A Rustic, Church Wedding with Sunflowers + Succulents | Virginia Beach, VA
If I had to describe this wedding in one word it would be JOYFUL. (This is an emotion that I actually strive to capture in my photographs, and wow, was it easy to do that with these!) As long as I’ve known Rachel - and I’ve known her since middle school! - she has exuded joy in her daily life. She’s the type of person that you really WANT to spend time with, and the time that you do get to spend with her is never enough! Being around her always seems to fill up a part of you that you didn’t know was empty. I didn’t think it was possible, but on this day her joy was unmatched. Nothing I’ve seen before has ever even come close! She was giggly and nervous and thankful and (you guessed it!) soo exorbitantly joyful that Josh was finally going to be her husband!!
Rachel and Josh’s wedding day was even more special than most, because every single vendor that came together to make this happen was a friend of theirs. I’m not kidding - every. single. one. See for yourself! At the bottom of this post is a list of people who were involved and their relationship to the couple - it's amazing! As Rachel was getting her makeup done (by one of her bridesmaids), she told me how blessed she felt that she was spending the day surrounded by people that she loved. There were no strangers at her and Josh’s wedding. Every person was a friend - friends who I know feel so blessed to have these two in their lives (myself included!). What made this day even more special for me is that the groom, Josh, is a lifelong friend of mine as well! His mom and my mom are best friends and we grew up together. Being able to serve two people who are both so dear to me is the kind of thing that makes me overflow with happiness!
One of my favorite moments of the day was right after the first look when I took Rachel across the yard from Josh. Our goal was to take some bridal portraits and up close shots of her beautiful sunflower and succulent bouquet. I had her smile at me, look down at the flowers, and then I asked her to look over at Josh. When she looked his way, she immediately started to giggle and smile. As I was taking pictures, she starts calling out to him “I love you! I love you! I love you! I’m so excited to marry you!” THIS is why I love wedding photography. The type of joy that these two have in life, in each other and in their shared faith in God is rare and should be treasured! You'll see what I'm talking about in the pictures below!
The most perfect boutonnieres I have ever seen!
Her first "friendor" of the day - one of her bridesmaids did her makeup!
Just look at her!!! If that isn't joy, I don't know what is!!
I loved watching Mandy's face throughout the day - she's Rachel's older sister and matron of honor and you could tell how proud she was of her little sister!
Here's some more of that laughing, squealing joy I was talking about earlier!!! I can't get enough of it!
A text from Josh - he's here!!!!!
So. Sweet...Josh's watch didn't work, so he had set it for 2:00 - the time of the wedding!!
It was time for Rachel to see her groom and every eye in the place watered up! (Mine was a mixture of tears and sweat that dragged eyeliner into my eyes and made them burn causing more tears, though, so I declare myself the weepiest winner)
The way Josh looks at her is EVERYTHING.
Do you see the peeping bridesmaids in the windows? I love it!!!
Ok, this melts my heart...
No posing necessary! These two were so sweet together!!
Nothing says JOY like sunflowers!! The most fitting bouquet for the most joyful bride!
When I told Josh to whisper something that he loved about Rachel in her ear, he went on for a full minute. I told them that I'd never had a groom keep whispering for that long, and Josh looked at me a little confused as he said "...But that was easy. I can keep going!" - ahh my heart!
I gotta give it to Josh - he's looking pretty joyful here himself!!! ;)
Swoon!!!! Can I have one of those bouquets in my kitchen please??
The heat index was 109 degrees, and these two STILL looked perfect for their pictures! How does that even happen? By the time we were ready to head to the church, I looked like I had jumped in a swimming pool (as one of my friends, a bridesmaid, so sweetly pointed out).
Rachel's aunt and two cousins played music as she walked down the aisle.
Rachel's grandfather married them! He's the former pastor of this church and has gotten to marry multiple grandchildren here.
Joy, joy, JOY!!
This might just be the happiest cake in the world.
I seriously adore the way that they look at each other!!!
Rachel's grandparents made this beautiful cake themselves!
You can't look at this and not be happy! Bubbles are one of the happiest things in the world!!!
Rachel and Josh, I wish you two an abundance of joy in your marriage. I'm prettttty sure you've already got it covered, but just in case!!! ;)
A big thank you to my second shooter, Jonathan Jacob! (ps. he's a friend of Josh's too!!)
Hi, I'm Courtney! I'm a wedding and lifestyle photographer living in Virginia and Hawaii. Grab a cup of tea and spend a few minutes with me!