Mountain Top Engagement Session | Blue Ridge Parkway | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Emily and Bill are one of the most adventurous couples I have met. In fact, just days after this session they left for a 7 week adventure across Egypt! When deciding on a location for their engagement session it was obvious it had to be on a mountain. They met as camp counselors taking kids hiking, white water rafting, caving, and other adventures. Their first date was going rock climbing and Bill proposed while hiking up a 500' mountain.

Emily grew up in a military family, just like I did, and we got along immediately. She is not only adventurous but she's so laid back and you can tell she can fit into any surrounding she is placed, which is what happens when you move your whole life. Bill is just an all around great guy. The type of guy you want your daughter to fall in love and marry and I don't say that lightly as the mom to three girls! Watching them climb through the rocks together, while Emily was freezing and wearing heals part of the time, was like watching a romantic comedy. They laughed and kissed without being guided it made our session a breeze, and it was so breezy this day with gusts up to 40 mph and a windchill around 30!

I am so lucky to get to tell their love story that started in the mountains. I was so thrilled to do my first every mountain top engagement session and they were the perfect couple to show me how it should be done! I cannot wait for their summer wedding and to watch the adventures that follow.

Tori & Chris The Granary Wedding | Staunton Wedding Photographer

After dating for 6 years Tori and Chris said their vows at their spring wedding this May filled with family, friends, and so much love! Tori and Chris chose the colors of light pink and light green to create a beautiful spring tone. The bridesmaids worse an array of light pink and light green dresses in different styles and wore the cutest tan shoes again all in different styles! The men looked dashing in their light green and light pink ties with classic gray suits. Tori and Chris chose to get married at The Granary at Valley Pike because of their love for the outdoors. They had planned for an outdoor wedding but due to weather they decided to have their ceremony indoors which was equally as beautiful with the restored barnwood and natural light!

The Granary at Valley Pike is a newer wedding venue and I was so excited to get to shoot a wedding there, especially this wedding! The fields were so green in contrast to the white and brown barn. Their bridal and groom suites are so pretty too and the girls robes looked perfect in the white washed wood room. Tori had the sweetest first look with her dad while finishing getting ready, there wasn't a dry eye in the room!!

Tori and Chris are so laid back and their entire wedding day reflected the ease and comfort they share in their love. They chose to spend a few minutes alone after their ceremony which is such a special time to have. While they followed most of the common wedding traditions they also added a few unique details to their wedding, like the visit from the Virginia Tech Hokie bird. The Hokie bird joined us for some fun portraits and spent time with the guests at the start of the reception too. They also had the Bella Luna Pizza truck which was so delicious. They ended the day with a bubble exit.

While spring weather may be unpredictable the lighting after rain is always beautiful. So after their bubble exit and the final rainfall for the day we went back into the fields for some beautiful bride and groom portraits. I loved the timing of these portraits because most of the guests had left and the bride and groom were feeling elated from being married, but also relaxed and at ease from the pressure of their wedding day. Tori's wedding dress was so much fun to photograph because it was so full of movement. They walked, danced, and twirled all around the The Granary and Valley Pike Market! She also chose to wear comfortable and cute crotched Tom shoes which were perfect. Enjoy this the images from this beautiful mostly outdoor spring wedding at The Granary!

Special thanks to all the amazing vendors that made Tori and Chris' wedding day perfect!

Venue: The Granary at Valley Pike Farm Market

Second Shooter: Hannah Joy Photography

Videography: Nvision Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Sheryl Green

Florist: Upsy-Daisy

Wedding bands from Kay Jewelers

Dress: Studio I Do Bridals

Suits/Tux: Men's Wearhouse

Hair & Make-up: Kaylyn Mays

Cake: Country Confections

Caterer: Bella Luna Pizza

Invitations: Minted

 

Best of 2017 | Engagement Sessions by Christy McKee Photography

Happy New Year!! I'm slowly crawling out of holiday hiding and easing my way back to work! I always start each year with all of my favorites from the past wedding season, "Best of 2017". I finished my 2017 wedding season just in time to finish wrapping presents and baking for Christmas and then next thing I knew we were a week into 2018, not sure how that happened but I obviously enjoyed a few weeks off! So it's officially January which means a lot of congratulations to all the newly engaged couples!!! It also means a lot of coffee meetings for me which I never complain about :)

Last year was my busiest weddings season yet, and I neglected to blog quite a few engagement sessions (sorry to all my awesome couples). I promise to do better with that this year, goal #1!  I'm starting off my best of blog series with my favorite engagement photos from 2017. I love engagement sessions for so many reasons. Your engagement session is when I really get to know you both as a couple. I get to learn who is silly or serious, which one of you can always make the other laugh or relax. I find ways to make you both enjoy having your picture taken, because I know not everyone loves being in front of the camera. Your engagement session is also the perfect time to get to know me as well. Not just the fact that I love coffee and being outside, but how I sometimes get quiet during your session and you quickly learn that means to just keep doing what you're doing and forget I'm there, ha ha. You'll learn that I don't like to pose you too much because then it becomes unnatural. You'll find out that I try really hard to make you laugh, a lot, and I always try to get you moving. Your engagement session is always fun, active, and great practice for your wedding day.

So, when should you schedule your engagement session? I suggest scheduling your engagement photos shortly after your engagement so you can use your photos more. Most couples like to use the photos for save the date cards and their wedding website. Since most couples get engaged over the holidays, isn't it too cold for an engagement session?!? Well, it can be cold but there are other options. I love doing in home and lifestyle sessions. These can be more casual and make you feel more at ease. If your home isn't your ideal background for save the date cards, consider other indoor locations such as a bed and breakfast, your favorite restaurant, winery, or ice cream shop. Still not the right style for you? That's OK, we can wait until Spring and enjoy the great outdoors. I love shooting near water, woods, mountains, and urban settings too!  I enjoy traveling to new locations and am always up for an adventure. I also have some favorite local spots that I shoot at often. For your engagement session I look for locations that have variety and suggest bringing a second outfit to change into to add even more variety to your session.

Congrats again to all the newly engaged couples! I'd love to talk with you about your 2018 wedding dreams, and I cannot wait to see all the amazing images we can create together this year! Here are my favorite engagement photos from last year...........

Meaghan & Matthew's Wedding Preview | Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables Wedding

Meaghan and Matt planned the quintessential fall wedding. Every detail screamed FALL and they timed it during peak foliage as well. They did have to move their ceremony indoors due to rain, but that's the great thing about Hermitage Hill..... even being indoors it's beautiful! So their outdoor wedding became an indoor "barn" wedding and it was perfect. I can't wait to share their full wedding blog because there are just so many great details that will inspire fall brides for next year. For now, enjoy this sneak peaks and glimpse into the perfect fall wedding!!

Vendors:

Venue: Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables - Coordinator and Flowers: The Faded Poppy - Cake: Buttercream Dreams - Catering: Eric Stamer Catering - DJ: Epic Sound - Officiant: Dave Norris - Invitations: Vistaprint - Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal - Wedding Dress: Bliss (boutique in NOVA) - Suits: Men's Wearhouse - Hair and Make-up: My cousin, Hilary LeMaire - Rings: Jared's Jeweler - Favors: DIY, apples from Saunders Brothers

Tiffany & Dave's Wedding Preview | Wintergreen Wedding

Tiffany and Dave hit the jackpot for fall foliage for their late October wedding. Their Wintergreen wedding was filled not only with beautiful views on the mountains, but gorgeous fall leaves everywhere you looked. The lodge where the girls were getting ready happened to be next door to a very kind family that let us on their property which led to a private overlook of the valley and we took some of my favorite images of the entire day in this 5 minutes!! Their sweet dog also joined in the fun not only for the ceremony but portraits too. I cannot wait to share more from this wedding day, there were just so many amazing moments it was hard to pick just a few.

Vendor:

Second Shooter- Nikki Trent

MS Events – 5 farm tables and gold chivari chairs
Passionflower Cakes – Paris Levinovitz – Semi- naked Red Velvet Cake with Raspberry
 Pies are from a friend of Grooms mom – Evelyn Waybright
The Faded Poppy - Florist
Videographer – Aubrey Gee
DJ/AV/Photo booth – Epic Sounds Entertainment
Live music – Deedra (Dee) Ervin – good friend of the bride.
Officiant – Mark Word
Lighting – Blue Ridge AV and Lighting
Wedding Dress – Anna’s Bridal Alexandria, VA
Groom/Groomsmen Tux and accessories – Men’s Warehouse
Bridesmaids’ dresses – David’s bridal
Invites/menu/programs/escort cards – minted.com
Hair Stylist – Logan Wills – independent stylist
Bride’s ring set – Kay Jewelers
Grooms ring – Michael’s Fine Jewelry – Springfield VA

 

Keri & Peter's Wedding Preview | Frontier Culture Museum Wedding

Keri and Peter planned a very unique Scottish infused wedding at the Frontier Culture Museum. I have done weddings here before, but this was my first time we were able to venture inside the actual museum grounds for photos and there were so many beautiful spots for pictures! I can't wait to share more from this beautiful wedding but in the essence of time and productivity I must leave you with these teasers for now. Check back soon for the full wedding blog!! (Vendors below)

Wedding coordinator: Chelsea Kraft Florist: My mom Connie Durrett His Ring: Helzberg Bride's Dress: David's Bridal Bridesmaid's Dresses: Allure Bridal Groom's Tux: The Scotland Shop Groomsmen: Men's Wearhouse (Calvin Klein) Hair: Lynn Giambalvo Makeup: Haley Dihlmann (former student) Cake: Keri's dad Bill Durrett Catering: Dayton Catering Co Invitations: Abby Wilson (bridesmaid) Favors: Barnes and Noble and evermine

Riley & Eric's Wedding Preview | Hermitage Hill Wedding

Riley and Eric are such a sweet and easy going couple. I actually didn't even get to meet Eric until after their ceremony and he was just as easy to get along with as if I had met him a year and a half ago when I met his new bride! Riley and her mom were definitely a very organized duo when it came to wedding planning. I've been looking forward to this wedding for such a long time and it was well worth the wait. Emma, the golden retriever was such a sweet addition to their ceremony and I love the flower collar she wore and was amazed that she kept in on the whole time too. Here are a few sneak peaks from this beautiful outdoor wedding at Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables in Waynesboro. Look for the full blog post next month and watch IG for more sneak peaks as I edit my way through this beautiful wedding.

 

Vendors

Wedding Coordinator & Flowers - Sara Kite, The Faded Poppy

Rings - Keller and George Jewlers

Bride Dress - Church Steet Bridal, Lynchburg

Bridesmaid Dresses - David's Bridal

Groom/Groomsmen Suits - Men's Warehouse

Hair - Moxie Hair Lounge

Make up - Catelyn Kelsey (sister and MOH)

Pie - Family Ties and Pies

Food - Full Circle Catering

Invitations - Catelyn (sister and MOH)

Favors - streamers made my the bride and beer glasses are from Stable Craft Brewery

Sarah & Damien's Wedding Preview | Staunton Outdoor Wedding

Sarah and Damien are both such sweet, kind souls. They planned the most perfectly unique wedding that truly fit who they are as a couple. Everything about their wedding day was perfect, until it rained. It didn't last too long, but long enough to get us all very wet. They reacted so well because ultimately they were there to become husband and wife, not to have perfect hair or take hundreds of photographs, and you can become husband and wife in the rain or the sunshine! So they continued with their vows, guests raised umbrellas, the ring bearer caught rain drops in his mouth it was really a beautiful time full of color, love, and lots of raindrops! Enjoy this outdoor wedding preview, the rainy ceremony, and the gorgeous light that followed the rain! To all the future brides a little rain on your wedding day, even an outdoor wedding really doesn't change much and sometimes makes the memories (and some of the photos) even better.  Thanks for letting me share this special day with you and I can't wait to share more soon!!

Vendors

Dress, bridesmaids dresses, and suits- White Dress by Greta Kay

Hair- Kelly Howe Fabulous Salon

Flowers - Ellen Golaschevsky

Mariellyn & Carl's Wedding Preview | Cross Keys Vineyard Wedding

I've decided that golden hour at Cross Keys Vineyard is one of the best around!! You can see the blue mountains perfectly which is what brought Mariellyn and Carl all the way from Florida to get married here! Their wedding day finally felt like fall but it was still warm enough to be outdoors all day and just enjoy the weather and share in the love these two have for each other. They were surrounded by beautiful colors, flowers, and so many people that love them.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll also remember that Mariellyn and Carl buried a bottle of bourbon which they dug up on their wedding day to share with friends, such a fun southern tradition and wedding day celebration.

Here are a few sneak peaks to hold them over before they leave for their tropical honeymoon tomorrow!! I hope you two enjoy lots of bourbon this week!!

Special thanks to my second shooter Hannah Adams whose photos will be shared on the final blog post so you'll get to see more of the guys! And to the following vendors

Wedding Planner: Sara Kite, Faded Poppy

Flowers: Harmony Harvest

Officiant - Pastor Tim Cole

Photobooth - SillyShotz

DJ - DJ Ricky

Videographer - Yeattes Productions

Rings - Global Diamonds

Dress - Caryn's Bridal

Bridesmaids dresses - Azazie

Suits - The Black Tux

Hair - Linda Roop

Make up - Taylor Benson, Blue Ridge Esthetics

Cake - Country Confections

Catering - CrossKeys Vineyards

Invitations - WeddingPaperDivas.com

Wedding art and signs- Lauren Hagy Illustration and Fine Art

Cassie & Robert's Cross Keys Vineyard Wedding| Harrisonburg Wedding Photographer

After "meeting" over the phone and finally in person at a Cross Keys Vineyard bridal luncheon, I was so excited for Robert and Cassie's engagement session at the State Arboretum in Winchester. They were so loving and affectionate with one another it made their session so easy. Fast forward to a warm September day at Cross Keys Vineyards, their wedding day was finally here! I'm always so excited to see the dress and details the bride has chosen when I first arrive and Cassie's dress was no exception. Her dress was so beautiful on the hanger I spent at least 10 minutes with her dress alone! Then, it was the sparkly blue Kate Spade shoes that Robert bought her that stole my attention next!!

Cassie and Robert chose not to do a first look. However, they did talk to each other before the ceremony over the balcony which then led to some amazing bridal portraits as well. Cassie's dress was not only gorgeous, but it fit her so perfectly. She was simply stunning and you can see just how stunning by Robert's reaction to seeing her walking down the aisle. Their ceremony was so emotional, filled with both tears and some great reactions from Robert when he finally got to put on his ring! I loved watching these two become husband and wife and the joy on the faces of their friends and family spoke volumes.

After their outdoor ceremony, we took family and group photos but quickly snuck away to spend most of our time on bride and groom portraits. I always ask each couple to prioritize their photo time so they get more of the types of images they want and can also maximize their time spent with friends and family. Cassie and Robert wanted to do some of their portraits in the wine cellar and vineyards which is a perfect way to commemorate getting married at a vineyard. We also spent a few minutes in the gorgeous golden hour as the sun set over the vines, it was truly the most perfect light!!

Cassie and Robert's reception started with a lot of first dances, and a few more tears. Next they had a delicious meal followed by some fun games, cake cutting, and a lot of dancing. Mid way through the night they put out a s'mores bar on the outdoor patio just as it started to cool off a bit outside. Another hour or so into the night there was a taco bar for a "midnight" snack. Cassie and Robert chose a sparkler exit to end their night as they left for their next adventure..... an even more romantic honeymoon!!

Best wishes to these newlyweds as you begin your new life together as husband and wife!

Vendors

Second Shooter - Kara Lofton

Flowers- Faded Poppy

Wedding Coordinator- Ariel Watters

Dress-Kleinfeld Bridal

Bridesmaids Dresses- Bridal Impressions

Suits-Lapel

Hair and Make up- SAS Salon

Cake and favors- Jessica Cisler J Maries Home Cakery

Catering - CrossKeys Vineyards

Invitations- Minted

Brittney & Cody's Wedding Preview | Red August Farm Wedding

Brittney and Cody were only the second wedding at the new wedding venue Red August Farm in Waynesboro, VA. I was so excited when they chose me to be their wedding photographer and to have the chance to do one of the first weddings at Red August Farm! I was even more excited when Brittney started sharing her wedding vision with me!! She nailed the boho vibe in her mostly DIY wedding. This blog post may seem like their actual wedding blog, but in fact it's just a wedding preview which goes to show just how much I loved everything about their wedding, like EVERYTHING!! Enjoy this preview and come back soon to see the full wedding blog next month for even more amazing details not shown here (yes there are MORE)!

Vendors shown in this blog post feature; Flowers by The Faded Poppy, Cake by Bijou, Rentals by Valley Heirlooms, Dress by Amanda's Touch; designer: Lillian West, Bridesmaids dresses by MuMu Weddings Suits by Amanda's Touch, Hair & Makeup by Sophia and Noelia Nunez,  Cakeby Bijou's Sweet Treats,  Caterer by Sourdough Pizza Company

Jennie & Ryan's Church Wedding | Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables Reception

Jennie and Ryan were so much fun to work with throughout their wedding planning! She is from New York, while Ryan is from Texas, but they both love horses and watching Jennie feed them was entertaining! This fun loving couple chose a traditional Catholic church wedding and a more laid back yet formal wedding reception. The wedding party got ready at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton which is one of my favorite local hotels! Then the guys walked to the church taking a few portraits along the way with my amazing second shooter. The ladies skipped portraits until after the ceremony because it was drizzling just a bit outside. Their Catholic ceremony was beautiful and at my home church St. Francis of Assisi in Staunton. The stain glass windows and vaulted ceilings are always so beautiful and make the perfect setting for becoming husband and wife.

After the ceremony we took a bus around downtown Staunton for portraits. I LOVE taking photos downtown, there are so many unique spots and cool buildings to use. In fact we got a little turned around on some of the one way streets and ended up finding this beautiful brick building so we jumped out and took photos there before getting back to our original destination. Actually, twice we just stumbled upon unplanned yet amazing spots and hopped out for a quick photo!

Next it was off to Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables for cocktail hour and the reception. The best part of receptions at Hermitage Hill is that guests get to feed the horses carrots during cocktail hour. This is always so much fun to watch and all guests young and old love feeding the horses! The grounds at Hermitage Hill are also beautiful and we took a few more portraits before the reception started. Jennie and Ryan chose to use the colors blue and green for their wedding decor. They also added a few pops of color in their floral arrangements but chose to keep their reception decor simple because they loved the overall look and feel of the space just as it was. To end the night Jennie and Ryan hired a live Motown band to play at their reception. This band was so much fun to listen to and watch. The guests danced all night! I love the dance photo where just about every single guest was "getting low" and a few of the guests even did some impromptu singing with the band. It was a very lively reception and the perfect ending to a perfect wedding day!