1.10.12

Enjoy Weddings | Hotel Monaco + River Farm Alexandria | Amy + Nate

"i'll be bold,
as well as strong.
paint my spirit gold,
keep my heart slow."
babel - mumford & sons
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It's like my my nearly 10 years of wedding photography experience vanished.   Circling, and diligently trying to find a place to park near, Circe Hair Salon, I might as well have been 14 years old, riding in the back of a 15-passenger hunk of a van to Strong Mansion.  I might as well have been shooting my very first wedding.  My stomach and heart and blinky eyes sure didn't know the difference.  The reality is that I've shot, now, well over 100 weddings.  And I've been in four: three as a bridesmaid, and another as a bride.  Somehow going from a "Snyder" to a "Morris" left me quivery, fidgety, nervous, antsy, OCD-y, happy and wide-eyed about shooting a wedding.  I can't recall being so jittery and "anxious" before a wedding.  It was odd.  All I can say is that I "got it" now.

With a stomach full of moths and hot air balloons, Amy's wedding day began.  Amy is one of those people that you usually wish you could be like yourself, but are *slightly* jealous of because, well, you aren't.  She's easy-pretty.  She doesn't try hard and she doesn't care.  She's a stupid-smart - and from what I hear she's not only naturally brilliant, but she has an incredible work-and-study ethic, too.  She's athletic and runs with a running club in DC.  She has a stunning group of friends who are a snazzy combination of hilarious, very honest, cheerful, supportive and lovely.
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The salon was bustling and roaring, but also calm and sweet.  The girls all milled about and watched Amy get her hair done.  "You have super-model hair.  Like, it should be in commercials." "So pretty, Ame.  You're curling the ends, right?"  After her silky, commercial hair had been blown-dried out, the girls were ready to see what was next.  "No, this is it.  I'm just wearing it down."  Some thought she might trying doing something a little bit more special... perhaps one side pinned back?  Or a few waves to the ends? "What?! You don't like it?! I don't care.  I like it.  This is how I always wear my hair, but... better.  I just leave it down.  And I like it that way.  I feel clean.  I love it.  I feel healthy and clean."  Some girls wondered if it was maybe too modern for her "country" inspired wedding.  "I'm leaving it!  I like it this way!"  All the girls concluded that they did love her hair and thought it was sososo beautiful, they just wanted to make sure she loved it too.  I was so proud of Amy and couldn't help but think that that small interaction probably reflected her on a bigger-scale.  Confident.  Sure.  Determined.   Gracious.  Firm.  How else do you make it through Perdue, Lafayette and George Washington University?!
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Oh, and a scoop of sense of humor, to boot.  Amy is quick, and laughs easily and genuinely.  She's not a super-touchy, ditsy, girlie-girl who giggles incessantly.  Rather, she's bright and happy, and not so serious that she can't enjoy the fun-ness of life around her.
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After her hair was finished, Amy strolled down the street with her sister and I.  We were headed around the corner to Hotel Monaco (Kimpton hotels, I can't seem to escape them! ;)  And you won't find me complaining.)  While we waited for the late to change, we heard someone calling from the other side of the crispy street.  "Amy!  AMY!"
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Weeelll, look who we have here!  It's Nate!  The running-behind, proffessional-runner, really just cool and genuine groom!  "This is okay because I'm not in my dress yes!  Right?" "Yeah, she's not in her dress yet!"  The trio had a quick banter on the street-corner and then Nate kiss-kissed each lady on the cheek and nearly dove into the limo that was waiting for him (he really was late.  Rhymes with Nate. Please don't hate... me.  I'm done now.)
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I loved this part of the day.  Slowly the girls made their way back to the hotel.  Each one entered the room with more excitement and joy than the last.  They spent the next couple hours telling stories about remarkable pick-up lines from last night, about things dad's say, comparing shoes and jewelry, figuring out how to get music to play in the room, giving Amy a special book filled with letters and pictures from each of her bridesmaids.  They had a real good time together.  Being with people who love and enjoy each other is never a bad time.  And this room was filled with love.
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Amy told me a number of times that she didn't think she was photogenic.  I love proving "those" people wrong ;)
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While the traveling party of handsome, smiling women made their way to River Farm, Ellie Be worked her magic with Late Nate and the rest of the men.  Kim of Kim Newton Weddings worked her tail off to make sure everything was ready and stunning, and the boys chilled like polar bears in an igloo.  But it wasn't that cold.  Just very relaxing.  
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We're hhhheeeeere!  Time to stealthily and promptly sneak into the house.
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Literally within minutes of arriving at River Farm, the ceremony was underway.  It was a fun collection of "hurry!" and "Ah! It's happening!" and "Do I look okay? Fix my hair!" and "I love you, Amy.  AMY! I love you."
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(Doesn't this venue look not... very Virginia?  I kept forgetting that I wasn't in California or Italy.  Well done, east coast.  Well done.)
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(Her dad announced that he was going to go to the restroom really quick. Bahaha!)
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The water down there is the Potomac River, and this venue is very close to Mount Vernon, George Washington's home.  You could hear water rushing every now and then, but not much else.  So deeply chilling and gorgeous.
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This was the best part:  see the minister with her hand raised?  She was saying a blessing of prayer over the new couple.  See the bridesmaids looking at each other?  See the bride and groom... LEAVING?  They did not begin the recessional at the proper time.  They left.  The lady kept praying.  The bridal party waited for her to finish.  Then when announced, they left.
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At about this point Amy realized what had just happened.  Nate whispered "Just keep walking. Smile.  Just keep walking."  Amy was losing it.
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"We LEFT while she was PRAYING!!!"
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"I canNOT believe we just walked out of our wedding!  Before it was done!"
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Sisteries.
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"Oh hey, remember when we tried to do that shot in our engagement pictures..." "Yeah, any my nose was too big?"
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After being together for 6 years, these two are happily connected and just get each other.  They are kind, laugh often and don't try too hard.  They're in a comfortable, eager, faithful place.
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"Nate."

"What?"

"We LEFT our wedding.  BEFORE it was done!"
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"Hahahahaha!"
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"What kind of people are we?!"
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"Hahaha Amy, I love you."
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Cocktail hour was something out of... Neverland.
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The grounds have a Secret Garden feel, with lots of passages and aisles and hideaways.
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Mrs. Unphotogenic, herself.
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And the faces - all the faces - during the first dance made my little heart weep.  Beautiful people.
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Happy wedding day, best friends.  Thank you for your warmness, your love and your good jokes.
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It was a very happily ever after day.

(Ps. Thank you, again, Ellie Be, for your hard work and above-average shots.  You are amaze.)


14 comments:

  1. I'm impressed. Incredible work, both of you :).

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  2. LOVE your perspective! Totally inspired! Thank you for sharing.

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  3. love this. just love.

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  4. MY GOODNESS. You and Ellie have OUTDONE yourself here! I just can't get over it all--the colors, the angles, the expressions...EVERYTHING. Beautiful job, you two!
    ps yeah, I've OUTDONE the CAPS too! Sorry I'm not sorry.

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  5. this was one beautiful wedding. love your shots. <3

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  6. after reading this post, the words simple elegance came to mind. fabulous job capturing this :)

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  7. these photos are above-average, by far. I love your style and the way you tell the story through the pictures and few words. you inspire me! :)

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  8. Hott DANG. this may be one of the best weddings I've ever seen. absolutely wonderful and EXTRAORDINARY job! love love LOVED it. You're pretty much the best. :)

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  9. I love all of the colours and smiles and happiness. These are just amazing.

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  10. Thank you so much for taking amazing pictures!!! From Kim Newton Weddings!

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  11. The story, the pictures...everything was just SO sweet, SO happy, and SO beautiful.

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Oh, you've made my day! Thank you for the thoughts and words!