STEFANIE + JOSH || A summer wedding in Fredericksburg, Virginia celebrated on Kent Island, Maryland

Ohhhhh, hello dreamy early summer weather and magical riverside love story and big ol’ feelings and the best goofy faces possible!

Stefanie and Josh literally and figuratively bridged their lives together by marrying in Fredericksburg (where Stef’s family lives) and celebrating on Kent Island (where Josh’s family hails from). Despite a little hiccup in traffic shuffling from one state to next, it was a truly glorious day.

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Stefanie’s sister Melissa was kind enough to lend not only her beautiful home for the bride squad to get ready in, but also her insanely amazing makeup skills to the whole group of ladies. Airbrush magic for seven? Yes, please!

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Meanwhile, just across town, Josh and the boys were getting primped and strategically planning their aisle sweep formation.

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As wedding days are wont to do, it went from a sleepy-excited morning and suddenly, it was time to hit the altar. There was no shortage of giggles and tears, and I am oh-so-serious about Stef having the best faces e.v.e.r.

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Seriously.

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After getting big feelings and wrapping themselves in all the congratulations from their guests, we hit the Rappahannock River, which was literally just across the street from the church. And! Story time: S+J had their first date kayaking down this river, and basiiiiically almost died flipping in the rapids. So, you know, this is obviously the very best choice of a backdrop to do their wedding portraits at.

Honestly, midday sun is normally a nightmare to work under, but the cool green canopy of the trees beside this river was just the dreamiest! We sent the wedding party off and had some quiet moments to revel in the post-ceremony goodness.

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And…oh yeah, you got it - more of me cracking up behind the camera at Stefanie. I LIVE for embracing the goof, especially on such an emotionally volatile sort of day. Let it all out!

After we wrapped portraits, it was time to make the hike back to Kent Island. Shockingly (?!), there aren’t any photos of the gnarly traffic we hit on the drive east, but we were fortunate enough to get to the island with plenty of daylight and beautiful skies! And beer! AND TAAAACOOOSS!

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Everyone ate, drank, and made themselves quite merry as the sun began setting. I can’t think of a more perfect backdrop for a first dance, but I’m a pretty big sucker for the sunsets on Kent Island.

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And then the lights went low, and it was time to paaaaarty. The dancefloor was packed, and the sky would not stop delivering jawdropping colors.

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Congratulations to Josh and Stefanie! * insert wild tongue flailing emojis all over the place here * -MEJ

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT STEFANIE + JOSH’S FULL WEDDING GALLERY HERE

BABY ARCHER || KENT ISLAND, MARYLAND

File this under new experiences: I stuck around to get in on some speedy Jeopardy! action at the end of my shoot with this gang!

Getting to know Archer and his parents was so laid back and easy to do, and we took full advantage of all the beautiful light in all the nooks and crannies of their home and back yard on this gorgeous spring day.

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Congratulations on this beautiful, healthy, sweet little boy! - MEJ

NICOLE + BOBBY || DENTON, MARYLAND

Maybe it’s because I don’t get to do a heck of a lot of winter weddings, and maybe it’s because it’s such a fabulous break from the winter blues to have so much love and sparkly light condensed in to a day, but I just can’t get enough of the cold weather I-Do’s. Bobby and Nichole did the dang thing SO RIGHT, and I was beyond enchanted by every moment of their day for so many reasons.

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Firstly, the venue they picked was a place I’d driven past probably a hundred times and never suspected just how rad it was. Along the highway, the Old Sale Barn looks like a pretty sizable antiques store. Inside? Oh boy. There’s an auction floor with stadium style seating, high gabled ceilings and….is that an airplane?! Yes, yes it is. So, yeah, +1 point for this unique backdrop!

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Secondly, I know this was technically Nicole and Bobby’s big day, but they both made it very clear that Ava and Ella were basically going to steal the show because they’re little wild pixie rockstars in twirly dresses that’re fierce and funny and I almost melted in to a puddle when they saw their mama in her wedding dress. +1, tiny adorable humans.

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And then we’ve got eye contact. Y’all, my monitor has had sparks flying out of it while editing these photos - the way Nicole and Bobby talk to each other without saying a single word is truly an awesome thing to behold and to photography. The intensity of that gaze, the evident love and respect was something I picked up the first time I met them, but it was truly magnified on this day. Seriously, clock all these portraits of the two of them being completely grounded within each other. +1 for radiating that good love.

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Let’s do a +1 for familiarity, because I’ve photographed three weddings out of their six attendants. Travis is the amazing father to my goddaughter and the husband to one of my oldest and dearest friends Rachael, Bobby officiated Laura and Niki’s wedding, and I got to meet the whole Bach clan last year at Michelle and Michael’s wedding. Nicole and Bobby’s officiant Renee is also a rockstar vendor that I always recommend to couples on the look out, and Missy, who coordinated everything, is a KI local I’ve known for a hot second. To say that I love and was so excited to work with this group of people is a wild understatement.

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(I was so not joking about that eye contact. Seriously, whether they’re six inches or sixty feet apart - sizzle, sizzle.)

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Their ceremony was incredibly personal, and both Nicole and Bobby ended their vows with literally the same line with zero knowledge of the other’s intentions. +1 for serendipity.

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(I mean, deep eye contact AND high fives?! C’mon.)

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Quite possibly my most favorite wedding memory that I’ve ever captured was this one, where everyone is giddy and giggly in the first minute after they had been officially pronounced husband and wife. Ava, older sister to Ella, and generally a tough as nails babe, walked in to the room crying.

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Nicole noticed immediately, and leaned in to ask what was troubling her. But there was no trouble - Ava was crying tears of joy, and said that she was overwhelmed with happiness. Immediately, the room went teary-eyed. Honestly, I cry at just about every wedding - I feel things in big ways, and it never gets in the way of shooting. I was legitimately ugly crying with fogged up glasses and a snotty nose, and I’ve never been so glad that my ability to shoot while mostly blind is so on-point. +1 for the vulnerability and love of kiddos.

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And another +1 for their ability to literally jump in to Spinny Dress Mode Yay about 30 seconds later. Respect for that emotional flexibility, Ava.

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What else? +1 for the amazingly rich florals and golden lights and warm tones throughout the barn, and seriously THAT CAKE. We didn’t get snow on the big day, but this cake looked like a winter wonderland - so gorgeous!

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+1 point for incredible speeches that had the entire room laughing hysterically, crying again, and then cracking right back up, and another +1 for an amazing photobooth chock full of props that was in constant use all night.

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Nicole’s dad gets +1 for a little limited mobility but still being the best dancer on the floor while seated, and another +1 for his walker being a fabulous dance partner.

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And honestly, just +1000 for this wedding being everything that a wedding should be - completely focused on love and laughter. All the fun, none of the fuss. Thank you, thank you, thankkk youuu for having me document this incredible day. Congrats to N+B, wishing you all the happiness in the world! -MEJ

SEE BOBBY + NICOLE’S FULL GALLERY HERE

VENDORS: Venue - Old Sale Barn || Makeup + Hair - Makeup Couture by Jaclyn Lee || Coordinator - Pretty Little Wedding Co. || Officiant - XOXO Ceremonies || Florist - Keleidoscope Custom Florals || Caterer - Chesapeake Culinary Center || Cake + Dessers - Happy Chicken Bakery || Videography - Avail Visuals || Photobooth - Smith Landing Photobooths || Dress - Love and Lace Boutique