WEDDINGS

Sarah + Elliot's Richmond, Virginia Wedding | Graduate Hotel RVA + Lewis Ginter Recreation Center

Richmond, Virginia Modern Jewish Wedding

Inspired by Art Deco, Fashion and Cultural Heritage

Congratulations to Sarah & Elliot, who are celebrating their one year anniversary today! I can’t believe it’s been 365 days since these two RVA cat-parents said “We Do” in front of their family and friends. A year later, I am still swooning over their gorgeous wedding and am so honored to feature their photos on today’s blog post for all to enjoy. I was told that these two lovebirds are having cake to celebrate today and I’m so happy for them! So please, raise your glasses for Sarah + Elliot on this joyous occasion + send them love in the comments below!

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HOW THEY MET

Sarah and Elliot are high school sweethearts. It was said that, “Sarah laughed at Elliot's jokes on her 17th birthday at an improv show. A few weeks later, was Sarah's prom which she went to with another boy. Her neighbor, Lorin, whom she somewhat forced to go to Prom brought Elliot. They had dinner at Eggspectation and Elliot sat across from Sarah. Elliot continued his jokes all through dinner and made it a fun evening. Sarah danced at Prom, and saw Elliot looking at her throughout the night.”

At that time, Elliot had dreads and also drove a motorcycle. That was a bit concerning for Sarah’s mum (Amy) but it eventually Elliot’s personality and practicality grew on her. When Sarah expressed her desire to go out with Elliot, Lorin set up a date for the two of them. That grew into several outings which included eating freeze-dried ice cream, watching movies and a lot of swings. Finally, Elliot asked Sarah to go out with her. And then they went off to college… Sarah at a school 9 hours away and Elliot at VCU. They did the long distance thing for awhile until Sarah transferred to VCU and moved to Richmond.

Through jobs, transitions, moves and saving stray kitties (Oreo - who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and Pistachio - a huge lover boy tabby who loves to pose for the camera) after college, Sarah and Elliot moved back to Richmond to start the life they always wanted to have together: making custom tables, painting, remodeling their home, overseas travel, going out to enjoy Richmond’s foodie scene and of course, spending time with each other and their (now) 4 feline kids.

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THE PROPOSAL

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

Check out the engagement photos from the Pipeline Riverwalk + other RVA locations that we did in Fall 2017!

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WEDDING INSPIRATION

Art Deco, Vintage, Offbeat/Alternative, Fashion-Inspired, Jewish in the River City

The Graduate Hotel RVA was the official location for Getting Ready and the Ketubah Signing for Sarah & Elliot. With it’s modern-meets-hip & preppy vibe, the Graduate was the perfect backdrop for those pre-wedding candids that we have all come to love. The Ketubah is a Jewish prenuptial agreement. It is considered an integral part of the marriage, to be completed after sunset the night before the wedding. Two witnesses are also present during the signing of this document the Ketubah is traditionally read out loud under the Chuppah.

The Chuppah is a canopy under which a Jewish couple stands during their wedding ceremony. This one was made out of birch wood. Sarah, being the artist she is, sent a piece of linen with her wedding invitations and as a part of their RSVP, asked her guests to write prayers, well-wishes, draw a picture, to simply create artwork on the linen squares and mail it back so that she could stitch everything together. The symbolism behind this is that the couple was to be covered with the prayers of their loved ones as they joined their lives together.

Another unique addition at this wedding was the inclusion of a Memories Room across from the ceremony site. In this unique retro space, Elliot’s mom filled the old wooden built-in bookshelves, ledges and tables with a gallery of framed photos of Sarah & Elliot, their trophies, photo albums, certificates, as well as photos and momentos from family members who have passed on. Most wedding receptions feature a simple memory table, but Sarah & Elliot were lucky enough to have an entire room to fill with their most precious memories. This gave guests the opportunity to pause and reflect on the journey of life these two have been through during their last decade of love and to celebrate the new memories that will soon be created.

And finally, the Horah, a traditional Jewish wedding dance that originated from the Balkans, where the bride and groom are lifted above the crowd on chairs and their family/friends dance around them.

MY FAVORITE PART OF THE WEDDING

It’s super hard to pick just one favorite part of the wedding as there were so many integral moments that made the day special for these two beauties… so I’ll choose my top 3 that are not already mentioned:

1.) First Look with Sarah’s sister, Zina (who was so surprised upon seeing Sarah’s wedding “garment”) and her adorable niece Maddie

2.) Intimate Mother-Daughter moments between Sarah and Amy

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ABOUT THE WEDDING JUMPSUIT (from Sarah’s Instagram post)

When Elliot and I set the date, I asked for people's thoughts on my design. I got "people are going to think you are a lesbian," "you only get married once-wear a dress like a lady," and "I don't think it is a good idea to make it yourself". I was nervous to do this, and procrastinated because I started changing my vision to fit others. I made a whole wedding dress, but hated every minute of it. 1 week before I said "I do!"... I decided to make a jumpsuit instead. I told only my fiance at first, because I did not want to hear people telling me not to. My now husband fit me in my muslin sample, something I thought he couldn't do before because it wouldn't be a stupid surprise. In 3 days, I made myself a wedding jumpsuit. It was not perfect. I wish I had time for pockets, a little more fabric to lengthen the torso and hips, the lining is still basted at the hem; but I made a jumpsuit for my wedding which is what my vision always was. 

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MAZEL TOV, Sarah & Elliot for having me document your most special and fantastic wedding weekend festivities! I feel so blessed to have been a part of your celebration. Wishing you all the best as you celebrate your first wedding anniversary today and every day! Love you both so much!

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VENDORS:

Photography: Laurentina Photography

Venues: The Graduate Hotel, RVA and Lewis Ginter Recreation Center

Wedding Planner: Best Day Ever Gathering and Events

Hair & Makeup: Bombshell RVA

Rabbi/Officiant: Rabbi Bonny Grosz

Florist: Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds

Cake/Cupcakes: Pearl’s Bake Shoppe

Donuts: Country Style Donuts

Donut Wall: Max Lopez

Bridal Jumpsuit: Created by the Bride (Sarah) herself!

Bridal Shoes: Sole Society

Ketubah Calligraphy: Morgan Swank Studio

Wording from Ketubah/Hebrew: Ketubah.com

Flower Headpiece: Fabric Flowers by M&S Schmalberg

Jewerly: Etsy










Cherry Blossom Inspired Wedding at Kentlands Mansion | Y & K

An Intimate Maryland Wedding

Celebrating Y & K

It may be February outside, but I am already setting my sights on spring in DC... which means warm(er) weather and the famous DC cherry blossoms! Congratulations to Y & K, who were married last April at Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, Maryland! I photographed one of my first weddings ever at the mansion back in 2012, so their wedding brought back a sweep of nostalgia! 

K and Y met each other through mutual friends over hot pot and immediately connected. They would hang out and play video games together every opportunity they got. K’s proposal was also a super romantic one. When Y got home from work one day, she found a card with a bouquet of flowers. The card was written in their dog Genie's (golden doodle puppy) voice, which said, "I love you. Today, tomorrow and always, and Genie does too. Will you marry us?"

Following their engagement session in Old Town Alexandria, Laurentina Photography had the honor of creating photos and a highlights video for their Cherry Blossom inspired spring wedding.  Y & K chose a perfect and warm spring day to celebrate with their family and friends. The decor was also very lovely, adorned with the curated wedding colors of pastel pink, straw, and glitter.

A few of my favorite wedding highlights: their bubbles exit, the Soju Yogurt Cocktail (which was the official wedding drink) and watching their small group of treasured family and friends dance to the Macarena! Not to mention, that delicious pink fondant wedding cake, which happens to be a light and moist mocha green tea flavored cake from Chinatown in NYC! Asian foodie taste buds rejoice! 

 

Y & K: I wish you both a lifetime of endless love and happiness! Thank you for letting me be a part of your intimate wedding day! 

 

Shoutout to the Vendor Team:

Venue: Kentlands Mansion  
Florals: Kentlands Flowers and Bows  
Hair: Mika's Hair Studio  
Groom's Tux: Blank Label
Groomsmen Tux: Blank Label
Catering: Purple Onion 
Officiant: Rev. Martin Lavery 
Wedding Dress: BHLDN
Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan 

Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

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

Wedding Videography Tips | DC Wedding Videography + CINEMATOGRAPHY

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR WEDDING FILM

your love story, captured well IN A MOVIE

Congratulations! You have just chosen a wedding videographer (or perhaps a vendor that does both photography and video) and need to meet with them to discuss your wedding highlights film. What are the best questions to ask? And what is the best way to prepare for the big day, so that you will enjoy watching your wedding video for years to come?

Before the Wedding

Your videographer should meet with you face to face. This can be in-person at a local coffee shop, in their studio/office or virtually via FaceTime or Skype. Think about the kind of edit that you would like for your video - our work is more cinematic (playing out more like a movie, which includes montages and music) in style, but if you prefer a more documentary edit (a chronological order of events, from start to finish) reasons, please let us know in advance so that we are equipped with the gear and team to accommodate you. 

Consider the LIGHT when you choose the location where you are getting ready. Are there windows and do they face east or west? What time of day are you getting ready? Natural window light works best and is more flattering, and can also provide opportunity for contrast, shadows and drama in our storytelling as videographers. And make sure you are comfortable in that environment -- it will show in the video! 

THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS

Make sure that you and your videographer are on the same page about what the final product looks like and the kind of story you want your video to tell. We will use our creative discretion for all editing curation, but need your input too! Here are some good questions to consider:

  •  Is there a specific song you would like to use for your highlights video?
  • What are the key moments that you want to include in your film (getting ready, first look, traditions, ceremony, speeches/toasts, final exit) - we always require our couples to provide a shot list so that nothing gets lost in the mix!
  • Are there any limitations on filming in your wedding venue (i.e. no lights in churches, etc.) 
  • Can your videographer capture the event from multiple angles? 
  • If we are filming an interview or voiceover, is there a quiet place to escape to where there is minimal background noise? Or is there a possibility that we can do this portion before or after the wedding (so that it doesn't take away from the big day)? 
  • What kind of audio and lighting devices are will the videographer bring to the wedding?
  • How many people are on your team and who are they?
  • Do you want a full-length coverage of certain events to be filmed on a tripod (but not included in the highlights video)?

During the Wedding

The day is finally here! You made it to the most important day of your life! You will most likely feel like you are walking down the red carpet, with the paparazzi chasing after you... so feel special, leave the worrying up to the people you hired (your vendors!), take a DEEP BREATH and just enjoy your day! We won't ask you to "smile" for the camera, but pretend that we are not there... that is the best way to document the most authentic wedding films!

We want to see you interact with the wedding party as you get ready, cry while reading the sweet letter from your partner, really go in and KISS your partner when it becomes official, celebrate with friends and family, EAT THAT CAKE and dance like no one's watching! 

**Another great way for you to remember your wedding day (from a CREATIVE ANGLE) is to have friends record messages for you on your big day. If you are interested in this idea, consider setting up a photo booth with a backdrop (and PROPS!). Have one of the videographers film each person sending you both greetings (and maybe even doing a dance) - this is something that you can watch over and over again, as you open your gifts after the wedding and write your *THANK YOU* notes to friends and family for their attendance!

After the Wedding

REST! RELAX! REJUVENATE! 

You should be familiar with the videographer's editing process and turn-around time. Some videos take 4-6 weeks to edit, while others take up to a year! Keep in touch with your videographer as they will with you -- turn off all distractions while viewing the edits that they send you. Make a list of the things that you love about your highlights video, as well as things you want to tweak. With our videography services, you get up to 2 edits for the final highlights video.

REMEMBER THAT THIS VIDEO IS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LIFE PARTNER. A lot of times, we have come across family members intervening and making decisions for the married couple, even after the marriage is complete. We understand that sometimes this happens and more times than not, it is cultural (trust me, I have been there) -- however, those who signed the contract should be the ones making the final decisions regarding their video.

And finally, if you LOVE the video, make it a point to show the video on the BIG SCREEN to your family and friends. They will cherish the experience more and appreciate all that the beauty of film has to offer on the most special day of your life! 

We believe that your wedding is just the beginning of a great adventure together. We want to celebrate you and document this very special day that you will remember for the rest of your life! If you are interested in a videography experience with Laurentina Photography & Video, send us a note HERE! We would LOVE to chat!

#filmsbyLaurentina | laurentinaphotography@gmail.com