Mary Jean and Josh celebrated their wedding day during COVID which meant downsizing and moving a few things around. They decided to have their intimate ceremony with their closest loved ones and leave the reception for 2021! This day was still so special as Mary Jean got ready and took pictures at her parent’s house before the ceremony- I love it when the getting ready location is close to the bride’s heart and spent with her family and bridesmaids. After arriving at the venue, the couple did their sweet first look outside on Broad st. where we also took all the portraits. I loved the Richmond vibe for this day, along with a Christmas-themed wedding… it’s cozy, colorful, warm, and happy! The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and even better that they added a mini cake cutting to it instead of having the reception that day. Although it wasn’t the day they had pictured for a while, it was still so perfect.
Congratulations to the lovely Mr. and Mrs.- see you at the reception in a few months! 🙂
Venue: The Renaissance | Florals: Over The Top Flowers | Makeup and Hair: Richmond Hair Artist and Looks By Lex | Gown: Celebrity Bridal
Sydnie and Dylan were such a JOY to work with on their beautiful day at Cousiac Manor! My favorite part of their love story is that they knew each other in middle school and “had one of those week-long boyfriend/girlfriend thingys” as Sydnie calls it (lol). Fast forward to 2013, Sydnie was going to a concert at Innsbrook with one of her friends and her boyfriend at the time. Her boyfriend’s best friend just so happened to be Dylan. She said they just instantly hit it off and the rest was history! These two are clearly meant for each other in every way and they bring so much light and love into everyone else’s lives. Cheer to their future and all the blessings coming their way!
February 1st is a big day for me. While I began walking through an unexpected phase of life prior to this exact date, today I specifically celebrate one year of overcoming being forced out of a situation I didn’t know I needed saving from. One year of trying to conquer my deepest valley and the darkest season of my life. One year of battle, fighting to gain my strength and joy back. One year of suffering through a very emotionally draining experience that sucked the life out of me and even my family. One year of heartbreak, grief, mental and physical exhaustion, and sadness. One year of big changes, scary transitions, too many gut wrenching tears, and learning how to be on my own again.
Never in my life do I want to feel the excruciating heartache and pain again that I felt one year ago today when my husband of almost 3 years, my best friend for almost 8 years… did not choose me, but instead chose a life and future that did not include me in it, and that was the last day I saw him. The details of what I went through months before this and even after this day will remain private-no need to share all the personal details…but I lost my entire world that day. It was flipped completely upside down. And those 48 hours I will never forget. I felt dead inside.
While I still don’t have the answers as to why things like this happen and never will, I do know that God is faithful and His plan for me is much greater than what I ever expected. Somehow, through every battle I fought through the hellhole that was the end of my marriage, through the separation, through the divorce, after the divorce, through the healing… I still had my faith, I still found hope, I still found joy, and I still believed in the kind of love that I know I deserve. I deserve the very powerful UNCONDITIONAL love that I know exists and I know I will get that at the right time. I still believe in the sanctity of marriage- no man will take that away from me. I still believe in my fruitful, fulfilling, bright future. I believe that the ingredients to finding joy after your spirit has been crushed is a lot of: prayer, surrounding yourself with loved ones, positive thinking, and seeing a therapist. I believe I went through all of the things I wouldn’t wish on anyone FOR A PURPOSE. If God wants to use ME for good, to help others through similar challenges or with healing, then I am blessed. I want to be His hands and His heart in any way possible and if pain is what gets me to the next level to really take action and do His work, then bring it on, Jesus! I am resilient AF and that has been a really incredible thing to learn about myself. While I am still healing, repairing my heart, rebuilding my little world of glitter and sunshine, and learning how to survive on my own solely through my faith with the support of my selfless amazing family- I have never been more confident in who I am, in my relationship with the Lord, or so sure of the amazing things I am built for and called to do.
Most of the year I felt ashamed and embarrassed of what happened. I was so happy for so long with this person and then all of a sudden everything changed and while I still had to come to terms with a shocking reality, I also knew people were going to question my situation, judge me for it, and talk about it… while also feeling completely defeated and trying to overcome rejection, abandonment, and betrayal from the one person I trusted most in this world. Then I realized WTF. These feelings all relate in some way and it’s all about feeling the need to have other people’s approval and acceptance. But reality is- this is MY life and nobody cares about MY life as much as I do and I don’t need anybody’s approval but His.
This experience has been humbling and enlightening in many ways. THIS is blooming. THIS is developing the wings. THIS is the climb. If you’re in the same boat as me or maybe just starting to feel that wave about to smack you in the face… you are not alone. But it’s up to YOU to steer the boat, to take that wave to the face like a champ, to fight and never give up. You were meant to be going through the pain, you were meant to experience whatever is happening in your life right now. And you will come out more powerful and joyful on the other side. God will never steer you wrong and will never stop holding your hand. It’s easy to question, “WHY THE HECK is this happening to ME!?”, but we may not understand until something better comes into our lives and makes everything in our past make so much sense. We might not ever understand, but just have to trust the path He has taken us down.
I want to let you in on a special, magical little moment that happened to me on this day last year, something I will always hold close to my heart and hopefully lift someone’s spirits. A God moment. A message clear as day. When I woke up on February 1, 2020, I was alone on the couch in silence and I already had a bad feeling about what the day was going to bring. I turned to my devotional, February 1st. And here was my message…
Need I say more? WOW. Right after that, everything happened, everything changed. My life took an abrupt turn, I was equipped for the strenuous climb, I have been preserved in all my ways, I feel His angels over, and now I know it for sure- “with my God, I can scale a wall.” SO much truth behind that.
Opening up about this life altering season feels freeing in a way. I have held back from being too personal and open with people and on social media since October 2019 when things started to become difficult in my marriage. Then all of a sudden I had to make him disappear, clear him out of my business and my life. It was like everything went from 0-100 and all of a sudden I was hiding a big piece of my heart because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to share and I wasn’t ready for it. Now it’s on my heart to be more open, connect with those who can relate, support those who need it, and share my story in ways that allow you to really get to know me on a deeper level. Through sharing my story with select people over the past year, one thing I’ve learned is that I am definitely not the only person who has experienced something like this, who has experienced divorce at a young age. Our stories are all different, but we all have A LOT in common- we all got married expecting to be with that person for the rest of our lives and then it ended in disappointment and heartbreak. A lot of us never considered divorce an option, like EVER. A lot of us feel like the most special and sacred moments of our lives were taken from us. Most of us are just praying we can heal from the trauma and find the really one true love of our lives. We are just human, trying to move on and remain optimistic for our future. We can ALL connect on many different levels, no matter HOW it happened. Friends, don’t be afraid to reach out, don’t be afraid to share your heart with me, because trust me- it’s not easy and writing this wasn’t easy either, but it IS therapeutic and good for the soul. I am here for you when you need someone.
Thank you for reading if you’ve gotten this far, thank you for being a part of my life and my business, and thank you for the support as I am still rebuilding WHILE rejoicing. Hugs to all ❤️
Do you know your worth…? Have you ever really thought about that before? Have you ever been put to the test about knowing your worth? I always knew what that question meant, but I didn’t know the true meaning of it until I had to step away from all the things I was doing and really take a look at myself. I had to dig deep, I had to be honest with myself, and I had to make some changes.
It feels good to be valued, doesn’t it? But it feels terrible when you’re not. When you are just starting to understand your worth, it can still be hard to make confident decisions about what you’re doing, who you’re working for, or how you’re being treated. After starting my photography business, I had to make some tough decisions. There were times when I just didn’t think I was worth as much as something or someone else, but then I grew to know my value. I have been challenged and tested time and time again. Certain situations and people have come in and out of my life by way of soul-searching and contemplating whether I was adding value or having it taken away from me. There are jobs, moments and people that are put into your life for a reason… they force you to soul-search, test your will, and grow.
I’m sure a lot of you have been in positions where we have felt undervalued and been given unfair circumstances. Let me tell you… I have been there a few times. After a while, it gets tiring. I am all for working hard, going above and beyond, and making a sacrifice for the greater good, but when I don’t get the appreciation or respect I feel I deserve, I begin to feel a lack of value as a whole. After a full year of going full-time as a photographer, I am now confident enough to say that I KNOW my worth. I know what I deserve and I know how I should be valued as a person and photographer. I decided I will no longer give away my hard work, time, and my personal space to a situation that doesn’t create value for both sides. I know that each and every one of you wants to feel that you earn value when you make an investment, and I believe everybody should dig deep to find that source of positive gain.
Now, think about it… Are you also confident enough to say the same? Do you know your worth? It took me a solid year in business to figure it out and I continue to work on it daily; maybe you need some time to figure it out, too. Take a step back, give yourself the time to really think about how far you’ve come in your career. Look at your business and your life. Are you getting what you know you deserve? Think about why you think you should be valued, and the changes you might need to make. Are you making sacrifices that seem unfair? I can tell you now, it’s okay and it’s going to all be worth it in the end. These things happen for a reason… to make you stronger, to teach you how to speak up and stand up. When you’re sacrificing and doing the best you can, you should be so proud of yourself. Just know that the right thing at the right time will be placed in front of you and it will pay off. You are always rewarded in the end.
Sometimes it seems impossible to get out of a situation or lifestyle after being committed to it for so long. I know, I’ve been there too. Weirdly enough, every time I put it in my head that I belong somewhere else or I don’t feel right in a position, I start making natural changes that push me in the right direction and I end up exactly where I need to be. Doing the right thing is never the easiest decision. It takes strength and courage to speak up for yourself and it takes hard work to make your worth a reality. Just know your value and don’t let that slip away from you. When it comes time for a change and you’re ready to step out, that will be your moment. It makes the world of a difference to know your worth and be confident in your strengths. If you don’t recognize your worth yet, maybe you need to make some changes, or maybe you just need space to grow. It takes time to really know and feel it, but I just wanted to get this thought into your head.
With faith, comes joy.
So have a little faith, do the right thing for yourself, and remember you deserve to be valued and you deserve to be happy!
Sessions like this give me so much life! This group of siblings drove an hour to get their first ever professional photos done with me in Richmond. When they first arrived at the location, they were a little quiet and really cold. It wasn’t the warmest day and it was pretty breezy, but at least the sun was shining! Within minutes of taking these photos, they began warming to the camera and started having fun together! You can see and feel SO much love, care, and joy in every image of this session. This group of five sisters and a little brother obviously love each other with every ounce of their being. They made my job easy and we had the best time. My favorites are definitely the group hug in the grass with everyone laughing- it gives me all the feels! The littlest one is literally the cutest and these girls are stunning!! Nothing is better than a family who truly loves each other and enjoys being with one another. I just love this group of sweet and beautiful people, I will never forget this session!
YOU GUYS!!!! I am so excited to announce that for the first time, I will be offering…
Valentine’s Day Mini Sessions!!!!
Grab your honey because it’s time you get some updated, romantic pictures for this Valentine’s Day! Whether you want to surprise your man or woman with a fun portrait session as a gift, or maybe use this as quality time to love on each other in front of the camera! You might have caught on, but I LOVE love, I can’t say it enough. This year I really wanted to celebrate love with couple’s that want to do the same!
Celebrate with your gal-pals, too! Get all dolled up with your best girlfriends and do something different this holiday season!! Valentine’s Day is about LOVE whether you have a partner or not! So grab your besties, throw on some red lipstick, a cute dress, and let’s celebrate friendship!
WHAT?20-minute session with your significant other or your bestie(s)! Go casual with some flannels and sweaters, or get fancy with formal dress wear. This is your time to get those updated photos you’ve been wanting and have some fun with it!
WHERE?Richmond, VA (exact location TBA)
WHEN?Thursday, February 1st OR Friday, February 2nd
INVESTMENT?$150 for 20 minutes (20-30 images)! Photos will be sent via digital gallery before Valentine’s Day!
**Full session fee is required when signing the contract to book/reserve your spot. Session fees are non-refundable if canceled within 30 days prior to session date. Rescheduling is possible by request depending on photographer availability.
I’ve been waiting too long to share this special day on the blog! Morgan and I had this ECU graduation session planned for a long time. Just a few days before I was going to meet her, I got a (secret) phone call from Morgan’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, Jenna. She informed me that Morgan’s boyfriend, Alex, was planning to propose at the end of the graduation session!!! Naturally, I freaked out with excitement and couldn’t wait for the big moment! Jenna and I came up with a solid plan and we were ready for the mission! 🙂
When the session/engagement day arrived, I met up with Morgan just like any other graduation session would start. I was introduced to some family members and Alex, who “just wanted to come along” for the session. Little did she know, they were all there for the big surprise proposal… but, I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
This was easily one of the best moments I was asked to be a part of through my business. I mean seriously, I love having a role in major life celebrations, and this was a BIG one. There’s nothing like seeing love explode right in front of your eyes and seeing that moment being shared with the people who love them the most. It was incredible and yes, I literally cried. In front of everyone.
Thank you, Morgan and Alex, for allowing me to be a part of this time of graduating at ECU and getting engaged to the love of your life. This is the most exciting time of your life, and I hope you enjoy every moment of it! CONGRATULATIONS, wishing you all the love and blessings in your future!!