Lindsey & Roy's New Year's Eve Wedding | Stonewall Jackson Hotel Wedding

When I first met Lindsey and Roy I was so excited at the chance to celebrate a wedding on New Year’s Eve! I knew this would be such a fun wedding, and I was also excited at the challenge of having a ceremony and most of the wedding day during evening hours. My only concern over the idea of a NYE wedding was actually staying up past 10 pm, but luckily they provided coffee and so much fun that this was not an issue.

Lindsey and Roy decided to do a first look so they could use the last 30 min of daylight to have a few photos done outside before the ceremony. It had been raining all day and it stopped just in time for their photos, it was perfect!! My amazing second shooter, Hannah, scouted the cutest alley way just across the entrance of the hotel for their first look then we walked just a few steps in both directions for a few more portraits. Downtown Staunton has so many great spots for photos and I have rarely used the same spot twice! The weather was pretty mild for the end of December, but Lindsey had the most beautiful bolero to keep her warm.

Their ceremony was held inside the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in a gorgeous ballroom. There were tears, laughter, and some uncooperative candles in the room filled with friends and family. As they left the ceremony into the lobby the Christmas tree was the perfect background for celebratory hugs. Guests entered the reception which was perfectly lit by candles and lights from the trees. I also loved how they decorated with clocks and party horns, perfect for New Year’s Eve! Lindsey and Roy had a very impressive first dance and then guests and the bride and groom danced the night away. Midnight came quickly has their reception was just non stop fun! There were lots of champagne toasts, horns, and kissing and it was the picture perfect way to end both your wedding day and to start a new year. Shortly after midnight Lindsey and Roy exited their wedding through a line of festive ribbons onto the elevator as guests waved goodbye.

I am now in love with holiday weddings!! What a fun way to celebrate your anniversary every year and there are so many unique ways to incorporate holidays into your wedding planning. I also love that this wedding shows how beautiful an indoor ceremony can be. I hope that other couples find inspiration to get married indoors and in the winter. There is so much beauty in every season.

Vendors:

Second photographer: Hannah Joy Photographer

Venue: Stonewall Jackson Hotel

Hair: Meg Miller from The Studio

Rings: James Allen

Wedding dress and tuxes: Amanda's Touch

Bridesmaid dresses: David's Bridal

The string duo: Got Strings

The DJ: National DJ Connection/Greg Tutwiler

Best of 2018 | Favorite Engagement Images

It’s my favorite time of year, yes the holidays, but also the Best of 2018!! This is the time of year I review all of my wedding and engagement sessions from the year and pick my favorite images, which is hard but fun! Since I have one more wedding left for 2018 I thought I’d start with my favorite engagement photos from the year. I didn’t have as many engagement sessions this year as I did weddings. Many of my 2018 couples were from out of town and chose not to have an engagement session. However, the engagement sessions I did have this year were beyond amazing, they included hiking to the top of a mountain, rowing a canoe, riding bikes, picking apples, exploring new venues, finding hidden spots in downtown, and so many more fun activities.

Before I share all of my favorite engagement photos, let’s talk a little bit about planning your engagement session! My first piece of advice for your engagement session is to think about what activities you love to do as a couple. I’ll send you a questionnaire to help you think about this and to get to know you a little better. If you love wine tasting, let’s go to vineyard! If you love snuggling at home and reading then I’ll come to your house and do an intimate and fun in home session full of snuggles and pillow fights! Your engagement session should be all about your relationship and show your personalities. Once you choose the activity and location of your session then it’s time to plan outfits! I suggest having one casual and one dressier outfit. Make sure the colors will pop in the environment so if we are going to be around a lot of trees you don’t want to wear green. My images are vibrant and full of color so I love bold colors and earth tones. I’ll send you a guide to help plan your outfits and session too. Next, consider what season you want to take your engagement photos and plan ahead. If you plan to use engagement photos on your save the date cards you’ll want to do your session early enough to get those done. If you love spring or fall colors or have a specific dress you want to wear we can talk about how to plan best for those which will require some flexibility. Lastly, what if you have a fiance that isn’t a fan of getting his/her pictures taken and doesn’t really want to do an engagement session? Well, first show him/her all of these fun and gorgeous photos and then explain that your session is great practice for your wedding day and will help you both feel more comfortable on your big day. During your engagement session I have time to learn more about you both and this will help everyone feel more relaxed on your wedding day. You will also learn more about my shooting style during your engagement session so you know what to expect on your wedding day. If you have any questions about planning an engagement session just ask, I’m happy to share full galleries too!

Now, if you are recently engaged a huge congratulations to you both!! If you are planning an engagement session or are recently married I hope these images fill your heart with inspiration, happiness, and maybe even rekindle that spark you felt when you first said YES!!

Ben & Brandon | Wintergreen Wedding | Charlottesville Wedding Photographer

Every wedding has a story and this is one is all about fate! Yes, I’m sure it was fate that led Ben and Brandon together, but it was also fate that led me to photograph their wedding day. I don’t want to share all the details but I will say I met Ben and Brandon for the first time two days before their wedding and was hired just a week before their big day. I knew I was going to love them simply from our first few email exchanges and I was right. Ben and Brandon and their best man and best women were SO MUCH FUN! Ben had their timeline planned out like a well oil machined and it ran that way too. The day was organized and laid back and just an all around fun day. While the pre ceremony photos were fun, the ceremony was emotional and equally as amazing. The clouds covered us perfectly and their guests were in tears as they said their vows. Ben and Brandon chose to have a little down time after their ceremony and before their reception which is such a great idea. It was also important to them to attend their cocktail hour. In fact they did their introduction and entrance at cocktail hour and it was one of the funniest entrances I have seen. Once everyone made their way into the reception for welcome speeches, it was met by more emotional moments and stories and their first dance as married spouses! The night ended with an all guest dance party, including Brandon’s grandmother! I am so lucky to have had fate send this lovely couple together and to have had the opportunity to photograph one part of their love story. I have a feeling this love story will lead to a few more happy endings, as the day I posted their sneak peak I received a very emotional message from a couple seeking wedding vendors for a wedding they’ve unfortunately had a very difficult time planning. So for now, congratulations to these two newlyweds as they enjoy post wedding bliss and a lifetime of happiness.

Lindsay & Hunter | Cross Keys Barn Wedding | Harrisonburg Wedding Photographer

Lindsey and Hunter fell in love with the southern charm of Cross Keys Barn upon their first visit. They love being outdoors and when surrounded by the gorgeous views they knew the venue would match their summer wedding plans perfectly. Lindsey and Hunter chose to use the bright summer colors of teal and coral and they provided such a beautiful pop of color in every part of their wedding.  From their colorful bouquets and arbor to the beautiful bridesmaids dresses and men's ties, they found the perfect colors for a summer wedding. Speaking of summer weddings, these two hit the weather jackpot. While it was very sunny, the temperature was low and there was a light breeze all day. It felt like fall instead of early July and guests were talking all day about how perfect it was, both the weather and the wedding events!

 

Lindsey and Hunter chose not to see each other before their wedding, which led to the most emotional and heartwarming reaction from her groom as she walked towards him. The father of the bride looked so proud as he guided his daughter to her husband, it was truly the most beautiful moment of the day! The blue sky and mountain tops behind them became the perfect backdrop as their guests enjoyed that cool breeze and a ceremony filled with love and special moments. Wedding party portraits were a blast with this group as they laughed and squinted a bit in the bright sun, but they were troopers and the maid of honor did not let go of that train all day, way to go MOH!! Lindsey and Hunter chose to do some of their portraits before entering their reception and then scheduled about 15-20 min of time right around sunset to leave the reception for more portraits. I love when this works out in the timeline because summer lighting is so bright until about 8pm and we all love that soft golden summer light in the evening, and their evening portraits were so amazing!!!

The reception space at Cross Keys Barn is so warm and cozy. The barn wood and bistro lighting is inviting in the daylight and lights up even more at night. The bright wedding colors fit in perfectly in the dark barn space. In the evening they opened the barn doors and it's such a pretty view to see the space light up from the outside. Their reception became a bit energetic towards the end of the night with an ambulance on site and even fireworks as guests were outside watching the events unfold. All ended well as guests danced the night away and sent Lindsey and Hunter off with a sparkler exit to end the perfect wedding night!

 

 

Photography: Christy McKee Photography

Videography: Nvision Photography and Cinema

Coordinator: Sweet Southern Party (Haleigh Davis)

Florist: Blakemore's Flowers

Rings: Quinn's Goldsmith

Dress: Amy's Bridal Boutique

Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal

Suits: Mens Wearhouse

Hair and Make Up: Sweet Southern Beauty

Cake: Buttercream Dreams

Donuts: Peace, Love, and Little Donuts

Ice Cream: Kline's Dairy Bar

Caterer: Hank's Smokehouse

Invitations: Vistaprint

Favors: Totally Promotional

Emily & Bill | Barn at Edgewood Wedding | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Emily and Bill were married at a beautiful wedding venue on a hot summer day with their closest friends and family by their side. No one seemed to mind the heat of the day, as it was full of beautiful blue skies and more love than you could imagine. The Barn at Edgewood is a beautiful wedding venue with a renovated barn and gorgeous mountain views. The bridal and groom suites were so spacious and filled with an abundance of natural light. The guys and girls were full of laughs, hugs, and nervous energy as they got ready for the day. Emily and Bill had a sweet first look on the landing of the suites before going out into the heat for photos.

Their summer wedding ceremony was held outside with the perfect view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They set up a tent for guests to get out of the sun while they said their vows under a beautiful arch. Their close friends played acoustic music for guests and the ceremony. As guests arrived there was a cooler filled with cold beverages and beautiful wooden fans.

Emily and Bill planned a very personal wedding and reception. It was so much fun to watch each special moment and gift unfold throughout the day. From hand drawn portraits, to personal gifts and letters to family members, a stack of photographs on each table for guests to take home, and so many more special moments. I also adored their table numbers with photos of Bill and Emily at each age and jars of candy!!

In my last blog post you saw just how epic Emily and Bill's engagement session was, and that view will be hard to beat. However, golden hour and the sunset at the Barn at Edgewood was a very close second this evening. We snuck out of the reception for a quick 5 minutes of photos at the beginning of golden hour and again at sunset. Emily and Bill chose to make their sunset photos their unofficial "exit" of the evening and then joined their guests for lawn games in the back of the venue. It was really the perfect ending to a perfect wedding day and night.

Wedding Vendors

Photography: Christy McKee Photography

Venue: The Barn at Edgewood

Coordinator: Lauren Dunn

Florist: Faded Poppy

Rings: Emily's rings are both from Adam's Jeweler in Sparta, NC. Bill's ring was designed by Emily and made by Erin Bowe from Etsy

Dress: David's Bridal, alterations by Emily and Rosalin's Bridal in Fairfax, VA

Bridesmaid dresses: Azazie

Suits: JC Penny

Hair: Moxie in Charlottesville, VA

Catering: Hank's Grille and Bar Catering

Invitations: Vista Print Favors: Vista Print and overstock.com

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!!