More Than a Wedding | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Belle Eve Photography

Can you picture being married for 50 years? What will your future be like with your spouse? Traveling, celebrating holidays together, building a family, creating your own traditions, having and raising children, and eventually growing gray together… I remember one day when I was in college and I was at my grandparents’ house, chatting with my Mamaw at her kitchen table. At one point, my Papaw walked up to her and jokingly jabbed her in the arm with his hand and had a big grin on his face. They just “got each other”. When he walked away I asked her, “How do you succeed in a marriage relationship?” By this time, they had been married a little more than 50 years. Her response? “Keep God first” and “always talk about everything together”. Then she followed up with this: “God made Eve from the rib of Adam because He wanted them to walk side by side.” And they truly lived all of this out. They were life partners and took care of one another. Love was always evident in their home, and their faith and marriage relationship still inspire me today.

When Debbie contacted me about capturing their 50th wedding anniversary, I was thrilled to document such a precious occasion. Bill and Debbie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November 2019, and when I worked with them at the Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. The love they have for one another was obvious in their smiles and sweet glances. Such tenderness.

When I see newly engaged couples I think of couples like Bill and Debbie who have worked hard together to grow in their marriage. What an incredible example they are to those who dream of one day in the future celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

As you prepare to pop the question and get married, it is important to consider your “forever commitment” with the love of your life. Your wedding will take a great deal of time to plan for so that it will always be a memorable event in your life. Weddings exude so much beauty and romance. It is so important though, to consider the commitment to love and build a strong foundation for your relationship. Your marriage is more than gorgeous flowers, elegant bridal gowns, dapper tuxedos and amazing venues. A good marriage takes a lot of work. I think it’s because is isn’t always easy to put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. It is a constant process of communicating and yielding to one another as you grow more into one each and every day. It is a partnership in which two people work at loving each other well, and results in a beautiful expression of selfless love.

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!


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

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.

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