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Lesli + Neil | Carytown Engagement Session

Lesli and Neil met over five years ago while both working together at Kohl’s. I might have squealed or made a crazy sounding noise when I heard that because John and I met the same way…while working together at a department store! Lesli immediately liked Neil, but was shy and didn’t tell him. Eventually he found out she had been looking at his myspace page, and to her excitement, he sent her a friend request! And the rest, as they say, is history:)  John and I met up with Lesli and Neil at Maymont Park this past Saturday. The skies were overcast, but luckily the rain held off until after we finished!

Neil arranged to surprise Lesli with having their names out on the marquee at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown. It was so fun to capture her reaction as she realized what it said!

Lesli you are so pretty!!

Lesli and Neil….can’t wait for your wedding in June!!!

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That’s so sweet! Hooray for awesome Richmond sessions 🙂

Lesli

We had an awesome time with you and John!! Thank you so much for this gift that will last us a lifetime! You are truly amazing 🙂

This session is so cute! I really love love love the sign – that’s absolutely AMAZING! Gorgeous work Katie!

Great shoot Katie! Love the location and the way you got the colors to pop!

these are GORGEOUS! i used to live in byrd park so i LOVE LOVE LOVE that area. and the surprise is SO SO cool! how awesome is that?!!!?!

Katie, I love these!! And Neil… the idea for the sign was amazing!! Can’t wait to see wedding pictures this summer 🙂

Kathryn

Great pictures and awesome couple.

Lovely and inspirational!

Tina | Headshots

Meet my friend Tina!! She is the designer and mastermind behind Tabibi Design, a graphic design business.  I “met” Tina online a few months back. Though I can’t really remember if it was through Twitter, Facebook, or a blog,  I do remember I was almost  immediately ready to be bffs with Tina because of her friendly personality and her easy going sense of humor. We have been email/twitter buddies for a while now, so it was so exciting to finally meet her in person this weekend! I was also able to snap a few headshots of her while she was in town!

Love those red shoes!! Also, if you are ever looking for custom design work or paper products, Tina is THE girl to call! She designed my most recent business cards and I have gotten so many compliments on her beautiful work!  She also does BEAUTIFUL wedding invitations, so if you haven’t decided on those, check out Tina’s work!

Follow Tina!
Website
Twitter
Facebook

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Thanks for the blog spot girlfriend. Seriously had a blast with you. I’m very fortunate to have met such great talent and a fun gal pal via social media. You are A-W-E-S-O-M-E! p.s. Thanks for making a lady look good 🙂

umm… ADORABLE. love these 😉

she is GORGEOUS and i seriously love her outfit. GREAT headshots!!

Acasha

These are too cute!!

Linda

You really take beautiful pictures.My daughter really look gorgeous if I may say so!! 🙂

Confessions of a former bride | part seven

I was trying to come up with ideas for today’s post and failing. Failing miserably. I tried to type out some ideas, but nothing came out so I started reading articles about Jessica Simpson’s baby weight. (Sidenote: did you know home girl has been eating pop tarts smothered in BUTTER??? I love junk food like you wouldn’t believe…but I can’t see myself going THAT far). Somewhere during my procrastination I found my inspiration! ROADBLOCKS. As in hitting a wall during wedding planning?? Still with me?

I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I think it’s very easy to hit a wall or burn yourself out with wedding planning. I know I did. There came a point where I was so over wedding planning and logistics that I just wanted our wedding to be OVER with so I could relax. I was no longer motivated to work on wedding projects and even the smallest wedding task made me cranky. I didn’t want to look at a timeline, seating chart, or glue stick. I wanted chocolate, lots of chocolate. Oh and a nap. Because I don’t want you to end up in the fetal position with an episode of Jersey Shore blaring in the background, here are some things I recommend to avoid BB (bridal burnout).

Hire a planner
Hiring someone else to carry the weight of the important things is a really awesome way to cut out some of the wedding planning stress. Most brides are not professional wedding planners and can get pretty overwhelmed by some of the logistical aspects of planning a wedding day. I hired our coordinator for day of assistance and used her as a sounding board for some of my ideas before the big day, but it would have been SUCH a stress relief if I had hired her to plan and coordinate the entire thing. I could have worked on my projects and enjoyed the fun stuff like food tastings and dress shopping and avoided some more of the things I didn’t enjoy like timelines or deciding what length the linen rentals needed to be.

Take time outs
Like with anything else  you do, total immersion in wedding planning can lead to quickly burning out. To avoid that, it’s really important to take a time out from planning every now and then. Take an afternoon to read trashy gossip magazines instead of worrying about centerpieces. Or  go out on a date night with your Fiancé and talk about everything BUT wedding planning for a night. Feeling like you still have a life outside of planning is important if you want to keep balance.

Get a good night’s sleep
This is one of those really basic tips that it’s so easy to overlook! I can’t tell you how much better I’d feel about everything if I stopped whatever I was working on and just went to bed at a normal time. If you are constantly up late working on wedding projects at the last minute,  you are probably going to hate life, at least the next morning when your alarm goes off!

Ask for (and accept) help
I think the main reason I got so burned out on wedding stuff was because I didn’t ask for help. And when I DID ask, I sought help or advice from some truly unreliable friends I had surrounded myself with. Spoiler: that didn’t work out. If I could go back in time I would ask for help from people I trusted and then actually ACCEPT the help of people who offered it to me. Sometimes I think accepting help is even harder than asking for it, even though you’d think it would be the opposite!

Keep in mind that at the end of the day, the real reason you are doing all of this is to marry the love of your life! Your wedding might not be perfect, and things may go wrong, but no matter what it will be an incredible day that you will never forget. Don’t let burnout or stress make you forget the real meaning behind your day!

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SUCH good advice. i did everything myself, too, for our wedding and i was SOOOO tired by the end. but it was ALL worth it! 🙂 🙂

Sound advice! I remember being stressed this summer as we (I) searched for our vendors. I kept having these awful dreams! Then I had a serious moment where I realized, “hey crazy, it’s going to be a-okay! Actually it’s going to be great! Stop WORRYING!” and then I’ve never been stressed since 🙂

National sibling day

So…I had no idea that yesterday was National Sibling Day til Wednesday’s blog post was already up. So forgive me for posting this late, but I couldn’t let the opportunity to post this go by! I LOVE sharing this very personal story and think it’s perfect to share in honor of National Sibling Day.

My sister and I are close in age (about 20 months apart, me being the older) so we were very close growing up. Since our family moved a lot, the four of us were a tight knit group and my sister and I basically did everything together. Yeah, might have been bickering, tattling, (cough, not me, cough), and of course, fights (and in some cases even hair pulling and bleeding!), but we always shared a close relationship and a special bond I feel like only sisters can really share. We ate our meals together, watched tv together, did homework side by side,  and spent a lot of time playing “babies”. Our “babies” were a group of six stuffed animals and dolls…I had three “kids” named Monkey, Emily, and Amy and my sister had Tiger, Buttercup, and Sarah. Oh you don’t think it gets weirder than that? HAHA. Our other imaginary “mom friends” were all characters from Xmen. Yes, you read that right. Don’t judge!

Eventually we grew out of boy bands, “babies” and weekends spent watching cartoons and we traded in our Barbie dolls for driving around in my sister’s little white truck. We still pretty much did everything together and though back then it was kind of something we almost did by default, those days are some of my favorite memories. My sister was always there for me. And though sometimes I wasn’t as grateful for her as I should have been, I did my best to be there for her too. In those times, growing up, I needed her. And she needed me.

Photos from left to right, top to bottom: Christmas 1989, Chattanooga, TN sometime in the 90s, King’s Island Mason, OH,  my sister’s birthday, 1992.

A few years later I had moved out of our parents home and gotten engaged. When I started thinking about my bridal party there was no question in my mind about who my maid of honor would be. It would be my sister. Duh. After the world’s longest engagement, the year of the wedding finally rolled around and I got some news that at first I didn’t know how to deal with…My sister had decided to join the Army. I was so proud of her, but it was hard to not think about the fact that her basic training was going to end a week before the wedding meaning she would be 1,600 miles away at AIT and not able to fly home. I took it hard. I took her leaving hard. I’m HORRIBLE at goodbyes, even if they’re only for a little while. I chalk it up to abandonment issues, but for whatever reason, I was legitimately depressed when she left. I wrote letters every day…even a letter from the cat because I couldn’t bear for there to be a day where the mail came and she was the only soldier who didn’t get a letter.

Over that last few months of my engagement and her boot camp a lot of things went through my mind, including whether or not her not being there was a sign that I shouldn’t be getting married. I say I don’t really believe in signs, but I do believe that things usually work out the way they are supposed to. I couldn’t figure out why things were supposed to work out to where one of the only people I truly trust wasn’t going to be able to be at my wedding. I was young. Only 23 at the time and sure in my heart that if it was meant to be, my sister should be there.

Boot camp graduation was the week before the wedding. I went with my family to South Carolina. I cried a lot. I was so happy to see my sister, and so proud I couldn’t really even begin to describe it. But I was also incredibly sad that I was going to have to say goodbye again and not see her next week on what was the biggest day yet of my 23 years. I also really struggled with the idea that my little sister who I always want to protect would be using guns and could go to a war. She is so strong and fearless and brave and I felt so weak and sad. This is still something that I think I struggle with. That I can’t really protect her. To be honest, I’m not sure if I ever really did. I know I’m older, but for a lot of our lives it’s like she’s been taking care of me.

The next week (the week of the WEDDING!!) I was actually too busy to spend much too time dwelling on it. That was a good thing. And I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that things were the way they were and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Maybe I was in denial though, because two days before the wedding it started hitting me hard. We were arranging flowers and she called to ask how things were going and I finally realized if she was coming, she would be leaving now. So that was it. She wasn’t going to be there.  I cried at least twice the day of the rehearsal. We were getting our nails done and I got a little weepy. And then I was sitting there at lunch with my friends and thinking how much fun she would be having if she had been able to be there. And I cried then too. I was probably the saddest bride anyone had ever seen! Poor John.

The worst was actually AT our rehearsal. Our officiant wasn’t aware of the situation and as we were rehearsing, she kept asking me where the maid of honor was. I heard myself say “She’s not here” for like the millionth time before I totally started bawling. Like Kim Kardashian ugly crying. It was gross. Again, poor John! His fiance was flat out sobbing at his wedding rehearsal…and not happy tears! I was so happy to be marrying him, but I couldn’t  stop feeling sad. I know that is not rational, but I wasn’t thinking like a normal person. My sister not being there for this important day really made me feel like something was missing. My sister is not just my sister. She is not just a family member or a friend.  She’s a part of me. Sometimes I question things in life, like how I got to be here, was I meant to be adopted, etc…but somewhere within me I know that my sister and I were meant to be sisters.

I don’t really remember the rest of our rehearsal. I do remember my friends riding with me to the rehearsal dinner and talking A LOT. Probably to get my mind off of my outburst at the rehearsal. And to cheer me up.  We got to the restaurant and they bought me a Blue Moon (my favorite) to cheer me up and I started to act like a normal person again. After that, things started happening so fast. My dad came over and told me my sister had called to talk to me. He said he’d let me take the phone outside, probably figuring I wouldn’t want to cry again in front of everyone and embarrass myself. HAHA.

When I got outside, I put the phone to my ear and said “Hello, hello?”. Assuming the call was lost, I just handed my dad his phone and said I guess she’d call back later. I was disappointed, but I knew she didn’t really have that much time to talk on the phone anyway. Before I could even complete my thought, I heard my dad saying well that’s because she’s here! And my sister literally RAN OUT FROM BEHIND A CORNER and hugged me for what was both the longest and shortest time ever. It was seriously the happiest moment of my life. The relief  I felt was huge. I don’t know how to explain how much this meant to me except to tell you that I couldn’t even write this paragraph without tearing up like a baby. (Can you tell I cry a lot???)

Later I came to find out exactly how hard my family worked to get her home. They were working on it all week and no one even whispered the possibility out loud to me because they didn’t want me to find out and then have their plan fall through. Imagine the double devastation! My dad called my sister’s captain and somehow the person who first said no was on vacation and the other person said yes. They pooled their money to pay for the last minute (I’m talking I’m-at-the-airport-now last minute) plane ticket and got her home just in time. The night before the wedding we slept in her old room in my parents house and though it didn’t feel like when we were kids, it felt just right. Instead of serving her Maid of Honor duties (she didn’t have a dress), she read a poem at the ceremony instead. We all cried. Are you noticing a trend? HAHA.

People ask me if my tattoo is for my husband, which is the logical assumption since the ee cummings’ poem was read at our wedding ceremony. The answer is yes and no. Because I also meant it to be for my sister, who is such a part of me that I carry her with me no matter where I go.

Wedding photos by the fab Jodi and Kurt of Jodi Miller of Photography. All others are personal photos.

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Aw Katie, that is such an AWESOME story!! You had me tearing up. 🙂 my brother (18 months younger) finished Army training 1 week before my wedding too! I knew there was always the chance the army would change their mind on his time off (it’s the army, it’s what they do!) so seeing him walk into our rehearsal was amazing. 🙂 he was deployed for my sister’s wedding a year later, but surprised her by skyping in. Sounds like you have an AMAZING family and I’m so glad your sister was there for your wedding!!

Lesli

This made me cry!! I am a twin sister so I could relate to this through every sentence! Your bond with your sister sounds just like mine with my sister. I enjoyed reading your story so much! I always say that I’m going to tear up when walking down the aisle (yes for Neil) but for some reason more for Jessica, my sister. I don’t really know how to explain that but after reading this, I think you’ll understand!

Katie Nesbitt

Aw!!! I totally understand what you mean!!

Katie Nesbitt

Aw! I’m so glad your brother made it home for your wedding!! And that is so awesome he surprised your sister at hers!!

It’s too early for tears but thanks for making my eyes water this morning. Such a great story. Thanks for sharing something so personal. I’m the oldest of three girls so I can relate to the babies, barbies, imaginary husbands and the lovely fights but it’s all worth it to have siblings. It’s really great to get a look into your amazing family : )

What an awesome story. Well done for being so brave to tell it!

Ashley Barnett

Awww Katie I love this!! I am an only child and stories like this really make me wish sometimes I had had a sibling 🙂

love this post 🙂 i couldn’t imaging such a special day without my sister and i’m SO GLAD she was able to be there!!!

aw katie! I definitely teared up reading your post!!!! The military can be rough.. Andrew and I were both REALLY upset when we found out his brother is going to be deployed when we have our wedding.. so sad. I’m so happy things were able to work out for you on you wedding day!!!!!!!

omg. you should have warned me that i needed tissues to read this post. BEAUTIFUL. and amaaaazing story. makes me want to call my sister and tell her i love her RIGHT NOW. 🙂

What a beautiful post! Makes me wish I had a sister 🙂

And I love your tattoo!!!!!!

Wow!! I read this this morning and was crying while I was getting ready for work! Such a beautiful story. And I love that your sister was able to surprise you for your wedding!! Makes me think about my God-sister studying abroad in Australia this semester…even though we’re not real sisters, we might as well be, and having her so far away has been very hard. Here’s to sisters and all that they mean to us – near or far! 🙂

Annamarie

oh my gosh…i’ve read this like five times by now and cry every time…i’m SO happy you ended up posting it..such a great and inspirational story with an awesome ending! i love when real life feels too good to be true!!!!! and i totally understand about the worrying..i’m a professional worrier too;)…half of my family lives in germany and sadly, werent able to come to my wedding, but as a wedding gift they gave us tickets to come see them for our one year anniversary!
I’m SO thankful for amazing people like your sister who work so hard so that we can be free!!!!!!!!!

Stephanie + Brad | Yorktown Engagement Session

I have seen a lot of commercials for e-harmony, and I always wondered to myself if it really worked. Well, after meeting Stephanie and Brad and spending some time with them, I know for sure that it does! They could not be a better (or cuter) pair if they tried. John and I spent Saturday afternoon hanging out with these two at Yorktown Beach and got to hear all about their wedding details. I am SO excited about all of the fun things they have planned!!



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Annamarie

SUCH a classy couple..love all of her outfits!! And these are all beautiful:)..you’re amazing!!!

BEAUTIFUL! This session in outstandingly beautiful. Great job!

oh wow. these two are amazing. SOOO beautiful!!!!

LOVE THE BLACK AND WHITE OF HER IN THE POLKA DOT SHIRT. <3

ahhh love love love! such a cute couple.. yay eharmony!

Ellen

All the pictures are beautiful but the black and white pictures with the polka dot shirt are my favorite too. You both look very happy and in love. 🙂