Jamie & Bert | Caitlin Gerres Photography | Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, VA

On a very hot day in July, Jamie and Bert were married in the Butterfly Garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Their engagement was short, the two knowing Jamie was being transferred out of the area for work, but she had every detail perfectly planned with time to spare. Palette of Petals crafted the biggest, most colorful, and lush bouquet! It's definitely a top 5 on my Favorite Bouquet list!

I grew up with Bert's sister, Lauren, however, that is not how Jamie and I came to know each other. She reached out to me by way of the NBG Preferred Vendors List and we made the connection during our first conversation. It was such a joy to see Bert's family again and see him so happy with Jamie.

Enjoy these beautiful photos from Caitlin Gerres Photography. Full vendor list below.

Coordination: Sterling Dawn Events
Venue: Norfolk Botanical Garden
Bridal Gown: David's Bridal 
Beauty: Beauty by Sharra 
Catering: Creative Catering Virginia 
Cake: Gourmet Bake Shoppe 
Florals: Palette of Petals 
Groom's Attire: Jim's Formal Wear 
Officiant: Danny McLamb
Lighting & Linens: Classy Covers 
Music: Brandon Bower Band 
Photography: Caitlin Gerres Photography 
Stationary: David's Bridal

Cassi & Mike | Wild and Wonderful Photography | Big Spring Farm, Lexington, VA

The fluffiest dress, a DREAM venue, perfect summer sunlight, and the happiest couple sums up Cassi and Mike's wedding day at Big Spring Farm. Hailing from West Virginia, the two met in a college class and the rest is history, as they say. Cassi was the most gracious bride, thanking her vendors repeatedly throughout the day. The way Mike looked at her as she walked down the aisle to him - ah! Pure bliss! 

Doing a wedding at Big Spring Farm is a rite of passage for any wedding professional in the state of Virginia. Since the beginning of my business in 2014, I have wanted to work there. It was the BEST day and completely lived up to the hype. Add in a beautiful couple, talented team of vendors, and fantastic weather, the day can't be beat.

Enjoy these wonderful photos from Megan of Wild and Wonderful Photography. Full vendor list below.

Photography: Wild and Wonderful Photography
Coordination: Sterling Dawn Events
Floral Design: Courtney Inghram Floral Design
Cake: Sweet Treats Bakery
Caterer: Southern Inn Catering
DJ: Bela Sono
Venue: Big Spring Farm

Jiney & Stephen | Caitlin Gerres Photography | Historic Post Office, Hampton, VA

Jiney and Stephen were a dream come true! They were so sweet, organized, creative, and cared SO MUCH about their guests. Their magical wedding day took place at The Historic Post Office in Hampton, VA. I was thrilled to work at this new venue, but even more thrilled to work with a couple who would move mountains to make sure their guests had a good time. Not to mention, they love Harry Potter just as much as I do! 

I wouldn't call this a strictly Harry Potter wedding, but small nods to the famous series were just enough to make me smile throughout the day. Jiney is Korean, so she also included a few important details as a way to honor her culture. After the ceremony, she changed from her lacy Allure gown to a stunning, traditional Korean hanbok. Some other highlights include a nitro ice cream bar, with frozen butterbeer (!!), a smoke exit, and the most beautiful twinkle lights. 

This was such an enjoyable day for all and I won't soon forget it! Thank you, Caitlin Gerres Photography for capturing the day! Full vendor list below.

Coordination & Floral Design: Sterling Dawn
Venue: The Historic Post Office
Bridal Gown: Allure from Studio I Do Bridals 
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka 
Cake: Candie’s Treats Bakery 
Ice Cream: Sub Zero Ice Cream 
Catering: Montero’s Restaurant 
DJ: Surf and Sound Events 
Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom 
Hair: Beauty by Sharra 
Makeup: Dhalia Edwards 
Officiant: Pastor Baek
Lighting: Stage Right Lighting 
Rentals: Waterford Event Rentals 
Vintage Rentals: Mad Hatter Vintage 
Photo Booth: Snapqube 
Stationary: Minted

It Is Well | Personal

It has been two and a half months since I held my little girl. Many people have asked how I am doing or how I'm able to get through this. The honest answer: Jesus. I don't want to tell you these things because I want you to say "how strong I am" because I'm not that strong. When you go through something like this, there are a few options. You can either a) be sad about, b) be real messed up, c) do the best you can to be okay with being alive, or d) a combination of the three depending on the day/hour/minute.

There's an old hymn, which most of you probably know, but in case you don't, it goes like this...

"When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul"

Written by a guy from the 1880s, named Horatio Spafford, whose life basically blew up in his face, it (obviously) has taken on new meaning to me. Guys, it is really difficult to say (and believe) those words. Not a day goes by that I don't have at least a brief moment of being angry. It's not okay that June is gone. It just isn't. I used to sing this song in church and I would feel a real connection to it because I thought about the man who wrote it. Five of his kids died. He lost all his money. His life was in ruin. Yet, his faith was strong enough to pen one of the most poignant songs in modern history of the Christian church. I never thought my faith would be tested in that way. It could never happen to me. Don't we always think that?

Is my faith that strong? Now that I've lost everything that truly mattered, will my legacy leave an impact like Horatio's?

Recently, I was sharing a bit of June's life with a complete stranger. She broke down crying and remarked how much June's story had touched her. This woman never met my daughter, but was deeply moved beyond what I could ever imagine.

My beautiful daughter, through her life and death, has the ability to touch complete strangers. She only lived a year, yet I truly believe she is accomplishing more with her time than I ever will, even if I live to be 100. My prayer is that our testimony of June will bring others to know the Lord. Clinging to that is what makes it a little easier to get up every day. Holding onto the promise that we will have a life of suffering, but eternal glory, makes it well with my soul.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 Tiny little newborn wrinkled hands. Be still my heart! Photo:  Jamey Brown

Tiny little newborn wrinkled hands. Be still my heart! Photo: Jamey Brown

Summer Shoot-A-Thon Workshop | Angie McPherson Photography & Crystal Belcher Photography | Bay Tree Manor, Seaford, VA

On a hot June day, I joined photographers Angie McPherson and Crystal Belcher for their Summer Shoot-A-Thon. Nestled in quaint Seaford, VA, Bay Tree Manor Inn was the perfect setting for a romantic, summer inspiration shoot. 

I was excited to design the floral elements, which included TWO bouquets! Much to my dismay, the coral charm peonies I ordered fell apart as soon as I unwrapped them. Instead of letting that thwart my plans and color scheme, I picked a few knockout roses from my garden and got that bright pop of color I really wanted. Those little flowers saved the day!

Because the Shoot-A-Thon was a workshop with 12 photographers, we had two brides, two grooms, a cake table, and a set dinner table. I love the bright and muted colors mixed together. It reminds me of a warm summer sunset. See our full list of vendors below.

Venue: Bay Tree Manor
Coordination & Florals: Sterling Dawn Events 
Makeup: Beauty by Sharra 
Hair: Flawless on Site 
Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals 
Cake: Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts 
Stationery: Ro & Co Designs 
Videographer: TJ Davidson Films 
Shoot-A-Thon Hosts: Angie McPherson Photography & Crystal Belcher Photography