DeJohnna & Michael - NOAHs Event Venue

It's time to share another gorgeous 2018 wedding!!! Michael & DeJohnna were married back in April at a brand new venue in Chesapeake, NOAHS Event Venue. NOAHS is a national brand, with locations all over and I was so pumped when DeJohnna told me they were booking the newest location for their big day. It definitely did not disappoint! The venue is absolutely gorgeous and has the most incredible staff. I can't wait for my next wedding there!!

Michael & DeJohnna had a two-year long engagement and I had the best time really getting to know them while we planned their dream wedding. It's always a blast when you feel like you gain a friend throughout planning and that was certainly true in this case! This couple is so fun to be around....they literally light up a room when they're together...and their friends and family were a great time too! I just love these two to pieces and I'm so excited to share their wedding day with you!

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HUGE highlight of the wedding day....Michael & DeJohnna seemed to be trying to out-do each other for the award of best wedding gift. And to be honest, I can't even decide who I think won! DeJohnna gifted Michael with a pair of Enchroma glasses. He is color blind and she wanted to make sure that he fully experienced all the beauty of Jamaica on their honeymoon. When he put those glasses on and looked over at the balloons she was holding....well I couldn't help but cry! It was the sweetest thing ever!

And then Michael really hit a home run with....drum roll please....BEYONCE TICKETS!! Her face says it all....but the scream that accompanied it was pretty epic too.

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One of my favorite parts of the wedding day was Michael & DeJohnna's unity ceremony. They decided to do a Tasting of the Four Elements ceremony. They tasted something that was sour, bitter, hot, and sweet and their officiant talked about how each one pertained to a life experience they will eventually go through together. It was the first time I'd seen that and it was so cool!

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And as usual, HUGE thank you to our amazing vendor team! You were all such a pleasure to work with! 

Venue: NOAH'S Event Venue // Photographer: Michael & Jasmine Photography // Wedding Planner: Just Dandy Events // Videographer: VizInk Weddings // DJ: Astro Entertainment // Caterer: Goodrich Gourmet Catering // Cake: Incredible Edibles // Bride's Bouquet: C&J Floral Design // Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals // Hair Stylist: Sarah Slade Beauty // Makeup: Bella Vita Artistry // Officiant: I Do Weddings 757

Anel & Thomas - Country Villa Inn

We kicked off the 2018 wedding season with the sweetest and most fun-loving couple! Anel & Thomas were married at Country Villa Inn in Virginia Beach surrounded by their friends and families that traveled from all over to celebrate with them. This group was such a blast to be around! We also had THE most perfect weather and were so excited that Anel's dream of having her reception under the stars was possible! 

Anel & Thomas - Thank you both so much for trusting our team with your beautiful day! We had the best time getting to know you and your families and can't wait to see what amazing adventures you have together in Hawaii! That's right....Anel serves in the US Navy and has received orders to move to Hawaii....how awesome is that?! Thank you for your service Anel!!

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Also, a huge thank you goes out to our incredible vendor team! You all make the day even more fun for us and we're so lucky to know you!

Venue: Country Villa Inn // Photography: Ch & Sh Fredericks Photography // Coordination: Just Dandy Events // Officiant: Pastor Crosswhite // Catering: The Thirsty Frog // Cake: Rachel Bakes // DJ: Astro Entertainment // Cocktail Hour Music: Frank Sings Frank // Flowers: C&J Floral Design // Hair: Stephanie Michelle Hair // Makeup: Dhalia Edwards Makeup // Linens: Waterford Event Rentals

Vendor Spotlight: Elizabeth Friske Photography

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Oh friends....I can't believe it's been so long since I've featured a vendor friend! So today I'm breaking the silence and inviting you to learn a bit more about one of my all-time favorite wedding photographers, and my incredibly sweet friend, Elizabeth Friske Photography! Beth and I actually went to high school together, but the wedding industry is what has brought us so close together. I've loved sharing the ups & downs of entrepreneurship with her. She's someone that I always know I can go to for honest, sound advice...but she'll also always make me feel proud of myself. That's one of the best qualities you can have in a friend. She's also someone that I always know I can trust to take care of my couples and I never hesitate to throw her name in the hat when a bride is looking for a beach-loving soul to capture her wedding day.

Tell us about Elizabeth Friske Photography!

I can't believe it but I've been in business for EIGHT years! Time flies! I got started without a clue as to where I wanted this hobby to go. Once out of college I entered the corporate world filled with a windowless cubicle. And let's just say cubicle life left me a little unfulfilled. I needed a creative outlet and something of my own. My husband, a man of many hobbies suggested I get a hobby so I picked up a camera. Little did I know, our marriage and my passion for freezing couple's moments would lead me to where I am today. My love for the sea and for marriage continues to inspire me both professionally and personally. I am a Coastal Virginia Wedding Photographer supporting couples who are gravitated to the sea and are committed to each other, sharing a life together that won't be perfect but believe it is always worth the ride. I am also the owner behind Soul of the Sea Print Shop showcasing my love for the ocean and all the sea treasures I find along my beach walks and travels.

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What is your favorite part of the wedding day? 

Honestly, this is one of the hardest questions I find to answer as each portion holds so much meaning. But my favorite part of the day is ceremony. Watching as he looks at her walking down the aisle toward him, the emotion in both of them and all their families. This moment is why they are all there. The promises, the vows, and the celebration is about the marriage. Not the booze or all the pretty details... it is about bringing two families together and being witness to the start of a journey that will never be perfect but will certainly be the wave of their lives. Those words exchanged and the weight in the meaning is what pulls on those heart strings!

What are your top 3 tips for couples choosing a photographer for their wedding day?

I actually just blogged about this... you can read that here. But to sum it up there are a few points that I believe make for a successful relationship with your photographer and from that relationship, beautiful images you are excited to pass down to your future children.

1. Connection - It is no surprise that couples should connect with their wedding photographer. In order to feel comfortable in front of the camera, you must first feel some level of connection with the photographer. Your photographer is likely the one vendor who is with you for your entire wedding day. Like, really with you the whole time. There should be a level of connection and friendship there so you don't feel that a stranger is taking pictures of your most intimate days but a friend is with you along side you as you pledge to share your life with your person. Connection in my opinion is the key to getting photos that you see yourself in. Photos that reflect YOUR relationship.

2. Heart - Choose a photographer that clearly LOVES what they do. You can feel their soul in their work and the life that breathes within the four corners of each frame. Heart inspires creativity and fuels passion for a job. Every love story is different and you should hire someone who shares that passion for marriage just as you do as you embark on the journey. Heart is seen in their interactions with you, in their own story, and in their social presence.

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3. Style - A photographer's style is their art. Their crafted way of expressing how they see moments. Hire a photographer who's style you like rather than a photographer who you hope to change their style into something you like better. A photographer's editing style is how they light their subjects and how they make slight improvements to an image. Their style should be consistent. That leads into the other two tips in this blog post I recently published... What to Look for in a Wedding Photographer.

What has been your proudest moment as a small business owner?  What’s your biggest goal?

These are tough questions... I think my proudest moment was when I finally started to come into my own.  When I started speaking to my own voice, telling my story, and sharing my heart. I recently launched, well last week, my new look that exudes who I am as a person and the heart behind what I do. When I started focusing on what I had to offer and the couples I serve, amazing things started happening. I started to grow into my skin and serve the couples that I was meant to serve. That is a beautiful thing. Speaking from experience, there is only one YOU, own it, and be proud of it. It is always a journey discovering who you are and who you want to become but realizing you worth breaking the fear and leaning into your self and your own creativity is an incredible accomplishment.

What kind of future do you see for Elizabeth Friske Photography?

I'm not sure what the future holds but I hope it includes more joyful couples who have a heart to build lives together and celebrate their love stories!! 


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Like she mentioned above, Elizabeth just launched a gorgeous new brand & website for her business last week! So much hard work, long hours, and HEART go into a launch like that, so make sure to head over to her site and leave her lots of love. It truly is so beautiful and represents Elizabeth so well!

And if you're a beach lover, make sure to check out her Soul of the Sea print shop. This lady really does have such a knack for capturing the most beautiful parts of the ocean! I have a few of her prints framed in my home office and they make my heart so happy every time I see them!

Thanks so much for sharing about EHP, Beth! I'm so thankful to do this small business thing with you and to have you as my friend! Now let's go get an orange crush! xo

2017 Behind the Scenes

It's time for one of my favorite posts of the year! I so love looking back through the behind the scenes images photographers send me after busy wedding days. They're usually filled with hilarious faces I tend to make, genuine interactions with my amazing couples, and moments of pure gratitude for everyone that helps make the season as wonderful as it is. 2017 sure didn't disappoint! While getting to work with some of the sweetest couples and talented vendors, some crazy fun times were certainly had. Take a peak at a few of my favorite moments!

These are the faces of two girls carrying over a hundred chairs off a stormy beach and loving their job!

These are the faces of two girls carrying over a hundred chairs off a stormy beach and loving their job!

I'm so lucky to have friends/past brides/fellow vendors that are willing to step in and help me out when I'm short handed! Adore you Katelyn!

I'm so lucky to have friends/past brides/fellow vendors that are willing to step in and help me out when I'm short handed! Adore you Katelyn!

Whenever Angie and I get to work a wedding together, we make sure to get a picture with our couple. It's my FAVORITE little tradition!

Whenever Angie and I get to work a wedding together, we make sure to get a picture with our couple. It's my FAVORITE little tradition!

The tradition continues!

The tradition continues!

This is a horrible cell phone picture, but I had to document 2/3 of the Wolfpack being at the same wedding for a change!!

This is a horrible cell phone picture, but I had to document 2/3 of the Wolfpack being at the same wedding for a change!!

This was easily the hottest day of the year and I loved every minute of it spent with these two!

This was easily the hottest day of the year and I loved every minute of it spent with these two!

Especially since it was my first time working a wedding with my beautiful gem of a friend!

Especially since it was my first time working a wedding with my beautiful gem of a friend!

I have the most amazing couples!

I have the most amazing couples!

When your dog thinks the train of your dress is a dog bed! Hahaha!!

When your dog thinks the train of your dress is a dog bed! Hahaha!!

Forever fixing those trains and loving every minute of it!

Forever fixing those trains and loving every minute of it!

These are the faces the bridal party makes when you deliver hors d'oeuvres during portraits.

These are the faces the bridal party makes when you deliver hors d'oeuvres during portraits.

I love my brides!!!

I love my brides!!!

This sweet friend of mine helped with so many of my wedding this year and I'm so thankful!

This sweet friend of mine helped with so many of my wedding this year and I'm so thankful!

A million thank you's to my 2017 couples and their sweet families & friends for letting us play a part in your beautiful wedding days! You are so loved!! Also, a big thank you to the photographers that are so great at capturing me making hilarious faces throughout wedding days. Angie McPherson Photography, Elizabeth Friske Photography, Cramer Photo, Elovephotos, & Leigh Skaggs Photography ... Ya'll are the real MVPs!

My Goal to Get Outside

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Back at the end of 2016, I made a goal to get outside more. Whether it's taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood or tramping into the woods to hunt with Wes, being outside has always been my favorite place to be. But somehow in 2016, I let life, business, and general laziness get in the way of that. I wasn't spending nearly enough time out in the elements to make my heart happy, so I knew that 2017 had to be different. I wasn't sure exactly what that would look like, but I knew that I needed to make it a priority.

Just a little while after I set that goal for myself, I saw a post by my friend Jessica of Jessica Ryan Photography. Jessica was always outside doing the things I wish I was doing. She and her now husband were always hiking and exploring and taking their adorable dogs along on their adventures. Every time she posted pictures of their outings, it pushed me a little harder to make the time for those things myself. When Jessica posted about the group she was putting together, Her Hike Collective, I knew this was the universe at work, pushing me to meet my goal.

Jessica created Her Hike Collective for a number of reasons that she explains best on her website. But one of the reasons was to introduce other ladies to the great outdoors. There are so many of us that wish we could do something and we just need that little extra push. We need that hand to hold to show us the way and make us realize it doesn't have to be overwhelming or scary. That's exactly what Her Hike Collective was for me.

This year, I was able to go on a total of three hikes with the group. Definitely not as many as I'd hoped, but way more than I made time for in the past. I hiked over 20 miles, climbed rocks I never would have pushed myself to attempt before, spent time with old friends, and made a surprising number of new friends that I didn't realize I needed.

Here are some of my favorite pictures that Jessica took on each hike and a little information about each one. I can't wait for the next one. I'm also sharing my hiking bucket list below!


Sharp Top Mountain - This was the first hike I got to go on back in January and I had no idea what to expect. To say it was incredible would be doing the whole thing a terrible injustice. In fact, the girls kept laughing at me because I just kept saying that it was the "best day ever" all day long. I started off the day only knowing Jessica and ended it feeling like I had been friends with everyone for a long time. This was a pretty emotional day for different reasons for each lady there and it was absolutely perfect.

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Raven Rocks - The second hike I was able to make it to was back in April to Raven Rocks in Bluemont. We crossed the Virginia-West Virginia line at one point, we watched some other climbers repel down the rock wall below, and we had the most insane view to look over while we ate our lunch. 

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Buzzard Rock - We hiked Buzzard Rock in September and this hike was extra special because I convinced my bestie to join us! We also had two dogs along on this hike and you all know how much I love a dog!

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To say the hiking bug has bit me would be a huge understatement. I've caught myself dreaming of new places to hike often. Here's a little list I've put together of hikes I'm determined to go on in the next year or so. Let me know if you've done any of them!

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Old Rag Mountain 

Grandfather Mountain

Dragon's Tooth 

Hanging Rock

Bill Goat Trail 

Crabtree Falls

 

To Jessica: Thank you times a million for creating this group, for opening your heart to each of us and sharing your love of the outdoors. Thank you for pushing me to stand on scary ledges to take once-in-a-lifetime pictures. Thank you for documenting these memories for us. Thank you for being an amazing friend and helping me accomplish my goals. Love you to pieces and so happy to know you!