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

Ashley & Tim - Fall Norfolk Botanical Garden Wedding

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Ashley & Tim are proof that sometimes dating your best friend is a good idea.

It was obvious to everyone. They had found true, lasting love. Built on the foundation of a three-year friendship. They wanted to get married, but they were in the middle of medical school and the last thing they had time to do was plan a wedding. So on July 16, 2015, a random Thursday that they both had off from the hospital, they got married at the Portsmouth Courthouse. A year later almost to the day, their son Henry was born.

But they still had dreams of a big wedding so they could truly celebrate their marriage with friends and family. And 1,177 days after they first said ‘I do’ in a simple courthouse on a random Thursday, they said ‘I do’ again, this time in a garden surrounded by everyone they loved most.

I hope you’re not on floral-perfection overload! Just wait until you see the gorgeous way Palette of Petals and Stage Right Lighting transformed the Rose Garden Hall! I loved how much the twinkle lights and uplighting added to the ambience, especially as the night went on! And how yummy does that pie bar from Chef by Design look?

What a night! Ashley & Tim, congratulations on 1177 days! Thank you for choosing us to be your wedding photographers! We LOVED working with you and can’t wait for our sweet babies to meet!

The Creative Team:
Coordination: Ashley, Soirees by Lauren
Venue: Norfolk Botanical Garden
Venue Coordination: Ashley Nardiello

Beauty: Eye Do Make-up & Hair | Catering: Chef by Design | DJ: Danny at Astro Entertainment | Florals: Palette of Petals | Lighting: Stage Right Lighting

Whatever It Takes

Being wedding photographers means doing whatever it takes to get the shot and give our couple the most amazing wedding day. This naturally includes lots of veil and hair adjusting, dress fluffing, family wrangling, bouquet rotating, detail arranging, and moment capturing.

But we do a lot on the wedding day that might seem a little more unusual. We do so much on a wedding day that I'm sure I've forgotten half of the crazy 'outside my job description' things we've done for our couples over the years, but here are a dozen that come to mind:

- Lacing up the bride's dress when the bridesmaids aren't sure what to do

- Helping pin and repin flowers in a bride's hair

- Confiscating hair ties from the bridesmaids' wrists so they don't show in photos.

- Creatively photographing around construction tape, bright blue recycling bins, and a dozen other unsightly things the bride and groom didn't know were going to be there

- Standing on a 30 inch tall cooler to get a large group shot

- Coming to the rescue with bandaids when the bride cuts her finger

- Standing in the bushes to get the shot during bride and groom portraits

- Handing the bride the loop under her train to help her carry it around before bustling

- Teaching the bride and groom the Cupid Shuffle so they can enjoy time with their friends and family on the dance floor

- Giving the bride bobby pins out of my own hair

- Pinning the maid of honor's dress so she doesn't have to worry about her high slit all day

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- Peeling back the layers of a tulle wedding gown to get the knats out

- Showing the bride and groom how to cut the cake

- Rewrapping boutonnieres that are losing their ribbon


Ryan and I absolutely love our couples and we'd do each of these things and many more at every single wedding if it meant giving them the wedding photography experience of their dreams!

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into what it's like to be at a wedding with us! If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer
Am I The Right Photographer for You?
Comparing Photographers: Budget, Style, & Experience
Why is Wedding Photography More Expensive
Why I Photograph Weddings
What We Wear to Weddings
The Gift of Photography
Whatever It Takes
Things I've Learned Being Photographed

The Gift of Photography

Photographing weddings is about the love that two people share for each other. It's about the promises they make to each other and the joining together of two families. That's the quick and easy answer. But over the last few years of shooting weddings, I've realized wedding photography is so much more than that.

It's taking a photo of a bride or groom's parents: all three or four of them... in the same photo for the very first time.

It's celebrating the moment a dad walks his daughter down the aisle... And not finding out until later that he has a terminal illness.

It's when the bride chooses a special song to play for her mother and when all three of them cry during the father daughter dance.

It's when the bride and groom take a moment to honor loved ones who have passed away.

It's capturing the small but oh so special moments like the proud dad carrying around his father of the bride mug in the morning or when grandma sees the bride for the first time.

It's when the bride and her grandfather dance... on the corner of the dance floor with slow creaking steps. And everyone around them tears up.

It's that moment right before the kiss when the officiant proclaims them husband and wife.

It's taking a generational photo and hearing a few months later that it was the last photo they had together.

It's when the ring bearer steals the show begging candy from one of the groomsmen during the ceremony, one m&m at a time.

I could go on and on. I have witnessed each of these moments play out on a wedding day and each one of them has touched my heart. Every wedding has so many special moments like these and we capture all of it through our lenses. Sometimes I don't even realize the significance of a moment we photograph until I get a sweet thank you note from the bride after she's received her photos. And some of them I'm sure I'll never hear about. 

As wedding photographers, we get to witness love every wedding day and go home and love our family even more. Being your wedding photographer truly is a gift. 

So from our hearts to yours, thank you!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer
Am I The Right Photographer for You?
Comparing Photographers: Budget, Style, & Experience
Why is Wedding Photography More Expensive
Why I Photograph Weddings
What We Wear to Weddings
The Gift of Photography
Whatever It Takes
Things I've Learned Being Photographed

Pages from the Sequel: I Love You

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As anyone who's ever read a love story knows, the wedding is usually the last chapter of the book. But in a real love story, there's so much more to be told. So much happens in the happily ever after. And that’s what the sequel is for: to tell the story of two people as husband and wife as they live and grow together. So here are pages from our sequel.


We stood at the top of the stairs together. He held his milk cup tightly in the crook of his arm. He had slept later than usual and his nose was still crusty. I swung open the baby gate. He held out his milk to me and then reached for me to hold him. He's been wanting me to carry him up and down the stairs a lot lately. Maybe to conserve his energy for play time. I scooped him up, kissed his cheek, and told him that I love him.

And then he said it.


It might have sounded like baby babble to anyone else, but I knew what he was saying. And my heart burst into a thousand glittery fireworks.

Darcy’s not really putting words together yet. In fact, he's barely talking. He’s got the usual: Mama, Daddy, Nana, no. But he won’t say night-night or bye-bye. I can’t get him to verbally say the word ‘please’ when he signs it. He mostly nods instead of saying yes.

But somehow he says a couple combo words. Maybe it’s because they're basically two syllable words in our house: “Oh no!” and “Oh my!”

And now we can add I love you.

Pages from the Sequel:
Return from Jamaica
The Little Blue House
The Ugly Yellow House
The Flea Episode
The Bathroom Leak
The Dinner Disaster
Baby on Board
The Story of Lucy
The Vanishing Bread
Midnight Dance with Darcy
Nighttime Feedings
Our David & Goliath Moment
Beach Day
I Love You