About one month ago, I made the trek up to the little town of Martinsburg, WV to capture these two lovebirds committing their lives to one another. (You can read a little more about their back story and how we came to know one another in this post of their engagement session.)
This wedding may look a little different than all the big, fancy, dreamy days we see flooding the internet, and that's exactly why I wanted to feature it: Niki and Thom chose to focus on their marriage. They pulled together their wedding in months and focussed on creating a day full of love that honored their families, each other, and God. The kept things simple, leaned on the talents of their friends, and made their own rules. It was perfect.
The bride and bridesmaids rented an adorable cottage-like home through Air B&B for a sleepover and getting ready prep -- it was such a perfect quirky and comfortable place, I can't believe I'd never heard of this idea before! Everyone did each other's or their own makeup and hair while the bride's mom and aunt prepped lunches and bridesmaids put finishing touches on the bouquets with flowers from Costco! The house was abuzz with laughter, music, and even a few tears. I didn't even find out until we were about to leave that half of the bridesmaids had infants hanging out with dads on the second floor! I'm telling you, this bunch is a powerhouse of support and love.
Chug that coffee, girl, it's wedding dress time!
Niki decided to work a first look with her dad into the day and man, tears were flowin all around. It was so clear that these two have a special bond. The pride and love of a father as he sees his little girl walk out in her wedding dress... just so special.
And this, my friends, is how a bride should feel on her wedding day.
First Look and Couple Portraits
My approach to shooting weddings is about 75% documentary --I believe the goal is not to style something to look different than it does, or to contrive situations so that photos look better, but to simply capture a day that is already beautiful as it naturally unfolds as much as possible. So when Niki and Thom came to me with their unconventional timeline that included doing all portraits-- bridal party, bride and groom, family formals, the whole she-bang, before the ceremony so they could get married and head straight to the party alongside their guests, I was all for it. This meant on a sunny spring day, a majority of their images would need to be shot in full noonday sun with little to no coverage (photographers around the world give a shudder), but also that they got to have their dream day, and the latter is more important to me! As a professional, it's my job to make suggestions but also adjust to their top needs, and in this case, it meant getting creative to rock that mid-day timeline!
When I say this crew was one of a kind, there's literally no other way to put it. It was so much fun to work with such easy-going, up-for-anything people for the day. This bridal party was 100% on team Niki and Thom, making their day bright, full of laughter, and zero stress- I'd say they definitely succeeded! And those flower girls... I mean c'mon. You'll be seeing much more of those cuties -- I couldn't resist!!
Stripped of glitz and glamour, Niki and Thom's DIY day featured the absolute best detail on display at all times--excitement and love for each other and the lifetime together ahead. Check back later this month for highlights from their moving ceremony and super-fun barn reception!
Getting ready location : Cape Cod House / AirB&B - Martinsburg, WV
Portrait and Reception Location: Poor House Farm Barn, Martinsburg, WV
Wedding Dress: David's Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Belk/Nordstrom Rack/ Anne Klein
Groomsmen Attire: Kenneth Cole Slacks, Tommy Hilfiger ties, Michael Kors shirt