I live for the days that don’t feel rushed, where there is space for the beautiful.
The most magical part of any wedding day…bride + groom time. Especially during Georgetown, DC weddings.
Doesn’t this make you want to sit outside in the last remaining light of the day, giggling and eating and drinking with your besties as twilight falls and the lightning bugs twinkle in the trees?
Oh girl, me too.
They danced in the hills as the sun dipped below, the last rays warming the cool summer night. Taking a break from the party to just savor the feeling of being married, to bask in being together in the newness of husband and wife. And when the sky turned to fire, they couldn’t help but leave the dance floor again to marvel at how mother nature created a celebration in the sky that seemed only for them.
I’m not saying you have to plan your wedding day around sunset to get amazing photos, I’m just saying you should. We gave ourselves a few minutes to revel in the setting sun during dinner, but when the sky turned brilliant pink and yellow and orange, and all of the guests left the dance floor to stare in wonder…
Sometimes it’s right to follow the crowd.
Be spontaneous, live in the moment, and if you plan only one thing for your wedding make it photos at sunset, and I promise we’ll make photos you love.
Emily put so much heart into planning her day; here are the people who made it all come together:
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Dress shop: David’s Bridal
Groom’s attire: J Crew
Floral designer: Ory Florals
Hair artist: Marie Rogers
Makeup artist: Heather Rea
Ceremony music: String Poets
Reception music: The Rollex Band
Caterer: Holly Hills Country Club
Desserts: Karen Rodkey
Transportation: On the Town Limousines
Second photographer: Chelsea Morrison
Bride’s wedding band and engagement ring: Josh Fishman
Tent: Tents LLC
It may be a funny way to tell Julia + Tristan’s Harwood Hills Farm wedding story, but my favorite moment of the entire day was Julia putting on her dress.
But first, I should back up and start this story at the end. The end of their wedding day was maybe the thing Julia was most looking forward to, where they would walk hand-in-hand under an arch of sparklers and cheers from their loved ones.
And when a sparkler exit is in the cards, of course you plan the day around it.
For this day, that meant planning the beginning carefully and having Julia get ready at the farm, which was maybe a bit more rustic of a getting ready location than any of us envisioned, so that there would still be time at the end to make photos of their walk beneath the twinkling fire of sparklers.
And so we worked around it. We improvised to make getting ready something to be excited about. In a grove of trees, we made a dressing room.
Because when else in your life will you get to put on a beautiful gown, surrounded by your best friends, your feet cushioned in soft grass, and feel the freedom of the warm summer breeze rush around you so completely?
On a day where traditions make the framework, and expectations can weigh on you like a heat wave in the summer…
Do something unexpected, something you may never get to do again, something that makes you feel so alive…
And forces you to breathe, giggle at the craziness of it all, and savor the moment.
There’s always a way to connect to your inner free spirit.
Julia + Tristan: your day was magical, every single moment.
Here are some people who deserve a lot of love for making this wedding so dreamy to photograph:
Venue: Harwood Hills Farm
Dress shop: K&B Bridal
Dress designer: Blue by Enzoani
Groom’s attire: J. Crew
Event designer: Pop the Cork Designs
Floral designer: Local Color Flowers
Paper goods: DIY by the bride
Hair and makeup artist: Vintage Veils
Ceremony music: St Charles String Quartet
Reception music: DJ Urban Cowboy
Caterer: Dinosaur BBQ
Desserts: Caroline’s Cakes + Picnic Pops
Transportation: Reid & Reid Shuttles
On the top of the list of things I love: bridal style.
Long, long after my own wedding, I still indulged in browsing bridal fashion. I probably spent more time looking at wedding dresses than regular every day clothes…because dreams and so much pretty.
Last fall, Emily decided to do a bridal portrait session to make sure we got lots of photos, during the best light at sunset. Which is amazing, because on a normal wedding day, we usually have 15 minutes or less for pictures of just the bride, and it’s so rarely at sunset when the light is magical. #reallife
And while I adore Emily’s dress (pockets and blush lace!), she also brought along her mom’s wedding dress, that she had shortened and planned to wear to the rehearsal dinner. She definitely wins points for the coolest re-wear ever.
I love the idea that the whole wedding celebration can count toward something old, new, borrowed, and blue. Because while it may seem like the big day is the main event, it’s all part of the party and surrounding yourself with the things and people you love most in the world makes every single moment more meaningful.
It might be a once in a lifetime thing, a wedding where everything comes together and is as dreamy as can be. This is that wedding.
There’s the beautiful Annapolis mansion right on the Severn River, two people madly in love who so visibly treasure and cherish each other, and a sunny day that no one took for granted. And all of it made for my favorite Annapolis wedding photos.
But there’s a little bit more to it than that. Sometimes I think we tell ourselves stories about what it would take to have a *perfect* wedding. Stories like, my day will be perfect if I look perfect, or my day will be perfect if it doesn’t rain, or my day will be perfect if it looks like a wedding in a magazine, or if nothing goes wrong, or if I don’t feel stressed, or if my family behaves, or if everyone has a good time, or…
The most beautiful thing about Kellie and Aksel’s day was that it was completely focused on their love story. Not for a single moment did they leave the magic of the day to think about anything less than their abundant joy. They put all of their energy into being present, into loving those they were with, into laughing, and crying happy tears, and being grateful for all of the marvelous people they got to spend the day with, and, most importantly, getting to marry each other.
This, being present in every love-filled moment, is the secret to the most perfect wedding day. It is one of the most beautiful things in the world to behold and to be surrounded by.
Being with people in love and who are just so completely lovely…it leaves me breathless and fulfilled and so incredibly grateful for a world that holds such magnificent humans.
These are the people who took care of everything so that Kellie and Aksel could have the best day ever:
Venue: Private Estate
Event Design and Coordination: Lemon + Lime Event Design
Bride’s Dress: Casablanca Bridal
Hair and Makeup: Up Do’s for I Do’s
Rentals: Party Plus Tents and Events
Videographer: Just Hitched
Second photographer: Chelsea Morrison
Assistant photographer: Jacqui Breach
We met in the winter, when they basked in the glow of the first days of their engagement, and the world was shimmering in ice and magic. As they held each other close to keep warm, the joy of being in love was a bright candle in the bleak of the cold.
And while I love the peacefulness of our little waterfront city in early months of the year, the way the sun sets the sky ablaze with color on an early spring morning will always steal my heart.
As will snuggles and earnest displays of affection with reckless abandon, kisses in front of rosebushes and hugs at the end of a pier lit by the dawn.
Annapolis engagement sessions at sunrise will take your breath away.
It’s so easy when planning a wedding to tell yourself a story about all of the things you should do because that’s the way everyone else does it.
I’m so glad Sarah and Ian listened to their hearts instead and tuned out the worldly wedding chatter and found their very own perfect wedding story – a Baltimore backyard wedding with just the closest of family – their most exuberant cheerleaders – and it was the most breezy, joyful, laid-back, intimate summer affair.
One where Sarah got ready in an adorable gabled room, and after doing her own makeup, did her sister’s too.
A charming little church, just up the street, was the backdrop where Ian said I do, and Sarah sweetly agreed.
And then they walked back to her grandmother’s house, holding hands, and danced in the backyard in the rays of the long setting sun among parents and cousins and sisters and aunts and brothers and uncles.
Everything about this happily ever after was simply lovely and intimate and it couldn’t have been a more perfect celebration for two completely wonderful people.
So much thanks to the following creatives for making this a fabulous celebration: