An Intimate Backyard Wedding | Zuni, Virginia | Virginia Wedding Photographer

An intimate backyard wedding was the perfect way to finish out my summer wedding season, complete with sweet tea and lemonade, sunshine, blue hydrangeas and red roses, and a front porch ceremony. Debbie and Matt wanted a small and simple wedding. Having their wedding at Debbie’s parents’ home in Zuni, Virginia was the perfect venue for them.

Close friends and family came to their small wedding. Debbie’s brother, a United States Coast Guardsman, officiated their beautiful ceremony in front of her parents’ 1940’s era white farm house, as their bridesmaids and groomsmen stood with them. Their endearing ceremony reflected love and commitment, laughter and joy, and persevering through obstacles together. Debbie and Matt hold these values close to their hearts.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a backyard barbecue catered meal with all of the fixin’s. As guests finished eating, several close friends and family members gave speeches, sharing their love for Debbie and Matt. One of the sweetest moments was when Debbie’s teenage daughter stood up and shared about her mom’s happiness and her support for the new marriage. After speeches and toasts, the dancing began, with D.J. Bob filling the air with the best dancing tunes, including “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown. It was such a treat to capture this joy-filled celebration!

Vendors:

Photographer: Belle Eve Photography

Florist: The Main Event by Emily

Cake: The Cake House

DJ: D.J. Bob

Dress: Torrid

Rentals: S & B Tent Rentals

Venue Tour | Mariners’ Museum | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Seated in the heart of Mariners’ Park in Newport News, Virginia sits a beautiful gem- The Mariners’ Museum.  Founded in 1930, The Mariners’ Museum is an incredible local landmark filled with maritime history.  You can read more about the history of the museum here.  The wedding and event aspect of the museum is equally impressive.  As Jennifer Kohms, Rental Sales Coordinator, led me on the tour, I was immediately impressed not only by her knowledge of maritime history but also her passion for both the museum and for helping couples use the facility for their wedding venue.

Options.  So many options!  That is what went through my mind as Jennifer explained the three packages available and what they include as we walked through the museum, inside and outside.  In addition to the three packages offered (The Port Package, The Starboard Package, and The Anchor Package) you may also choose event enhancements to create your very own unique wedding experience.  For example, you can add on the option of having your ceremony at the historic Lions Bridge and / or keeping the Monitor Center or Main Galleries open for your guests, depending on the package you choose. 

A few of my favorite features that were unique were the outdoor spaces in the Courtyard, the Front Lawn, the Main Lobby, as well as the many spaces for bridal portraits.

Five Tips for Finding a Wedding Photographer | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Belle Eve Photography

You just got engaged. You have chosen your wedding date. You have chosen your wedding planner and have narrowed down your choice of wedding venue. You found your florist, the caterer, the cake artist, the DJ, a stationer, and your stylist. You have your eye on several wedding dresses and have made an appointment to get fitted for the dress of your dreams for the biggest event of your life. Now, how do you even begin looking for a wedding photographer? Which photographer will be the best choice for you? Here are five tips you can use when searching for your wedding photographer.

  1. Take the time to look at the portfolio on their website. Consider the editing style you’re looking for. Light and airy? Moody? Clean / true to life? Does the editing style appear consistent overall? If you absolutely love a certain photographer but prefer a completely different processing finish, the final product may result in frustration. Understanding the editing style of your photographer will help you to have realistic and accurate expectations of the final product.
  2. Along the same lines as processing and editing style is “photography style.” If a photographer is strictly photojournalistic, they will document your wedding day with a minimal emphasis on posed portraits and styled details. There will be mostly candid images. On the other hand, a traditional wedding photographer will mostly shoot carefully posed images of key moments. The photographer will have a strict “shot list” and will use that to provide images of those moments. Currently, the majority of wedding photographers in the Hampton Roads area use a “documentary / wedding photojournalism” style, which is a hybrid of the two previously mentioned styles. They capture candid moments and posed moments throughout the day, providing you a combination of images where you and your guests are “camera aware” and images where you and your guests don’t appear to “notice” the camera.
  3. Consider the photographer’s personality and temperament. Take the time to get to know your prospective wedding photographer during the consultation. It is really helpful to hire someone who isn’t going to clash with you, your guests, or other vendors on your wedding day. Having someone who causes strife and interpersonal conflict can contribute to a lot of unnecessary stress. Find a photographer with a positive attitude who is organized, professional and desires to serve you well.
  4. Light. Where will you be getting married? Outside during the day? Inside a church or other type of indoor venue? Will your reception extend into the evening after sunset? While some indoor ceremony sites have beautiful natural lighting, not all do. Most photographers begin learning to master their photography skills using natural light. However, when the situation arises where there is very little light or very dim light, it is usually necessary for the photographer to know how to utilize “off camera flash”. Using lighting equipment adds a professional “finish” to images taken in low light environments, especially after the sun goes down.
  5. Packages and Collections. After you decide on your photography budget, find out when you meet with your prospective photographer what is included in their base price. They will be able to educate you about what they include, set packages, or a la carte items. For example, will the base price include a downloadable gallery? How long will it take to get your digital gallery? Will there be a second shooter? Travel fees? What print products to they offer? Do they offer albums? Knowing exactly what is included will help you to plan ahead for what other products you will want to purchase after your wedding images have been processed so that your wedding photographer can serve you well.

Venue Tour | Colonial Heritage Club | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Colonial Heritage Golf Club is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. It has a championship golf course that sits in the woods, with lovely landscaping on pristine greens. It is also an incredibly opulent Virginia wedding venue with grand amenities, limitless beauty, and friendly staff.

As I arrived at Colonial Heritage, I immediately noticed how welcoming and friendly the staff was. Stacy Krick, Director of Sales, led the tour and kindly showed me the many amenities there, both inside and outside. The large outdoor ceremony space – the Knoll – is situated behind the British – Colonial style 25,000 square foot club house and is adorned with gorgeous views of the rolling hills and fountain on the golf course and the club house.

Your reception can take place in the main grand ball room, which can hold 300 guests or in the smaller reception space – The Heritage Room – which can hold up to 80 guests. The Heritage Room also offers access to the outer veranda which overlooks the Knoll and provides an amazing view of the sunset.

The staff will work with your event planner to create your reception layout for the placement of the DJ, the cake, the sweetheart table, the head table, and beyond. Additionally, they will help you with your menu plan.

For portraits, a staff member will take you by golf cart to various locations on the property to serve as a beautiful backdrop for your wedding party and couple portraits. Some of the locations that stood out were the gazebo and fountain, a flower lined path, a wooden footbridge, and a Magnolia tree lined road (just for the bride and groom).

Venue Tour | Cousiac Manor | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Cousiac Manor, a wedding venue located in Lanexa, Virginia is a beautifully scenic and secluded location. Nestled along the Pamunkey River sits the original Manor House, built in 1746 by Augustine Claiborne, who was a Virginia state senator. He and his wife Mary had 13 children while living there, one who became a United States Congressman. The first First lady, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was born just a few miles west of Cousiac Manor along the Pamunkey River. Because of the beauty and rich history there, it is truly a gem for events.

The Manor House (which is currently under renovation) serves as a beautiful backdrop for both ceremonies and photography. Immediately in front of the house are two gorgeous Magnolia Trees which provide shade from the sun, a natural center aisle for ceremonies, and also contribute to the charm of this lovely Southern wedding venue.

The Rose Mallow Barn is used frequently for wedding receptions and also has a new patio which overlooks the river. The barn has open doors which allows air flow and a beautiful view of the water. It includes a climate controlled dressing room for the bride and bridesmaids, a groomsmen suite, catering kitchen, and guest restrooms. The groom and groomsmen can get ready in a nearby building which sits near the Manor House. Additionally, the Pavilion is also available as an add on to use for your ceremony during inclement weather or as an additional space for your reception.

There are several spaces outside where you can have your ceremony with a view of the water, which includes a pergola to frame the couple during the ceremony. There are a variety of locations for wedding party, family, and bridal portraits, including the water front, outside of the Manor House, fields, and even a silo. If you are looking for secluded waterfront venue with rustic and historical charm, this is definitely the wedding venue for you!

A Grandview Nature Preserve Engagement Session |Virginia Wedding Photographer

Jordan and Zack

Engagement and wedding season officially began for me in April and I’m so excited about the couples I have the honor to work with and serve in 2019!  And of course, I am still doing Anniversary Sessions for families and capturing high school and college Seniors as well.  

I recently had the opportunity to capture the sweetest and most easy going engaged couple along with their beautiful dog, Maple.  Jordan and Zack were my recent Engagement Session Giveaway winners.    It was so much fun getting to know them as we walked along the shore at Grandview Nature Preserve in Hampton, Virginia on a warm, sunny Spring day. 

Jordan, a dental hygienist, and Zack, a professional fisherman and owner of Salt Treated Sport Fishing, met in high school.  These high school sweethearts have been together for 12 years and recently got engaged!  They will be tying the knot in September of 2020 and are very excited about their upcoming wedding in Powhatan, Virginia! 

 Jordan wore a lovely, flowing white and pastel striped cotton high-low dress and Zack’s denim and crisp white shirt complemented her very well.  They looked amazing!  I absolutely loved their casual beach vibe, complete with their sweet German Shorthaired Pointer that loves playing on the beach (and was very interested in the pelicans and seagulls flying just over the surf).

I was so thankful that the sun was shining and that it was in the 70’s especially after having to reschedule because of rainstorms.  We walked a distance down the beach and found a more secluded area with beach grass and driftwood.  I could tell right away how much they adore one another because of their close friendship.  It was truly a pleasure and honor to gift an engagement session to such a sweet couple. 

Meet Kari Scruggs | Two River Events | Vendor Spotlight

Meet Kari Scruggs of Two River Events, LLC. She is a wedding and event planner located in Southeastern Virginia who serves Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas. Kari established Two River Events in 2013 because of her own wedding.

She and her mother planned her wedding, which was perfect since her mother was a veteran wedding planner. While it was a successful and beautiful wedding, it was also pretty stressful. She recalls wishing that she would have had a coordinator on her wedding day as her phone was ringing nonstop while she was getting ready. Her mother ended up having her hair done twice because she was working so hard after the stylist did her hair the first time that she was literally sweating as she got all of the details set up. Ultimately, Kari missed out on time with her mom because of all of the work it took to make her wedding day a success. Because of this experience, Kari understands first hand the stress of a wedding and how it can impact a couple and their families without help. She is passionate about making sure her clients are so well taken care of that they can enjoy their wedding day free from stress. She truly desires for her couples to be free to enjoy time with family and friends, knowing that their wedding planner is handling all the details.

As we were chatting over lunch, I asked her this question: What is some advice that you would give to potential clients? Kari suggests that as you plan your wedding, make sure you have a good understanding of your wedding budget, knowing that your guest count will dictate everything. She also recommends being flexible. Sometimes unexpected things, such as weather, illness, missing wedding rings, and so on happen. Things will probably happen that are out of your control. Being flexible and having a plan B will save everyone a lot of stress.

Two River Events, LLC has several options to help you plan your wedding with the understanding that each couple and wedding is unique. Therefore, the experience will be customized to fit your needs.

  • Event Management: This option allows the bride and groom to design their own day. Kari will help with the timeline and the execution of the details of your day.
  • Partial Event Planning: This option incorporates some designing, conversations about the design, 1-2 vendor meetings with you, and the timeline and execution of the details of your ceremony rehearsal and your wedding day.
  • Full Event Planning: This option includes full design, all meetings with you and your vendors, and the timeline and execution of the details of your ceremony rehearsal and your wedding day.

Hair stylist: Lauren Barefoot

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