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Ryan & Kathleen- a wintry Virginia wedding

Kathleen doesn’t strike me as the type to get teary about many things. But I love how wedding days are always, always the exception to that kind of rule. She was fine- calm and collected- until she looked at her mom, right after the wedding dress went on. And then again, as she walked into the church and laid eyes on Ryan as he waited for her at the end of the aisle. The best kind of tears are the ones that come from a place of joy, from knowing you’ve found the one in whom your soul delights. From knowing that the only thing standing between you finally being husband and wife are a few short sentences, a couple of rings, and the biggest promise you’ve ever made.

Ryan & Kathleen, your wedding day was such an honor. It’s always an privilege to photograph a wedding, but to do so for someone I’ve known since freshman year of high school, it was especially joyous! Kathleen- I’ve never seen Ryan with a smile as big as when he looks at you, girl. Seeing how crazy he is over you is so encouraging! Ryan- buddy, you’ve found an incredible best friend in Kathleen. I can’t wait to see you both cheer each other on through the next chapters of your life, through Nationals’ world titles (fingers crossed) and Redskins losses (fingers crossed on that, too). The best of wishes to you both!

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Classic Virginia wedding at Olde Silk Mill- Abby Grace Photography

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Ryan, don’t kill me for including this. It was just so classic!

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Classic Virginia wedding at Olde Silk Mill- Abby Grace Photography

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Cindy & Scott Nall - January 13, 2015 - 7:16 pm

Amazing pictures! Kathleen, you were a beautiful bride on your special day. Sorry we weren’t there to share it with you.
Can’t wait to see all of your beautiful pictures!

Wendy Byrd - January 13, 2015 - 5:36 pm

Elegant and joyful what a great combination! Winter weddings are so beautiful and these pictures are stunning, joyful and heartwarming! Love the fur.

Rosie Hoovler - January 13, 2015 - 5:07 pm

Beautiful pictures! Makes me cry all over again. You’re an amazing photographer. I just remember how much pressure we put you under. Fantastic. Thank you,
Rosie
(Kathleen’s Mom…Ryan’s new MOTHER-IN-LAW)….like how I said that? I’m liking the new title.

Jeannie Mathews - January 13, 2015 - 4:12 pm

Breathtaking, Abby! Just exquisite, thank you so much for capturing this wonderful day so beautifully. Kathleen – I love seeing your new name in print!!!

Rebekah - January 13, 2015 - 3:22 pm

I love the bride’s wintry bouquet with the pine cones. Great work, as always!

Kathleen Mathews - January 13, 2015 - 3:04 pm

Oh My Gosh!!!!!! I LOVE these pictures Abby! They couldn’t have been any better. You truly captured the love and roller coaster of emotions throughout the day. I would have to say a few of my favorites are the black and white ones from the church. Just like Ryan said, there will be no one else that I recommend besides you!

Love,
Kathleen

Urška Majer - January 13, 2015 - 2:23 pm

Gorgeous wedding!

Ryan Mathews - January 13, 2015 - 2:07 pm

Abby! You did an amazing job and I’m so happy you could be a part of THE day. I speak for myself and Kathleen when I say we absolutely love the quality of all the pictures you took, including the silly ones. My favorite, not involving myself or Kathleen, has got to be the one where Pat Powers is giving the “I always feel like… somebody’s watching meeeeee!” look. Feel free to Photoshop the GEICO googly-eyes-money-thing over his face, and send it to him on my behalf.

All kidding aside, we can’t thank you enough. It goes without saying that we will recommend your skills to everyone, literally!

You’re awesome!!!

Ryan

Shalese - January 13, 2015 - 1:58 pm

These are all AMAZING!!! :)

Monday Mash-Up

Those who’ve been following along for a while now already know this, but sometimes I’ll sit down to write a Monday Mash-Up post and comPLETELY blank on what happened over the last week of my life. So I do the natural thing and pull out my phone, open the Instagram app, and check what photos I’ve posted over the last seven days to remind me. Sad, I know, but thank you LORD for a phone that also serves to document my life!

Last Thursday, Matt & I celebrated four years of marriage! He took the day off and on a whim, we decided to head into DC to spend some time at the National Art Gallery. I’ve never really been into modern art (actually, if we’re being honest, I can’t STAND modern art), but I’ve recently found myself wanting to study painted portraits from the 1600-1800’s. So we jumped in the car and headed to the Smithsonian where we spent several hours wandering from room to room to room. We actually SAW a DaVinci! I didn’t know if there were any in the US, but sure enough, the National Gallery has the only DaVinci on this side of the Atlantic, and we saw it.

It was SO interesting to walk through the gallery and see which type of paintings I was naturally drawn to- it turns out, I’m a Raphael fan. AND we got to see an entire room devoted to Degas!! The original Little Dancer sculpture was there as well as several of his ballerina pieces, and I could have stayed in that room all day. It made me all the more thankful for my own ballerina painting that’s currently hanging above my desk :).

Also last week, we finally got to witness Joe & Wendy revealing to their friends and family that they’re MARRIED! Remember that elopement in New York City I mentioned on IG? Yep, it was these two!! I cannot WAIT to share their day with you on Thursday- you guys are going to die when you see this one.

As always, lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • CatchPhrase is infinitely more interesting when you’re playing with friends from Bible study and you’ve all had a glass of wine with dinner. That’s all I’ll say on that matter.
  • When you wake up on a Tuesday morning to unexpectedly find the streets covered in snow, AND your husband happens to be home, you do the only reasonable thing and drag him outside for a few quick self-portraits.
  • Sirius & Lily like to play this game at 7am called “who can jostle Abby the most while she’s still trying to sleep?” It’s super fun.
  • Know what else is fun? When you wake up at 3am to the sound of your smaller dog gagging on goodness knows what. #puppyparentingproblems
  • #Youcan’tusehashtagsinblogposts, Abby!

Here’s a preview of Joe & Wendy’s intimate Manhattan elopement- make sure to check the blog Thursday for the whole thing!

New York City High Line elopement photographer- Abby Grace

And here’s one of those snowy portraits that my picture-taking-hating husband lovingly agreed to take with me!

self-portrait on a snow day- Abby Grace Photography

Happy Monday, sweet friends!

Wendy Byrd - January 12, 2015 - 9:26 pm

loving husbands #FTW!! Great lessons and I’m excited about your anniversary art day! What a beautiful and special way to spend time together! Also, it was amazing to have you at our wedding reveal! Can’t wait for Thursday!

Karyn - January 12, 2015 - 8:02 pm

I worked at an art gallery one summer in college that had an exhibit on loan from the VMFA which just so happened to contain the DaVinci! I think I sat in that gallery for hours just studying the brush strokes thinking “DaVinci created this!” So fascinating!

Jean - January 12, 2015 - 12:52 pm

Matt is such a good sport! Looking forward to seeing more of the elopement.

Meet my 2014 interns!

Wedding season is officially over! 2014 was a crazy, crazy year, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’ve had the chance to shoot in some crazy beautiful locations with the best people in the world, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Now that it’s officially the off-season, though, it’s time to evaluate the year as a whole.

One thing that helped make my 2014 weddings successful was the introduction of AGP Shooting Interns. I got the idea after a mentoring session with my wonderful friend Katelyn, and after launching a search and receiving WAY more responses than I thought possible (75-80 applications!), I settled on the three most amazing ladies out there. Folks, meet my 2014 Shooting Interns!

Abby Grace Photography interns

Kaitlyn of Kaitlyn Phipps Photography

I’ve known Kaitlyn for several years- we actually go all the way back to days at Conservatory Ballet! We reconnected at Radford, and she shot with me a few times last year as well. Kaitlyn’s work has grown leaps and bounds over the past two year and I’ve been so proud watching her grow! This gal is always good for Harry Potter references, Disney sing-a-longs, and Pitch Perfect quotes. Also, prayer on the way to a wedding if we’re riding together, and that’s something I couldn’t be more thankful for. She has such a sweet heart and I’m so grateful to have had her along this year! And, she wrote this awesome post about shooting with me that you might enjoy reading :).

Abby Grace Photography interns- image by Alicia Lacey

Megan of Megan Chase Photography

We met almost two years ago when Megan came to the Q&A Rebekah & I hosted, and then again when she attended my first ever workshop! This girl is hilarious- she is ALWAYS good for a laugh when you’re going on hour 12 of a wedding day and all you want to do is sit down and stuff your face with marshmallows. Megan’s sense of optimism and her hilarious sarcasm are always a hit with my bridal parties, and she knows how to wrangle unruly groomsmen like a boss. Also, she and I have managed to match each other at half our weddings together this year, so clearly her style is on point.

Abby Grace Photography interns

Shalese of Shalese Danielle Photography

I knew from the first 2 minutes of our Skype interview that I was going to love this girl! Her sense of humor is totally in sync with mine and I always laugh a ton when we’re working together. Shalese is such a gracious second shooter, I know I tend to be kind of scattered but she’s always willing to go and get this light stand or grab this bag whenever I need it. I’m so grateful for her willingness to serve cheerfully! Also something I appreciate about Shalese: we BOTH thought the lyrics to Blank Space were something about Starbucks lovers. Thank you, Shalese, for confirming that I’m not a total loner in my inability to accurately interpret TSwift lyrics.

These ladies made my 2014 season. Not only could I rest easier at every wedding knowing I had a reliable second shooter, but being able to look forward to their company was so appreciated! Kaitlyn, Megan and Shalese? You three are the bee’s knees!

Jean - January 9, 2015 - 9:31 pm

I can see you had wonderful interns and also had lots of fun.

Amanda B. - January 9, 2015 - 12:53 pm

It’s fun to hear your stories with these gals… so sweet with each of them! They are beauties and it sounds like you had a GREAT year!

Shalese - January 9, 2015 - 10:26 am

AHHHH I love this!!! Abby, working with you was ALWAYS fun. Waiting for you at the valet at the Omni Shoreham is one of my all-time favorite end-of-a-wedding-day giggle sessions. :) One of the best things I learned from you is how to have fun with guests on the dance floor. Abby knows words to songs I’ve never even heard before, guys. :p

Happy 4th Anniversary, darling.

Well, here we are on our fourth anniversary, and I find myself even more in awe of my husband than I was on our wedding day. If you’d asked me on January 8th, 2011 who was the luckier one, and if I’d answered honestly, I’d have said Matt was luckier. That I was a catch, that he’d pretty much found “the total package,” or what have you. But then again, who would ever say that  kind of thing aloud? Certainly not me.

The longer we’re married though, the more I realize just how dead wrong (and totally narcissistic) I was, and how lucky I am that Matt didn’t realize it at the time. I knew he had a servant’s heart when I married him, but what I didn’t realize was how deep that ran in his character. He anticipates my needs even before I’m aware of them and acts to serve me before I realize I need help; like how he’s come to pay my credit card bill at the beginning of every month because he knows I’ll forget otherwise. Or how he worked overtime to get the house ready just a few weeks after we moved in because I was hosting a workshop. And the time I got in my car, felt like something was off, and realized he’d cleaned it out (and vacuumed!) while I was out of town because he knows I get frustrated when it’s cluttered, but never seem to have the time to clean it myself.

No, I’M the lucky one. I’m the one got the better end of this deal, I’m the one who has the most to be grateful for. And with every passing week and month, I see that more and more clearly. He is my redemption story, my knight in shining armor, my best friend, my cheerleader, my rock, and my favorite person in the world. I am, simply put, blessed to have the chance to be his wife. And I hope I never, ever forget that.

Happy fourth anniversary, darling. Here’s to 70 more January 8ths spent wondering how on earth I managed to trick you into marrying me!

Our wedding- image by Terra Dawn

Mom - January 8, 2015 - 11:09 pm

Wow. That was really honest. I’m proud of you for being able to see the gift God gave you. Congratulations to both of you on four years! Many more great years ahead! And Matt, we’re so glad you are the man we prayed for all of her life. Together you two can bring so much good to the people in your lives.

Kristen Duffy - January 8, 2015 - 2:22 pm

Well that was beautiful. :) Congratulations you two!

Alicia Lacey - January 8, 2015 - 10:54 am

Happy Anniversary, you two!!! And neither deserves one more than the other :)

Marisa - January 8, 2015 - 8:43 am

Abby, your words get me every time! So endearing. Happy anniversary to a beautiful couple! May you celebrate many, many more together <3

Mary - January 8, 2015 - 8:14 am

Happy, happy anniversary!!!! Here’s to many, many more!!! xo

Jean - January 8, 2015 - 7:54 am

Beautifully said, Abby! You are both blessed to have found each other! May you celebrate many more anniversaries!

Ryan & Natalie- a Hoboken, New Jersey engagement session

Oh, these two. Listening to them recount their love story as we walked the streets of Hoboken, Christmas lights aglow and shoppers bustling to and fro, it was everything I love about the holidays. They met at a tailgate last fall, and by the following morning, they were booking trips to come and visit one another. How long did it take you to know she was the one? I asked. “I knew the next day. I just knew.” As he talks about her, she strolls with her hand in his, listening and smiling, that sense of utter contentment evident on her face. They were, simply put, made for on another.

Ryan & Natalie, I cannot tell you how much I loved my time with you photographing your sweet, sweet engagement session in Hoboken! And with the New York City skyline in the background to complete the vision, I was the happiest wedding photographer there ever was. Thank you, thank you SO much for allowing me to glimpse your precious love! I can’t wait for your Virginia wedding in May!!New York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyHoboken, New Jersey engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyHoboken, New Jersey engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyHoboken, New Jersey engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyHoboken, New Jersey engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyHoboken, New Jersey engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyHoboken, New Jersey engagement session by Abby Grace PhotographyNew York City engagement session by Abby Grace Photography

Jean - January 6, 2015 - 8:45 pm

whae a beautiful shoot, Abby. Love every one of these images!

Marisa - January 6, 2015 - 10:50 am

Ooo, the forehead kiss in the street shot! <3 <3