Love You to the Death Star and Back

We had the immense joy of photographing Lee’s sister and her husband for their first anniversary. A couple of weeks ago, we all went to the beautiful Maymont park in Richmond, VA to re-visit some of the places Megan and Jason were photographed for their wedding. Some details of note are the single pink daisy Megan is carrying — they were the centerpiece of her bridal bouquet — and the little Warhammer figurine painted with their wedding date. Megan carried this little guy as he something blue. Jason, who plays Warhammer with his friends, painted the figure himself. How sweet!

They chose May 5th for their wedding date because both are big Star Wars fans. May the 4th may be Star Wars Day, but May 5th is Sith Day. They even used some beautiful arrangements of Star Wars music in their ceremony.

Take a look at some of our favorites from their anniversary session:

Sweet and Simple

We’ve had a busy couple of months — moving, a smidge of traveling, and photographing two beautiful weddings at a local chapel in Bowling Green, VA. The Little Wedding House at Magnolia Morning Inn & Suites caters to small ceremonies and elopements. It is such a joy to participate in the intimate weddings there.

Our first couple was Jackie and Anthony, who plan on having a big reception in late spring when Anthony returns from his deployment. For security reasons, we can’t show their faces. But trust us when we say that they were beautiful and so in love. Stay safe and thank you for your service.

The second couple we’ve gotten to photograph at Magnolia Morning was Kristen and Jimmy. They have two beautiful children who joined them and their families for the big day. It was a beautiful autumn day and we so enjoyed the outdoor ceremony.

Be Your Own Wedding DJ

So, don't tell any of the DJs in your life, but you can totally do what they do. Now, I won't say that there aren't advantages to hiring a professional in any situation - they take the stress of the day away from you and have skills and equipment most of us don't. But if you're trying to save some money on your wedding, I might suggest doing your own music. That's what Lee and I did at our wedding back in 2014 and I couldn't have been happier.

Now, I'm incredibly particular about the music in my life. At all times, not just my wedding. I create playlists on Spotify like it's my job - driving to the beach, cooking, singing in the shower, dance music, oldies, club remixes, Disney bedtime tunes… The list goes on and on (and on and on). So I obviously took the music for my wedding day incredibly seriously. You can listen to a sampler here.

Knowing how annoyed I would be with me if I were a DJ ("Here's a list of 400 songs for the pre-ceremony, ceremony, dinner, and dancing. Don't play anything that's not on the list"), I did a little research and came upon the Wedding DJ app. It. Is. AMAZING!

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The app allows you to select songs for crucial moments in the ceremony, like the bridal processional and leaving the ceremony, with an excellent fade feature that makes the music sound professional. You can create or import playlists from your phone and re-order them. For example, I had about 20 songs to play while guests were being seated and a particular song that the bridal party took as their "cue". The playlist faded out and "Ave Maria" faded in, and the show had begun. I'm a theatrical person, can you tell?

I had specific music I wanted to play while we all ate dinner which was pleasant but not too energetic, and then another playlist for dancing. There were songs for the garter toss, the bouquet toss, the cake cutting, and even a particular song I wanted to start the dancing that I knew would get my friends up and moving. And, of course, our first dance.

Now, I lucked out because I have a friend who is in a band and has some sound equipment that we used for the reception - excellent speakers and even a soundboard. But for the ceremony, the only thing we needed was a little bitty bluetooth speaker I bought at Verizon, but is available other places.

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This little speaker is freaking awesome! I still use it all the time - it has amazing sound quality and projects music so well. Don't be fooled by its size - this little guy packs a wallop. It was all we needed for an outdoor ceremony with about 75 people.

 I also got lucky because I have another friend who shares my sense of musical timing who was willing to operate the music all day. With my phone connected wirelessly to the speaker, Derek could sit in the crowd and control the music without anyone noticing. He did an excellent job, but he also came to the rehearsal. This is crucial. Our wedding would not have felt nearly as magical without Derek - he understood exactly where I was coming from (wanting my wedding to feel like a movie) and liked my musical choices, and was such a good sport to be invited to a wedding as a guest and become the DJ.

Shout out to my fabulous friend Derek for making our day.

Shout out to my fabulous friend Derek for making our day.

For the reception, the only thing we needed was an AUX cord for the big speakers and we were off and running. Since our wedding in 2014, I've used this app to DJ two other weddings myself. Both were family members and asked me for my input on their musical selections, so obviously I took over. That's what control freaks do, okay?

I can't tell enough people about this app. It was a huge money-saver on our big day and I felt in control of the whole feeling and atmosphere of the wedding. For $1.99 - TWO DOLLARS! - it was more than worth the money.

Our beautiful wedding photos were taken by  Trevor C. Davis .

Our beautiful wedding photos were taken by Trevor C. Davis.

10 Things You Might Now Know About Jessica

Anyone who knows be knows that I'm pretty much an open book. And anyone who doesn't know me soon finds this out. But here are a few things the people I haven't met yet may not know about me.

1) I'm superstitious. Not to an extreme, but I don't like to rename pets or exit through a door through which I did not enter.

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2) My favorite musicians are film composers. These include, but certainly are not limited to, Alan Menken, John Williams, Thomas Newton, and Rachel Portman.

3) I'm addicted to podcasts. I listen to them almost constantly and especially recommend "Harry Potter and the Sacred Text" and "By the Book".

4) My hair hasn't been its natural color in more than 10 years. It has been mostly red since 11th grade, but last summer was raven-black and is currently a fabulous shade of mermaid-green.

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5) I can do accents. In fact, sometimes I do them without meaning to. I accidentally turn English, Scottish, or Australian on a whim and can do German, French, Russian, Irish, New York, and Deep South when asked.

6) I love my handwriting. I actually practice it sometimes. And I love to write things by hand, like a weirdo.

7) I've been writing novels since high school. I actually self-published a book on Amazon in 12th grade and have been writing young adult fiction (my favorite) for years, though it still remains unpublished.

You can actually still buy this book  here !

You can actually still buy this book here!

8) And I've been writing romance novels under a pseudonym. Good luck finding me!

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9) I have two tattoos. There is a TARDIS (Doctor Who's time and space machine) on my ankle and the sign of the Deathly Hallows (from Harry Potter) on my left elbow.

10) My favorite word is "delicious". It's just so descriptive. And I also feel that everyone should read "The Search for Delicious" by Natalie Babbitt - what a magical little book.

 

So there you have it! Ten things you probably didn't know about me. Hope you still like me!

 

Love, Jessica

Small Town Throw Down

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Recently, our little-bitty town celebrated 100 years of the Caroline County Agricultural Fair. For such a rural area, a county fair is really a big deal - and not just because there isn't much else to do. The agricultural fair celebrates farm life, simple living, and community in a way that is so important to a way of life that really is going the way of the dodo.

In keeping with the tradition of a small-town county fair, there were contests for baked goods, preserved items, and hand-made crafts. A local hauling company showcased their new lumber mill as well as their collection of beautiful antique cars. An entire building was filled with vintage home-making appliances, tools, dishes, and clothes (this was my favorite part) and even featured a lovely woman who was caning a chair by hand! No easy feat.

Basically, we would recommend that anyone attend and enjoy their own local agricultural fair. Local history is so important to our future, to remember what we have done right and wrong. And it is always emotional and exciting to see a way of life that is fading fast - hard farm work, animal husbandry, preserving everything within reach, and making the most of what one has.

Adele and Her Daughters

A while back, we ran a follow-us contest and offered a free two-hour session to a random new follower of our Facebook or Instagram page, and our lucky winner was a sweet woman named Adele, who lives not too far from us. Adele has two precious little girls, A and B, who were excellent photography subjects.

We focused our session in Old Town Fredericksburg, VA and started at 2400 Diner on Princess Anne St, a cute retro-style diner with delicious food and a very accommodating staff.

While B, who was fresh from a nap, was a little quiet at the diner, when we moved to the public library both girls were as excited as if they had arrived at an amusement park. As two book-lovers ourselves, we were pretty much overjoyed to see two little girls get so excited to be in the presence of books.

Finally, we went to the beautiful Chatham Manor to get some playful shots in the grass near the house. The girls loved running around and simply being in nature. We are so glad to have had the opportunity to photograph these adorable girls and their sweet, lovely mom, who is clearly doing a good job with A and B.

We're Going to Disney World!

In an attempt to fulfill a long-running dream, Lee and I are putting together a special photography trip to Walt Disney World!

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We are actively seeking four clients for exclusive 4-hour sessions IN THE PARKS! That means that you could have your Disneymoon or Elopement photographed in the park, surprise your partner with an engagement or pregnancy announcement, celebrate an anniversary or adoption - anything you want! It truly is our dream to capture others' dreams coming true. Contact us for pricing.

See ya real soon!

Megan & Jason

We were so glad to be able to enjoy Lee's sister, Megan, getting married earlier this summer in the beautiful Maymont Park. She and her new husband, Jason, really bring out the best in each other, and we hope they have nothing but fun and smiles between them.

This day was particularly fun for me, because I've always felt that I might have been a DJ in another life. We were the sound engineers for Megan and Jason's ceremony and it was so much fun! Shout out to the Wedding DJ app, which allows anyone to be in control of the music for their big day. I used it at our own wedding in 2014 and have recommended it so many times since!

Frankie & Kelsey

     Something I think most photographers think, but don’t admit, is that a photographer’s job is made much easier when the subjects are good-looking. We lucked out with Frankie and Kelsey, a newly-engaged couple who plan to get married in about a year. As an added bonus, we got the chance to take these engagement photos at a beautiful historical home here in Caroline County, Green Falls. We’ve known Frankie for years and were so glad to get to know Kelsey during this shoot. Lee and I are sure that they will be happy together for many years to come.

Just Getting Started

Just Getting Started

This month, we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. So far, it has been incredible to be married to such a wonderful person as Lee. I can’t speak for him, but I’m guessing he still likes me because this whole photography business was his idea.