From July 11, 2015
Easy going and genuine.
Ashley and Dom won an engagement session at bridal show quite along time ago. At the conclusion of the session they were still unsure of whether or not they were going to choose us to photograph their wedding. I'm incredibly glad they did! They are such a great couple and during their session I was struck by how tender they were toward each other. It was so beautiful to watch. I was also really excited because they were getting married at one of my favorite venues, Old House Vineyards, in Culpepper. Probably my favorite part of their wedding plan was however, that they were doing a first look. I know these are still somewhat controversial, with ties to tradition usually winning the day, but I love them for a few reasons. For most couples the decision is made not to have a first look so the moment the bride appears, as she walks down the isle, is the first time the groom will see her in her wedding dress. And while I understand that idea I will say that of the times I have photographed a first look, the moment between the two is as intense, if not more so, than the brides walk down the isle. The reason is that it creates a moment, in many cases the only moment that day, where the bride and groom get to enjoy each other, alone. I'd also add, that the brides walk down the isle is no lens intense and suspenseful and equally emotional for both the bride, groom and wedding guests.
On this particular day all of us were watching the weather as the previous few days had been pretty awful. It rained most of the week but the forecast called for it to clear up at some point in the day. I was really excited so I arrived a little early and found that the folks at Old House Vineyards were as optimistic as I was about the weather and had the ceremony set up outside on the island. I was ecstatic about that as the island and key ceremony are what make this venue so special. When Ashley arrived I assured her it would be a perfect day for her wedding photos and it turned out to be just that. The clouds in the sky calmed and the sun eventually came out just into the reception and provided us with an incredible backdrop for some impromptu photos later in the evening.
Both Ashley and Dominic had fairly large bridal parties and each person in them was fantastic. They were all fun and incredibly friendly as were both sets of parents. There were so many moments that were as touching as they were hilarious like the speech from Dom's Best Men (he had 2) when they sang Ashley and Dom a song from the Lion King accepting her into their pack. Followed by Ashley's Maids of Honor, (she had two too) who told a some pretty funny stories about Ashley as well. Both speeches were a perfect glimpse into the personalities of both Dom and Ashley and it's my firm belief that a person's character is directly reflected by the company they keep. Both bride and groom were surrounded by sincere, genuine people.
Dom's mother however stole the show early on in the reception however by sneaking a set of false teeth into her mouth and surprising Dom with them during the mother son dance. It was hysterical! I was standing fairly far away from them but I saw Dom's head jerk back in laughter and when I saw what she had done I had to force myself to keep shooting because I was laughing so hard!
The rest of the evening played out similarly. There were more songs sung by Dom and his band of brothers. Ashley's Dad made sure everyone knew he could whip as well as he could nae-nae. And there may have even been a little gangster rap thrown in there. It was a super fun celebration and I don't think many people remained in their seats during the dancing.
The evening was capped off by a beautiful sparkler exit followed by the bride and groom driving away into the darkness. Well, they drove away eventually after their vehicle was cleared of the balloons that were stuffed inside filling up pretty much every inch of the car. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Special thanks to the following vendors who helped make this day so special for Ashley and Dominic:
Venue: Old House Vineyards
Dress: Ava Laurenne
Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way
Tuxes: Formal Envy
Flowers: Flower Cottage
Entertainment: Mike Wheelahan
Catering: Clearwater Grill
Alcohol: Louie's Blue Martini