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Mike & Jeanmarie- a Charlottesville anniversary session at UVA

They met in Charlottesville thirty-some years ago- she’d knocked on the door of the fraternity house looking for a friend, and Mike answered the door instead. “He was really good-looking!” But he wasn’t interested in a girlfriend at the time, what with school taking over his life. So they became friends. But after about a year, Mike decided it was time to call her up, give things a real shot. And sure enough, they met back on campus three years later, just this time in the chapel. She in a white dress, he in a suit, friends and family gathered to watch them say “I do.”

September 1, 2014 was Mike & Jeanmarie’s 30th anniversary, so we began the day right with an Anniversary Experience session to celebrate just how far they’ve come since then. Walking throughout campus, musing over memories both from their time at UVA as students, and their times back in Charlottesville to visit as all three of their kids attended. And as I was leaving, catching them sneaking back into the Chapel to exchange a gift at the very altar where they exchanged promises exactly 30 years before.

Mike & Jeanmarie, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have captured your love on such an important milestone in your relationship. Marriage is worth fighting for, and my time with you both showed me just how very much I have to look forward to in the 10, 15, 30 years to come. Thank you so very much for allowing me in for a morning!

Charlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace PhotographyCharlotteville 30th anniversary session at the University of Virginia- Abby Grace Photography

A huge, huge thank you to Liz for introducing me to her parents- what an honor to document two generations of marriage in the same family :).

Brooke Tyson - September 24, 2014 - 11:15 pm

This is one of the sweetest shoots I have ever seen. It is so clear how in love these two are. I love this one. Beautiful photos!

Rici - September 22, 2014 - 8:41 am

Gorgeously done Abby!!

ashley mitchell - September 18, 2014 - 9:24 am

This is SO STINKING SWEET. I just adore that they did this! :)

Jean - September 17, 2014 - 8:31 pm

Beautiful pictures. Love all of them!

Shalese - September 17, 2014 - 3:56 pm

SO cute!! I love that they did a shoot to celebrate. :)

Alicia Lacey - September 17, 2014 - 3:51 pm

GAHH! I never knew how beautiful UVA’s campus was!! What a sweet (and stylish!) couple!

Rebekah Carter - September 17, 2014 - 3:23 pm

Wow, I love these! It’s so rare to see a couple over 40 on a photography blog, so these are extra special. Her dress is great too.

Tara - September 17, 2014 - 3:19 pm

I absolutely adore this. Beautiful images!

Megan Kelsey - September 17, 2014 - 1:42 pm

Oh how SWEET!!!!

Mary - September 17, 2014 - 12:11 pm

I love Every. Single. One. Of these!!!!! Soooo special and lovely, Abby!!!! xo

Monday Mash-Up

Hellooooo wonderful blogging world! It’s a beautiful Monday morning, and I’ve just finished up photographing the sweetest couple’s sunrise engagement session on the beach. This is what I call “starting the week out right!” The only thing that would have made this morning better would have been waking up without feeling like I’d aged 40 years overnight- our 18 mile run yesterday went really well, but I’m sore! Fortunately, Ibuprofen exists so I’ll be popping those every 4-6 hours today. However, any other solutions for sore muscles/joints are always greatly appreciated :).

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

  • You know what the hardest part is about long runs? The mental aspect. Battling the kind of thoughts that occur around mile four like “Four down, 14 more to go.” I like the actual marathon DAY- that part is fun! It’s just the training that gets me.
  • We use GU packs along the way for our long runs to help keep us fueled, and I gotta say- GU has come a looong way in the last four years, flavor-wise. These packets of gel have been difficult to choke down in the past, but their new flavors like Salted Caramel, Salted Watermelon, and Caramel Macchiato certainly make it less of a chore.
  • Tip for new homeowners: if you move into a house with brand new hardwood flooring, put those pads on the bottom of anything that will be pushed across said floor. Gah, our coffee table + dining room chairs have left some DEEP gouges in our floor, and we’ve only been in the house for just over a month!
  • I freaking love going to baseball games. Matt & I try to go to a couple of Nationals games together every season, but due to a crazy year we didn’t make it to one until last week. I love sitting in the stands with a pack of Twizzlers and a bag of sunflower seeds.
  • It’s only September, but I just bought my 2015 Day Designer- SO EXCITED! I missed the last round of planners before they sold out, so I set about 12 alarms this time around.

A small glimpse into how glorious this morning was with Jake & Abby :).

Destination engagement session in Ocean City, Maryland- Abby Grace Photography

Ashley Mitchell - September 15, 2014 - 11:47 am

Epsom Salts, Magnesium and FISH OIL!! They will help with that soreness and DOMS so much! :)

Dad - September 15, 2014 - 9:16 am

18 mile run followed by a 3 hr. drive=sore quads. Jen, goo is a concentrated sugar/electorate pack that help keeping energy levels up on a long run.

Jen McLeod - September 15, 2014 - 8:59 am

What are GU packs? Heat usually helps sore muscles… :)

A Practical Wedding Workshop recap!

Monday’s workshop was, to be quite simple, perfect. After all of the worrying and unnecessary anxiety, it couldn’t have gone more smoothly! I was SO excited to host these 10 amazing photographers in our new home- part of why we chose the home we did was because it had more room to fill with people! The particular sofa we purchased, the furniture for the living room, all of it was done with workshops and gatherings in mind. It probably would have been less of a hassle to do the workshop at an off-site venue, but I LIKE having people into our home. I like being able to put the kettle on to boil throughout the day to make tea for anyone who wants some. And I love that the sofa we went to such pains to get was filled with people who were excited and ready to learn. It’s more personal, and my favorite part is that it allows for barriers to fall away so that by the end of the day, we’re all in the company of friends, no matter the fact that most of us had only met for the first time that morning. I can’t wait for more of these in the future!

This workshop couldn’t have been a success without a) Matt, and 2) my intern Kaitlyn. Matt worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to have the house ready to go by September 8th. Matt, thank you so, SO much for everything you did to make it the perfect day for me and all of the attendees! I don’t know how I lucked into marrying you, but I’m thankful every day for it. Kaitlyn came Sunday night to help me prep everything from giveaways to champagne flutes, and was there all day on Monday to assist with vendors, meals, taciturn delivery people from Potbelly, be an impromptu model, all of it. Kaitlyn, I couldn’t have done it without you!

Lastly, a huge thank you to the vendors who came together to make the styled portion of the day a smash hit! With a bouquet + boutonniere from Floral & Bloom, a Heidi Elnora dress + accessories from Soliloquy Bridal, and hair + make-up by Alison Harper & Company, Seamus & Alex were a dream to shoot (as usual- I love photographing these two). And I’m pretty sure everyone in attendance agreed, because I lost count of the number of times I heard attendees say something like “They’re so perfect together!”

*Thanks to Kaitlyn for a few behind-the-scenes images you’ll see sprinkled throughout the post!*

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

This bouquet was one of Rachel’s best yet. It was even better than I’d imagined!!

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

I told Martha of Alison Harper & Co. to do whatever she pleased with Alex’s hair, that I trusted her. She TOTALLY delivered! I love the chic, romantic updo- it almost feels like an allusion to the 50′s!

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

Because it’s not really an Abby Grace workshop without some sort of Harry Potter reference.

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

I love Kaitlyn for snapping this frame! I’m totally in my element- gorgeous window light, a stunning bouquet, and my pink tulle skirt puddled around me.

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

A Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby GraceA Practical Wedding Workshop- Virginia photography workshop by Abby Grace

To my workshop attendees, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming. It was a privilege to spend the day sharing with, learning from, and getting to know each one of you. I’m so grateful for the chance to have had you all into our home, and I can’t WAIT to see what you all do with what you took home!

Keep an eye out for another A Practical Wedding Workshop date coming in early 2015- registration will come some time in November or December!

Ailyn - October 22, 2014 - 11:01 am

Hi there!

Would love to know about the next workshop coming up! Where do I get info so I don’t miss out :)

Thanks!

Ailyn

Mary - September 11, 2014 - 1:48 pm

Best day EVER!!! So thankful for your heart for teaching and growing others!! xo

Rici - September 11, 2014 - 1:04 pm

Oh WOW Abby!! Just wow! So many incredible images & happy lines! I love that you wear your tulle skirt for the day! & that radiant smile of yours!!!! spreading joy all the way to Germany. Wonderful!
Many greetings!!

Kelly - September 11, 2014 - 12:07 pm

Thank you so much for being an amazing teacher and hostess Abby! I learned gobs of new stuff and can’t wait to shoot a wedding this weekend with a renewed source of inspiration and confidence. My sincerest gratitude goes out to you!

Deborah Zoe - September 11, 2014 - 9:59 am

Congrats Abby!! Looks fantastic!!

Kip & Liz- a preppy Georgetown engagement session

The first time I met Liz was in the bridal suite of Rosemont Manor as her best friend, also named Liz (remember?) prepared for her wedding day. I remember at some point during Ware & Liz’s reception one of the other bridesmaids whispering to me that Kip & Liz would likely be next, and wouldn’t you have it, those two were the ones to catch the garter & bouquet that night. Sure enough, just a few short weeks later, Kip dropped to one knee as they crossed the Key Bridge with a ring in hand. 

I wish you all could see these two together. There’s this softness to the way they interact, this easy smile on his face whenever he looks at her. And the way she fits into his arms when he loops them around her waist, pulling her closer, it’s just perfect. The laughs come frequently when you’re with these two.

Kip & Liz, it was such a joy to spend the morning in Georgetown with you! Thank you for making my job easier than it should ever be- your relationship is effortlessly beautiful and I had so much fun capturing you together. I’m so, SO excited for your wedding next year!!

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Alicia Lacey - September 10, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Wooweee — if they did this good on the engagement shoot, I can’t even imagine how amazing the wedding is going to be!!

Tiffany Heidenthal - September 10, 2014 - 10:08 am

This is beautiful. I love the shots with the light directly on them. I need to play with that more! I especially love how similar her style is to yours, Abby! You’re a perfect match!

Elizabeth Smalley - September 10, 2014 - 9:44 am

I am obviously biased, but this is my favorite engagement shoot yet! Liz and Kip and the Canoe Club look gorgeous behind your lens.

Monday Mash-Up

…on a Tuesday. Again. But that’s what happens when you a plan a workshop for Monday and you forget about pre-blogging until about 15 minutes before attendees start arriving. Another thing I didn’t do until shortly before the workshop began: ask our friend if she wouldn’t mind hanging out with Lily for a few hours so that my dog wouldn’t drive attendees bonkers. Fortunately for me, Flo is freaking awesome and said she’d love to have the company of our pup :). Thank goodness for amazing friends!

Yesterday’s workshop couldn’t have been better, and I’m so excited to share more later this week! From start to finish, things went off [mostly] without a hitch. The only hiccup was the vendor delivering lunch who insisted she was sitting in front of my house, yet was nowhere to be seen. That was weird. Whatever, it was delicious anyways when it did finally arrive!

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

  • I’ve decided I’m not *actually* a procrastinator. I’m just a champion of last-minute thinking. My presentation outline + PowerPoint for the workshop weren’t started until Friday night, and though I was up til 11 the night before the workshop finishing it up, it turned out smashingly.
  • On a related note, ^that^ was the kind of behavior that resulted in graduating college Suma Cum Laude. So I’m not lazy. I just do my best work when I’m up against a quickly-approaching deadline.
  • I keep trying to convince Matt to get me a ginger cat, but so far, it’s a no-go. I tried a different approach on Saturday, here’s how that went down- me: “This is one thing I like about cats; they don’t beg. They don’t WANT your food.” Matt: “They also don’t want your affection. Cats are evil.” Dangit.
  • Benefits of having lunch and dinner catered for a workshop: you can eat chocolate mousse cake for breakfast the next morning!

Lots of prettiness coming to the blog this week, so stay tuned!

Washington DC wedding photographer- Abby Grace Workshop

Kathryn Grace - September 10, 2014 - 9:23 pm

Cats do too need affection! Your husband obviously just needs some cat experience. Poor kitties are so misunderstood. ;-) We have two orange cats – they’re the cutest for sure!!
LOVE the hairstyle on that bride!!

Jean - September 9, 2014 - 5:54 pm

Glad your workshop was a success. That’s a beautiful photo!

Katie - September 9, 2014 - 1:43 pm

Aw, you should totally get a ginger cat!! They’re the best…and I’m not biased at all. But, my cat totally begs me for food or steals it off my plate when she thinks my back is turned. And she is totally starved for affection (or so she thinks). Kitty cuddles are the best!