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!

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

  • Karyn - 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!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Byrd - 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!ReplyCancel

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!

  • Shalese - 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. :pReplyCancel

  • Amanda B. - 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!ReplyCancel

  • Jean - I can see you had wonderful interns and also had lots of fun.ReplyCancel

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

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

  • Mary - Happy, happy anniversary!!!! Here’s to many, many more!!! xoReplyCancel

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

  • Alicia Lacey - Happy Anniversary, you two!!! And neither deserves one more than the other :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristen Duffy - Well that was beautiful. :) Congratulations you two!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - 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.ReplyCancel

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

  • Marisa - Ooo, the forehead kiss in the street shot! <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • Jean - whae a beautiful shoot, Abby. Love every one of these images!ReplyCancel

And we’re back! That break was exACTLY what I needed. I love my blog, and I LOVE writing! But sometimes it’s nice to take a step away and just BE. Having the chance to spend the holidays with my family, without the worry of needing to publish posts, edit images for the blog, etc.

My “shooting season” is officially over! I went straight through December, shooting all the way up until New Year’s Eve. It was AWESOME! I had the opportunity to photograph the most amazing couples and I’m SO excited to share these weddings and sessions with you. The off-season, though, is what helps me continue to be in love with what I do and why I do it- those couple of months away from shooting are a chance to rest, recharge my batteries, and figure out what needs to change for the following season. Also, it’s a chance to travel and shoot a TON of personal work :).

I’m at Creative At Heart right now and it’s ROCKING my world! You guys, if you’re a creative small business owner, this conference is for you. As I’m typing this, I’m listening to Rachel Brenke (the Lawtographer) speak to a group of 75 people about the top five mistakes small business owners make. And yesterday, we heard from Katelyn, Natalie, Krista and Lauren. The conversations, the heart-to-heart late night chats, it’s exactly what I needed.

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

  • Sirius (our new pup!) is a total klutz, and it is hilarious to watch. He has absolutely no spacial awareness, which results in a lot of the following: falling off the bed, falling off the couch, running into people/things, sliding across the hardwood floors. And for some reason, his paws don’t seem to find purchase on the floor at PetsSmart, so watching Sirius walk through the store was like watching a dog slide around on a patch of ice. IT WAS AWESOME.
  • …and people watching probably think I’m a terrible dog owner, because rather than being sympathetic about my dog’s inability to walk across a normal floor, I was doubled over laughing.
  • Knowing what’s always awkward? Meeting someone in person who you also follow on Instagram/social media in general. They’re like “Hi! I’m Jess!” and I’m like “Yeah, I know. Your wedding at Pippin Hill was so beautiful! I loved the florals.” ….creeper.
  • Ted’s Bulletin, I have such a crush on you. They have a “cinnamon roll as big as ya head” listed on their menu but it’s only available on weekend mornings, and we’ve never made it in time to try one. UNTIL THIS PAST SATURDAY. It literally came with a gravy boat of frosting to pour on top. And it truly was as big as my head.
  • I’m pretty sure I acquired a cavity and diabetes after said cinnamon roll, but it was worth it.

Ok! Lots of great stuff coming to the blog this week and next, so absolutely stay tuned :). Happy Monday, friends!

Washington DC ballerina photographer- Abby Grace Photography