In May of 2016 I shot my first destination wedding in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Planning to go out of the country for the first time in my life, with pretty much all of the photography equipment I own, was tough to say the least. I packed all my favorite clothes, and a Pelican case with both of my camera bodies and all of my lenses.
The flight was fairly short, getting into the country was easy (although I was asked, basically everywhere, if my very durable, serious-looking Pelican case contained a weapon), and soon enough we had arrived at our hotel. The surroundings at the Zoetry Agua resort are straight out of a painting- I mean GORGEOUS.
Bria and Chad and all of the guests are friends of mine so this was the perfect setting for my first ever out of the country destination wedding. This place was a photographer's dream. It seemed like I was always taking photos with either my camera or my phone. Since we arrived days before the wedding, we were able to relax and have fun; we were also able to shoot some engagement-style photos on the beach, followed by family photos.
On the day of the wedding, I boarded a bus with Bria, the bridesmaids, moms, and aunts to travel to the venue. Once we arrived, the girls started to get ready and I went to check out the surroundings and figure out where the best spots to shoot might be. The Palms Villa is an absolutely beautiful venue - and Val, the wedding coordinator, transformed it into an even more beautiful space. The wedding day went smoothly and the dancing and partying continued until the wee hours of the morning. The next day, as a "thank you," we were all taken on a party boat complete with a DJ, drinks, a dance floor, food, and swimming. These 7 days were so amazing I can barely think of the words. So, since I'm obviously a visual person, I will SHOW you.
The photos and memories made this week in May of 2016 will always hold a special place in my heart. I can't thank Bria & Chad enough for choosing me to go along and capture their memories. Here are a few of my favorites:
A few from our mini shoot on the beach
I love black and white beach photos!!
The guys had a little jam session- complete with "Country Roads"
A candid photo of Chad reading his card from Bria- her wedding gift to him was a trip to Ireland!
Bria opening her gift from Chad... A puppy!
One of the hardest working wedding coordinators I've ever worked with- Val!
And now for some unprofessional photos that also capture the vibe of the week...
There was a momma dog and a bunch of her little puppies who lived on the beach near our resort. I always ordered more food than I could eat so I could save it and go feed them.
It took me a few months shy of a year to write this blog because this trip meant a lot to me and my friends, and I wanted to write it when I had some down time. Man, we sure made some great memories celebrating Chad and Bria. Cheers to the Mr.& Mrs. and thanks everyone for the memories!
What started as an engagement shoot in Louisville, KY turned into one of the most seat-of-your-pants girls trips through our beautiful state of West Virginia. I had blocked out a weekend during busy season to travel to Louisville with a friend to shoot a great couple's engagement photos. There were massive rain storms predicted to hit Louisville, so we had to reschedule. Since I already planned on having a few days off, 3 great friends and I decided to hop in the truck and take off. No plan. No hotel reservations. Just hitting the 'ol dusty trail to find some adventures (and a crapload of giggles).
It is amazing how freeing and fun this trip was. We just wandered. Also, Ashleigh thought we'd kick it old school and use an actual map. I was all for it! But no. Just no.
I took my old camera (because everyone knows how overprotective I am about my newer baby), and tried to capture some of the beauty. I know my soul needs a trip like this one way more often than once per year and I am beyond thankful I got to experience it with my beautiful friends.
Ashleigh with the map that lasted 1 minute. Nope.
My beautiful and thoughtful mother made us all treat bags for our road trip with our names stamped on them. She has done this kind of thing for almost every trip I've ever taken.
"Our Lady of the Pines" tiny church. It is REALLY tiny. Seats 12.
Some people with Ashleigh's last name visited this same little church close to the time we were there. So cool!
Tiny post office!! ....Find Bria!
Here is the cutest, quaintest, place we ended up staying the first night.
Not pictured: Our Fun European man friend randomly visiting West Virginia, AWESOME band that was scheduled to play the next night at the Purple Fiddle, next door, that played on our porch for HOURS into the night -jam style. Ask Danielle if you want to hear them. She bought every album they ever made, and maybe even a t-shirt.
Dark Snap chat photo.
I'm sure in its prime or during a certain time of year, the Cranberry Glades are beautiful. The time of year we were here, we felt like it was somewhere bad people hide bodies. Desolate, grown over, and creepily quiet.
The path to the New River Gorge Bridge overlook was having maintenance done. We were pretty bummed. Ashleigh and Bria went over and asked the maintenance man where we should go to get good views and he sent us down a steep, narrow, winding road to the most beautiful spot. We stopped along the road and got some great views too.
Sent this quick photo home to let Bryan know his truck was still in one piece.
Now I'm not sure if this is a regular thing at the little beach we ended up exploring, but it felt special. There were thousands of butterflies hanging out on a very small amount of shoreline. It brought us so much joy. Bria was the butterfly tamer.
This photo is the result of Ashleigh trying to either pick one up or get a perfect photo of the butterflies.
I asked the girls to send me some of their favorite photos that they took during our trip....
A few of Danielle's favorite photos from her phone:
Here are a few of Bria's favorites from her phone:
A few of Ashleigh's favorites from her phone:
After playing with the butterflies at the foot of the New River Gorge bridge, we packed in the truck and headed home. I love you girls. I can't wait until the next adventure!
No matter where I roam, there's no greater feeling than being home sweet home.
Lots of love,
Although I shoot a lot of weddings, I will never commit to being a wedding-only photographer because I love photographing families and children way too much. I love capturing love and interactions between families. There is nothing quite like watching families grow year after year. I imagine a reason some photographers who shoot weddings choose not to shoot family/child portraits is that they are so unpredictable. That is actually what I love about these sessions. It is definitely tricky at times, and sometimes we have to get really creative to get a shot, but I like the challenge. Thank you so much to all my clients from 2016- I love each and every one of you and I am so thankful you are in my life!
There are so many favorite photos missing from this blog post, if your photo is not on here it is because I could look through my photos forever and I compiled this rather quickly. Cheers to 2016 and to the excitement of 2017!
Lots of Love,
West Virginia Wedding, Family, & Lifestyle photographer