Sophomore year at Virginia Tech was when it started. They attended a formal weekend together for greek life, and after a couple of months of a vague relationship status, things became officially official. Falling in love in southwest Virginia, especially in the context of a college campus, there’s something so classic and almost magical about it; it’s not hard at all to understand how things naturally fell into place with Patrick & Katie. Fast forward to a few years later as they vacationed down in Savannah, and Patrick led Katie to one of the town’s historic squares where he knelt underneath the Spanish moss and asked her to be his wife! I’m sure she smiled that dazzling smile of hers, and he must have wrapped her up tight the way only he knows how to hold her. These two together are a dream!

Patrick and Katie (and Elsie!), I had such an amazing time with you during your engagement session! Things are just so easy between the two of you, it was a dream to have you both in front of my lens. Thank you, thank you for such a joy-filled morning and for filling me to the brim with inspiration- I can’t WAIT for your DAR wedding in August!! So much love to you both!

sunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photographysunrise engagement session in Old Town Alexandria- Abby Grace Photography

Hellooo Monday! It’s nice to see your shining face again. I had this weekend off in the sense that I didn’t photograph a wedding, but I DID spend all day Sunday working on a super awesome, yet-to-be-launched project! And just to put this out there, I’m not being vague just to be obnoxious- it’s just because we’re still tweaking the project, and I don’t want to push it out of the nest before it’s ready to fly. So this isn’t me being aloof for the sake of making you wish you were cool enough to be in the know, I promise! Because I hate it when other people do that to me :). We actually have a couple of still-under-wraps projects we’re working on right now- this is going to be one exciting summer & fall!

Virginia wedding photographer- Abby Grace

One thing I CAN tell you about one of our projects is that it required me to sit in front of a video camera yesterday. Which also required us to turn off the AC so it didn’t interfere with audio. Which, when coupled with the intense video lights Ben was using, resulted in me using more powder on my face than I ever have before. Your skin gets shiny FAST under those conditions! Now I understand why professional on-set make-up artists are so necessary. Also, having two German Shepherd mixes and needing quiet on a set? Completely impossible. We ended up schlepping Sirius to my parents’ and Lily to our friends Alan & Nicki’s house. I’m so, SO grateful for friends and family nearby.

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

  • I used a drill for the first time without any help from Matt! I’m normally too intimidated to hang any sort of hardware on my my own, but I just bought a new wall organizer thingy from the Container Store last week and really wanted to put it up, and I didn’t want to wait for Matt to get home. True, I did make a small scar on the wall by accidentally banging the drill bit into it. But other than that, I successfully drilled 4 small holes, installed 4 anchors, and then proceeeded to screw in the hardware to hang my wall organizer. #BOSSLADY!
  • And now I have a place to store all of my various washi tape.
  • One of the best parts of Project-Under-Wraps #2: I had an excuse to go buy a pair of Kate Spade charm heels this past weekend. I mean, I don’t get to KEEP them, but I got to look at them all weekend!
  • I really, really want this print for my office. I can totally justify it as a business expense, right?
  • The June #TuesdaysTogether meet-up is tomorrow! If you’re a creative entrepreneur in the Northern Virginia/DC area, we would LOVE to have you out tomorrow- join the FB group here where you’ll be able to see the specifics of tomorrow’s meet-up!

And here’s a preview of a very special Anniversary Experience session I photographed this morning in DC. More SOON!

Washington, DC Anniversary Photographer- Abby Grace

  • Jean - Every woman should know how to use a drill. Glad you were brave enough to do that. Can’t wait to see what your new projects are. Love the shoes and the water color print! Beautiful engagement photo!ReplyCancel

  • Sydni - I’m impressed with your drilling skills! And thankful that you aren’t keeping secrets just for the fun of it ;)ReplyCancel

Gentlemen, I apologize. This post will probably be of zero interest to you!

Ladies, I KNOW I’m not the only one who’s looked in the mirror during a wedding reception and though to myself “how the heck did my eyeliner fall THAT far? I look like I got punched in the eye!” I’m a complete novice when it comes to stuff life this, but throughout the past few years of photographing weddings, I’ve found definite Do’s and definitely Don’t’s when it comes to the cosmetics you wear while shooting. My mantra when it comes to makeup is “simple = YES.” In other words, I don’t want to have to spend a significant portion of time prepping my face before scooting out the door to a wedding, nor do I want to transform myself into something that no longer resembles who I am- everything I use is easy and relatively fuss-free! Here are a few of my must-haves for a professional wedding day look:

1) Bare Minerals foundation powder in Matte, Bare Minerals concealer powder. I’ve been using Bare Minerals since my freshman year of college, and I don’t think I’ll ever not use it! It’s quick, easy, non-greasy, and doesn’t feel heavy like typical foundation. And if my face starts to get a bit shiny, it’s super easy to re-apply!

Makeup for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

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If I’m having a bad skin day and need a little bit more coverage that’ll stay put throughout the wedding day, I use this Cover FX BB Gel. It gets a bit shiny as the day goes on, but again, it’s super light!

2) Falsies Volum Express in Brownish Black. I know it’s a super cheap mascara, but it doesn’t fall at ALL during the day! No dark circles underneath my eyes, unless I’m super tired :).

Makeup for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

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3) Clinique cream eyeliner. I LOVE this stuff- it stays all day! No smudging or falling, unless I’ve done a small cat-eye- the winged bit will rub off if I’ve been messing with my eyes, but that’s to be expected. Everything else stays right in place.

Makeup for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

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4) Urban Decay Primer Potion- I hardly ever wear eye shadow, but when I do, I always start with this! It keeps my shadow from disappearing or creasing as the day goes on.

Makeup for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

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5) Urban Decay Naked2 eye shadow palette- I just bought this a couple weeks ago and since I have, like, zero cosmetic skills, the only way I know how to use it is by watching YouTube make-up tutorials. But I like that the palette is tame enough for a professional, feminine look, and has enough variety that I can mix things up every time I use it! Having a set of makeup brushes is super helpful, too- the one included with the palette is alright, but it won’t do as good of a job as if you purchase a few of the individual brushes or a full set.

Makeup for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

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6) SUNSCREEN. This is a recent addition this year- after shooting two stunning vineyard weddings in a row and coming home with sleeveless-dress-tan lines, I realized how much sun I get throughout the course of the day. So I’ve started carrying Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer mist sunscreen so that I can apply without messing up the rest of my make-up!

Makeup for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

I always carry a back-up case of make-up essentials in my extra fluff bag, too, just in case it’s a hot, sticky day outside and I need to refresh my powder before heading in for the first dance! It’s not a vanity issue, it’s a desire to appear professional and collected in front of my couples, their friends and family. Shiny, sweaty skin lends itself to a feeling of being rushed, and I never want to appear anything other than totally pulled together, even if I DID just sprint to get to the reception hall before they opened the doors for guests :).

  • Jean - You always look beautiful, with or without makeup, but it looks like you’ve got your routine down pat! Love you.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Love this post! I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing actually lol and who doesn’t love looking into someone else’s makeup bag? SO smart to wear sunscreen though! I don’t burn easily so I never even think to do it! And the naked palettes are just amazing! I have the first one and want to get the others too :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - I LOVE that Naked palette! Out of the three, it’s definitely the most versatile! You’ve reminded me that I need to buy a new one!!ReplyCancel

  • Morgan Leigh - This is great! Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Sydni - I definitely learned how to do makeup (and hair) from youtube tutorials too! TheSmallThingsBlog.com is my favorite!ReplyCancel

“Ad astra per alas porci,” or “to the stars on the wings of a pig” (a pigasus!). It’s a sentiment that was sprinkled throughout their wedding day, both an homage to Abby’s favorite author John Steinbeck and a motif for their new marriage, meaning though we may be ill-equipped, we will shoot for the heavens anyways. It was Steinbeck’s habit to sign his letters with the pigasus as a reminder to aspire, so how fitting that the winged pig wound its way subtly into various elements of their wedding day! A love story that began with a drinks date quickly evolved into the sort of legacy their children’s children will still talk about- they are so very much in love, it’s impossible not to be inspired to greater heights when you’re around these two.

Jake & Abby, your wedding day was perfect from start to finish! Not because of the exquisite details or the sweeping views of Virginia wine country, but because of you two. Abby, your sweet spirit and joyful laughter is made even more beautiful in the arms of your husband. Jake, your adoration and loyalty are so pure, and watching the way you look at your new wife was something to treasure. I hope Spain, France, Italy & Greece are as incredible as you’d dreamed- enjoy!

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Coordination & Design: A. Dominick Events
Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards
Dress: Oscar de la Renta, via Saks Jandel
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair + make-up: Alison Harper & Co.
Groom: Dragon Inside
Bridesmaids: Amsale, via Nordstrom
Florals + decor: The Orangerie
Catering: Occasions Caterers
Paper: Heart & Fox
Deejay: Evan Reitmeyer

Photographing these together was everything I love about my job, all rolled into one session- a groom who’s utterly enchanted with his fiancée, a bride who fits so perfectly into her beloved’s arms. So much laughter, so much! And to top things off, a ballet-pink tulle skirt by Katherine Elizabeth Bridal, and a floral crown by Holly Chapple. Plus, when we arrived at our second location? There were horses in the field. I like to think that José Villa would be proud of us.

I could not love these two any more- they’re a delight to photograph, and an even greater pleasure to simply know! They’re just so easy together, the way he takes her hand, how she slips her arms around his waist. They’re hilarious together, and I can’t remember an afternoon where I’ve laughed so much while shooting. It just makes SENSE, them being together. Like Audrey Hepburn + Tiffany’s, or Dean Martin and that signature black tux.

Kevin, Arienne, I am so, so grateful for you two. Your engagement session felt more like a rendezvous with two old friends, and if things were this amazing during round 1, I absolutely cannot WAIT for your wedding day! SO much love to you both, I can’t wait for October!

Tulle skirt: Katherine Elizabeth Bridal
Floral crown: Holly Chapple
Hair + make-up: Alison Harper & Co
Mint maxi dress: Donna Morgan

Fine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace PhotographyFine Art Middleburg, Virginia engagement session- Abby Grace Photography

 

  • Shalese - This is SO dreamy! Jose would be super proud. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jean - These are gorgeous photographs, Abby. I love the soft colors, the beautiful couple. You do such a beautiful job with your clients.ReplyCancel

  • Nikki Santerre - These are amazing, Abby! Stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - These are stunning! Something to truly treasure.ReplyCancel

  • Drew - The horses in the background make these pictures look like a dream. Gorgeous! Thanks so much for posting these.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - This is absolutely GORGEOUS Abby! That flower crown, the glow around them and the horses! Love it ALL! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - So, so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Rici - OMG!! This is solo super totally gorgeous!!ReplyCancel