Inspired by Virginia's bodies of water, rich blues, cool greys, crisp whites, and copper became the color palette for this coastal-infused wedding photo shoot at Seven Springs just outside of Richmond. Locally-sourced products and small businesses were integral to making this become a reality. From the oysters raised in the Rappahannock River to the Oster Vit gin in the cocktails being distilled through the crushed shells of those same Rappahannock Oysters, even the spirit of Virginia was in the tiniest of details.
With heirloom pearls and nods to what is inherently important at a wedding like being emotionally present on the day of, this creative team spun a dream of bourbon bars, tiny boat as ceremony altar table, mismatched dusty blue bridesmaid dresses, live music, local river-inspired table numbers, and so much more. To set the tone, we must share Sarah's inspiration and story behind it all.
Someone recently asked me where I am from and I could confidently say Virginia. I haven't always exactly known how to answer that question. What should be a brief and obvious answer has always turned into a really awkward (and long) explanation of how I came to Virginia. I am from Virginia by way of Iran, Arizona, Maryland, Germany, Newport News, Germany, New York, Germany (yes again), and Georgia (state, not country).
The truth is that we moved around so much growing up; it's always been hard to answer. What are they really asking? Where was I born? Where did I grow up? Where did I live before here? As you have probably guessed by now, my parents were in the military. Both of them were in the Army. That's how they met. Fate and the military threw them together. Thanks to the military, we got to see lots of amazing places, some scary but genuinely beautiful locations. This is what probably gave me an appreciation of finding beauty in my surroundings. Also thanks to the military, we never lived anywhere long enough to put down roots. That was true... until we came to Virginia.
My mom was born here. She had ties to Virginia that she desperately and anxiously wanted to share with us. The first few weeks we were here, she took us to all the places that she held in her heart all those years. All the places she had missed most and were reminiscent of home. The house that she was born in that is now a church rectory. The one-room school house that her parents attended and later purchased to open a country store. Carl's Ice Cream in Fredericksburg which opened the year before she was born. My grandpa used to joke that my Nana ate so much of their frozen custard while she was pregnant that they paid for everyone's salary for the first two years. After our visit to Carl's, we walked two blocks to the river. My mom showed me where she and her brothers swung over the rocks and into the rapids when they were kids. We walked out onto those same rocks and ate our custard. She was different in that moment. It was a side of my mom I hadn't seen before. Her feet had found their footing again. She wanted me to have that same feeling, and now 22 years later, I do. I've lived in 6 of Virginia's finest cities over those 22 years, and the ones that I remember feeling like home are all near the coastline or the brackish water Virginia is so rich in. That salty humid air screams home to me and that feeling of being in that perfectly imperfect place that is home to you is exactly what I wanted to capture in this styled shoot.
Your marriage should feel like home to you. Comforting, serene, always welcoming. When I plan weddings for my clients, I spend a lot of time talking to them about their marriage. Their personalities both as individuals and couples. We talk about where they come from, what they love about it, why it feels like home. I always notice how proud Virginians are of where they come from and wanted to emulate my Virginia pride in this shoot. I spent a lot of time thinking about where I'm from, how I got here, and what I love about it. The shoot had history and family and roots. Exactly what I want for all my couples on their wedding days. Surrounded by everything that makes them at home and comfortable so that they can embark on their greatest adventure yet.
Photography: Annamarie Akins Photography | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Seven Springs | Design & Coordination: Make it Posh | Entertainment: Forest Hill Band | Hair & Makeup: Lou Stevens Glam Squad | Bridal Gown: Annalise Bridal Boutique | Menswear: The Groom's Corner at Tiffany's Bridal | Florals: Flowers by Mona Ray | Live Portrait Artist: Wyatt Ramsay | Sweets: The Mixing Bowl | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Vintage Rentals: Paisley and Jade | Stationery: Love Laced Designs | Videography: The Herrintons | Transportation: Cozy Caravan Club | Catering: Butler's Unique Catering | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Ties: Bows n Ties.com | Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Oysters: Rappahannock Oyster Co. | Beverages: James River Distillery | Classic Car: First Class Limo | Watercolor Artist: Laura Ray