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Jessica + Brian | Richmond Marriott Downtown Wedding

The first seasonably warm and sunny day in June was the setting for Jessica and Brian's wedding this past weekend. A bridal show originally brought us together and after several coffee meetings, a bridal shoot, and many laughs we were really excited to be part of their special day!

Around noon the groomsmen arrived at St. Bridget Catholic Church in high spirits. Laughs and jokes were traded and one groomsmen introduced himself by saying, "Y'all here for the funeral?" They pulled up the Nascar race on Brian's laptop and spent time trading Top Gun references and trying to stay cool in the air conditioning. Brian's crew of guys consisted of college roommates, high school band mates, a boy scout troop mate from elementary, and a man nicknamed "Hambone". What a fun bunch! They were dressed in matching gray suits straight out of GQ, with funny socks (a gift from Brian), brown Johnston and Murphy shoes, ties with a touch of pink, and matching aviator sun glasses. Style for days!

Jessica and her girls arrived at the church around 12:45 already looking stunning with full makeup and hair, thanks to Jennifer Saunders Bridal. Champagne was popped and the hustle and bustle (pun intended) began.

The Catholic ceremony began promptly at 2 PM with the beautiful sounds of a traditional organ and female vocalist singing songs like Ave Maria. St Bridget's sanctuary is ornately decorated with stained glass windows and what looked like wooden beams in the traditional German style. Several special family members read passages of scripture, a homily with both humor and fun tidbits about Jessica and Brian's history was delivered, and one thing we thought was unique - the couple spent most of the ceremony seated in special chairs in a place of honor! It's always fun to shoot couples who utilize various traditions to make their ceremony unique. The completed their ceremony with a beautiful kiss and first walk as husband and wife down the aisle.

After family photos in the sanctuary, the bridal party loaded up on a red Richmond trolley to make the short drive down Grove Avenue to the VA State Capitol. Before the journey, Jessica and Brian had a secret stop planned. Allie hopped aboard to catch the action and excitedly announced "Don't drink too many beers before we get to Jack Brown's!" She didn't know that the stop we'd been planning with Jessica and Brian was a surprise to their bridal party! Boy, was she mortified. Jessica and Brian were so sweet to say it was no big deal. By the time, they drove .3 miles to their destination her cheeks had turned from red back to their normal shade. Everyone hopped off the trolley at Jack Brown's and were treated to a cold beer and hot fried Oreos. Both looked delicious! (If you've been following us on Instagram, you may have noticed we started to Whole30. Sadly, we couldn't taste an Oreo!)

We continued on our journey to the reception with one final stop at the Virginia State Capitol. It was a long hike in the sun up the Capitol steps, but in our opinion, totally worth it for the soft afternoon glow the sun's reflection off the white walls provided for some romantic couple photos and fun bridal party pictures. The VA Tech flag made it's first appearance of the day, but it would be showing up many more times before the night was over....on to the reception!

The newly renovated Richmond Marriott Downtown was the elegant backdrop for Jessica and Brian's reception and the Grand Ballroom lived up to it's name. Each table was appointed with a beautiful flower centerpiece and a wooden block featuring various VA Tech locales. On the menu was miniature chicken sandwiches, carving and mashed potato stations, and two signature drinks. Classy blue uplighting lit the corners of the room when guests entered to the smooth sounds of band DC Fusion. Jazz filled the air until it was time for bridal party introductions! Each couple was told to "be creative" with their entrance moves and guests were laughing as they saw a "Tebowing" display, goofy dance moves, and even a "back pocket holster" with two fresh beers! Jessica and Brian entered to thunderous applause and made their way to a sweetheart table in the center of it all.

DC Fusion kicked off their post dinner set with oldies, Motown, and Top 40 hits and guests immediately took to the dance floor. Their only respite was a romantic first dance to "You Are the Best Thing" and emotional mother/son daughter/godfather dances. Toasts were a highlight of the night with Jessica's sister, Melissa, talking of "I told you so" moments and Brian's brother abandoning several pages of dirt after running the speech past his mom earlier in the night. We couldn't tell if guests were crying because of laughter or emotion! Definitely some of the best speeches we had ever heard!

Before long it was time to cut the cake and sweetly feed each other...or a simultaneous smash! Always makes for great photos and luckily, it was a quick clean up. Guests enjoyed cupcakes while the band continued to keep the hits going with sax solos, sing alongs, and even "Enter Sandman" which led to an intense foot stomping circle of VA Tech Fans.

When it was time for Jessica and Brian's big send off, the guests lined the front exit of the hotel and filled the air with bubbles. Jessica and Brian shared a final kiss in the humid evening air and instead of riding off into the sunset, they headed back inside to rally the troops for round 2 of the party!

It's easy to tell how much fun and laughter Jessica and Brian share. The day's festivities seemed to be a perfect representation of their fun-loving, adventure seeking, family and friend filled life together. We laughed all the way home swapping stories of the day and I know those memories will live on in their hearts and the hearts of their guests for many years. Congrats guys and we wish you nothing, but the best!! Thank you for welcoming us with open arms. Your friends and family love you guys with all their hearts and we feel purely honored to be within that crowd this weekend.

(We LOVE seeing signs like this.)

Pure joy!


PHOTOGRAPHERS: Allie & Brad Strouse HAIR & MAKEUP: Jennifer Saunders Bridal, LLC FLOWERS: Danny's Flower Market DRESS: Urban Set Bride


CHURCH VENUE: Pat with St. Bridget Catholic Church RECEPTION PLANNER & VENUE: Melissa with Richmond Marriott Downtown CAKE: Pearl's Bake Shoppe BAND: DC Fusion RINGS: Diamonds Direct

TRANSPORTATION: Richmond Trolley

#wedding #richmondmarriott #hokies #virginiatech

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