I don’t know about you, but I’m always fascinated to see the weddings of wedding photographers. When you see dozens of weddings per year, it really seems to help you hone in on exactly where you want to keep the focus – on your love for each other, and for your friends and family. Bride Mary is a Virginia wedding photographer who hired the talented Sarah Der Photography to photograph her own wedding, which just so happened to turn out even more beautiful than we could imagine.
From the bride, Mary: Wade and I got engaged on Ash Wednesday of 2013. Not exactly normal, but the timing was right. We talked about our wedding for a month before setting dates or making any major decisions. We took a walk one day and talked about what we wanted our wedding to be about. As a wedding photographer, I attend over 30 weddings a year. I see so many beautiful and creative visions but I didn’t want to be chasing after a pinterest wedding. We knew we wanted our wedding to be about the Lord and our guests. So with these things in mind we set out to have a laid back affair that had a “there you are!” mentality. We wanted the day to be as much about the relationships that have made us who we are – as the relationship we have with one another.
We had a large wedding – over 350 people – so we had to think through lots of logistics in planning. We were married on Wade’s family farm – a farm that has been in his family for over 170 years. The barn was actually burned during the Civil War by Sheridan! We were married in a cow field – no joke – that had been roped off months before to keep all the animals out! Our reception site was the 100 year old barn and field adjacent to it. We decorated with items that had a redemptive nature: Ribbon Garland made from old clothes and curtains, tables decorated with old mason jars and vases, and a gallery like setting in the barn with photos of our family lit like a museum. We even had a few cow skulls hanging around the barn.
We wanted to be true to who we are and to our story. Wade served in the Marine Corp (google him he’s awesome!) so we wanted to include this important part of him. He wore mini medals as did all his groomsmen who served in the military. They wore green gingham shirts and navy blazers with grey slacks. We wanted our friends to be able to use clothes they already owned! In that same spirit my best friends and bridesmaids all wore any navy dress they wanted. Even I wore two different dresses throughout the day – dresses that I loved but didn’t spend a fortune on – dresses that ended up muddy and torn. I loved them, but never once felt worried about anything happening to them! The rain on our wedding day caused for some last minute boot swaps but we were so laid back I didn’t care what shoes anyone wore. I ended up in my old cowboy boots too! The night was perfect. The bluegrass band started us out with the cocktail hour and we ended the night with a fabulous dance band, In Full. We left while the dancing was still going, (a necessary thing to do in my opinion – never overstay!). We ran out through a tunnel of our favorite people and jumped into Wade’s dad’s 1970s Land Rover from England.
From the photographer, Sarah: Mary is a talented photographer in Virginia, and the two of them celebrated their wedding on Wade’s father’s farm. They had the biggest wedding party I’ve ever photographed (…31!) and so many sweet, personal details — American flags to honor Wade’s time as a Marine; hand painted signs and Virginia themed place mats (Mary loves, loves the tiny mountain town in VA where she and Wade live!); A special custom map of their town; delicious pies and a unique cocktail with homemade ginger ale and bourbon; and they even cut the pie with Wade’s giant Marine sword…. I MEAN COME ON. Also, it rained pretty much the entire day — Mary’s dress got so muddy, her hair all wet, but she still had a giant smile on her face throughout the rainy day. She is truly one of the kindest and most joyful brides I’ve ever photographed! :)
Wedding Location: Edinburg, VA / Photographer: Sarah Der Photography / Flowers: Bride’s friend, Alisha Hudson / Bride’s Bouquet: Valley Flower Shop / Wedding Venue: Private residence / Wedding Dress: Alita Graham, Ann Taylor, and a remake of a lace dress for the top from Goodwill / Wedding Shoes: Stetson and Jack Rogers / Makeup: Amanda Lynne McCoy of Ravishing Makeup / Groom’s Suit: Ermenegildo Zegna / Groomsmen Shirts: Ralph Lauren / Caterer: Schaeffer Catering Company / Wine: Bocking and Cave Ridge Wine / Band: In Full / Bluegrass Band: Grassy Ridge from Weyer’s Cave, VA / Wedding Invitations: Plain Jane’s Cards printed by Duke’s Printing