Matthew Thwing Photography: Blog en-us (C) Matthew Thwing Photography (Matthew Thwing Photography) Sun, 14 Nov 2021 19:41:00 GMT Sun, 14 Nov 2021 19:41:00 GMT Matthew Thwing Photography: Blog 120 80 Oak Creek Farm Wedding // April and Marc // Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer

At one point after their first look, while we were taking bride and groom photos, I had to stop taking photos, I just couldn’t shoot anymore.  As April and Marc looked at each other I could see how deeply Marc loved her and I awkwardly said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a groom look at his bride the way Marc is looking at you.  It’s incredible.  He loves you so much!”   I had never said anything like to this to any of my couples and felt kind of out of place saying it but I couldn’t help it.  It was like this the entire day.  He was captivated by her.  This isn’t to say I haven’t seen other couples in love.  In fact, I see looks like this all the time.  But there was just something about the way Marc seemed to lose sight of everything else going on around them when he looked at April, it was beautiful. 


Their Oak Creek Farm Wedding was too!  Despite over 9 inches of rain leading up to their day it turned out perfect!  The decision was made to have the ceremony inside the barn, which provided a gorgeous backdrop.   The alter was adorned with lights and the barn doors framing their vows was beautiful. 


Following bridal party and family photos outside, near the barn, and more bride and groom photos, April and Marc returned inside the barn where they were announced as husband and wife for the first time and had their first dance.   A precious mother son dance and hilarious father daughter dance followed this as well as the cutting of their beautiful wedding cake.


The dance floor was filled the entire night as family and friends celebrated April and Marc and they were pulled into the moonlight on a sparkler lit tracker ride.  The entire day was beautiful I love so many of the moments we captured.  Thank you so much April and Marc for having us there.  Best wishes in all that is to ahead of you! 


Oak Creek Farm has quickly become one of my favorite wedding venues in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area.  The grounds are gorgeous, the bridal suite is incredible, the sun sets perfectly and the owners are incredible people (more on that in a blog to come!). 







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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer Thu, 11 Apr 2019 11:00:00 GMT
Rockland Farm Wedding // Courtney and Kyle Wedding // Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer I met Courtney and Kyle several years ago.  I think the first time we met was at a concert at Celebrate Virginia.  They were having a blast together and I could tell they were a couple that was meant to be. 


Courtney and Kyle’s Rockland Farm Wedding was a dream come true for both bride and groom.  The ceremony took place at Kyle’s family church and was celebrated with their families and closest friends.  The church setting was intimate and their vows were full of their personalities.  There were tears of joy and moments of hilarity that made the entire, completely full church, erupt in laughter.  It captured their special moment perfectly.  One of the most striking details of their ceremony was the emotion of both of their mothers.  Their feelings of joy for their daughter and son respectively were coupled with the bittersweet acknowledgement that their babies were beginning the journey of starting their own families.    


Rockland Farm was no doubt a beautiful backdrop for dinner and their reception.  As turkeys roamed the grounds the guests feasted on an incredible spread of bbq provided while gazing at the incredible scenery.  Courtney and Kyle shared a beautiful first dance followed by a touching father daughter dance and then an equally touching mother son dance.  Courtney also had a dance with her mother and as you could image, the joy filled tears were abundant.  


The majority of the evening was spent with quests enjoying themselves on the dance floor.  The events concluded with a bouquet and garter toss and the cutting of their exquisite cake.


It was a beautiful day celebrated by a couple who were elated to begin their lives together as husband and wife. 


Stay tuned for an upcoming blog featuring the next big step in their journey together. 


Thank you so much to Courtney and Kyle for choosing us to be there for your special day.  I was an honor and an absolute pleasure to be there for you. 




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(Matthew Thwing Photography) barn wedding best virginia wedding photographer fredericksburg wedding fredericksburg wedding photographer rockland farm wedding virginia wedding Thu, 24 Jan 2019 19:17:45 GMT
Fredericksburg Wedding // Lina and Lucas Lucas and Lina’s day started off much like they are together as a couple, calm and laid back.  Their wedding celebration was a day of family and friends coming together to see the gentle unity of two calm souls.


Their ceremony and reception took place at a private residence and was simple and elegant.  The scenery was beautiful yet understated such like they way the two of them interact.  We had a great time hanging out during their engagement session and talked about Marvel movies and video games.  At least Lucas and I did…  Both of them come across as shy however Lina is the quitter if the two.  Having said that she never hesitated to share her thoughts on a subject and always had great vision for what type of images she was looking for. 


What I really enjoyed about was how lost they seemed to get when they forgot they were in front of my camera during their engagement and their guests at their wedding.  They are such a cute quiet couple that capturing those still quiet moments between them was a real pleasure.  


Update on this beautiful couple!  Peggy and I recently saw Lina and Lucas at church and are so excited that they are expecting their first little one in just a few months.  Super happy congratulations to them!  


The Days Phenomenal Vendor Team Included:

The Brides Dress: Ava Laurenne Bride

The Grooms Tux: Mens Wearhouse

Entertainment: Classic Entertainment

Catering: Basilico

Cake: The Icing

Bartending Service: Louis Mobile Mixology

Decor: Memorable Moments



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(Matthew Thwing Photography) best virginia wedding photographer fredericksburg wedding fredericksburg wedding photographer private wedding virginia wedding Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:30:00 GMT
Christmas Engagement // Lindsey and Wes Wow!  Another year has seemingly flown by.  Memories have been created and stories have been told.  Some add yet another chapter while others stories are just beginning.  As I always do at this time of year I look back on what chapters of my life have been written and in this case came across a story of two close friends that I wanted to share, Wes and Lindsey’s Christmas engagement.


It actually happened a few years ago.  Wes called me one day and asked if I’d photograph his proposal to Lindsey. Saaaayyy wuuuut!?!  “Absolutely, yes of course!!!” was something close to my response.  How could I possibly have any other reaction?  I had gotten to know Wes well through his leadership of the photography team at Lifepoint Church and even more after he became one of my go to second photographers.  Though significantly younger than me, I always found his insight vastly wiser than his years and had great respect for him both personally and professionally. I didn’t know Lindsey that well at this point but I did know how Wes felt about her and well, that was enough for me.   


The day of the proposal arrived and was gorgeous.  The setting was a Christmas tree farm that I hadn’t heard of before.  I’d been to places like this before and pictured in my head people all over the place.  Families excitedly buzzing around cutting down trees, kids running around chasing siblings, that sort of thing.  When I arrived ahead of them to get my bearings and plan my positioning, there wasn’t a single person there.  Just a handful of kittens!  I’d been game planning on being able to camouflage myself with my camera amongst the crowds in order to photograph his proposal without Lindsey having any idea I was there.  How in the world was I going to stay out of sight?  If Lindsey saw me there, alone without a single other human being around, she’d surely know something was up.   I did however keep these thoughts to myself.  My guess was, no matter how I was feeling, Wes was likely more nervous than me.   A safe bet indeed.  The plan was for them to kind of stroll around the farm searching for that perfect tree.  When the moment was right Wes was going to text me that it was time to begin photographing them.  I was then going to, while remaining out of sight, photograph what would be one of the most beautiful scenes I’d ever seen.  I cannot image how nervous he must have been working up the nerve to propose while also considering communicating the timing to me.   And how on earth was he going to justify having his phone out while they were spending time together?  Yes, I’m sure he was feeling quite a bit of nerves!


So here’s where this story gets really tricky and basically becomes like a scene from Mission Impossible. I mentioned before that there was NO ONE else at the farm.  It was Wes and Lindsey, me and my camera.  As they were walking around all in love, kanoodling and stuff I was doing everything I could to be inconspicuous all the while watching them out of my periphery.  I had their movement down and was tracking effectively until… their path was going to lead them directly in front mine only about 20-30 yards away.  Surely my cover was about to be blown!   Thinking quickly with no cover to hide behind in what was a completely open field, I basically hid behind my camera.  I raised it in front of my face and hoped Lindsey hadn’t already seen me or get curious about why random dude was just lurking around a Christmas tree farm with a ginormous camera lens.  Do I even look like a bird watcher? Just past where they were walking was a pond with a duck conveniently swimming in it with a pal or two his.  And so, I pretended to be there taking pictures of them as they walked just beneath the view of my camera lens.  Being careful not to let Lindsey see my face I was sure it was tucked behind my camera and…lost them from my view.  Oh crap! A few seconds later Wes sent me THE TEXT.  I can hear them off in the distance but they’d walked into an area with these HUGE trees everywhere and were completely gone from sight.  I had no idea where they were in there but could here them. I ninja stepped through the trees and could hear Wes begin what was no doubt a well thought out and probably thousand times rehearsed speech and found them.  The scene was beautiful, absolutely breath taking.   It literally couldn’t have been planned any better.  


As Wes recited to Lindsey how much he loved her, how she’d changed his life in so many profound ways, her expressions changed from surprise, to adoration to pure joy.  What an incredible moment for them.  From a simple trip to a Christmas tree farm to a moment that would no doubt set the foundation for the rest of their lives. It was all perfect.  After Lindsey said, yes, (I mean of course she did or I wouldn’t be telling this story!) they kissed and embraced and a new chapter of their lives began in stunning fashion.  


When their moment ended and they were ready to resume their Christmas tree quest I appeared from behind the trees beaming with joy and congratulated them.  We spent the next 45 minutes or so taking photos walking around and laughing.  It was an honor to be a part of this remarkably special time in their lives.  Wes’ nerves finally settled and they were able to soak each other in, catch their breath and enjoy the moment.  And oh yeah, they did indeed find themselves a Christmas tree. 




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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Christmas engagement christmas proposal christmas tree engagement photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer Mon, 24 Dec 2018 11:57:11 GMT
Christmas Wedding at Walden Hall // Claudia + Thomas  


Inspired, intimate and festive.  Three words I think perfectly describe the beautiful Christmas themed, Walden Hall wedding between Thomas and Claudia.  This wedding had it all.  From tears of joy, to incredible decor and wonderful family and friends.  On what was a very cold, windy and otherwise unpredictable day there was no doubt that these two had a beautiful, unique wedding day.  


Upon arrival to Walden Hall the wind was intense.  The ceremony was originally supposed to take place in front of the beautiful pond on the front of the property. The backup plan was to have the ceremony under a tent that was placed in front of the barn.  Because the wind was so strong, the temperature so cold and the rain coming down sideways, Forest Gump style, it was decided that the only place suitable for the ceremony was inside the barn.  The challenge though was that space having already been decorated for the reception, did not allow for a typical ceremony setup featuring rows an isle etc.  Another challenge was that the barn doors could not be open because of the aforementioned inclement weather.   It was decided that the ceremony would be set up like a sort of coliseum.  All of the guests would sit and some stand in a circle around the alter.  Once the bridal party and bride and groom had made their way down the isle the circle would close and they would be totally surrounded by family and friends.  I must say, what had the potential to be awkward turned out to be absolutely incredible.  I haven’t seen anything like it since.  All of the guests were very close to the alter creating one of the most intimate ceremonies I have ever seen.  There were easily over 125 people there and the room felt as if they all had a front row seat.  They became a vital part of the experience and created an incredible atmosphere, it was stunning.   


The Christmas décor added such a warm feeling to the entire day.  The most wonderful time of the year meets the most wonderful day of Thomas and Claudia’s lives JThere were Christmas lights everywhere.  It was kind of like a Hallmark movie but way less cheesy, lol. The reception was complete with Christmas trees, a gingerbread decorating station and a mail slot for sending those last minute letters to Santa.  Truly no detail was left out by Bella Giornata Events and Design who did a fantastic job bringing the bride and grooms vision to life.  


Thomas and Claudia’s wedding celebration was filled with so many incredible moments.  All transpiring on a beautiful Christmas inspired landscape at Walden Hall.  




The days outstanding vendor team included:

Walden Hall

Ava Laurenne Bride

Bella Giornata Events and Design

Clearwater Grill

Bijou's Sweet Treats




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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Culpeper Photographer Fredericksburg Photographer Richmond Wedding Photographer SJPcollection Virginia Wedding photographer Walden Hall Walden Hall wedding Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:00:00 GMT
Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding - Meghan and Adam - Fredericksburg VA Wedding Photographer

Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding

Meghan + Adam


When you know, you know. That’s often the theme when I meet new couples and listen to them tell me the story of how they met.  They just knew.  Right then, right away.  Sometimes without even having exchanged words.  It’s beautiful and reminds me that indeed there are greater forces at play in this world other than those we can see #God #love


So, despite how cheesy it sounds that’s kind of the way Peggy and I felt about Meghan and Adam when we met them last year at the Bridal Show Under the Stars at The Inn at the Old Silk Mill.  They were our kind of people, down to earth and fun.  Meghan was from the Woodbridge VA area and Adam Grew up in in NYC (New York City…if you don’t know…) We had a great conversation at the show and they explained that they were going to actually get married in New York but were going to have their wedding reception at the Silk Mill.  


Everything wound up working out perfectly.  We met prior to their wedding to formally discuss details and decided that we’d go to a few locations in the Downtown Fredericksburg area prior to the beginning of the reception. We drove to nearby Fredericksburg Station for photos and eventually returned back The Inn at the Old Silk Mill for more photos including few family portraits.  It was really a great time hanging out with them and we were able to get to know each other more similar to the way things work during an engagement session, no pressure and fun!   They indeed really were our kind of people.  I’m sure it helped that they were already married and didn’t have all of those pre ceremony jitters that normally happen on wedding days but either way they were super cool people, just as I’d thought!  


The reception was also a great time.  Both of their families were fantastic and their friends were as well.  It’s incredible what a reflection of people their friends and family are.  I think my favorite part of the reception was the music.  Old school hip-hop and R&B.  And by Old School I don’t mean songs made in the last 18 years.  I mean proper 90’s hip-hop like the music I grew up on (I’m old ok!).  Absolutely the best decade of bar none.   Well done DJ!! 


Meghan and Adam’s day turned out absolutely perfect and the classy yet subtle décor reflected them perfectly as well.  Meghan’s choice of cocktail length wedding dress and Adam’s navy blue suit, sans tie, complemented their style and gave them a quintessential “cool without saying” vibe.  The truth is, they are cool people and it was an incredible pleasure to spend the day with them as they celebrated their marriage with family and friends.  Thank you both so much for having me there to capture your celebration and so many images I love.  I’ll see you guys the next time I’m back in NYC to grab a slice of pizza! 



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(Matthew Thwing Photography) bboywedding Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding New York City Wedding Richmond Wedding Photographer Virginia Wedding photographer Thu, 25 Oct 2018 10:43:55 GMT
Virginia Bride Magazine Dream Wedding Giveaway - Kassidy and Zane Chestnut Hill Wedding Virginia Bride Magazine Dream Wedding Giveaway Winner

Kassidy and Zane 


I had a really great time working with Kassidy and Zane for their engagement and wedding.  I met them at the Greater Virginia Bridal show at the Hospitality House in Fredericksburg Virginia.  They were the Grand Prize winners of the shows Dream Wedding GIVEAWAY! 

We met up in downtown Fredericksburg for their engagement session and got to know each other a bit along the way.   They were such an adorable couple and smiled whenever they looked at one another.   We walked around and explored the downtown area and chatted about their upcoming wedding.  I could tell they were both incredibly excited despite Zane’s cool exterior.

When there wedding day arrived it had been a little while since I’d seen them.  Their engagement session was nearly a year prior to wedding day so it was great to catch up as we moved through the day.  We picked up right where we left off and they once again seemed to fit perfectly together throughout their photos.  

Everyone played it pretty cool during the "getting ready" portion of the early afternoon, until the first look...  As soon as Zane saw his bride, he basically lost it.  It was quite beautiful!   As Kassidy made her way down the stairs of Chestnut Hill Bread and Breakfast, you could hear the ooohs and ahhhs of their relative’s and friends inside the house watching her walk by.  She looked beautiful and elegant as she made her way to the front of the house where Zane waited for her on the front porch.  She peaked through window at the side of the door and opened it to greet him.  As soon as Zane turned around to see her, waterfalls!  It was such an incredible moment between the two of them. 

Following the first look the two of them returned to their respective quarters to await seeing one another again during the ceremony.  Some people believe a first look takes away from the moment a bride first appears as she's walking down the aisle but Zane's expression as she made her way toward him tells a different, accurate story.  He was once again blown away as he watched his soon to be bride approach.  

Following the beautiful ceremony the newlyweds kicked of their reception with a choreographed dance to Justin Bieber’s,  Despacito.  Both bride and groom then shared a beautiful dance with their father and mother respectively.

The rest of the evening was spent celebrating the beautiful newlywed couple.  It included a pretty good cake face smashing as well as a beautiful acoustic song performed by friends.  



Please feel free to leave a comment below to congratulate this beautiful couple and be sure to check out the list of incredible vendors who contributed their services FREE of charge.  Without their incredible contribution this day would not have been possible.  





The days exceptional vendor team:

Venue: Chestnut Hill Bed and Breakfast

Wedding Dress: That's My Dress

Bridesmaid Dresses: Francesca's, Fredericksburg VA

Men's Apparel: Jos A Bank

Cake: Simply Sweet

Hair: Hair by Mimi

Makeup: Whitney Smoot

Florals:  Good Earth Flowers

Caterer: Clearwater Grill and Catering




(Matthew Thwing Photography) dream wedding Fredericksburg Photographer richmond wedding photographer Virginia Bride Magazine Virginia Wedding photographer Tue, 04 Sep 2018 14:31:27 GMT
The number one question I hear at bridal shows and other things the Knot won’t tell you...

The number one question I hear most often at bridal shows…


…and other things I guarantee you the Knot won’t tell you when asking, “How do I pick a wedding photographer?”  




So, you’re engaged and planning your big day.  First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!   Welcome to one of the most exciting times of your life! It’s time to unleash that Pinterest board you’ve had hidden since your third date.  Ok, your first.  You knew right away, didn’t you?  Of course you did!  

What you may have not know though, despite a few friends who’ve recently gotten married insisting, is wedding planning can be stressful!  Picking your date, your colors, narrowing down your bridesmaid list…all of the decisions you have to make along the way can be daunting.  And that’s not even mentioning deciding on the best vendors, specifically a photographer!  

With all of those decisions in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to help make one of the most critical decisions you need to make easier.  “How do I pick the right wedding photographer?”  

This is by far the most often asked question I hear, besides “how much does it cost” of course, at bridal shows.  Both are incredibly important and I’d love to answer them for you.  

I personally rank the top 3 criteria I talk about when answering this question in order of  importance this way.


Their work  

While this seems obvious there is a bit more to it than most people think.  Yes, a lot of it is subjective but the most important thing to think about is, do you like their work?  Ok, you dig it; but don’t stop asking questions there.  An even more important consideration is, is it consistent?  Do the images you’re being shown reflect a consistent style, feeling and quality? Are the images of the bride and groom a consistent quality with the getting ready images, the details, family portraits and the reception images?  If not, that's an indication that the photographer you're considering might not have a fully developed wedding day skillset yet.   Also, think about if these images were delivered to you and you were the couple in them, would you absolutely love them?   Does the photographer you’re considering have several, meaning A LOT of examples of weddings they’ve personally photographed?  Or are they only showing you a best of, hand picked selection portfolio images? Naturally every photographer should be showing his or her absolute best but what about the rest of the day?  How can you tell how that will look?  The best way answer this questions is by viewing several complete wedding albums from them.  No, not blogs, albums.  What’s the difference?  Simply put, a blog is a highlight real from the day and is essentially another type of “best of” similar to a portfolio.  An album however, in its very nature, will have images from throughout the day and will most accurately reflect how a photographer photographs a complete day.

And finally, and in my opinion the most important question you should ask when evaluating a potential photographer for your wedding day is, “are these incredible images you’re showing me from a real wedding or a styled shoot?”  This is an absolutely critical question and quite honestly, the one that really separates the “pros” from the “fauxs.”  Why is it so important?  The answer is simple.  Wedding days have a lot of moving parts.  Some days are perfectly smooth and provide plenty of time for photographers to get the beautiful images they are are dying to provide for you.  Other wedding days, through no fault of anyone necessarily, do indeed have the occasional bump and detour along the way.  Things like inclement weather, coordination of family members for portraits etc. can all shorten the time a photographer has to take those beautiful images you fell in love with when selecting them.   Managing and adapting to changes such as time constraints well is one if the true marks of a professional.  In contrast a styled shoot is a fairly stress free environment when the photographer has vastly more time to create.  They are usually planned for and designed ahead of time so photographer knows what to expect including the light conditions etc.  Being a wedding photography is an art.  And wedding photography artful.  Art is not always easy to create under shortened time constraints.  The reason this is so important is because before you plunk down your hard earned money on your wedding photography investment, you should be confident the photographer you’re interviewing has been through their fair share of wedding day turbulence and has still been able to provide the same level of quality as they did on any other day given any amount of time.  Think of it like a job interview you’ve been on.  Many employers ask questions like, “can you tell me about a particularly stressful situation and how you handled it?” Same idea here!       




This one gets overlooked a lot.  How do I know that?  Because every time I mention it I see a light bulb reaction and people usually say something like, “yes, that makes total sense!”  

The personality of your wedding photographer is important because, well…we’re going to be with you all day!  It’s important to choose someone you feel like you have a connection with and could see yourself being around during your entire wedding day.  I’m not suggesting you need to become bff’s but you should definitely feel like they’re easy to be around and will help relieve some of that potential wedding day stress rather than add to it.  This question may be a bit more difficult to answer because it’s not quite black and white.  My personal way of answering this for couples is this is to do my absolute best to meet with every couple in person for a booking consultation.  If that's not possible then an intentional phone meeting will be scheduled.  During this meeting I focus more on us getting to know each other than actual wedding day logistics which we review in detail during what I call the pre wedding consultation, a topic for another day.  This is really step one, or step two if we’ve already met in person at a bridal show. It helps all parties involved including parents if they’d like to join us, become comfortable with one another. It’s where you get to see how your potential photographer answers questions and provides solutions to the details of your day.  Obviously you should review work beyond their portfolio including albums etc. but most importantly it’s where you determine if this is a person you’d like to have at your wedding photographing your day.  

For me the next step in the process happens following your decision to book but is in my opinion the best way to help get the image results you’re looking for on your wedding day.  It’s also why I offer a complimentary engagement session to all couples who select me as their wedding photographer.  Being in front of your photographers lens is easily the best way to get to know them and be comfortable.  How they speak to you and your fiancé, how they direct the session.  Are they courteous yet clear in their direction?  Do they give direction?  I’ve had more people than I can count tell me how relieved they were that I knew how to pose and position them and didn’t just have them standing there not knowing what to do.  Basically what it boils down to is, we've all got hands and no idea where to put them when we get our picture taken, lol!  It takes so much pressure off of you so you’ll able to relax allowing your authentic expressions to come through in your photographs.      




Before I share my thoughts on price and more specifically how it relates to value, I would like to preface by saying I am a small business owner with a family consisting of a wife and 4 sons between the ages of 2-12.  I am by no means making light of anyone’s specific budgetary flexibility. I fully understand the value of every hard earned dollar you make and am respectful of your decision with whom to invest it with.  I believe that products and services with a proven track record of providing quality should indeed cost more than those with a less substantial history and quality.  While I personally am not the most expensive photographer I am also not the cheapest. I do however believe that the price I have established for my service and the products I offer includes significant value that will outgrow your initial investment long after the last click of my shutter at your wedding.   

So, you might be wondering… Why is price my third most important question to ask about?  Shouldn’t it be the first?  Well, maybe… Kinda sorta…  No.  

To understand why I don’t think price is the most important consideration when choosing your wedding photographer I think it’s worth considering a few things in addition to things I’ve already mentioned.  One is fairly obvious; this is your wedding day!  The day you’ve spent years dreaming about and planning for before you were probably even engaged.  It’s a big deal!  You’ve invested considerable amounts of time money and effort planning this day.  You found your person, said “yes” to the perfect dress and are ready for this day to be as perfect as you’ve always dreamed. But there's one problem, you hired your cousin’s sisters brothers former roommate who happens to own a digital  camera a professional photographer much less a professional wedding photographer.  Ask any professional family, landscape or commercial photographer and they'll all tell you the same thing, weddings are different!  It's a once in a lifetime event that there is only one opportunity to get the shot.  There is no time to redo missed moments and no such things as repeating the first kiss.  The good intentions of the unqualified offering to photograph your wedding as a gift would be much better off gifting you the gift of a qualified professional photographer.  I know what you're thinking, "did he really just say that!?! Saaaaay whuuuuut!?!"  Lol!!!   Ok, perhaps I took that a little far but the idea I’m getting at is, why would you trust the most important day of your life to someone who happens to own a piece of equipment that a professional also owns to do their job?  Play that out over another area in your life and you’ll see where I’m coming from with this.  Would you allow a friend who happens to own a thermometer diagnose a potentially serious illness instead of a doctor?  Of course not!  So why would you do that with your wedding day?  It makes no sense but happens all the time.  It’s incredible how many couples I meet who share their stories of regret from not having hired a qualified professional photographer for their wedding.  Including my wife and I…

Having said that I do believe in budgets and understand that everyone’s is different.  I do however strongly encourage couples to consider if theirs is consistent with the level of quality they would like.  The same standards apply whether your budget allows for a $1,500 or $15,000 photographer.  If you are investing your hard earned money with a photographer or any wedding vendor for that matter you deserve a quality result.  

Interestingly though, if you are a couple who has a more flexible budget you may be in an even more challenging situation when selecting your wedding photographer.  This is possible in large part due the growth of digital photography and social media.  The fact is there are a bazillion people with a digital camera who have become “photographers” with little to no experience or training advertising their service on social media.    I don’t know about you but one of the first things I do when I see a new business I’m interested in purchasing a product or service from is look from them on Instagram and/Facebook.  For better or worse “social proof” has become one of the most important factors in our buying decision as a society.  The idea that “if something is popular it must be good” has become a dominant idea in our culture and quite honestly isn’t necessarily true.  Popularity can of course be an indication of quality but is certainly not one I would use as an final indication of whether or not I will purchase something.  Social media can be a valuable tool in evaluating the credibility and quality of a business but the relationship between popularity and quality is far more blurred than simply assuming that because something is popular i.e. a business has 10k-30k plus followers it’s actually good.  I can tell you first hand that I am emailed, called and private messaged several times a day by so called marketing companies who promise to increase my Instagram and Facebook followers by tens of thousands and put me first on every Google search know to mankind.  Often their strategies include getting more followers for my business from people from across the planet who have nothing to do with my business or have ever or would ever use it.  What all that means as a consumer and more specifically one who is choosing who they would like to photograph the most important day of their life, is that the all the hype is often just that, hype.  Because of this it is incredibly important to use other credible means of evaluating who's product or service you will choose.  The influence of social media is a good starting point but in my opinion should not be the deciding factor of such an important decision especially as it pertains to justification of price.  There are a ton of incredibly popular photographers on social media who's prices are more in line with their number of followers than it is with their end product.  Meaning, they're really popular and expensive but their overall quality is poor.  Yea, I said that too.  But I also said I was going to tell you things I know others aren't.  So, there you go.  I'll also add to that though that there are many incredible photographers out there with huge followings who are worth every cent of their asking.  The idea here is make sure you're doing your homework and not just relying popularity to determine value.  Get a full picture by seeing more pictures of the entire day.   Not just the highlight reals.   



So, how do you combine all of these ideas into one final, “I’d love to book you” decision?  My suggestion is to make sure you’re evaluating photographers on things that will matter to you in the short and long term.  How they interact you will be a direct indication of how they'll interact with family and guests.  You might also ask yourself, "are the other vendors I’ve I'm interviewing and already booked recommend working with them?"  "Do they provide the type of quality images I would love to see myself in and share for years to come?" Finally, if they are the right photographer for you the combination of their work and personality will be consistent with a price you would expect to invest.  But remember, popularity does not always guarantee quality.  Meet with any potential photographer you are considering and be sure to ask for as many examples of complete wedding day coverage as possible beyond their portfolio and blogs.  Of course I love and use both in my business but I know albums for instance offer a much more complete view of a wedding day.  

Lastly, good luck in your search!  If you have any questions anything I've mentioned or comments please let me know.  The goal of this blog is to help you make an informed decision about your wedding!   










The ideas above are based on questions I’ve received during the 5 years of my professional photography career.  They are essentially the same answers I’ve given to hundreds of engaged couples and I hope they can be of benefit to you.  Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions about this topic.       


Please contact me at [email protected] if you would like to meet for a booking consultation and hear my answers to all of the questions I’ve asked in this blog, talk soon! 


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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Photographer fredericksburg wedding photographer richmond wedding photographer the knot Virginia Wedding photographer wedding secrets Mon, 20 Aug 2018 19:43:20 GMT
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

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(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 photographer engagement photography Engagement session 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 richmond wedding photographer silk mill wedding spring wedding Virginia wedding photographer 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 photographer engagement photography Engagement session 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

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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 dadtographer full time dad Full time wedding photographer Luray wedding photographer richmond wedding photographer Virginia 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 celebrity counting on dress" Duggar wedding Jinger and Jeremy Jinger Duggar Jinger Duggar wedding dress TLC Counting On 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


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

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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


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

Learn more or contact Matthew Thwing Photography

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(Matthew Thwing Photography) bride celebration Fredericksburg golden groom handsome photographer police Square 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


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

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(Matthew Thwing Photography) bride cake Downtown Fredericksburg elegant entrance exit Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride jerker Marine Mill NOVA wedding Old romantic Silk sparkler sword tear truffles Virginia Wedding photographer 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


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

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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 engagement Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer 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
Engagement sessions are as important to me as they are to you At the end of every year Peggy and I discuss the previous years weddings.  What worked?  What didn't work? Where do we need to improve?  Where are we doing well?  These are the types of questions we ask when evaluating the experience we had going into the next year.  Of course we ask similar questions throughout the year but we tend to keep major changes to how we do things to a minimum as much as possible and leave the big things to the following year.  During that process last year we noticed a significant trend.  When we photographed an engagement session for a couple, their wedding day photos and overall experience, were just better.  We knew them better, they knew us better.  And the relationship we were able to develop with the these couples was richer, deeper and more fulfilling for us.  Because of that we decided to offer a complimentary engagement session to the brides and grooms we were going to meet at the upcoming bridal shows we'd planned to attend in 2015 upon booking us for their wedding.  
You might be wondering, why does the relationship you have with your photographer matter?  I mean, we're professionals right?  Shouldn't your wedding photos be great no matter what?  You'd be right to ask those questions too, they make perfect sense to me!  What you should consider though, is that with any art form/creative process, emotion matters.  The emotion of the artist/creative matters.  99.9% of the weddings I've photographed have, to some degree, been emotional.  But not all of them were, to the same degree, as emotional for me.   Why?  Because of the relationship I had with the couple.  I know what your're thinking...."You're telling me that you are a professional photographer but some level of closeness to the people you're photographing helps you take better pictures?"  My answer...yup!  Think about it.  Any stranger can walk up to you on the street and take your picture.  But wouldn't that picture tell abetter story if the person behind the camera knew your story?  I'm not talking about the, "how you met" story,  Everyone you meet asks you that.  I'm talking about the stories that get told when you and your fiancé are just being yourselves with one another.  The inside jokes, the little "ism's" that we love about our significant others.  Your "ness" as I and Owen Wilson like to call it.  And in many cases the unspoken story of the way you are together tells a much more significant story than any spoken word.  How you look at one another.  How you shyly look away when you notice he sees you.  And one of the most telling looks, when you're telling each other with your eyes how much you're in love.  How much you trust him.  And how important this moment is to the two of you.  

By the time your wedding date arrives there is a part of me that feels like it's a part of your story.  We may not become lifelong friends or even see each other after we meet to review your album design.  But on that day the more we know about who you and your fiancé are, at least to one another, the more we can connect that emotion to your images and convey those feelings to whomever will be looking at you wedding photographs for years to come.  To me, an engagement session is the best, and my favorite way, to get to know the couples and create beautiful images from them on their wedding day.  

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg engagement Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:43:49 GMT
Domo Arigato, I no Longer Shoot in Auto is Back!!! I am so excited to be teaching again at OddBox Studios in Downtown Fredericksburg.  I had so much fun the last time we ran the Domo Arigato, I no longer Shoot in Auto class that I knew I wanted to do it again.  Over the past few months I've had many people ask me if I was going to teach the class again and I'm happy to finally be able to say yes!  After being asked what has been come a pretty common question.  "How in the in the world do I get my camera to do that!?!"  I have another opportunity to show folks the techniques I use to capture my favorite images.  Below is a detailed look at the topics that I'll be covering in class as well as information regarding class schedule and registration.  I would be happy to answer any questions you might have prior to registering.  

Probably the coolest part of teaching the last session was that we added a "201" 4 week version of the class after the first session came to a close.  In that session the entire class had their cameras in hand as we met at various locations around Fredericksburg and put into practice what was learned in class.  Because of that, it is unlikely that another "101" session will be taught before next spring/summer so don't miss the opportunity to sign up for this round of Domo Arigato, I no Longer Shoot in Auto!

Rich Creamy Bokeh (pronounced bo ka not bo kay!!!) - This section is designed to show you how to get that "blurry background" (or foreground) look in your photos.  It's so much easier than you think!  All you need to know is a little detail about the relationship of 3 components of creating bokeh.  Make your images stand out from the background and the crowd.  This is probably my favorite way to take photographs and one of my favorite things to teach and talk about.

Manual Labor - The purpose of this section will be to emphasize the importance of at least cracking open your instruction manual.  I know, I know, those things are incredibly boring and why would you take a class on photography if all you have to do is read a manual?  The reason is simple.  You just paid a few hundred, if not thousand dollars for your camera and it does a lot of cool stuff!  If you were happy with what you're getting out of your iPhone you would have just stuck with that, right?  The good news is we will be keeping this conversation mostly to the simple tweaks you need to make to the settings your camera is programmed with from the manufacturer.  

Like it?  Shoot it! - Composition is key.  Everyone has heard the expression location, location, location.  If you're going to have a successful storefront, location is everything.  Well, if you're going make a powerful, meaningful photograph, composition is everything!!!  I'll use some of my favorite images to explain the elements of what make them my favorites.  Subject positioning, background focus and other fundamental composition elements will be pointed out to help you understand the purposeful choices made to make a viewers eye never want to leave an image. the!?! - Sometimes you see the picture exactly how you think it should look in your head and then you look at the back of the camera... Where did that gorgeous image go?  Light is the most key component of photography and understanding it just a little bit better will go a super long way in getting your mind and viewfinder to match... or maybe resembling one another would suffice sometimes... Regardless of where you are as a photographer the closer you get to connecting the two will go incredibly far to drive you further in confidence and enable to create images you'll be dying to hang on your wall.  Combine this lesson with the information you'll get in the "Like it? Shoot it!" section and you'll be well on your way to awesome, artful images in no time.

Put Down the Pitchfork - Probably one of the most intimidating things about beginning to take peoples portraits is posing.  Most of the time I try and let people do what they would normally when no one is watching but sometimes it's our job to move a hand, place a foot or twist a hip.  The art of posing is a lot more simple than you might think and beautiful, natural looking positioning can be achieved easily when you know where to put stuff like hands, feet and hips.  I'll explain some key tips in this section so you can walk away feeling more confident; at least with posing your family the next time you talk them into being in front of your camera ;-)

These are just a few of the fun, practical and easy to understand topics we'll cover in my class, "Domo Arigato, I no longer shoot in Auto."  I look forward to meeting you and helping you get out of iPhone mode!   Space is limited to 15 people per class, register now!

All classes will be held at OddBox Studios from 7-9 p.m. on the following Wednesday nights

November 3

November 10

November 17

November 24

For a full list of available classes click... here!

Directions to class are available... here!

I'm so psyched for class to begin.  Email me if you have any questions.  See you soon!

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg engagement Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 23 Sep 2015 14:13:53 GMT
Old House Vineyards Wedding // Ashley and Dominic 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


(Matthew Thwing Photography) engagement Fredericksburg Photographer House NOVA wedding Old vineyard wedding Vineyards Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 16 Sep 2015 13:45:00 GMT
St. Michael's Church, The Omni Richmond Wedding // Irene and Darrell From June 27, 2015

Peggy & I met Irene and Darrell at the Richmond Wedding Experience Bridal show in January.  We immediately hit it off with Irene and her now mother in law and before the end of the show they brought Darrell, who was off checking out other vendors, back to meet us .  We later met up with Darrell, Irene and this time Irene's mother.  This family has an inviting nature that puts everyone at ease. 

The wedding day was no different.  If either Irene or Darrell were nervous you would have never guessed it.  We had a great time getting photographs prior to the ceremony between making sure the groom didn't see his beautiful elegant bride and missing the episodes of rain which made things interesting.  As you can see below, the BRIDE got caught in one... actually two rain storms.  Both times she laughed and kept smiling.  Luckily we had checked the weather ahead of time and prepared with nice big umbrellas that then became fun props for the bridal party!

Peggy and I love what we do.  Every wedding we photograph is an opportunity to watch something beautiful unfold.  Irene and Darrell's wedding was by our standards perfect.  I probably harp on it too much but to me a wedding is about the people.  The decor, dress and venue are always important and this wedding was no exception.  St Michael's Church and The Omni Richmond Hotel were absolutely gorgeous as were the dress, flowers and overall decor.  But I'm sorry, that's not the stuff that moves me the most.  When I reflect on any wedding, especially this wedding, I remember how transparent a couples love is for one another and the genuine, authentic, love they received from their friends and family on their special day.  Both Irene and Darrell's family and friends are simply fantastic people.  

When I look at the images from this day I'm drawn into how I felt taking them.  Both Irene and Darrell were so gentle with one another.  They were quite shy at first but once they turned away from the camera I could tell all they saw were one another.  Thats it for me, that's how I define success.  When a couple has become lost in one another and forgets we're there, Peggy and I have done our jobs.  When I look at an image I don't see hairs out of place or a tiny little skin imperfection, I see a soul.  I see love and I see tenderness.  Granted, those things should be placed in an attractive setting with "good" light etc ( :-) ) but it's my goal and my opinion that the emotion transferred in an image is what makes it beautiful and special.  When I look through these images I see that abundantly.  I see a couple who is so truly in love surrounded by people who truly love them! 


Special thanks to the following vendors for contributing their special touch in such a beautiful day:


Church: St Michael's, Bon Air Va

Reception Venue and Catering: The Omni Richmond

Salon: Flirt

Dress: Alfred Angelo's, Glen Allen Va

Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal

Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse

Jewelry: Adolf Jewlers

Flowers: Vogue Flower Markets

Entertainment and Lighting: Black Tie Entertainment

Cake: Appletree Cake Company




(Matthew Thwing Photography) Black Tie Entertainment Omni Richmoond Hotel Richmond Wedding Richmond Wedding Photographer Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 09 Sep 2015 13:53:36 GMT
St. Mary's Church Fredericksburg, Jepson Alumni Center Wedding // Lyndsie and Patrick From June 20, 2016

Peggy has known Lyndsie & Patrick for many years and we were honored when they choose us to photograph their wedding.  Lyndsie & Patrick's wedding was a fairytale come true.  The beautiful princess with her prince!

You immediately can sense how loved they are by the number of attendants each of them had, mixed together as family and friends their genuine admiration for the couple was not only seen from the moment we arrived but in every picture. 

There wasn't a detail left out , from the thoughtful bridesmaids gifts,  the bride and bridesmaids troli ride to the ceremony, the request to please put your phones away and allow the photographers (that's us) to take pictures,  the bride entering in the chapel to her stepdad playing the piano, the bride and grooms horse and carriage ride to the reception, the beautifully decorated reception hall, to the farewell milk and cookie treat, everything was breathtaking. 

If you ask Peggy what her favorite moment of this wedding was she will tell you it was the moment SHE saw Lyndsie.  Lyndsie had an elegance and grace about her that took her breathe away.  Lyndsie had just finished getting into her dress and doing the last minute touch ups and Peggy looked at her and immediately started to tear up.  In Peggy's words "you are the most stunning bride I've ever seen" and Lyndsie truly was stunning.  No worries though Patrick looked just as great in his tux waiting for his bride.

The day was magical and the love that this couple shares for one another is just as magical.  Peggy & I wish you two the very best and look forward to continuing to watch your journey unfold. 


Special thanks to the following vendors who helped make the day spectacular:

Church: St. Mary's Church

Venue: Jepson Alumni Center

Salon: Luna Hair Salon

Dress: Ava Laurenne Bride

Brides Maid Dresses: Simply Modern Bridal

Tuxes: Simply Moder Bridal

Flowers: Blushing Blooms Event Florist

Coordinator: Susan Milan

Transportation: Old Towne Carriage Tours of Fredericksburg

Catering and Beverage Service: Mary Washington University Catering

Lodging: Hyatt Hotel Fredericksburg

Invitations: Wedding Papaer Divas



(Matthew Thwing Photography) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:45:00 GMT
St George's Episcopal Church, Augustine Golf Club Wedding // Jessica and Andy's Wedding From May 30, 2015

I was really excited to photography Jessica and Andy's wedding not only because they are such a great couple, but also because it presented us with an opportunity to photograph one of Fredericksburg's most significant landmarks.  I had not been inside of St George's Church but I have walked and driven by it too many times to count.  It's gorgeous, unique and historic, what more do you need?  Inside didn't disappoint either.  It embodied classic elegance while maintaining the discipline of an Episcopal house of worship.  I loved it!  

My process in meeting and getting to know couples starts upon our first meeting and is continued in a handful of additions events.  I usually spend an additional two hours or so with each couple during their engagement session as well as a few other meetings along the way.  Jessica and Andy decided they wanted to get together after their wedding for a photo session otherwise I'm sure I'd have realized how sneaky cool they are.  During one of our meetings, Andy mentioned he was having a custom suit made.  He didn't mention how James Bond it was.  He also didn't mention one of the coolest things I've seen a groom do in a long time.  He had their wedding date embroidered into the back of his suit collar underneath the fold.  Such a cool touch of class.  Jessica snuck in her cool with the electric blue shoes she wore and later on the dance floor where she proved herself a worthy dance partner for those looking to cut loose that night.  

I think what stood out most to me on this day though wasn't the brides beautiful dress, the historic church or the gorgeous sunset. It wasn't the decor or the flowers or the cake.  Don't get me wrong, all of those things were magnificent.  But what stood out to me the most was the celebration during the reception.  It was the joy that was so apparent on everyone's faces.  In was incredible to see and a pleasure to capture it for everyone! 


Special thanks to all of the fantastic vendors who helped make for a fantastic celebration!

Coordinator:  Weddings by Ginny

Catering/Reception Venue: Augustine Golf Club

Salon: Salon 730 

Dress: Curvaceous Couture 

Groom's Suit: Enzo Custom Clothiers

Entertainment; Classic Hits Entertainment

Transportation: Elsie Belman Limos


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg engagement Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 19 Aug 2015 18:46:05 GMT
Old House Vineyards Wedding // Ricky and Jackie Wedding From May 24, 2015

Probably the best way to describe this couple is, down to earth.  Peggy and I met Jacky and Ricky at two different bridal shows and picked up on it right away.  It comes across in everything they do just as it did on their wedding day.  I usually meet with couples at least a few times leading up to their wedding day.  Ricky and I got together for what I assumed would be a 3 minute meeting right around the time my son, Max was born.  He immediately let me know he had been around people with a cold and refused to shake hands for fear I might bring the germs somehow to Max.  I thought it was kind of funny but appreciated the gesture and sincerity.  We discussed whatever the quick topic was regarding the wedding and spent at least 20 or so minutes talking about Max being born and soccer.  Until then I had no idea he was huge fan of the English football team Chelsea F.C. I was in a good mood because my son had just been born and because he was getting married soon so, I let the fact that he was a Chelsea (I've been a Manchester United fan since I was little) fan go and we talked about the league, our respective teams status and getting together at some point to watch some games.  It's these types of relationships that make being a wedding photographer so rewarding. I love people.  Real people.

The style and flow of the wedding perfectly reflected the personalities of the bride and groom.  Down to earth and about what was important to them.  I could tell their family's mean so much them.  The reception was a celebration of the two families and cultures coming together.  There were lots of hugs and tearful speeches.  Probably the most touching moment was the father daughter dance.  It was incredible to see how much Jackie's dad loved her and how happy he was for her.  He seemes to be a man of few words but what he was feeling came through in the expression in his eyes.  It was the same for Ricky's mother during the mother son dance.  You could see how proud she was for him.  I love that kind of stuff.  It's what makes these days so special to not only the bride and groom but also to me.  It's inspiring and makes each event different and significant. 

Ricky also had a pretty sweet groom's cake made complete with a (dreadful, lol) Chelsea logo on it.  They did a great job smearing it all over each other's faces and were all the more excited to kiss and smoosh it in a little more, it was pretty hysterical.  

The couple chose to have their engagement session after the wedding so until then I will look forward to hanging out with Jackie and Ricky again and will no doubt be looking forward to the opportunity to watch their effortlessness affection toward one another.  


​Special thanks to the following vendors for putting together such a beautiful day:

Venue: Old House Vineyards

Coordinator: Ally Allison Events

Dress: Curvaceous Couture  

Salon: Tulip Salon and Spa

Flowers: Amanda Veronee  

Cake: Simply Sweet

Tables and Linens: Memorable Moments

Invitations: Lydia's 


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer engagement Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:45:00 GMT
Inn at the Old Silk Mill Wedding // Hannah and Kevin From May 15, 2015

This wedding was a privilege to be a part of.  The families of both the bride and groom were all just the sweetest people.  Peggy and I met Hannah and her mother at a bridal show almost a year prior to the wedding and we all hit it off immediately.  We also came to find out that we actually went to the same church and that made the connection even stronger.  I later met with both Hannah and Kevin's parents for a pre wedding consultation and found them to be incredibly solid people.  "Good stock" as it's called these days.  

Hannah and Kevin are the kind of couple every photographer loves to have in front of their camera.  Happy, young, full of life and in love!  Hannah made for an absolutely stunning bride and Kevin was equally gallant in his Navy Blues.  What really struck me the most about them though, was the ease they have with one another.  Their energy is kind, patient and loving.  And they look at one another in a way that supersedes words.  To me it came out in so many of their pictures.  They just look at each other and you can tell they're in love, it's so cool!  

Both sides of their bridal party were great as well.  Not to mention hilarious!  That was quickly apparent while photographing the groups getting ready and summed up perfectly when Kevin somehow launched the garter belt into the chandelier. Without hesitation his best man, Donny, was hurled up in the air to rescue it without a flinching hesitation from the crowd of single guys who were out on the dance floor hoping they were "next."  

The father - daughter and mother - son dances are a normal part of most weddings.  They stood out to me on this occasion perhaps slightly more than most, however.  Probably because of what was said by both before each of them had the chance to dance with their daughter and son.  I had met Kevin's mother during the pre wedding consultation as well but when I reintroduced myself to her at the wedding she introduced herself, almost as an announcement, that she was the mother of the groom.  She did it in such a loving way that it made the pride she felt in her son's big day, beautifully apparent.  Again, it was so cool!  Hannah's father made his affection toward her very clear during his toast to the bride and groom.  He spoke of how he loved his daughter and how glad he was she was marrying a man like Kevin.  He also threw in there a line or two about the ways he strategically went about making sure Kevin was a good fit for his beloved daughter and how there were some "initiation" tactics included in this screening process as well.  As any father should, of course.  

While looking through these images I couldn't help but convert so many of them into black and white.  Hannah and Kevin just seem to have this timelessness to them.  I picture that old picture where the sailor is kissing the girl in the middle of the street in his Navy attire.  Theres just such a classic beauty to Hannah that was emphasized perfectly by her choice in dress and accompanying hair and makeup.  Kevin's Navy Blues were the perfect match to her style and complimented his calm authority with precision.

Take a look through the images below and let me know if you feel the same!  


Special thanks to the following vendors who did an awesome job creating such a beautiful day!

Venue: Inn at the Old Silk Mill

Event Coordinator: Occasions by M&K 

Catering:  Caroline Street Catering

DJ: In Step Entertainment

Salon:  BobyPins and Blush

Bride dress: Ava Laurenne

Flowers: Bridget Miller 


We'd love to hear your feedback about this blog.  Please leave a comment in the guestbook below.

To see which images Hannah and Kevin selected for their album click here.

To view the Matthew Thwing Photography wedding portfolio click here

To contact Matthew Thwing Photography regarding booking or any other questions please click here.


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride Inn at the Old Silk Mill NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:45:00 GMT
Lake Ritchie Wedding // Catherine and Jason From May 2, 2015

The 2015 wedding season kicked off with what was a beautiful and encompassing event both aesthetically and emotionally.  I had gotten to know Catherine and Jason as well as most of the Early family over the past few months as they had been going through a very challenging time as a family.  I met Catherine as well as Diann and Marisa, at two bridal shows earlier in the year and later met Jason and Bobby at their wedding photography consultation. I felt a connection to all of them and admired their closeness as a family especially since mine is spread out all over the place.  Their engagement session was the first time I had them in front of my camera and it's the best way for me to see how they are together as a couple.  I thought it went really well and the images from it remain some of my favorites.  It wasn't long after the session that I heard from Catherine about getting together for a family portrait session.  I was happy to do it for them but I was a little curious as to why they didn't just want to wait a few months and have the family's portraits taken at the wedding.  When I arrived at the Early household I found out the reason for the somewhat impromptu session.  Catherine's sister Marisa was quite sick.  The portrait session went great as Ms. Diva, the family pooch, did exactly what her namesake suggested and dominated the scene getting involved in as many photos as possible and making sure she was never too far from someone's reach for a pet on the head.  She was quite a ham!  Catherine was forced to hobble around the living room a bit as she had injured her foot recently but other than that, everything went great.  I left the session feeling good about the images and glad I was able to take them for the family. Three days later reality set in.  I received an email letting me know Marisa had passed. My heart sank.  It was a that moment that I realized how important those photos were.  

A few months later I was with the Early family for the event I had originally met them to photograph, Catherine and Jason's wedding.  The Pavililon at Lake Ritchie provided a gorgeous setting for their day.  Catherine looked beautiful and Jason, despite some pre wedding jitters, looked handsome and ready for Catherine to become his bride.  I met up with the guys for some pre wedding shooting, for them and me.  Though this wasn't a shotgun wedding, they had plenty on hand to fire a few rounds off ceremoniously before the wedding.  Luckily for Jason, Bobby wasn't there to point any at him!  After that I met up with Catherine and the ladies for a few pre wedding photos, she looked amazing and elegant.  After the morning preparations everyone worked their way over to the Pavllion for the ceremony and celebrations.  The ceremony was beautiful overlooking the lake and felt intimate. It was a day for celebration amidst tears of joy and tears of remembrance.  It was an incredible experience to see the family smile and rejoice in what was to come.  Throughout the day I could feel an energy like a sigh of relief.  A different one than the more usual, "all this planning is finally done" relief.  But one more as if none of them were sure they were going to be able to make it though the day.  About mid way through it seemed as if they knew they could and it was ok.  It was beautiful.  I hope these photos captured that emotion well and I also hope they bring a sense of joy and love to the Early family and their friends for years to come.  


In memory of Marisa





(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer engagement Tue, 14 Jul 2015 20:00:06 GMT
Photography classes at OddBox Studios, Downtown Fredericksburg I mentioned in a previous blog  that I will be teaching a photography course on Wednesday nights beginning on April 15th and ending on May 6th.  The course will be focusing on the simple and practical methods I use in almost all of the wedding, event and portrait sessions I photograph.  The class is designed for people who have maybe had their camera for a while and just not become comfortable with it yet or have recently purchased one and are looking for ways out of the Auto or as I call it iPhone mode.  My goal is to empower the class to create photographs that are representative of their minds eye and help them demystify "complex"  camera settings and overcome the fear of taking control of at least a few of their DSLR's functions.  But don't worry... These classes are going to fun!!!!!  Below is a tentative list and description a few of the course outline topics, check it out!


Rich Creamy Bokeh (pronounced bo ka not bo kay!!!) - This section is designed to show you how to get that "blurry background" (or foreground) look in your photos.  It's so much easier than you think!  All you need to know is a little detail about the relationship of 3 components of creating bokeh.  Make your images stand out from the background and the crowd.  This is probably my favorite way to take photographs and one of my favorite things to teach and talk about.



Manual Labor - The purpose of this section will be to emphasize the importance of at least cracking open your instruction manual.  I know, I know, those things are incredibly boring and why would you take a class on photography if all you have to do is read a manual?  The reason is simple.  You just paid a few hundred, if not thousand dollars for your camera and it does a lot of cool stuff!  If you were happy with what you're getting out of your iPhone you would have just stuck with that, right?  The good news is we will be keeping this conversation mostly to the simple tweaks you need to make to the settings your camera is programmed with from the manufacturer.  



Like it?  Shoot it! - Composition is key.  Everyone has heard the expression location, location, location.  If you're going to have a successful storefront, location is everything.  Well, if you're going make a powerful, meaningful photograph, composition is everything!!!  I'll use some of my favorite images to explain the elements of what make them my favorites.  Subject positioning, background focus and other fundamental composition elements will be pointed out to help you understand the purposeful choices made to make a viewers eye never want to leave an image. the!?! - Sometimes you see the picture exactly how you think it should look in your head and then you look at the back of the camera... Where did that gorgeous image go?  Light is the most key component of photography and understanding it just a little bit better will go a super long way in getting your mind and viewfinder to match... or maybe resembling one another would suffice sometimes... Regardless of where you are as a photographer the closer you get to connecting the two will go incredibly far to drive you further in confidence and enable to create images you'll be dying to hang on your wall.  Combine this lesson with the information you'll get in the "Like it? Shoot it!" section and you'll be well on your way to awesome, artful images in no time.



Put Down the Pitchfork - Probably one of the most intimidating things about beginning to take peoples portraits is posing.  Most of the time I try and let people do what they would normally when no one is watching but sometimes it's our job to move a hand, place a foot or twist a hip.  The art of posing is a lot more simple than you might think and beautiful, natural looking positioning can be achieved easily when you know where to put stuff like hands, feet and hips.  I'll explain some key tips in this section so you can walk away feeling more confident; at least with posing your family the next time you talk them into being in front of your camera ;-)



These are just a few of the fun, practical and easy to understand topics we'll cover in my class, "Domo Arigato, I no longer shoot in Auto."  I look forward to meeting you and helping you get out of iPhone mode!   Space is limited to 15 people per class, register now!

All classes will be held at OddBox Studios from 7-9 p.m. on the following Wednesday nights

April 15

April 22

April 29

May 6 

For a full list of available classes click... here!

Directions to class are available... here!

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:25:16 GMT
Photography Education Coming Your Way



I am incredibly excited to announce that Matthew Thwing Photography (me!) has teamed up with OddBox Studios and several other local professionals to offer photography classes in Downtown Fredericksburg!!  

Classes will range from beginner to advanced and will begin in April.  Your exact schedule will be determined by the course you select.  I will be teaching a beginner course called, "Domo Arigato, I no longer shoot in Auto!"  Here's the course description!


"In this class you will learn the tips, tricks and fundamental photography skill set you have been scrolling through Pinterest wishing you had.  I will teach you how I have been able to craft my style and develop what was a part time hobby, into a full time career. 

Fret not, I will be checking the technical jargon at the door and showing you how you can use a simple, practical set of photography skills to help you capture the images you sought after when purchasing your DSLR in the first place."  


My class will be held on Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m. beginning April 15th with the final class on May 6th.  The total cost of all four sessions is just $79!

Each session will be broken down by topic where I will give you a simple, non-techy, anti-jargony explanation of the way I photograph everything from weddings to landscapes.  I am so excited to host this class and am looking forward to helping you understand how close you are to connecting the images in your mind, to the outcome in your camera!  

To register click here

If you have any questions please let me know.  I look forward to seeing you there!


All class sessions will be held at Oddbox Studios located at:  526-1 Wolfe Street, Fredericksburg, Va 22401




(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer NOVA wedding Virginia Wedding photographer Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:26:10 GMT
Rustic Chic Wedding // Mayleigh and Anthony I was really excited to photograph Mayleigh and Anthony's Rustic Chic wedding following their engagement session a few months ago.  Their property is gorgeous and while their horses were not a part of their wedding decor, they were made up for by the overall style of the day.  I am a huge fan of cowboy boots and wedding gowns and the entire bridal party was adorned in them, it was perfect.  Anthony wore his cowboy hat with the confidence of a man who was born to wear one.  It was definitely one of my favorite elements of his attire as it perfectly accented his tan double vented suit.  Mayleigh's dress and hair were gorgeous and expressed her personal style perfectly as well.  Her turquoise garter belt, though kept discretely, was in tune to the grooms tie and handkerchief.  

One of my favorite features of the decor was the cake topper.  It was a man dressed in a camouflage tuxedo being chased and grabbed by his bride.  Though it was hilarious, it did not reflect the sentiment of the groom whatsoever.  Peggy and I were struck by how obvious Anthony’s love for Mayleigh is, it was beautiful to watch.  I hope we were able to capture it in the pictures below so you can see it as well.  Naturally the gesture was returned by Mayleigh and some of my favorite images of her are during the wedding ceremony when she is looking at him.  The expression in her eyes is as if to say, "I am yours and am giving you my everything."  It's breath taking.  

It is said that a person's character can be told by the company they keep.  Mayleigh and Anthony certainly are kept by an amazing group of friends and family.  It was fun watching them celebrate the bride and groom and the genuine joy they showed made the evening all that much more special.  Peggy and I had a great time as well getting to know them throughout the day and were so happy to have been asked to participate in their celebration.


Top class vendors participating in the day included the following:

Hair and Make up :  Rain Salon of Ashburn

Dress by:  Bella Rosa Bridal

Brides Maid Dresses:  Tiffany's Bridal

Groom's formal wear:  Men's Wearhouse

Florals:  Briarwood Florist

Tent and Lighting:  FDS Tents

Entertainment:  Spectrum Band

Catering:  DeFazio's Catering

Cake:  Fat Girl Cakes



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Thank you for stopping by the blog.  Please take a moment to let me know what you think by posting a comment in the space below.  

To see Mayleigh and Anthony's Engagement Session photos click here:

To view my favorite wedding images check out my portfolio by clicking here:

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:22:47 GMT
Waterfront Wedding // Cameron-Ann and Corey ​Wedding photography is always a rewarding experience.  Of all the "jobs" I've ever had, none of them has ever felt like the right fit for me.  All that changed when I became a professional wedding photographer.  It's like nothing else I've ever experienced.  There has never been another way I have been able to meet and get to know so many people in such a short, emotionally rich environment, in ll my life.  It's why I love being a wedding photographer so much.  This wedding blog is a great example of why Peggy and I love what we do, the people we meet rock!

Cameron-Ann and Corey had it all at their waterfront wedding.  A gorgeous bride, a beautiful gown, a handsome groom and a group of family and friends who were there to celebrate with them in a way that made it clear how much they were loved and supported.  It was an incredible day.  

During their Downtown Fredericksburg Engagement Session we went by the fire department where Corey works.  We were able take engagement pictures of the two of them on one of the fire engines.  I thought that was not going to be topped.  That was until the groom and his groomsmen rolled down to the ceremony in the old retired Number 4 from the Westmoreland Fire Department.  It was absolutely classic and an awesome way for Corey to showcase his personality in the ceremony.  I thought it was a great touch made even more special by his father being the driver and his best man along the side, there to open his door.  Absolutely classic.  

Cameron-Ann's style was also on display and I was immediately excited to see her cowboy boots!  I grabbed them, along with her garter belt, veil, engagement ring and bracelet.  The images I took of them are some of my all-time favorite detail shots.  Backlit by the wrap around windows in one the bedrooms I was able to find the perfect light to capture the images Cameron-Ann was looking for.  We were later able to use the room to have her put the finishing touches on her attire including the boots and a special family heirloom necklace.  

The waterfront wedding ceremony was highlighted by beautiful vows and a sand celebration.  Both the bride and grooms mothers brought down jars of different colored sand, one white and one tan.  They each poured the respective jar of sand, labeled with their initials, into a single jar signifying their unity.  It was a very lovely touch.  

The wedding reception was just as beautiful and included father daughter dances, and a mother son dance.  All of it was kicked off by Cameron-Ann and Corey's first dance together as husband and wife.  The sun reflecting off of the river behind them gave their first dance a gorgeous golden glow as their bridal party circled around them in support.  

And did a I mention fireworks?  The evening was capped off by a gorgeous display of wedding fireworks that would have rivaled most 4th of July festivities in the area.  Good thing there were plenty of firemen on hand just in case!!

Throughout the day, in the midst of the perfect surroundings and beautiful decor, it was the people who made the day special.  

Take a look at the images below to see what Peggy and I were so inspired by on this incredible day for a waterfront wedding, hope you enjoy!



To see more gorgeous wedding images check out the wedding portfolio:

For inquiries and booking information email or call us by going to our contact page:

​Also, we'd love your feedback on this blog, please take a moment and let us know what you think below!


Matt & Peggy


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:40:31 GMT
Downtown Fredericksburg Engagement Session // Ashley and Dom Ashley and Dom were the lucky winners of the FREE Engagement Session raffle Peggy and I held at the Greater Virginia Bridal Show in the Hospitality House, in Fredericksburg this past June.  They are an incredibly sweet couple and it was a lot of fun trekking around Downtown Fredericksburg with them during their session.  Ashley and Dom were one of those couples that say they're shy but open up after a just few minutes in front of the camera.  Of course it usually does take a few lame jokes on my part to help that process along but nevertheless, they quickly forgot I was there and, at least from my point of view, had a great time together in a beautiful setting.  We had planned on going to a nearby battlefield location for the second half of the session but decided to climb up the side of the Fredericksburg National Cemetery to finish the session with a few photos of them in a more landscape setting.  I thought both the downtown and the serene setting images came out great.  The sun was setting perfectly over Mary Washington University's playing fields just onto the crest of the field we ended up on and the warm, golden light was perfect for a few backlit images of Ashley and Dom sitting next to one another enjoying each others company.  Next summer they will be getting married at one of my favorite venues, Old House Vineyard and we are incredibly excited that they have asked us to photograph their wedding as well.  I can't wait to hang out with them and meet their families next summer.  They are such sweethearts!!!  



For more engagement images take a look at the Engagement Portfolio Gallery by clicking or the other blog posts  We'd love to hear your feedback and look forward to speaking with you about whichever type of life event you have coming up! Contact us at


Matt and Peggy


(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Photographer NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:32:11 GMT
Downtown Fredericksburg Engagement Session // Cameron-Ann and Corey It has been a pleasure to get to know Cameron-Ann and Corey over the past few months.  Peggy and I have bumped into Cameron-Ann a bunch of times at Fredericksburg Bridal shows, where she represents Mary Kay, and she has been a super strong advocate of Matthew Thwing Photography whenever we see her!  Both of them are incredible and make an awesome couple.  When I met them last winter it was easy to see how easy they were together and that, to me, is what makes a great relationship.  I know they are really looking forward to their wedding and have some really cool plans that will make it intimate and uniquely theirs.   

Corey did a great job scouting locations for their Engagement Session and picked out two of the spots we chose.  Granted one of them was the firehouse he works out of in Downtown Fredericksburg so that spot was a given!  The location along the Rappahannok River is where he trains quiet often with the fire department as well.  Both were awesome locations.  The river was gorgeous and the firehouse provided a perfect scene for him to showcase his personality.  It was also an opportunity for me to climb on a fire truck which admittedly was awesome and turned me into a little kid again!  

We were able to capture some incredible images including one of my all-time favorites of Cameron-Ann and Corey's silhouette as they stood along the railroad tracks at dusk.  I love when I have the opportunity to spend some time on a session just exploring an area with a couple and that is just what we did toward the end of our time.  Granted, I always go into each session with a plan but when the couple is willing to wander it sets up a great experience and gives me an opportunity to be even more creative.  The last two images are some of my personal favorites and were the last 2 or 3 clicks that evening.  Thank you both for being so awesome during our time together.  Peggy and I are super excited about photographing your upcoming wedding as well, see you guys again soon!!


Thank you for viewing Matthew Thwing Photography's Blog.  If you'd like to view more blog posts click here:

​For booking information please contact us at [email protected] or click: for our contact page.

We'd love to hear your kind feedback as well so please feel free to comment in the space below.  

(Matthew Thwing Photography) Downtown Fredericksburg engagement Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer Wed, 03 Sep 2014 20:06:01 GMT
Chancellorsville Battlefield Engagement Session // Tiffany and Robbie Tiffany and Robbie's Engagement Session was an absolute blast!  We actually had the session after we got together for their wedding back in April.  I was delighted to meet back up with them at the Battlefield at Chancellorsville for this session.   They are such a sweet couple and it has been a privilege to get to know them over the past few months.  Peggy and I first met them at the Big Day Bridal Show in Fredericksburg last January.  We later met for a consultation and were looking forward to their wedding in the fall of this year until that all changed when Robbie received his orders from the United States Army that he was being moved to Kansas!  This session was planned ahead of time and I was able to do a bit more planning for scene selection.  I thought the images came out awesome and I was so happy to hear that Tiffany and Robbie thought so too.  They are some of my favorite engagement photos and this is definitely one of my favorite locations for landscapes and portrait sessions.  The barn is such an awesome backdrop and the entire area just has countless little nooks to photograph in.  Thankfully Tiffany and Robbie were so awesome at working with me and all my ideas and puled it off fantastically.  They do such a great job at just being themselves and they are definitely one of those couples that make a session easy by just being in love and transparent about it.

  I will be blogging their wedding photos soon so stay tuned for them to be posted, too!



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Thank you for taking a look at this awesome couples photos.  To see more from my blog please click here:  If you are interested in booking Matthew Thwing Photography please email me at [email protected].  Thanks again!!
(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Photographer NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:54:46 GMT
Lavender Heights Wedding // Taylor and Adam Taylor and Adam's wedding at the Lavender Heights Bed and Breakfast was a picturesque event.  The day was gorgeous and the bride was just as much so.  The wedding day was actually only the second time I had met Taylor and I first met Adam during his getting ready photos.  This is not my normal practice but an exception was made as the day was a special event put together by fellow Virginia Wedding and Event Network (VAWE) member and friend, Sarah Wellington.  All of the vendors participating were asked to do so free of charge in order to bless the couple who would have had no way of having such a spectacular day under any other circumstances.  It was my privilege to participate and an honor to be a part of such a blessed day.  The way everything came together was spectacular and the bride and groom were two of the sweetest people i have ever met.

Taylor looked absolutely stunning in the dress provided by Simply Modern Bridal.  I loved the unique touch of the white gloves which provided a throw back look to perfectly compliment Taylor's classic beauty.  Adam's James Bond inspired suit looked quiet dapper as well.  It was finished off with complementary aqua and purple handkerchiefs to perfectly match the decor provided by Occasions by M&K as wells the favors by The Popcorn Bag and Flowers by Floral Palette.    

Lavender Heights Bed and Breakfast provided the perfect backdrop for their ceremony and reception and the hospitality couldn't have been better.  The grounds were gorgeous and the staff were exceptional.  I loved how many options we had for pictures both inside and outside and Taylor and Adam's guests were gracious enough to allow me to steal them during the cocktail hour so we could explore and few that caught my eye.    

Having not had the chance to get to know the bride and groom like I usually do I wasn't sure what to expect.   I was blown away however, by the glowing words of the pastor, as well as those of their friends and family.  Throughout the day, as I got to know them more, I was struck by their sincerity and humble appreciation for the day that had been assembled for them.  It was truly an honor to have been asked to participate in such a blessed day and to the bride and groom I wish all the best!!

Special thanks and recognition to all of the vendors who helped make this day so amazing:

Lavender Heights Bed and Breakfast - Venue

Rich Ant - Hair and Makup

Simply Modern Bridal - Dress

Floral Palette - Flowers

Occasions by M&K - Decor 

Cakes in Art - Cake

Popcorn Bag - Favors

Ladyburg - Favors

Grioli's - Catering 

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(Matthew Thwing Photography) Fredericksburg Photographer Gorgeous bride James Bond Lavender Heights NOVA wedding VAWE Virginia Wedding photographer Sat, 28 Jun 2014 17:00:00 GMT
Cowboy Chic Engagement // Mayleigh and Anthony I had such a great time photographing Mayleigh and Anthony's engagement session.  The session took place on their gorgeous property where they will be getting married in September.  

Peggy and I met Mayleigh at last January's Big Day Bridal Show at the Fredericksburg Expo Center and we were immediately struck by her hip sense of style, kind of cowboy chic or in her case, cowgirl chic!  

She knew during our initial consultation that she wanted to have the session include her and Anthony's horses and I was all too happy to oblige their request.  I'm glad I did because the images of them on their horses, on their stunning property, came out awesome!  

Mayleigh and Anthony are such an adorable couple and as promised by Mayleigh they "had a fun" and "did cute stuff"!  I love photographing a couple who are so natural with one another and it was easy to tell how great they are together.  Peggy and I are so excited about their upcoming wedding in September and we cannot wait to see them become husband and wife!  



If you would like to see more engagement and wedding images please click the blog link below or check out the wedding and engagement portfolio here: For booking information please contact me or Peggy at [email protected]

(Matthew Thwing Photography) belt buckle cowboy boots cowboy chic cowboy hat engagement engagement photographer engagement photography horses personal style ranch wedding Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:19:23 GMT
The Barn at Aspen Grove Wedding // Lauren and Justin Peggy and I had an amazing time spending the day with Lauren and Justin at The Barn at Aspen Grove photographing their wedding.  It was such a gorgeous day and their family and friends made us feel like we were a part of the family.  The Elkton, Virginia venue was stunning and provided the perfect backdrop for their simple yet elegant wedding.  Lauren and Justin are a gorgeous couple and it was easy to see how perfect they are for each other as they laughed and smiled throughout their wedding day.  

One of our favorite features was their Converse Chuck Taylor's.  They were a great touch and perfectly accentuated the couples style and personalities.  Each member of the bridal party wore different colors of the shoes and rocked them throughout the day, great touch!    

We're so excited to share some of our favorite images from the day and hope you love them as much as we do!