Amber & Andrew - Formal Norfolk Botanical Gardens Engagement Session

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They met their first week of freshman year at Christopher Newport University. They lived in the same dorm, on the same hall. They had an instant connection and almost immediately became inseparable. As time went by, they found their home in CNU and in each other. So many of their memories together took place on campus. The first time he laid eyes on her. Their introduction on a casual walk around campus. Their decision to officially date. So naturally, Andrew could think of no better place to propose.

But first, he sent her off on a scavenger hunt, with a beautiful love letter and her two best friends to guide her. Amber & Andrew are some of the most loving people you will ever meet, and it even shows in the way Andrew planned his proposal. His scavenger hunt not only led Amber to 8 of their favorite spots, but it led her to 14 of her favorite people in the world, who each read her a letter filled with their love and favorite memories together. He planned a day to show Amber how much she was loved and valued, not just by him, but by everyone else in her life.

Amber and I met in 2015 while working a wedding together. She was part of the amazing wedding planning team at Antonia Christianson Events, and I immediately saw how hard she worked to give the bride & groom the wedding day of their dreams. Later that year, Amber told her mom Keri that she should book us for her wedding day. At Keri & Ryan’s wedding in 2016 (one of our first as a husband and wife team), you could tell that Amber & Andrew wouldn’t be far behind them. And I was so honored when Amber asked us earlier this year to photograph her wedding day as well.

We are so excited for their wedding day with Antonia Christianson Events and Isha Foss Events at Three Oaks Estate and the Chrysler Museum of Art. Just a few more weeks!

Ashley & Tim - Summer Engagement Session at Norfolk Botanical Gardens

The first time he asked her on a date, she said no. The second time he asked, she said no. It was hard to deny the feelings that they had for each other, but at the same time, the deep friendship they had was so valuable. Was it worth risking? They’d been friends for 3 years, since their first week of medical school. And now that they were in a smaller group doing clinical rotations, their group felt like a family. Disrupting that with an unsuccessful dating relationship would break apart their entire world.

Finally, she caved in and agreed to go on a date with him. And each day that followed proved that Ashley & Tim were perfect together.

In 2015, Ashley & Tim knew they didn't have time to plan a big wedding, but they also didn't want to wait any longer to get married, so they said their vows at the courthouse. A year later, they had a son. And now that (most) of the craziness of their careers are behind them, they are excited to celebrate their marriage with friends and family at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

We did their ‘engagement session’ exactly a month before their wedding day, so you won’t have to wait long to see their gorgeous faces here on the blog again! I know I'm counting down the days!

Cindy & Scott - Colonial Williamsburg Engagement Session

Cindy & Scott - Colonial Williamsburg Engagement Session

Scott knew the perfect way to propose to Cindy. They were enjoying a beautiful spring day on the beach, and as he often does, Scott tossed Cindy up on his shoulders to do some squats. Cindy and Scott often train together and squats like this have become a regular occurrence. They attracted the attention of a few spectators, one of whom pulled out a cell phone to film. So Cindy and Scott hammed it up a bit for the camera. Scott tipped Cindy off his shoulder and as soon as her toes hit the sand, he knelt and reached for the ring box in his pocket.

Ana & Chris - Cherry Blossom Engagement Session at Norfolk Botanical Garden

Ana & Chris - Cherry Blossom Engagement Session at Norfolk Botanical Garden

"I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong."
- Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

Ana's first impression of Chris certainly was. Ana and her friend Rachel were celebrating New Year's Eve in DC and they were getting a quick tour of their friend Andy's house. When they stopped by Chris's room, he was caught up in a video game, wearing his pajamas and shouting into a headset. Immediately embarrassed, Chris called to Andy, “You can’t bring girls up here when I’m like this!”

But Chris quickly redeemed himself with his genuine interest in her, his ability to think on his feet, and his fun and sarcastic banter that always kept her laughing.

Ana and Chris live in Raleigh, but they're getting married here in Virginia Beach, and they made a special trip up here for their engagement session at the Norfolk Botanical Garden!

Jessica & David - First Landing Engagement Session

Jessica & David - First Landing Engagement Session

Two days before Christmas the weather was almost too good to be true. David asked Jessica to join him for a picnic at one of their favorite places, the Hermitage Museum. 

They often visited the Hermitage and they'd even picnicked there before. Jessica tried not to get too excited, but she was hopeful that they would be celebrating Christmas together as an engaged couple.

David had packed the perfect basket, and after the blanket was spread out and the food was set, he tried to put into words how much she meant to him. How happy she made him. How perfect they were together. And how much he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. In his nervousness, he opened the ring box upside down.

But this only made Jessica smile more. Because he was right. They were perfect together. And it was a perfect moment, on a perfect day, in a perfect place.

Deb & Cody: Norfolk Botanical Garden Anniversary Session

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This anniversary session at the Norfolk Botanical Garden was such a great way to wrap up the year. It was all my photography dreams coming true - a beautiful couple, a gorgeous dress, and one of our favorite locations in Hampton Roads. 

And it's a good thing, because what you CAN'T see in this session is that we were filming for our promo video... on a chilly day... with a little bit of rain coming down. But Deb & Cody are pros, because this is their THIRD time in front of my camera, and they killed it! I was all-kinds-of-awkward while we were filming and we were fighting off shivers when a gust of wind would come through, but we had the best time laughing at ourselves.

Deb & Cody have the sweetest dog, Stout, and since they were all dressed up, it was the perfect time for a family photo. Dogs are only allowed at the Norfolk Botanical Garden on select days of the year, so we met at a park before our session to get a few family photos with their sweet husky.

Happy first anniversary, you two!

Dress: Nordstrom
Makeup: Darling & Dapper

2018 couples... if you're looking for engagement session outfit inspiration... look no further!