AJ & Emma's Private Garden Wedding, Pt. II: Ceremony & Reception | Virginia Wedding Photographers in Evington, VA

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The garden was ready, the anticipation in the house was thick, and even the koi pond seemed unusually busy. The canopy of gorgeous trees shielded us from the hot afternoon sun. The anticipation grew stronger as the bridal party made their way down the path, followed by the flower girls and ring-bearer - who almost totally stole the show.

Emma & AJ stood confidently before each other. It's no secret that they're both strong-willed people. It's a difficult thing to mutually surrender, but it's the mark of real strength. Rather than just Emma's father giving her away, they had her whole family stand and accept AJ as their son; and then AJ's family stood and accepted Emma as their daughter. Their families were already close, and for them all to stand and make this public commitment was beautiful. Even their officiant said, "It's rare to see a couple not only so devoted to each other, but to their families as well.

Immediately following the ceremony, AJ and Emma dug up a bottle of bourbon that was buried under the trees. There's an old southern tradition that says if you bury a bottle of bourbon upside down, it won't rain on your wedding day! And it didn't! So they cracked open the bottle and all the bridal party, the parents and even grandparents shared a drink before signing the marriage certificate and running down the hill for the reception.

The ran under the tent and straight into their first dance as husband and wife. She danced with her dad, and there was no hiding how proud he was; he danced with his mom, and there was no hiding how joyful and hilarious she was! The dance floor opened and the aunts, uncles, and grandparents came out for some classic songs before dinner was served. Emma's mother and aunt had a massive grill and they knocked it out of the park with all the incredible homemade food! The bar was built out of whiskey barrels and a countertop that Emma's dad handmade out of lumber sourced from a historic local factory! And that countertop was the site of much joy on this night, as the dancing and festivities went well into the night after we left.

But first, we needed to steal some time with them. Their beautiful first portraits as husband and wife, coming next.

Their Creative Team

Wedding Coordinator: Hannah Shotwell
Videographer: Grant Rettig Photography
Florist: Airabella's
DJ: B PSI Entertainment - Brandon Cyrus
Cake Artist: Kissed Cupcakes
Hair & Makeup: Julia Guca
Custom Calligraphy Signs: Timbered Touch 
Wedding Dress: Stella York
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal 
Groom's Attire: Men’s Warehouse