Giving Thanks

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I really love this time of year. Wrapping up in a cardigan. Drinking in the afternoon sunlight and enjoying it more because I know it’s ending. Ending the CGP wedding season with our fall weddings. Celebrating our son’s birthday. Eating so many (too many) delicious treats. Crunching the colorful leaves under my feet. Looking forward to Christmas and all the twinkle and magic that it brings. Planning and dreaming about a fresh new year ahead.

This season is filled with so many good things. And it is FULL. I’ve noticed the struggle of that this year more than ever and I’ve tried to face it head on with intentionality, choosing the things that bring us the most joy and settling other things aside for this year.

And for me, there’s something really special about Thanksgiving week. I take a few extra days off work and find a little quiet and stillness in between all the baking and cooking.

Because in those moments of stillness, I want to find a heart full of gratitude.

Why I Photograph Weddings: Telling Your Love Story

I grew up wanting to tell love stories. I created two characters, placed them in a make-believe world, and introduced them to each other, all with my pen. (My keyboard, actually, but that’s less romantic.) In some way, every story that I wrote was a love story. Because there’s something so special about two people falling in love. But I discovered that while a fictional love story is powerful, it can’t compare with the power of a real love story.

A love story lived out, day by day, with purpose and heart and commitment. Not just falling in love, but committing to stay in love. That kind of love is inspiring. Encouraging. Powerful.
There’s so much beauty in a love story that’s real and not fiction. There’s beauty in the laughter, in the sacrifice, in the pain, and even in the anger.

This is the kind of love story that I want to write. Not just with words, but with images as well. Because this love story needs to be told. 

One day your children and grandchildren will ask about your love story. And you’ll reach for your wedding album, the book that will help you tell that story, and you’ll start from the very beginning.

I photograph weddings because I want to tell your love story.

 

Want to see me in action? Check out my behind the scenes video.

 

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Ana & Chris - Greek Orthodox Wedding

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Their wedding didn’t start 10 or 15 minutes late. It started 50 DAYS late. Hurricane Florence quite literally rained on their parade and mandatory evacuations forced Ana & Chris to reschedule their September wedding day.

I’m sure at times it felt like they had to move heaven and earth to reschedule the wedding of their dreams. But they did it. And they were so beautifully rewarded. Their Greek Orthodox ceremony in Ana’s hometown… the week-long beach house party with their best friends… sunset photos on the roof. Moments full of tears and laughter. And so much love.

Nothing beats portraits on the beach right at sunset… except maybe rooftop portraits!

And then we kicked off the reception: filled with laughter, tears, and Greek dances!

The Creative Team:
Coordination: Brookelin at Soirees by Lauren
Venue: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

Bridal Gown: | Bridesmaids: Dessy Group | Catering: Traditions Catering | DJ: The Masters of the Ceremony | Florals: Gather Floral | Hair: BRIDEFace Richmond | Makeup: Margaret at BlushTones | Transportation: Coastal Limousine

2nd Annual CGP Family Cookout

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Five years ago, I never would have guessed that the people we worked with would become our friends. That they’d want to hang out with us after their weddings were over. That they’d know our son’s name and ask us about our lives. I would have assumed that we’d just be someone they hired. Someone they emailed a little bit, met twice, and promptly forgot about.

But that would have been underestimating them. Because our clients are amazing. They’re kind and gracious and they would never think of treating a vendor like hired help. Instead… they’re friends or even family.

As we waited and waited (and waited) on our short sale this summer, I started worrying that we wouldn’t be able to host a cookout for our CGP family this year. So when we finally got moved in, one of the first things I wanted to do was put a cookout date on the calendar!

It was Halloween weekend (and anniversary weekend for 2 of our couples) and the sun went down before we even ate dinner, but I’ll take it! Better a cookout in October than none at all!

But next year… bring on the sun! And the babies! I need to meet more of these sweet babies!

Monday Musings

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Some things I wonder about:

Why do car companies keep trying to market to me on Instagram? I can't tell the difference between a Toyota and a Porsche.

Am I a successful adult even thought I don't know how to vacuum a room and keep all the rug marks facing the right direction?

Am I an embarrassment to my college French professors if I call macarons ‘hamburgers’, pronounced like Steve Martin does in Pink Panther? Ryan started it years ago and it's just so cute that I can't help myself.

Do the people who make horror movies have nightmares or are they desensitized to scary things?

Why are they only just now making bun-length hotdogs? Who decided to make hotdogs shorter in the first place?

Ryan's Quotes of the Week:
I'm more of a mallard guy.
Before you crack open the nerd juice...
Half tourist trap. Half restaurant soaked in gravy.

Amber & Andrew - CNU and Chrysler Museum Wedding

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It was a Cinderella story from the very beginning: a chance encounter, love (just about) at first sight, a beautiful gown, and a magical ballroom. Except in this Cinderella story.… Instead of an immediate proposal, they dated for 2,025 days. There were no ugly step-sisters, just a wonderful step-brother who officiated the ceremony. And ironically, the shoes didn’t fit, and the bride happily went barefoot for part of the day.

Amber’s step-brother Trevor officiated the ceremony, which took place at Three Oaks Estate, the home of Christopher Newport University’s president. Amber & Andrew met their first week of freshman year at CNU, so much of their love story took place on campus. Their first photo together was taken on the steps of this beautiful house, making it the perfect place for their wedding.

After the beautiful outdoor ceremony, guests drove to the Chrysler Museum of Art, where Amber works, for the wedding reception in Huber Court.

We arrived at the Chrysler just 30 minutes before sunset and we had the most beautiful light for some final portraits! I am obsessed with the architecture here! The elegance of the arched doorways, the way the sunset is reflected in the glass, the beautiful gardens… we could have done portraits here for hours!

Amber thought of every detail for her wedding, from the cute notes on her programs and menu cards to the rose petal toss at the ceremony. But my favorite details were at her reception. Amber & Andrew LOVE breakfast food and had many late night dates at IHOP, so they had breakfast stations at their wedding: chicken & waffles, quiche, shrimp & grits, and bacon twists. Yum! Amber also created four signature drinks around the something old, new, borrowed, and blue tradition: something old –  Maple Old Fashioned, something new – Caramel Apple Sangria, something borrowed – Pineapple Sunset (the signature drink from her mom’s wedding two years ago), and something brewed – Smartmouth The Princess Oktoberfest. How cute is that?

The amazing ACE team! Amber worked for Antonia Christianson Events for many years, so of course, they were by her side on her wedding day.

Amber & Andrew ended the night with a private last dance. It’s such a beautiful way to hold onto your wedding day for one more moment together.

The Creative Team:
Coordination: Antonia Christianson Events
Ceremony Venue: Three Oaks Estate at Christopher Newport University
Reception Venue: Chrysler Museum of Art

 

Bridal Gown: Milk & Honey | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids: Adrianna Papell and Kennedy Blue | Cake: Family Friend, Whitney Galmard | Catering: Cuisine & Company | Floral Design: Isha Foss Events | Groom’s Attire: Generation Tux | Groom’s Ring: Rustic and Main | Hair: Amberly at Flawless on Site | Makeup: Elizabeth and MeLissa at Dhalia Edwards | Lighting: Stage Right Lighting | Linens: Waterford Event Rentals | Photo Booth and DJ: Boardwalk Entertainment | Rentals: Cathedral Windows by Big Top Entertainment | Stationery: Minted | Transportation: Truffle Shuttle | Videography: Picture & Sound | Favors: Duck Donuts