Jess & Charles

This blog post is about a very small and lovely wedding that took place on a chilly day of November, the 5th. In the summer I had a meeting with a women by the name of Jess and her groom to be whose name is Charles. We met in a famed local coffee shop here in Fredericksburg, yet we didn’t sign the contract there, so I was left to wonder if I would end up shooting their wedding. Months went by and I nearly forgot, if not for it had been in written in my phone. We got into contact again and had a second meeting, there it was that we signed the contract and I planned for her wedding.

November came quickly and as I arrived at the Virginia Outdoor Center for this wedding, I realized how small and simple it was going to be. There were under 50 people in my estimation. The wedding was outdoors, under a canopy of trees and it was just before the sunset, which is the prime time for best photographic light. Believe me when I say that this wedding was very refreshing for three main reasons, the couple didn’t expect anything from me in detail other than just amazing photographs, so they just let the day happen as it were to happen, being happy with whatever happened. A second reason, the wedding was very small and very short, so there wasn’t a huge demand on me, which allowed me to just run around and capture what I thought would be best. The third main reason is because everybody at the wedding was just very real and laid back, it honestly felt like I was at one of my own family reunions and that I was apart of the family.

On the shores of the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg Virginia is the Virginia Outdoor Center. That was the location for this lovely wedding. Charles and Jess had asked me to arrive early and capture the unfolding of the whole day from the beginning. I was the first to arrive and once I did, I got to work as family members and close friends started to trickle in.

One of the joyful things about this wedding is that I had my first chance to work with my newest lens and my, oh my, did the photos that came through that new lens turn out very good! My newest lens is a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8. It's a very sweet zoom lens. It allows me to stand at a distance and capture my subject by surprise, as you can see in these photos.

Family members and close friends as they arrived for the wedding.

One of my favorite photographs from the day is this one. They built their own archway out of the sticks of the forest and they gathered these yellow and white flowers to adorn the archway with, it was beautiful to me. Then somebody decided to place their jacket on the archway as if it were some coat hook, which gave me joy because of it's rarity.

The wedding ceremony was on the edge of the forest, just before the riverbanks jetted off into the waters. Halfway between this spot and the parking lodge, down a wooded path is a lovely wooden shelter and next to that is this beautiful stone fireplace. The bride's brother cooked one of the most amazing meals I've ever had over this fireplace from what he had prepared the night before. The groom is seen in the photo to the top as he overlooks and feeds the fire.

Photo Left: The father of the bride carrying firewood to the fire pit at the ceremony site so that the guest may have a chance at keeping warm.

The father of the bride, again, as he has placed the wood in the pit and is now beginning to start the fire.

Top Photo: The brother of the bride establishes the cake tower as the mother of the bride helps. Bottom Photo: The father of the bride hangs electric wires for the cook!

This is the sight of the bride's arrival. The subject of these two photographs are the bride's daughters that arrived with her. November the 5th was a very cold, yet beautiful day in Fredericksburg Virginia.

This is the start of the ceremony.

Charles & Jess had but one best man and one maid of honor as their wedding party, along with their two beloved little girls. As you can tell, it was a precious little wedding.

There she is; the bride escorted by her father as she looks for her best friend who is waiting for her at the alter.

Top Photo: The Maid of Honor as she looks onward, watching the minister charge Charles & Jess for marriage.

The Vows! This is something that I don't see many couples do, they wrote their own vows to each other. It was beautiful and highly insightful for the rest of us. As you see them stand before each other and keep to their plans for marriage, you could see that they were in love and that their hearts were pursuing each other, but when Charles began to declare his journey of falling in love with Jess, from the state of his life before he met her to the first time he saw her, through their growing together, you could see that love in his heart and really track with his journey into her heart. And likewise for Jess. It was beautiful and real.

One of the cutest things of the day was when I noticed their little girls trying so desperately to keep warm as their mommy and daddy give themselves to a further act of faithfulness. Those little girls have to be the cutest things I've seen this year...

Top Photo: The first kiss of marriage. Bottom Photo: The placement of the ring.

The First Kiss!

Bottom Photo: They're now preparing to exit the alter.

The newly-weds make their way back to the wooden shelter that is seen in the lower photograph.

Photo Right: The groom and his best man placing their coats on his little girls.

The receiving line.

The oldest of their little girls as she poses for a photo for one of the guest. I love taking pictures of people as they pose for other people's cameras.

Top Photo: The bride & groom as they greet everyone. Bottom Photo: The little girls as they wait for their mommy and daddy to greet everybody.

Their beautiful family!

Photo Left: The bride with her new family. Photo Left: The bride with her former household, her beloved parents.

The groom and his best man!

Groom + Best Man & Bride + Maid of Honor.

As we're doing the family and wedding party formals, a group of their beloved friends waited to greet them.

Photo Left: Bride returning from the formals with her father as she is warmed with her groom's coat.

Okay, so I have to be totally honest here. Future brides, pay attention; this food that this young man (bride's brother) was cooking happened to be the best wedding food I have ever had, hands down. He was a one man team and the pasta was the most amazing. He normally works with an actual company that does weddings and events, from what I was told.

Top Photo: The bread being prepared. Bottom Photo: I didn't really see to much drinking at this wedding, yet they had a very good selection!

The dinner table.

Once again, another extremely cute photo of this adorable little girl. I have never seen children cuter than these. This little one had those big, soft beautiful little eyes that could make a harden criminal soft in the heart. This little girl's older sister had eyes that were well defined, sharp and very adorable. Combine these two and I'm sure they could save the world from cruelty with their cuteness powers combined.

The Cake!

What a beautiful soul caught in these beautiful photographs. The little baby in the top photo is Jess' third child from what I can remember. They are a adorable family.

Top Photograph: Jess is feeding Charles their wedding cake. Bottom Photograph: At the end of a very long and somewhat cold day, a bride becomes tired and just wants to rest with her groom.

The reason this photograph makes my heart so happy is because I turned around and totally faced them to take this photo, yet they didn't even notice. They just kept with their observation of the party while giving their commentary, completely oblivious to my documentary of their sight. It's beautifully photojournalistic! This is the mother and father of the bride.

The final photograph of this evening and this blog is two in one, as usual for my blog post. The bottom photograph is from earlier in the day, as the beloved friends of the bride gather food for their dinner plates. The top photograph is a beautiful photo of the wooden structure from the woods after the sun had set. I leave you with these photographs because of the life within them.