DESTINATION

Best Engagement Session Locations in RVA

Richmond, Virginia is one of my favorite East Coast cities.

A true gem in the heart of the Old Dominion.

The city reminds me SO much of Austin, Texas... and vibrates with funky murals, culture, tattoo parlors, great food, live music and an overall laid-back atmosphere. It is the perfect escape from the hustle of Washington, DC and all points North. 

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When Sarah & Elliott decided on their current hometown for their engagement portraits, I jumped on the opportunity to travel down to RVA for their session. As a DC and Destination Photographer, I love exploring not only new locations... but also locations that are known by locals and definitely "off the beaten path". 

These two adventurous, cat-adoring lovebirds + kitty parents rocked their portrait session and showed me the best of what Richmond has to offer. Not to mention: Elliott hates cilantro and Sarah could live off peanut butter. 

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Here are some of my favorite locations for an engagement session in the River City!

Pipeline Overlook Footbridge

From Sarah: "We went to this new footbridge they put up over the James, because it was a beautiful day. I was getting hangry so I thought we should get some dinner. I started walking back, and turned around because Elliot wasn't next to me. He was down on one knee with the sunset behind him."

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This new footbridge is the ultimate concrete nature walk and goes through the James River Park. This walk is NOT for the faint of heart and is a beautiful way to capture your couple surrounded by the power of the rapids, flowing from the James River.  Don't forget to inhale and exhale as the water sweeps below you. The Pipeline Walkway can be accessed from either Brown's Island or down a ladder from 14th Street. More details HERE

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Canal Walk Murals

As one Yelper so aptly state, "It doesn't get more Richmond than this!" Industrial brick and steel beams frame the many colorful murals in this walk. For this photo shoot, we focused on a few of the murals closer to the river and even used a rustic Richmond sign with its coordinates on it, to celebrate Sarah & Elliott's love for their favorite city and current (possibly forever) hometown!

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I mean... it doesn't get any better than this! No wonder these two VCU graduates love this city and are staying here for LIFE!

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Pedestrian Bridge to Brown's Island

T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge is an amazing spot to soak up the sunset after a fun-filled day in the city. There are even benches you can sit on to take in the views and plenty of opportunities for people-watching. All of us were elated with the epic sunset that we witnessed at the very end of the engagement session. It made us fall in love with RVA all over again! 

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I hope you enjoyed this blog post, featuring my favorite engagement session locations in Richmond and also the ever awesome Sarah & Elliott! Two weeks from now, they will be official "Mrs. and Mr." and I can't wait to document their April 29th, 2018 WEDDING! 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Wedding | Austin Texas Destination Wedding Photographer | Jadzia and Mike

Destination Wedding in Austin, Texas

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Wedding Highlights 

It's been almost three months since Jadzia & Mike said "I Do" on that warm September evening in front of Cecil's Arch at the gorgeous Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. This destination wedding was over a year in the making; every last detail showcased perfection and artistry at it's finest, not to mention an amazing team of vendors who went above and beyond to create joy on the happiest day of their lives. 

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I'm SO very grateful to have been a part of Jadzia & Mike's special day since that stormy July evening in 2016, when Mike (and their black lab Gunner - via the Orlando Sentinel) proposed to Jadzia in front of the Newseum in DC. I connected with their beautiful story of love for each other, celebrating life as a journey rather than a destination and above all... their vibrant personalities. Throughout their engagement session, I secretly wished that I could also photograph their wedding and on September 30th, 2017 it finally happened!

Jadzia and Mike have such a big heart for both their families and communities. Less than a month before the big day, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated both of their hometowns. In lieu of their wedding registry, Jadzia and Mike encouraged their wedding guests to donate to charitable causes that support hurricane relief. That alone speaks volumes about their character and the legacy they will no doubt show for generations to come.

Best Dog at Wedding in Austin Texas

When it came time to celebrate with family and friends on the day of their wedding, everyone came together to make their wedding the party of a lifetime! Details such as Texan succulents in the bride's bouquet, fruitwood vineyard tables laced with a greenery garland, chiavari chairs and Trusses of hanging candles in glass domes combined natural + earthy tones with a modern aesthetic for the most romantic Southwest wedding. The bride's blush pink dress also complimented the official wedding colors of ivory, mint and slate. Not to mention, Gunner as the "Best Dog" of the wedding! 

Jadzia and Mike's wedding captured both the essence of the famous Austin wildflower center and the vibrant personalities of the couple. The entire evening was magical and a dream come true. It was hard to pick my favorites from their wedding celebration, so I hope you enjoy what I have put together!

Jadzia & Mike: it was truly a honor to work with you both and journey through this adventure, from the night of your proposal into marriage! Thank you for trusting me to capture the best day of your life in such a gorgeous location! I look forward to many more portrait sessions with you in the future, such as anniversary sessions and more close-ups with Gunner!  

For anyone looking for wedding vendors in the Austin Area, I worked with the BEST in the industry and highly recommend them all:

Planner: Something To Celebrate
Venue: Wildflower Center
Officiant: Jill Grothusen
Caterer: Royal Fig 
Florist: Last Petal
Ceremony Music: Musical Discovery 
DJ: Altared Weddings
Live Music (Band): Horizon
Rentals: Marquee 
Lighting: Ilios
Trusses: Floral Philosophies
Hair & Makeup: Pearl Maris
Bridal Hair: Ramon Alonso
Getting Ready Venue: Omni Austin Downtown 
Stationery: The Inviting Pear  // Cake: Simon Lee Bakery 

Bride's Jewerly: Kendra Scott // Groom's Shoes + Cufflinks: J. Hilburn

Tahereh + Dayheem Wedding | Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast, Middleburg, Virginia Photographer

A Rustic, Romantic Baha'i Wedding Celebration 

At the foot of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

Tahereh and Dayheem. They met briefly at a Baha'i youth retreat in North Carolina, but did not reconnect until almost a decade later, where (according to their friends and family) both rekindled "the heart's natural longing for love's tender snuggle…" . These two lovebirds, two bright orbs were joined together in a beautiful marriage celebration in a rustic, romantic and spiritual wedding celebration this spring. Who doesn't love it when stories like this come Full Circle? 

This was our first Baha'i wedding and we enjoyed every minute of this unique wedding ceremony. Since there are no clergy nor churches in the Faith, many traditions that are associated with other Faiths (i.e. wearing a certain color, religious rituals, etc.) don’t apply. In fact, one of the very few requirements of a Baha’i wedding ceremony is that both bride and groom recite the verse, “We will all, verily, abide by the will of God”. 

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T&D's ceremony was a blending of Iranian-American and international cultures, live music from talented family and friends, sung prayers and a bubbles exit... where the newlyweds exuded every ounce of joy and passion while dancing their way out! I could not help but shed a few tears during the ceremony, simply because you would feel the passionate love they have for each other and for every wedding guest who attended that night.

I absolutely adored documenting T&D's celebration, which took place at Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast on the hottest day of the year so far. It was an unusually warm and humid "spring" day, with temperatures reaching the low 90s and the humidity over 80%, but T&D rocked the many family portraits flawlessly. 

My favorite part, however, was capturing T&D's First Look. It didn't matter that it felt hotter than the hottest day in July... the only thing that mattered was each other's presence, holding each other and celebrating the start of their eternal bond. And did I mention how stunning both of their outfits were? (Tahereh in her BHLDN vintage inspired lace wedding dress and Dayheem rocking his cobalt blue Brooks Brothers tux.)

Congratulations, Tahereh and Dayheem! 

I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness. Best of luck on the next adventure in life! And thank you for living out your life's mission of light and love!

Please enjoy some of my favorites from the epic #TDayWedding

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#ProTip: Don’t let your wedding photos sit on your hard drive. Share them! There are many ways that a BRIDE can share her wedding photos! ShootDotEdit shares their favorite platforms, both online and off-line. Check out the link below:

“22 Different Ways for a Bride to Share Her Wedding Photos”

xo

Wedding Vendors:

Venue: Briar Patch B&B, Middleburg, VA

Photography: Laurentina Photography

Makeup: Makeup by Shadi

Hair: Salon Aubrey

Florals & Decor: Kaihan Strain, Shahri Naderi, Parisa Haghighi

Bride's Dress: BHLDN

Groom's Tux: Brook's Brothers

Caterer: Johnny's Kebab

Cake: Salamander Market

Alison & Sam | Sis & Co @ Petaling Jaya | Malaysia Engagement Photography

A Foodie Engagement Photo Session

Sis & Co | Petaling Jaya | Malaysia

As an international destination photographer based in the DC Area, it warms my heart to meet couples from all over the world, document their love stories and also learn about the wedding industry in that particular country.

Last month, I was visiting my sister in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (a suburb of the capital city Kuala Lumpur) and had the opportunity to meet Alison and Sam. They are getting married in just a couple of months... May! We met for brunch at one of their favorite date spots: Sis & Co, a warehouse cafe secretly nested in an industrial area, full of natural light, tantilizing flavors and great energy.

Throughout the photo shoot, I had so much fun getting to know Alison and Sam's humor, quirks and love for Tiger beer + chicken wings! It was also a plus that our session took place during the Lunar New Year, so the restaurant was decorated with red lanterns, festive green garland and sparkly lights. 

Here is a recap of some of my favorite shots from Alison and Sam's engagement session! It was such an honor to get to you know through the lens and best of luck as you plan your wedding day celebration! 

#EngagementPhotoTip: When deciding on locations for your photo shoot, choose a location that is meaningful and a part of your love story! 

***To learn more about engagement sessions with Laurentina Photography, send us an email at laurentinaphotography@gmail.com!