We thought this past Saturday's Virginia monsoon was going to be the cause of tears on May 19, 2018. Never were we so happy to be so wrong. There were tears, but they came from the happiness, love, and joy of family and friends for Sarah & Raymond's vineyard, May wedding.
Sarah and Raymond were not going to let the Virginia monsoon of May 2018 put a damper on their wedding day. Luckily, they choose a lovely and versatile wedding venue with plenty of porches, overhangs, and large rooms with perfect, natural light.
We arrived to find the groomsmen in their suite playing Xbox, eating Doritos, and jamming out to some hip-hop. According to Michelle, the wedding planner who also hosted the groomsmen the night before, most stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, but you'd never have known by the energy in that cozy room. They were sporting custom groomsmen basketball jerseys with their individual nicknames on the back. When posing for pictures, Brad heard some hilarious nickname origin stories and saw some great wrestling/weightlifter poses. The girls, on the other hand, could be found in an elegantly decorated bridal suite where it smelled of lovely perfume and paninis. They were lounging on couches, finishing their makeup and hair, and all in matching plum, floral PJ shirts.
The bridal party spent most of their pre-ceremony time dodging the rain and each other. It took some coordination to get shots in the few outdoor locations with awnings or overhangs without seeing the opposite gender, but those guys and girls were total sports and were laughing the entire time. Sarah and Raymond allowed us to stage our favorite "around the door" photo where they stood back to back in a doorway holding hands. They checked in on each other's emotional state and upon hearing his bride-to-be's voice Raymond got a bit choked up causing everyone in the vicinity to immediately follow suit. We are suckers for a strong man who isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve!
The event space at Ashton Creek Vineyard truly served as a multipurpose room. The ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception were all held in the elegantly decorated event space. Everyone was thankful to stay in one dry location and the venue staff, planner, and catering crew did a great job of making the different parts of the day feel unique. The ceremony featured a family friend as the officiant, a few special readings, and the exchanging of vows. They sealed it with a kiss and made the short walk back down the aisle as man and wife!
After cocktail hour, a quick welcome by the bride's dad, and a family style meal, it was time for first dances. Sarah and Raymond slow danced, holding each other tightly and going between laughing and kissing. It was so incredibly sweet and heartwarming to see a couple so deeply in love. Sarah's dad made a stop by the DJ booth on his way to the dance floor to make a last minute song request for his special dance. "Daughters" by John Mayer came through the speakers as he took his daughter's hand and began to dance. Towards the end, they invited other father/daughter duos to join them on the floor as the song concluded. The final dance was saved for Raymond and his mother. Raymond has a very special relationship with his mom and a few months ago when he informed us that his song would be "A Song for Mama" by Boys to Men, I knew we were in for something unforgettable. They slowly turned in circles and the waterworks immediately started both with Raymond and those in attendance (photographers included).
The toasts offered great examples of the different types of speeches you see at various weddings. Sarah's dad brought the dirt with several stories from early the early parts of Sarah and Raymond's relationship. He followed those stories (that brought tears of laughter) with stories sharing his love for his oldest daughter and the respect he has for Raymond as a man (through brought tears of joy). He ended his speech with a gift --- a "house divided" doormat featuring the logos of the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys which looked to be a hotly debated topic. Sarah's sisters teamed up for their maid of honor speeches talking about how much they look up to their older sister. They told a few funny stories, and even finished each other's sentences several times. Raymond's best man wrote a long poem toast about the history of his relationship with Raymond. Every sentence rhymed, and the crowd loved it so much they yelled for an encore!
With the formalities out the way, it was time to dance. Black Tie Entertainment immediately filled the dance floor, and it stayed that way for the rest of the night. The playlist featured a mix of classic hits, boy bands, and modern country radio songs. As our time with Sarah and Raymond wound down, two epic Drake sing-alongs took over the dance floor! Raymond, Sarah, and their bridal party could be found in the middle of the dance floor, saying every word.
Sarah and Raymond made the best of a rainy situation and not once was there a doubt that their wedding day would be epic. It was a romantic, emotional, and a joy filled day where two families became one. Those in attendance know where the true royal wedding took place on May 19th 2018.
Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Scott!