Altavista, VA | The Marden Family

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to photograph this wonderful family of 19 across 3 generations! We drove out to their beautiful farm the weekend before Christmas and spent the afternoon with the family. It was the first time they had all been together in over 2 years, and it was so much fun to be part of their reunion!

These two lovebirds met one Halloween night. She was only 14 and he was 17. They started dating shortly after, and now, just a little while later, they've been married for 39 years and have 7 awesome children. Bob is a project manager for Duley's Electric, and Kathy helps run the local homeschooling co-op. Their love is quiet, and a little silly, and if you're watching carefully you see the way they look at one another and hold each other close. That's how you make a marriage last, guys.


Their eldest child Caleb and his wife Ellie own and operate a horse farm together. When we were planning this session, we weren't sure if we were going to meet their son Chase or not, but we did! He was only 8 days old and such a squishy little chunk. He has the best big brother and sister, 13-year-old Will and 17-year-old Heather. 


Joshua and his bride Holly hadn't been photographed in 11 years... since their wedding day! He's a market development manager for Turface and she's a receptionist at the Roanoke Visitor's Center. They have a sweet son named Thomas, 7. He was the most serious little man in the world, and the only thing that would make him crack that gorgeous smile was his Aunt Caitlin yelling at him and threatening to tickle him from the top of the hill!


Jason and his wife Daniela both work in the school system - he's a school resource officer and she's a school nurse.Together they have Rebecca and Sarah, ages 8 and 6. They're 2 years apart, but they acted more like twins, at first not even wanting to rub elbows with each other but then by the time we were done, they were making goofy faces and attack-hugging each other!


Laura met Zachary on e-Harmony and they've been happily married almost 3 years (and this was their first time in front of the camera together since then, too!). He serves in the Army Mechanized Infantry, while she has volunteered twice with Mercy Ships in Sierra Leone and Madagascar. When she's not overseas, she is a sterile processing tech in hospitals.


Caitlin is the younger daughter, very single and ready to mingle! (She may kill us for saying that.) She has worked with us at the restaurant for over a year and is always a joy to be around, plus our daughter Hadassah loves her. She is a talented singer, leader, and mentor in her church as well.


Jon met Hannah at their homeschooling co-op. She didn't like him at first; boys weren't even on her radar yet. But Jon wouldn't accept the friend zone and when he eventually asked her out, she said yes. Jon is an Eagle Scout and is considering joining the Army to pursue special ops.


Benjamin is the baaaaby of the family at 17 years old. He is a Boy Scout and according to his sister Caitlin, he's looking to settle down with a nice girl soon! 


2015 was a difficult year for this family. Grandpa Marden recently passed on, and we had the chance to see a couple of his portraits from World War II while we were at the farm. On the left, he's standing on the tail of a Nazi fighter plane on an airstrip they had just taken. On the right, he's pictured with his platoon. They would follow the tanks on foot from town to town; after the tanks took down any defenses, they would move on while the infantry would clear the rest of the town and then catch up with the tanks. His mother was very upset when he sent these photos back to the states - he lost over 50lb while he was in Europe.

But he made it home, and lived a long and happy life, and was even so blessed to see great-grandchildren be born and grow into amazing people. Best of all, his family has a legacy of faith and righteousness that continues to multiply with every generation. It warmed our souls, like the hot apple cider that Mrs. Marden gave us on that cold December afternoon. <3

Jonathan & HannahComment