were uphill, in the snow, barefoot” stories but this is for real.  The entire walk back was uphill, steeply uphill. 


The biggest challenge we had was trying to get back in time to the west facing side of the mountain before it became pitch black outside.  And though I’d have liked to have been able to spend time with the sunset the silhouette images we got were incredible. 


Spending the afternoon with Thomas and Claudia was great and I’m sure we will get awesome photos on their wedding day in December.  I love spending time getting to know my couples regardless of the terrain we face and had a blast trekking through one of the area’s most beautiful settings.  Thank you guys for having me along for a special time!   




If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Engagement session engagement photographer engagement photography fredericksburg wedding photographer luray engagement luray wedding photographer Wed, 12 Apr 2017 17:39:48 GMT
The Osprey's at Belmont Bay Wedding // Paul and Heather Heather and Paul are definitely going down in the books as one of the cutest couples ever!  So much so that their Pastor broke from his planned oratory and asked the audience himself, “aren’t they just the cutest!?!”   It’s not necessarily the type of personality trait you’d expect to see in a Marine but after having photographed a fair number of Marine weddings I can honesty say they have all been some the most genuine people I have ever met.  Heather and Paul are soft spoken, kind and humble.  They are incredibly gentle with each other and make one another’s face light up when they look at each other.  They really are the cutest! 


Their wedding day at The Osprey’s at Belmont Bay was beautiful and close friends and family were in attendance from all over the world to witness and celebrate this awesome couples “I do’s.”  There were as many smiles as there were tears of joy and as many congratulatory hugs as there were laughs during the speeches. 


It was a beautiful day that ended in a bubble send off just before whisking away on their honeymoon to Europe.  Heather and Paul are no strangers to travel and were in Paris in front of Notre Dame when Paul proposed.  Congratulations to this super sweet couple and thank you for selecting Matthew Thwing Photography to capture this incredible day for you!  




The days exceptional vendor team:

Venue: The Osprey's at Belmont Bay

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Caterer: Shawn's BBQ

Second Photographer: Christina Gregory


If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Elegant Wedding Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer Ospreys at Belmont Bay Wedding Richmond Wedding Photographer Virginia Wedding Photographer Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:50:08 GMT
Stevenson Ridge Wedding - Jennifer and Vincent Jennifer and Vincent’s pre spring wedding kicked off my 2017 with a bag!  Their venue choice of Stevenson Ridge provided the perfect backdrop for their big day complete with a rain-enhanced sparkler send off and a beautiful bald eagle fly over.   Jennifer was not to be out done by her surroundings and looked absolutely stunning and Vincent, with studly handsomeness, looked the part as well.  

I got to know Jennifer and Vincent during their engagement session few months ago and it was obvious how head over heals they were for each other.  They both share the same giddiness for one another and you can see by how they look at one another just how excited they are to spend the rest of their lives together.

Their sweet expressions were even more transparent on their wedding day and it was beautiful to watch them get lost in each other as the moments passed. 

The day was tasteful and elegant and down to earth perfectly complementing the style and persona of both bride and groom.  Family and friends traveled from short and far distances to support the beautiful couple.  Perhaps the most touching part of the day was a phoned in prayer from loved ones who couldn’t make the trip but were made a special part of the celebration nonetheless.    

Thank you Jennifer and Vincent for inviting me in to your special day, I hope you love your photos and was honored to have taken them for you!  




The days exceptional vendor team:

Venue: Stevenson Ridge

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Caterer: Stevenson Ridge

DJ/Entertainment: Slable Entertainment

Cake: The Icing

Florals: Flowers by Val

Second Photographer: Scott Ramsey

Makeup: BobbyPins & Blush

Hair: Barry's Beautiful Beginnings


If you like these photo and would like to see more, visit my wedding and engagement portfolios

Learn more about or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

Book Matthew Thwing Photography 



(Matthew Thwing Photography) Elegant Wedding Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer Richmond Wedding Photographer Stevenson Ridge Wedding Virginia Wedding Photographer Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:29:35 GMT
Full Time Photographer... Part Time Photographer, Full Time Dad Full time photographer… Part time photographer - Full time dad

What a difference a few years can make, understatement of the decade! There I was ironing my shirt getting ready for work on one fateful February morning when my phone rang.  On the other end was a messenger who changed my life, or at least accelerated my plan for it, considerably.   I had been talking about and dragging my feet about making the leap into becoming a full time photographer for months.  I had spoken about it and asked for prayers countless times in my church small group (#BGE).  I had even forecasted that I’d be ready to make the full time transition 10 month’s from then at the beginning of the following year - New Years resolution, anyone?  But as with all things, God had His own plan.   So as I gathered my thoughts, picked my jaw up off of the floor and the knife out of my back (oh no he didn’t!! oh yes, yes he did…) and I called Peggy.  I told her I’d just been informed that my services where no longer needed by my now former employer, thank you corporate downsizing…  Peggy’s response was brilliant. “Well, I guess you’re a fulltime photographer now!”  A couple months after that Peggy and I were married and by the following February we were welcoming our little blonde haired, blue eyed wonder-terror, Max, into the world.  So to recap, in one year I had lost my job, leapt into a full time self employment, gotten married and had a baby.  Well, I guess technically Peggy “had” the baby.  You know how all that works….  It’s also when I officially began developing my “dad bod.”  More (eventually less) on that another time though. 

As Peggy and I were preparing for Max’s arrival all conversations pointed to me keeping him at home since I work out of a home office.  The plan seemed simple enough.  I mean, I had the older two boys at Nathan and Aiden at home with me over the summer and in the afternoon during the school year and aside from having to tell them 34 times a day to do their homework, for the most part it was pretty easy.  So, I thought it would be manageable to introduce a baby into the mix.  How hard could it be…right?  Maybe that’s actually the understatement of the decade… Regardless, it was naïve at best.  Let’s just say it quickly became apparent who and what was dominating this dynamic.  Max 1 me 0, everyday all day! 

I had every intention of becoming this so-called full time photographer.  In the photography world it’s a coveted distinction from other so called would-be part timers.   I’m pretty sure every time I’ve told someone, especially another photographer, what I do for a living the very next words out of their mouth is, “full time?”  And I guess technically, since I earn 100% of my income from photography the answer is, yes.  The reality looks a lot different though.   I have a number of clients who’ve met Max during one of their consultations or album design meetings and plenty more have heard him in the background while speaking on the on the phone with me.  And while he’s never been to an engagement/portrait session or obviously a wedding with me, he’s been there for pretty much everything else. 

One of the most challenging and interesting things I noticed about this little monkey baby (Max now says monkey but he calls them mugees) at home with me every day for his first 18 months was how his patterns changed about every 2-3 months.   Probably the hardest phase was when he was still a tiny little guy and loved fighting sleep.  I can remember feeling so bad for him and so frustrated by him at the same time.  His nap times were the only time I could get work done.  Having to hold him for 30 minutes twice a day to help him fall asleep was really wreaking havoc on my ability to run a business.  I had to remind myself how precious this time with him was and that I’d never get it back.  However, even doing that didn’t stop me from having an at least one weekly freak out conversation with Peggy about how keeping him at home with me wasn’t working and something had to give.  Eventually Max stopped fighting sleep and naptime became one of my favorite times of day.  I figured out that laying down with him, after he stopped crying/screaming, helped him fall fast…. I mean deeply, there was nothing fast about it, asleep. So, I began taking advantage of about a 15-25 minute nap time with my little buddy to help him on his way.  I really miss that phase now, aside from the crying and screaming of course. Just like everyone said I would. 

I think it was about when Max was 6 months old that Peggy and I felt comfortable enough to leave him with someone.  So, when a close friend of the family began taking him 2 days a week from about noon or so till five when Peggy got off from work it was a Godsend.  It’s insane to think how valuable and productive 10 hours of actual focused time can be when you’re used to having to jump out of your chair to pick up and calm your screaming son, feed him yet another bottle (eventually food), change his diaper or later when he was older, prevent him from catastrophic injury.  Those 10 hours were a valuable commodity to say the least.  At some point along the way Max became content to swing in his momaRoo or roll around in the Pack ’n Play as well but that all changed when he began walking and I couldn’t take my eye off of him for a second.  I’ve always said Max’s mobility was my downfall!

All of this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy my time with Max (and still do!).  In fact, so much of it has been absolutely fantastic.  The bond we’ve formed is incredible.   The experience has however changed my mind about how lazy I thought I was.  Turns out I’m not that lazy at all, which is great news!  There were times though when my frustration level would get pretty crazy.  All I wanted to do was sit down at my computer and focus on completing a couples wedding photos, design an album, plan next months marketing efforts or even just post something to social media without interruption – all those hashtags don’t just write themselves, you know!?!.   Now I look back on that time with such appreciation for how much time we spent together.  It’s pretty well known that Max is a daddy’s boy and quite frankly I love it.  The time we spent together during his first 18 months was invaluable.  He was like a little blonde headed, front-side backpack when we went to Disney in November and he face timed me about twenty times during my Imaging USA trip to San Antonio recently.  He started one “conversation” off by telling me, “come home!”   Watching him grow and develop has been so incredible.  Despite how difficult it was some days (ok, a lot of days…) to have him with me while I was trying to get work done I wouldn’t want it to have been different.  He’s now at daycare at a friend of the family’s three days a week, which is so helpful.  I can’t help but be present with him (and Liam) when I have him those other two days.  It’s still so challenging though.  I’ve unfortunately missed client deadlines and don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like to dedicate to growing Matthew Thwing Photography.  There are some Tuesday’s and Thursday’s (ok, a lot of Tuesday’s and Thursday’s) when I watch the clock and count down the minutes until Peggy gets home.  But I know deep down how precious this time is with these baby boys.  They make me crazy so often and make me laugh just as much.  I’d change none of it.  Ok, that’s a lie but I do love it and every moment I get to spend as a dad.  I’m so blessed by these insane little guys who love me so much. So whether I’m a full time photographer or a full time dad or both simultaneously what matters is that I put my heart and energy into both of them when it’s their time. 

I didn’t mention Liam (or the older boys) in this post often but he’s been at home with me for the past (his first) 7 months as well.  I originally intended on blogging this when Max was 18 months old but guess what, Liam was born!  So, after Liam is 18 months old I’ll write part II about that little fuzzball ☺ 

Below are a few of the photos I’ve taken of Max while he and I were hanging out during the day over the past two years.  He continues to change every day and is developing to into a sweet, hysterically funny, stubborn at times, little boy.  I cannot believe he is two years old today. 

Happy Birthday little buddy, daddy loves you and all the insanity you’ve added to his life with all my heart! 










(Matthew Thwing Photography) Charlottesville wedding photographer Full time wedding photographer Luray wedding photographer Virginia wedding photographer dadtographer full time dad richmond wedding photographer wedding photographer Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:45:54 GMT
Jinger Duggar Wedding Dress - Ava Laurenne Bride - Renee's Bridal Super friendly, totally down to earth and really nice… That’s the answer to the first question everyone asks when it’s mentioned I met Jinger Duggar, her mom, her now mother in law and several of her sisters, “what were they like!?!”  I guess that’s kinda normal right?  Kinda…

When I heard Jinger Duggar was coming to Fredericksburg and visiting Ava Laurenne Bride and that I was going to be there to take behind the scenes photos of her wedding dress shopping experience I was admittedly excited.  I am by no means a “Duggar fan boy” but I have seen both iterations of their show and have always found them to be interesting, unique and well, pretty cool.  How can you not be in awe of a family that has 19 Kids and Counting!?!  My first thought is always, what do you mean, “and counting???”  I have four boys and for me personally, I’m all set!  Having 19 kids with the potential for more is mind boggling to me so an opportunity to meet them sounded incredible.  The fact that Jinger was engaged and was going to be selecting her wedding dress while in town was an added bonus considering I happen to be a wedding photographer and all… (no, I did not photograph their wedding L). 

When I arrived at Ava Laurenne Bride in Old Town Fredericksburg the energy was palatable.  Everyone was super excited and as expected, a little nervous.  I’ve had my fair share of celebrity encounters including high fiving Dave Chappelle, watching Manny Ramirez (at a Cheesecake Factory no less) and a few of his friends acting childishly silly and even talking trash about English Premier League football (soccer to most in the US) with Black Crows front man, Chris Robinson. But this celebrity encounter was something different.  This was me being invited to be a part of a special moment in Jinger’s life.  After she said, “yes” this was likely going to be the most significant event leading up to her I do’s with Jeremy.  This was a very special moment for her and her family and I was truly honored to be there capturing some it for her.  As you can see in the images there were video camera’s everywhere but still images are different and can be even more personal than video.  Especially since Jinger herself is a photographer and like me, a Canon shooter.  Yes, we did indeed have a chat about gear. #canonrocks

When Jinger and her family arrived everyone met each other in the hallway leading to Ava Laurenne Bride.  Jinger was accompanied by her mom, Jeremy’s mom and several of her sisters.  As I hid behind my camera I watched and photographed the interactions.  They were all incredibly sweet, spent a good amount of time meeting everyone individually and were present for the interactions.  They spoke courteously, looked everyone in the eye when speaking to them, and gave each person their full attention. I had a good few minutes to take it all in and I was struck by how respectfully they treated everyone.  I didn’t notice any “air of celebrity” about them at all, they were truly humble people and it was refreshing to see first hand.

Jinger was there to try on dresses designed by Renee of Renee’s Bridal in Pensacola, Florida.  Jinger and Renee had been in touch exchanging design ideas and there were three samples that were made for her.  Jinger’s wedding dress would eventually be one of them.  Her experience was made even more special as she was given Ava Laurenne Bride’s Princess Treatment, which included getting her nails done by local Salon, Holy Chic and an incredible opera performance by Gabe and Wendy, owners of Ava Laurenne Bride.  

My perspective on the event was pretty unique.  There were cameras and crew members everywhere.  We had to constantly be aware of where we stood and make sure we weren’t in their shots.  This was difficult because mirrors are everywhere in the shoppe!  As the day went on I became a little better at anticipating the movement of the crew and began to move around more myself.  Many of the photos I took were from behind a pillar, a stairwell and almost always a crew member but there were a handful of moments I was able to capture an unobstructed image.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to direct her like I would for a portrait during a wedding or engagement session though.  It was all spontaneous reaction kind of stuff much like a wedding reception or the other wedding day moments when I’m just a fly on the wall taking on a more photo journalistic approach.   The film crew would break for a second and I would leap out in front of someone or around something trying to capture a candid moment between Jinger and her family.  A smile, laugh a tear drop… Anything that would help tell the story of the experience. 

My favorite photos from the day is one I shot through the stairwell.  Jinger had just chosen her dress and the expression as she saw herself in the mirror was priceless, pure joy.  This isn’t a moment I’m typically there to photograph for a bride so it was awesome to see the reaction of her and everyone there.  As they gave her hugs and gushed over the gorgeous dress Renee designed for her, Jinger’s excitement energized the room even more.  She was then given a beautiful bouquet, designed by Good Earth Flowers making the moment even more real and the anticipation of her upcoming wedding even more of a reality.  




Special thanks to the following vendors for putting together such an incredible day for Jinger and her family!

Ava Laurenne Bride

Renee's Bridal

Bella Giornata Events and Design

Mimi's Sugar and Spice Cupcakes

Elegant Cuisines

Holy Chic

Good Earth Flowers

The Floral Palette 

Sarah Houston Photography


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Ava Laurenn Bride Duggar wedding Jinger Duggar Jinger Duggar wedding dress Jinger and Jeremy TLC Counting On celebrity counting on dress" wedding Mon, 16 Jan 2017 19:29:46 GMT
The Boathouse at Sunday Park // Madison and Nathan Wedding Best.Day.Ever.  Even if no one said it I'm certain everyone was thinking it.  Madison and Nathan's wedding was one of the most joy filled celebrations I've ever photographed.  I'm not sure if I've seen a bride and groom so overwhelmed with excitement and happiness.  There we're so many smiles, hugs and laughs during the day it was impossible not to get swept away by it all.  

Their celebration at The Boathouse at Sunday Park was stunning and the venue provided a perfect backdrop for a fantastic day.  As I was working through their photos I was awe struck by what a great time the bride and groom, as well as all of the guests, had celebrating.  I'm always looking for natural expression during a wedding and on this day especially, it was easy to find.  Even on a normal day Madison and Nathan are incredibly joy filled.  They always seem to be laughing together and enjoying each others company.  It was something I noticed during their engagement session and really during every interaction I had with them leading up to their big day.  Their default setting is happy and laughing, they have such incredible energy!  

It was no surprise that they are surrounded by an incredible group of similarly joyous family and friends!  I had met Madison's father Brian during our initial consultation.  The four of us spent at least an hour and a half to two hours discussing their wedding plans, getting to know each other a bit and laughing hysterically.  Everyone else I met on their wedding day had the same open, warmness about them and invited us into their day as if we were family there to celebrate with them.  It was incredible!    

Throughout the photos below you'll see examples of what I mean.  Gut laughs and high fives during the ceremony.  Hugs.  Smiles.  A few tears of joy.  And one incredible father daughter dance turned dance party!  All great examples of a beautiful couple in love surrounded by people who love them.  



The days exceptional vendor lineup:

Venue: The Boathouse at Sunday Park

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Caterer: The Boathouse at Sunday Park Catering

DJ/Entertainment: Nard's DJ Service

Florals: Vogue Flowers

Second Photographer: Holly Perreault 

Transportation: Richmond Limousine


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Beautiful Bride NOVA wedding Richmond Wedding Richmond Wedding Photographer Sunday Wedding The Boathouse at Sunday Park Wedding Photographer Tue, 05 Jul 2016 04:00:00 GMT
Fredericksburg Square Wedding // Tabatha and Ryan Tabatha and Ryan's wedding was a stunning event.  Hosted at beautiful Fredericksburg Square, the weather played a part of the ceremony location but in my opinion made it even more beautiful!  The ballroom was the perfect background for them to exchange vows.  And while they wasted no time getting to their first kiss the moment was one to savor for all in attendance.  Fortunately the storm that everyone expected was far tamer than predicted and we were able to venture outside for some stunning bride and groom images.  There are a few photos below of Tabatha and Ryan giggling in between kisses. It was such a cool way they two of them showed how excited they were to be married.  Ryan's fist pumping post first kiss celebration did that as well but their cuddling kiss' were perhaps a more intimate illustration, lol!   


The evening truly was one about celebration.  Their friends and family showed such true support of the couple.   It was fantastic to see how happy everyone was for them.  I think for me the thing that stood out the most was the ease with which they were together.  Their energy was so calm together yet; especially during the times they danced together, you could see how in love they were.  Sometimes it's the quiet moments that speak the loudest.  They shared some incredibly beautiful, intimate moments with one another.  Some were in front of a large group like during tier first dance and others during more private moments like during the bride and groom photos.  But it never mattered who was around they seemed to be the only ones in the room when they were looking at each other.  They just have an incredible connection.  




The days exceptional vendor lineup:

Venue: Fredericksburg Square

Wedding Dress: I thee Wed

Caterer: Fredericksburg Square

DJ/Entertainment: Fredericksburg Square / L.A. Dee Jay

Hair and Makeup: Tulip

Second Photographer: Scott Ramsey


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Square Wedding bride celebration golden groom handsome photographer police stunning superman wedding Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT
Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding // Kaitlin and Thomas The Inn at the Old Silk Mill is one of my favorite venues in Downtown Fredericksburg and Kait and Tom's wedding quickly became one of my favorite weddings to date.  I met them months ago at the summer bridal show at the Silk Mill and hit it off with them.  We later met for their consultation and then again for their engagement session and had a great time.  In addition to being a handsome couple they are also incredibly sweet.  They hold hands when they walk, and look into each others eyes seemingly getting lost in their gaze.  What I didn't know though was just how much of a softy Tom is (sorry Tom, it's true!).  As a marine Tom fits the part.  Confident and assertive he carries himself with the assuredness you'd expect of one of America's finest.  In fact, just prior to their wedding he was away for a few weeks of training subjecting him to climates and exercises that had me checking my pocket to make sure my man card was still valid!  It sounded like some grueling stuff!  However, during their ceremony he revealed himself to be one of the kindest and loving people I had ever met.  Truly manly stuff!  I let him know later in the evening that I was irritated because he almost made me cry.  Unacceptable!  Prior to delivering his vows he spoke to Kait's daughter Mabel and let her know she was his best friend, that he would always be there to protect her and that he loved her very much.  He then asked her if he could marry her mother and followed up with a high five and a huge hug.  I'm pretty sure I was in good company when I nearly lost control of my tear ducts!  Seriously, I'm a professional, this is not supposed to happen to me!  Nevertheless, the moment was beautiful and touching to everyone.  

That's not where it stopped either.  As Kait delivered her vows she began to cry.  Mabel, standing behind her, did as well.  There is a photo of her with a tear drop just about to fall onto her cheek in the images below.  It's become one of my all time favorite ceremony images, such a beautiful moment.  

Kait has such a graceful, natural beauty.  Not just in the way she looks but in the way she carries herself.  She laughs with her whole spirit and enjoys moments without a care for who may be watching.  I noticed something really cool about how comfortable her and Tom are together.  I captured a few images of them when they were completely candid and saw the unique way they stand together.  Kait somehow puts her arm up on Tom's shoulder as he holds her around the waist.  It's really cute and natural and just the way they "fit" together.  I first saw it when were were photographing their bride and groom images and later saw it several times throughout the night, it was so adorable!  

During the reception the speeches and dancing were just as touching as the ceremony.  The celebration that followed didn't disappoint either.  Kait and Tom celebrated with their family and friends in a beautiful setting and didn't miss beat in the dance floor.  From the beginning of the day until the sparkler exit it was gorgeous and a pleasure to be a part of.        



The days exceptional vendor lineup:

Venue: The Inn at the Old Silk Mill

Wedding Dress: Serendipity Bridal and Events

Caterer: Foode

DJ/Entertainment, Photo Booth: Adam Carluccio

Florals: Blooms by the Box

Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup Unveiled 

Coordinator: Brianna Harbour

Second Photographer: Christina Gregory


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride Marine Mill NOVA wedding Old Silk Virginia Wedding photographer Wedding bride cake elegant entrance exit jerker romantic sparkler sword tear truffles wedding Thu, 02 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT
Creeks Edge Winery // Brittany and Cody I've really enjoyed getting to know Brittany and Cody over the past year or so.  It was obvious during our initial consultation that they were totally in love and an incredibly sweet couple.  It was a little...mysterious to me at first why they wanted to get married in February but learning that they were from Vermont and Wisconsin made it all make sense.  I loved the pinecones and tree names incorporated in the decor and tables names, it was a perfect touch to their winter wedding.

Creeks Edge Winery is an absolutely stunning venue.  Although we didn't have an opportunity to explore the vineyard much due to the ground being pretty soft, from a recent snowfall, we more than made up for it in the silo adjacent to the main indoor space.  It was absolutely breathtaking!  The natural light coming into the space provided excellent drama in the photos and we were able to capture some fantastic images of the stunning bride and groom.   

I'd had the pleasure of meeting Brittany's parents during the engagement session and got a glimpse into how fun they were when I was trying to take a more "landscape" style photo and caught, out of the corner of my eye, Brittany's parents having a snowball fight.  It was hilarious and illustrated how fun they were and what, in my mind anyway; a strong relationship is made of.    

During the reception I saw that same spirit between Brittany and Cody.  Cody comes across as fairly reserved at times so when I saw him break out in the running man and later showcase his disco fever-esque dance moves I was taken back and impressed!  It was so awesome to see the joy between them as they danced with one another and enjoyed their special day.  I always say that the way a couple looks at one another tells you more about how they feel than any words. It was crystal clear how in love they are.  Brittany's nervous excitement during their first look spoke volumes and the way Cody looked at her during the ceremony reciprocated the same affection.      

I've rambled on enough about how great of a couple they are so take look at their photos and see for yourself!!  



The days exceptional vendor lineup:

Venue: Creeks Edge Winery

Caterer: Market Table Bistro

DJ/Entertainment, Photo Booth: Firedog Entertainment 

Cinematography: Reflexion Video and Films

Florals: MelleFleur

Ceremony Music: Sweetnova

Coordinator: Randi Cavitt 

Second Photographer: Peggy Thwing


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:56:56 GMT
Celebrations at the Reservoir Wedding // Valerie and Kevin I had not been to Celebrations at the Reservoir before, so when I met Valerie and Kevin there a few weeks before their wedding to give them their engagement album we walked the property and selected a handful of spots for photographs on their wedding day.  The property is absolutely stunning and complemented their style perfectly.  Peggy and I met them at the Richmond Wedding Experience Bridal Show the previous January and we hit it off immediately.  Peggy was struck by Kevin's bold, blonde mustache and nicknamed them "blondestache," lol!  Fortunately for everyone by the time their engagement session rolled around Kevin had removed the fuzzy creature growing above his upper lip.  Unfortunately though I don't think the nickname will ever be lived down, darn.

The fall leaves were magnificent and the bride and groom were gorgeous.  The decor was simple yet elegant and perfectly accentuated Valerie and Kevin's personality.  Peggy and I had an awesome time capturing the day.  Both families and their friends invited us into the celebration as if we were on the invite list.  Which was good because Peggy told them at the bridal show that we were coming to the wedding even if we were not photographing it!  

The day flew by and was filled with so many laughs and a few tears as well.  As I watched Valerie and Kevin on the day I could see how great they are for each other.  There were pre wedding jitters on both their parts but it all disappeared the first time they saw each other as Valerie walked down the isle.  Throughout the day I could see these little looks they gave each other as if to say, "it's all great, it's me and you."  It was so beautiful.  

I love their photos and hope we were able to capture enough of those little glances so that whoever views them can see what we saw.



Thank you for viewing Valerie and Kevin's wedding blog.  If you love the photos please feel free to leave a comment below or share the blog on Facebook or your favorite social media platform.  

For more information on Matthew Thwing Photography please visit our about page or the wedding and engagement portfolios.  To book Matthew Thwing Photography for your upcoming wedding click here.  


Special thanks to the following vendors:

Venue and catering: Celebrations at the Reservoir

Dress: miLA Bridal

Tux/Suits: Jos. A Bank

Salon: Shine Blowdry

Flowers: Vogue Flowers, Richmond

Entertainment and lighting:  Black Tie Entertainment

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:21:29 GMT
St John Neumann Catholic Church, Richmond Double Tree Wedding // Kelly and Walter Peggy and I met Kelly and her mom at the Richmond Wedding Experience Bridal Show last winter and hit it off.  They asked me a few situational question I found hilarious and apparently answered favorably.  I later met Walter during their engagement session at Great Ship Lock Park in Richmond last summer.  Their session was one of my favorites not only because we were in an area I hadn't been before but really because of what I could see in them.  The way they looked at each other was so true and beautiful.  Their photos turned out to be some of my favorites as well. 

It happened to be raining on their wedding day but their photos turned out to be no less beautiful.  Environment counts for a lot in photography but in the case of love, it isn't everything.  You can be in the most scenic field or beach or mountainside but if you don't have a couple who are truly in love with one another the images, no matter how breathtaking the backdrop is, will fall flat.  I see the way Kelly and Walter look at each other and I can see how they feel.  It's so transparent and so pretty.  



Thank you for viewing Kelly and Walter's wedding blog.  Please feel free to leave a message in the comments section below if you love the photos.


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:26:55 GMT
Belle Grove Plantation Wedding // Cyndi and Todd Cyndi and Todd's wedding day was true reflection of who they are as a couple.  In some ways it was so simple while in others there were perfect pops of personality and flair.  After having gotten to know them over the last 10 months or so I'd say it was so in tune with who they are .  Peggy and I met Cyndi at a few bridal shows in Fredericksburg where the three of us hit it off from the start.  Both Cyndi and Todd come across as super laid back.  They aren't flashy or outspoken so it wasn't until their engagement session that I really started to get to know them.  The more we spoke the more I could tell how really down to earth they are, both very grounded.  They're also a lot of fun too.  They caught me off guard with their ideas for photos and other little personality quirks.  Think long haired biker!  I did not see that coming at all!

Their wedding encapsulated their personality's perfectly.  Some things were understated while other details really jumped out.  It was clear what was important to them.  Belle Grove Plantation is a gorgeous venue and provided the perfect setting for their day.  Clever decor was placed throughout and the invite list was kept intimate.  Everything came out perfectly from the ceremony to the reception and the day felt like a family reunion, exactly what the bride and groom had hoped for.  There were kiddos dancing all over the place during the reception as friends and relatives celebrated the newly wedded bride and groom, it was a really beautiful, intimate event.  


Special thanks to the following vendors:

Venue :  Belle Grove Plantation

Tuxes: Mens Wearhouse

Flowers: Thompson's - Westwood 

Entertainment: DJ Bob Perry


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer engagement Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:58:46 GMT
Hopyard Farm Wedding // Carrie and Nick Peggy and I were really looking forward to this Hopyard Farm wedding since we are friends with the Henkel's from attending Lifepoint Church.  They are such a great family and we felt so honored when they chose us to photograph Nick and Carrie's wedding.  I think the thing I remember most about the lead up to the day was Carrie's excitement level.  Every time I saw her at church she was beaming!  It was so cool to see how much she was looking forward her wedding.  I could tell Nick was excited as well but his personality leant itself to a more cool, laid back excitement, at least on the surface.  I'd say he was poker facing things a bit because the smile on his face in so many of the images we took during their wedding speaks volumes about how happy he was.  Both Carrie and Nick were caught time and time again staring into each other's eyes during little moments here and there.  Watching them get lost in each other's gaze was beautiful.  

Carrie and Nick decided to have a first look (yes!!!  See other blogs where this happens and you'll understand why I love them!) so we ventured off to the main entryway of the Hopyard to use their gazebo and white fenced area.  It was gorgeous and like always, the first look was an intense, beautiful moment between the two.  Both Nick and Carrie's emotions were transparent and joy was the prevailing expression on their faces.  Their smiles were uncontainable as they embraced for the last time before becoming husband and wife.  

Wild side sleepers... So, perhaps the most surprising part of the day came at the end.  Peggy and I never saw it coming but just as things were winding down they really got going.  The bridal party began to congregate on the back patio near the pool.  Then, one of the groomsmen threatened to jump in the pool. Before we knew it what was a one man clandestine activity turned into the entire bridal party jumping in the pool with mom's, dad's, grandparents and the rest of the guests cheering them on!  It was absolutely hilarious and the perfect way to cap off the evening.  


Special thanks to the following vendors for making the day exceptional:

Ceremony and Reception: Hopyard Farm Club House

Catering: Clearwater Grill

Cake: Cakes in Art

Bridesmaid Dresses: Davids Bridal

Invitations: Stafford Printing

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Wed, 28 Oct 2015 18:40:28 GMT
Williamsburg Wedding // Amanda and Jeremy From August 22, 2015


Peggy and I met Amanda and her mother at two bridal shows in the Fredericksburg area.  In between the shows we had not heard from them but during the second they let us know that they intended on using us for the upcoming wedding.  It was a funny moment because while they did indeed let us know they thought our work was really nice, it was Peggy who they were really after, lol! They said she just had such a great way about her that they definitely wanted her to be a part of the day.  To be honest, that happens pretty often.  I've mentioned it before but more often than not Peggy becomes kind of a surrogate part of the bridal party.  She is always there to lend a helping hand, help fasten the back of a dress or say just the right thing to help the bride remember how special she is on her wedding day.  It's pretty funny actually and pretty cool!  

This day was no exception as you can see from the images below where not only did Amanda take a few images for herself during the reception but one of the guests did as well.  This time however I was able to participate in the fun including a brief Carlton-esque dance maneuver (not pictured, thank goodness!) and a game of tag with the sweet little one in a few the images you'll see below.  She reminded me so much of my nieces as she kept sneaking up on me, tagging me and taking off like her life depended on it, lol!  

Probably what stood out the most to me though was the spirit of the day.  It was fun, very fun.  The guests were fantastic and inited us in to be a part of their hijinx which included the toilet papering of Jeremy's car and the saran wrapping of their toilet!  Neither of which I saw coming by any stretch but was duly impressed and entertained by.  They were a blast all evening.  

Peggy and I haven't come across a group of people celebrating an event that were't all just great people.  This evening was no exception to that either and I hope the pattern continues.  We left the reception with such a feeling of joy and welcomeness and we wish Amanda and Jeremy the absolute best on their journey together!


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 14 Oct 2015 15:23:46 GMT