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Dan & Liz- a classic New England black tie affair at Yale University

It was the perfect day for a wedding. The perfect day to don a Vera Wang gown, gather up her coral charm peony bouquet, and meet her beloved beneath the gothic arches of the Brandford Courtyard at Yale. It was the perfect weather to stroll easily about the campus where they first met, to walk down the aisle to the chiming bells of Harkness Tower ringing in the start of their ceremony. The perfect time to promise forever beneath a beautifully crafted huppah, to accept the silver wine goblet as a symbol of their marriage vows. And the perfect evening to celebrate with family and friends who’d gathered from around the world to celebrate these two and the incredible commitment they’d just made to one another.

Dan & Liz, thank you. Thank you so much for trusting me to capture the most monumental day of your lives thus far, and for welcoming me in with such warmth. It was an honor and a joy to document your love, and your wedding day is one I’ll never forget! Mazel tov!

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Black tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace PhotographyBlack tie New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Details-

Ceremony, cocktail & reception: Branford College Courtyard, Yale University
Bride’s gown: Vera Wang
Lace bolero: Custom, Vera Wang
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid dresses: JCrew
Tuxedos: Plain Clothes Alabama
Florals: Fleur De Lys
Make-up: Jennie Fresa
Hair: Amanda Ripley
Music: World Premier Band
Catering: Yale Catering

evangeline graham - June 21, 2014 - 6:05 am

Lovely pictures of a lovely couple! All the photos were so beautiful! well done!

Jean - June 19, 2014 - 4:08 pm

Oh my, what a gorgeous wedding this must have been! The photos are fantastic and you seemed to have captured all the beauty of the day. Wonderful blog!

Rebekah - June 19, 2014 - 3:24 pm

Wow, these are amazing! So many favorites: the shot w/ the bride w/ the older lady on her right who is just grinning up a storm is just too cute! I also really like the picture where the couple is walking in front of the camera but the bride is turning around to look at you w/ such a gorgeous smile. Great work, as always!

Lindsay - June 19, 2014 - 1:26 pm

Abby this is an absolute fairytale and you were the PERFECT photographer to document this day!

Natalie - June 19, 2014 - 12:29 pm

Simply perfection!

Urška Majer - June 19, 2014 - 12:01 pm

What a stunning wedding!

Lauren Swann - June 19, 2014 - 11:48 am

Oh, Abby! This is definitely out of a fairytale! I’ve been anxiously waiting to see this wedding and it certainly did not disappoint!! One of my favorites of yours yet!! Xo!

Beth T. - June 19, 2014 - 11:33 am

Gorgeous, Abby! I love everything about this wedding!

Nikki Santerre - June 19, 2014 - 10:56 am

This entire wedding is gorgeous! Beautifully done, Abby!

Caleb & Christa- a pas de deux ballerina session

This is the stuff of my dreams. These two dancers, this location, the lighting, everything. Ever since beginning my ballerina series, I’ve been dreaming of photographing a pas de deux, or a pair of dancers together. Truthfully, I was nervous going into this session- so excited that I was finally having the chance to fulfill a dream, and scared that I was going to mess it up somehow. Our original location had to be scrapped due to rain, so we booked a studio at the last minute and somehow, it turned out even better than I’d hoped for. A Romeo & Juliet sort of feel, what with Christa’s blush, flowy dress.

Caleb & Christa, you both were amazing. Thank you so much for driving such a long way to help me bring my vision to life! Photographing you was, quite literally, a dream come true! Let’s do this again soon- next time in New York? Yes? Yes.

Washington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC pas de deux ballerina session- Abby Grace Photography

*I’m always on the hunt for new ballerinas to photograph. If you’re an active ballet dancer, either in college or dancing with a company, I’d love to chat! abby@abbygracephotography.com*

 

Mallory - June 19, 2014 - 4:57 am

These are sooo beautiful!

Rosa - June 18, 2014 - 6:36 pm

How beautiful Abby! One word, Exquisite!

Rebekah - June 18, 2014 - 3:33 pm

Gorgeous! I love the lighting & their outfits.

Terri Baskin - June 18, 2014 - 1:42 pm

Love these Abby!!!!

Laurel - June 18, 2014 - 1:00 pm

I can honestly say that these are my all time favorites of your photos. Beautiful!

Stephanie Messick - June 18, 2014 - 12:58 pm

Love love love! You were meant to do this!!! :)

Jean - June 18, 2014 - 12:07 pm

These are gorgeous photos, Abby. Who would have dreamed back when you were taking ballet, that you would be taking beautiful photos like this. You are a real artist.

Shalese - June 18, 2014 - 11:44 am

LOVE love love! As always, this makes me want to be a ballerina. I’m signing up for barre class soon, will that make me a contender?!? hahaha

Nikki Santerre - June 18, 2014 - 10:23 am

STUNNING, ABBY!!!

Rebekah Hoyt - June 18, 2014 - 10:16 am

ABBY. You were MADE to photograph ballerinas! This is absolutely stunning!!

Kelsey DeWitt - June 18, 2014 - 9:51 am

Gorgeousssssss!!

Kayla - June 18, 2014 - 9:44 am

This is so so gorgeous! <3 Amazing job!!

Sabrina - June 18, 2014 - 9:40 am

Just gorgeous, Abby. So beautiful!!

Sally Krueger - June 18, 2014 - 9:37 am

“J’adore!!!!” This gorgeous ballerina session just made me feel like I should comment in French! :) Really beautiful!

Kathryn Grace - June 18, 2014 - 9:34 am

This is drop dead gorgeous! That last shot… swoon!

Deborah Zoe - June 18, 2014 - 9:33 am

Abby, I’m SO proud of you for chasing after this and continually stretching yourself:)! These are absolutely stunning:)

Beth T. - June 18, 2014 - 9:31 am

Wow! Just Wow! These are incredible Abby!

Sarah (Danaher) Bradshaw - June 18, 2014 - 9:25 am

STUNNING!!!

Melodie - June 18, 2014 - 9:20 am

LOVE! These are amazing, Abby!

Brian & Jessi- a sunrise anniversary session in Lexington, Virginia

High school sweethearts have some of the best love stories. Why? Because their’s is always one of victory. Against all odds, they made the difficult transition from high school to college, and from college to engaged to married life. Growing up along the way, likely enduring speculations from those on the outside that they wouldn’t survive the changes. But they did, and they’re even more in love than they were when they were 16. See? Victory.

So in honor of their third wedding anniversary, and of ten years together as a couple, we went back to the campus of Washington & Lee in Lexington where Brian headed after high school. Meandering around campus in the dewey morning light, listening at they recalled thoughts from earlier days. It was just plain lovely, I tell you.

Brian & Jessi, thank you! Thank you for the opportunity to photograph your love, it was such a gift to spend this time with you two! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for round 2 at JMU :). 

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Jessi - June 18, 2014 - 10:13 am

These are so beautiful Abby! :) Thanks so much for everything!! We love them <3

Mary - June 18, 2014 - 7:51 am

Ohhhhh that sunlight is to die for!!!! Such a gorgeous session, Abby!! I constantly fall in love with your style and talent at capturing the love between couples…in their own way!!! xo

Urška Majer - June 17, 2014 - 1:35 pm

This is so stunning :)

Grandma & Grandpa Taylor - June 17, 2014 - 11:55 am

My lovely grandchildren, and sweet!!!
We love you very much.
God bless you always. Grandma Taylor

Toni Warren - June 17, 2014 - 10:57 am

My daughter and son-in-law are beautiful on the inside and out and these pictures have captured that. Thank you!

Tiffany Heidenthal - June 17, 2014 - 10:34 am

Ah! I know these guys! Sweet couple. These are beautiful!

Monday Mash-Up

Have you ever woken up in the middle of a dream, completely disoriented, and SURE that whatever you were just dreaming was real? That happened this morning- I woke up at 6 am and told Matt to make sure he was up in time for the folks from the Scotch distillery, since we had a 6:15 am Scotch tasting scheduled. What?!

I’m embarking on week #3 of Paleo eating, and I’m ashamed to admit that I caved on Saturday. The cupcakes at Billy & Jenny’s wedding looked inCREDIBLE, and as we were packing up to head home with a nearly two-hour drive in front of us, I broke down and licked the frosting off the top of a red velvet cupcake. It wasn’t a proud moment, but dang. Refined sugar tastes SO. GOOD. I did find THIS blog last week though, and after making THIS recipe, I don’t think I’ll be caving again any time soon :). Those cookies were SO dang good, and were really easy to make!

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

  • A good second shooter is worth his or her weight in gold. I’m SO thankful to have my three AGP interns, and this weekend was a huge reminder of how lucky I am to have them! Kaitlyn & I spent the drive back from Saturday’s wedding belting out the Frozen soundtrack, along with a myriad of other broadway tunes. And it was awesome.
  • I tried making cucumber salad for the first time yesterday and I think I used too much vinegar and dill- the whole thing ended up tasting like pickles. But you know what? I didn’t hate it.
  • If you haven’t seen THIS rendition of Remix To Ignition, go watch it right. freaking. now.
  • Singing in the shower makes me feel like I could totally perform on Broadway. God bless ceramic tiles and their beautiful acoustics.
  • Our friends Lukas & Suzy (remember their anniversary session?) came and stayed with us this past weekend, and Suzy and myself totally resurrected the late night Ben & Jerry’s run in your pajamas. I’m aware that this sort of thing usually happens when you’re in college, but whatever. It was 10pm the night before a wedding and we wanted ice cream! (I got sorbet, which is kinda sorta Paleo, right?)

One last preview of Billy & Jenny’s wedding. Oh my GOSH, you guys! This one was a complete stunner! Gorgeous light, coral charm peonies everywhere, and this beautiful couple. I’m having to sit on my hands from sharing any more until their blog post!

Chesapeake Bay Beach Club wedding photo- Abby Grace

P.S. If you’re a blog follower but aren’t following my over on Instagram, go ahead and check me out: @abbygracephoto! I share way more previews over on IG than I do here on the blog :).

Terri Baskin - June 18, 2014 - 1:49 pm

I love these posts!!! And the Remix to Ignition is hilarious!!!! I knew there was a reason why I enjoyed your personality so much!

Rachel McCloud - June 17, 2014 - 8:22 am

just beautiful. as a 4 foot 11 girl who married a 6 foot 2 guy I love seeing couples like these two :)

Carrie - June 16, 2014 - 7:19 pm

STUNNING! Can’t wait to see the rest!

Mary - June 16, 2014 - 11:47 am

Your Monday mash-ups always make me laugh!! :) As for refined sugar…all that kept me going for back-to-back weddings this weekend was a bag of Swedish fish. No shame. Ha! xoxo

leah - June 16, 2014 - 10:12 am

You should check out “Against All Grain” paleo cook book. I’ve loved every recipe I’ve made from there.

Jean - June 16, 2014 - 8:57 am

Those cookies look delicious, but who has those ingredients on their shelves? Love the photo. Gorgeous bouquet!

Kait - June 16, 2014 - 8:48 am

Love the personality in this post. Your monday mash-ups crack me up! And stunning image as always!

6 Myths that Brides + Grooms need to forget when it comes to your photography

There are a lot of things that go into planning a wedding, and when you have your bride- or groom-blinders on, it can sometimes be hard to see things without your wedding-tinted glasses making you freak out about seemingly insignificant details. I know, I did the same thing when we were planning our wedding! I got really worked up about the cake flavor, like somehow choosing Chocolate Mousse Bliss for the middle layer instead of Strawberry Delight was going to mean our wedding was a colossal failure. There are some things worth stressing out over when it comes to your wedding, these next 6 bullet points just aren’t one of them. Read on!

Myth #1: More = better. This can be broken down into a hundred different facets, but we’ll narrow it down for the sake of brevity. Americans have been conditioned to believe that receiving MORE of something means they’re receiving a better product, a better deal. And I get it- everyone wants to relive their wedding day through the images, so having a photo from every second of the day is good, right?

Nope. In my experience, the higher the number of images delivered over a certain threshold, the less likely my clients are to print their wedding pictures. Why? Because they are, plain and simple, overwhelmed. Who wants to sit in front of their computer and go through 1500+ images to choose which 15-30 to print for their parents? It’s a daunting task, and you’ll end up putting it off for weeks, then months, then years. And then you’ll find yourself with kids of your own, asking where YOUR wedding photos are!

Instead, I as the photographer take it as my responsibility to cull down your wedding images into a selection of the BEST- images that show the events of the day and the tender moments in between, but also the images that are exposed properly, the ones that are in focus, photographs that are corrected for white balance, and images where everyone’s looking at the camera. So the final batch of images you’re receiving from me is one that’s been carefully curated to show your wedding in the best possible light, while still allowing you to experience it without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer mass of JPGs in your PASS gallery.

6 Photography Myths about weddings- Abby Grace

Myth #2: You NEED a second shooter. Do I almost always shoot with a second? Yep! Do I always NEED that second shooter? Nope! Sometimes, if the wedding is a small enough affair, the photography package withOUT a second shooter is your best bet. Don’t let The Knot make you feel anxious if you’re going with your favorite photographer and decided not to add on an additional photographer for the sake of your budget.

As a caveat to that, DO consider a second shooter if your wedding is going to have more than 100ish guests, or if there will be activities/ceremonial traditions occurring in rapid fire sequence throughout the evening. Your photographer is a person too, and while we do our best to capture everything that goes on at a wedding, if you know it’s going to be unusually busy, consider booking that second shooter to make sure your photographer’s not totally swamped.

Myth #3: It is essential to have the photographer answer every question on that list from The Knot. Yeah, I sort of have beef with TK. They’re an incredible resource, but they’re also really good at inducing paranoia in brides when there’s often no need for anxiety. The List, and I’m pretty sure you know which one I’m talk about, has been circulating around the interwebs for a few years now. It has 15+ questions for the photographer about everything from the equipment that they shoot with to the clothes they’ll be wearing on the wedding day. Questions that, if we’re being honest, the bride probably doesn’t really care about the answer to- she’s usually just asking because she thinks she’s supposed to do so.

It’s not that averse to answering those questions, it’s that I’d rather spend that time asking YOU about your love story, learning what the first thing was that you noticed about your fiancé. If you’ve hired a true professional for the wedding, don’t sweat about what they and their second will wear on your big day- they’ll be just fine.

6 Photography Myths about weddings- Abby Grace

Myth #4: If you don’t purchase “[fill in the blank with some sort of add-on to any vendor's services]” your wedding will pretty much be a failure. Wedding vendors are business people, and we just happen to be in the business of the biggest emotional day of our clients’ lives thus far. And I think there’s a tendency to overdo it with the scare tactics sometimes: if you don’t hire a Photo Booth, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. If you don’t purchase a wedding album, your kids will never see your photos and your marriage might fall apart. Yada yada.

Do vendors have good reasons for wanting to sell you their products? Of course! I genuinely want my couples to have wedding albums because I know THEY will want one, but if they don’t order one, that’s ok too. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a decision about whether or not to hire a food truck is going to have a lasting impact on your marriage.

Myth #5: You HAVE to do “(fill in the blank with some standard wedding tradition that means absolutely nothing to you).” If the thought of having your new husband remove an undergarment from beneath your dress and throw it into a crowd of single men makes your skin crawl, skip the garter toss. If neither of you like being the center of attention, cut your cake quietly in the corner without having the DJ announce it. If you don’t give a rat’s patootie about something old, new, borrowed or blue, do your thing and SKIP IT.

Myth #6: This is the only time I’m going to have all of the people I love together in one place, so I need to get as MANY photos with everyone in attendance as possible. There’s some wisdom to that sentiment, but here’s the thing: as your photographer, I want to capture your wedding day, and as someone who loves you, I want to capture you ENJOYING your wedding day. I don’t want you to spend your entire reception hunting down your Great Aunt Bertha, + Uncle Albert, + all 47 cousins so that you can get an individual shot with each of them, thus missing out on dancing to that awesome band you hired.

Your wedding is not a photo shoot- get out on that dance floor and enjoy yourself! Please, please don’t get so caught up in capturing images for later that you forget to make memories for yourself right here and now. You’ll be glad for it, your family members will be grateful, and when you look back on that image of you crumping with Great Aunt Bertha, you’re going to love it so much more than a photo of the two of you looking at the camera.

Pastel Charlottesville wedding at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace Photography

Sydni Jackson - June 16, 2014 - 7:25 pm

Thank you!! I have regretted that I completely FORGOT to do the ol’ “something borrowed, blue, old, new” shazam. Thank you for relieving me of my guilt!! Also, we didn’t have dancing at our wedding because neither of us like dancing at other people’s weddings! Why would we want to feel pressured and obligated at our own wedding? No thank you!

Lauren (Jolly) Thomas - June 13, 2014 - 10:25 pm

What a great post! I love every bit of this!! Thanks for putting this out there :)

Emilia Jane - June 13, 2014 - 10:12 pm

PREACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lindsay - June 13, 2014 - 11:07 am

Yes!!! I could not agree with this more!!

Regan Carter - June 13, 2014 - 10:52 am

This is amazing. LOVE everything you shared!! Amen aaaand amen.

Alex Hinders - June 13, 2014 - 10:06 am

LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Spot on :)