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Jason & Kendra- a rural Maryland wedding

July weddings can be risky- if it’s not uncomfortably hot & humid, it’s often raining. But on Jason & Kendra’s wedding day, it was 78, partly sunny, and humidity-free- it was such a gift! The threat of rain wasn’t enough to dampen Jason & Kendra’s spirits, or the spirits of their friends and family as everyone began arriving. Their first look beneath the trees was such a sweet and tender moment, and and trace of nerves vanished the moment they laid eyes on one another. Their day was perfect from beginning to sparkler-bedecked end.

Jason & Kendra, thank you so very, very much for allowing me in on such a special day of your lives! It was a privilege to be the one present to document the beginning of this next chapter in your lives together, and an absolute pleasure to see your families’ joy as well. I hope Costa Rica was nothing short of incredible!

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Sarah Beth Tapanes - August 8, 2014 - 3:56 pm

So much sweetness <3 Love the light and romantic color scheme- and of course, how beautifully you captured the day <3

Jean - August 8, 2014 - 2:54 pm

What a gorgeous wedding. Love everything about it. Great photos!

Closing time!

Remember that song? It was on NOW volume 2. I know because it was one of the first CDs I ever owned. But I digress.

After 46 signatures (no joke, I kept tally), 23 days from offer letter to closing paperwork, and an hour at the title person’s office, we are officially HOMEOWNERS!

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We walked into the townhouse yesterday after closing and it felt weird- the only other times we’d been to the house were with other people- our realtor, a contractor, etc. This time it was jut us, and this time we didn’t need anyone else to key in for us. It was weird. I guess eventually we’ll get used to the feeling of not being on a January-December lease, that we won’t have to move until we want to.

The rest of this week will be devoted to packing, moving, and cleaning… and trying not scuff up our walls & furniture in the process! Matt & I are so grateful to you guys for being excited with us, celebrations are always more fun when you have friends and family to share the joy with.

I’m off to go begin the process of packing my office- wish me luck! And feel free to follow along on IG (@abbygracephoto) with the hashtag #springmannhousetohome- I’m not gifted in the interior design department, but I do love me a good can of spray paint to freshen up an existing piece of furniture!

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Thanks to our friends Terry & Flo for these images!

Evian - August 8, 2014 - 4:31 am

So excited for you two! Congrats Abby!!

Mary - August 7, 2014 - 6:51 pm

Your smiles say it all!! Huge congratulations!!! SO excited for you!! xo

Jean - August 7, 2014 - 3:48 pm

Congratulations you two! Enjoy!

Alicia Lacey - August 7, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Congrats you guys!!! I hope Toni was there to help you along the way — enjoy homeownership; it’s a crazy, but awesome ride :)

Janine Enold - August 7, 2014 - 1:37 pm

I totally thought of that song as soon as I saw the title and then immediately proceeded to add said song to Grooveshark collection! Congratulations on your new place!

Tina - August 7, 2014 - 11:58 am

CONGRATULATIONS!! I’m so excited for you guys, how HUGE is this!? What an exciting chapter of your life and so great you took these photos!! Can’t wait to see everything come together… and your first christmas at the new house! :) That’s always my first thought with a new place, sorry lol

Sarah Beth Tapanes - August 7, 2014 - 11:53 am

LOVE your big smile in that first pic- SO stinkin’ happy for you- and cannot wait to watch that new house of yours become a home! WOOOHOO!!!

Kelly Ewell - August 7, 2014 - 11:49 am

Welcome to the world of home ownership! I’m so excited for you two and you’re going to love it!

Natalie - August 7, 2014 - 11:46 am

CONGRATULATIONS ABBY!!! Welcome to this incredibly exciting season in your life!!! It’s going to be a roller coaster of love, life, and happiness! So happy for you!

Terry & Flo- Virginia fine art anniversary session

One of my favorite things about marriage is watching love stories take different shape as the years pass. As newlyweds, you can’t imagine loving your spouse any more than you do on your wedding day. Then on your first anniversary, you’ve learned so much about each other that you wonder how you ever thought your wedding day was the pinnacle of your affection. We’ve yet to come to this next chapter ourselves, but I imagine discovering that you’re going to be parents would be another tone of those checkpoints- seeing your husband with new eyes, knowing that he’ll no longer be only a husband, but a father as well. Looking at yourself and realizing your arms will soon hold onto two, instead of only circling round the waist of your beloved.

Terry & Flo are at that particular checkpoint- anxiously awaiting the arrival of little miss Elsa, yet  cherishing these last few weeks while it’s just them. This is what I love about Anniversary Sessions- celebrating your love, just as it is, right here and right now. Before two become three in just over a month, a pair of soon-to-be-parents took pause to stop and treasure this time together.

Terry, Flo, we are so thankful for your friendship! It was a privilege to photograph this session, and I’m grateful for the time spent with you both. I know you’re going to be the best of parents, and I hope these images serve as a reminder in the sleepless nights to come that “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” [1 Corinthians 13:7-8]

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[…] 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 […]

Sarah H - August 6, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Abby- not only are your photos gorgeous, but I love the emotion and beauty you capture with your words!

Jean - August 6, 2014 - 3:29 pm

Beautiful photos. I’m sure these two will cherish these pics. What a great documentation of their love!

Chelsea Anderson - August 6, 2014 - 12:34 pm

Beautiful photographs – so simply and naturally beautiful. Congratulations to the new couple expecting their little one :)

Kathryn Grace - August 6, 2014 - 11:57 am

Beautiful, Abby!

Monday Mash-up

Before we jump into the usual awesomeness of MMU, does anyone have an effective means of removing spray paint from skin? I have “vintage white” all over my hands and it’s coming off on my keyboard as I’m typing! I culled Saturday’s wedding yesterday afternoon after a bout of painting, and my “5″ key had a white fingerprint on it when I was done. It looked like someone was dusting my keyboard for evidence.

Happy Monday! This week is going to be a total whirlwind- we’re closing on our new home on WEDNESDAY! …which means we have a ton of packing to do. One thing I love about moving is that it gives you an excuse to purge- get all the clutter that you don’t need out of your house, so when you move into the new place, you’re left with only things that have a purpose and a place. Or, at least, that’s the theory. I’ve also been slowly purchasing items for the living room in our new house, so we’re moving out with slightly more than what we came in with.

You know what’s magical? Spray paint. I keep forgetting that it exists, and then when I’m reminded that it does, it’s like a whole new world of possibilities are opened up to me. Matt & I had been talking about gutting our bedroom and trying to find new furniture, but we’re also conscious of the fact that we just BOUGHT A HOUSE, so our budget for superfluous projects is lower than usual. Then I remembered that paint comes in spray cans, so we decided to simply paint over our old dressers, nightstands and the headboard/footboard from the spare room. Voila, brand new bedroom set. Super freaking easy! Thank you, IKEA, for making cheap furniture that looks good when painted.

Ok, on to lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: if you haven’t seen it and you like Chris Pratt as an actor, go see it. It’s definitely tends more toward the sci-fi genre than any other Marvel movie I’ve seen, but it was hilarious!
  • Fact: milkshakes at Silver Diner taste better at 10pm, especially when you sit up at the malt bar. Those are my favorite kind of dates with Matt.
  • In case you were wondering, NO, it’s not ok to test spray paint on the FLOOR at Home Depot. Matt uncapped a can and pointed to other blots of color on the ground as evidence that it was ok, and then as he’s spraying, sure enough, a Home Depot employee comes around the corner and says “Sir, I’d prefer you didn’t do that. There’s a sheet of plastic over there where you can test color.” I don’t like say “I told you so,” but… I told you so.
  • Diner coffee is the best kind. We go to a local spot called Virginia Kitchen on the mornings that I shoot weddings, time permitting, and I know it’s crappy coffee in comparison to the gourmet stuff out there, but there’s something about drinking it out of a clunky white ceramic mug amidst the host of regulars also up early on a Saturday morning that’s more satisfying than anything home-brewed.

Jason & Lindsay got married in Georgetown this weekend and it was a stunner. Classic tuxes, elegant bridesmaids, and a vintage Corvette for portraits? Yep. Can’t wait to share this one with you!

Georgetown wedding photographer- Abby Grace

Terri Baskin - August 5, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Congrats on buying a house!!! How exciting!!! ^^ oh and I love how Matt came on to defend himself… lol!!!

Marisa Crider - August 5, 2014 - 9:59 am

Congrats on the house purchase! One of the scariest but best things. The spray paint incident made me laugh! Our Home Depot allows testing on the floor. But I remember slightly geeking out the first time I tried it thinking someone was going to come around the corner and yell at me haha.

Jean - August 4, 2014 - 8:49 pm

Good luck with your move. I know you must be so excited!

Matt - August 4, 2014 - 2:14 pm

To be fair, I went back yesterday and saw someone had tested another spray paint on the spot that I sprayed, so I am justified…

Janine Enold - August 4, 2014 - 12:47 pm

Two things! This picture is gorgeous – I can’t wait to see the rest! Second, any project that involves spray paint – count me in! I am not overly crafty but I do love to reinvent things to reuse in our house. Super cost effective! Happy Monday Abby!

WE’RE BUYING A HOUSE!!

Yeah, all those cryptic Tweets and “I wish I could say what’s going on” hints I’d been dropping? This is what those were about! AHHH! Somebody PLEASE pinch me, because I still feel like I’m dreaming! Please excuse the quality of my iPhone photos in this post- I intentionally left my camera at home for our walkthrough, so this is all I have at the moment :).

A few weeks ago, we drove by my childhood dream house and saw that it was for sale. After an intense 24 hours of crunching numbers and getting my hopes way, way up, we realized it just wasn’t realistic- the house was at the very end of our budget, and because it was a farmhouse built in the 1800′s, there was a ton of work that needed to go into it. So I moped around a bit the next day, frustrated with myself for being foolish enough to invest hope in a pipe dream.

Then Matt & I were surfing RedFin later that afternoon when we both came upon a townhouse in Sterling, only about 15 minutes from where we are now. It looked alright from the images posted by the realtor, and there was an open house currently going on at that very moment. More to distract myself from the wallowing in self-pity I’d been doing, we decided to jump in the car and head over to see this one.

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I’ve staunchly maintained in the past that I didn’t want to buy a townhouse- so many of Reston’s town homes are dark, old, and outright ugly. But as soon as we walked into this one in Sterling, I forgot alllll about that- this was PERFECT. Plenty of room, hardwood floors, and most importantly, TONS of natural light. Ahhh! Matt & I looked at each other as soon as we walked in the ground floor- this was it! And with every room we stepped into, we fell more and more in love. We put in an offer the next day and within three hours, the seller had agreed to our terms :).

That was less than four weeks ago, and yesterday we got the green light that our mortgage went through just fine and we’re good for closing early! For most folks, I know buying a home is just the next natural step in your adult lives. But with the insane housing prices in northern Virginia, it’s always seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle. Pricing was always too high, and seeing how hard my parents had to work to own the home they’re in now, I just thought that we’d never really get there.

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[^This is where the September 8th workshop will be going down! SEE HOW MUCH LIGHT THERE IS??]

We DID get there, though! Throughout this whole process Matt and I have been continuously blown away by God’s graciousness- that the perfect home for us became available just as we were realizing the first one wasn’t going to happen, that it was the right price, that we had an awesome realtor working to negotiate in our favor, even the fact that we’re able to close early. We’re feeling so, so blessed right now. And not in a humble-brag kind of way, but in a “we don’t deserve this at all, yet it was dropped in our laps anyways by a God that loves us and knows what’s best for us” sort of way.

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That dream house of mine from the 1800′s will still be there in 30 years. But you know, right now? This townhouse is my dream home. And I’m feeling so incredibly content. And maybe one day, it’ll be us living in that old farm house, but I’m honestly not worried about anymore. We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be.

More photos and house updates in the weeks and months to come. I’m sure I’ll have more than a few tales for y’all to laugh with me over as we learn what it looks like to be homeowners for the first time! But right now, I kinda just feel like popping a bottle of bubbly.

Lydia - August 4, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Congratulations! I can’t wait to see all the blog posts as you have fun decorating your new rooms!

Spring - August 2, 2014 - 7:51 am

Congrats!!!!! So glad you found the perfect fit!!! As a photographer and a realtor I’m double happy for you!! Xoxo

Faye Bernoulli - August 2, 2014 - 2:27 am

Yay, congrats!! I feel ya on the insane cost of housing…it’s not better in the San Francisco area! Still waiting for our dream home to happen in God’s good timing :)

Sarah - August 1, 2014 - 6:22 pm

YAY!!! It’s so gorgeous!!! I’m so so happy for you two. Can’t wait to see it!

Matoli - August 1, 2014 - 11:47 am

HUGE congrats to you both Abby!! :)

Theresa - August 1, 2014 - 10:53 am

Such a cute picture of Mattie! Love that guy!

SO excited for you guys! Can’t wait to see it. XOXO.

Megan - August 1, 2014 - 9:47 am

CONGRATS!! It really is the best feeling and now begins the real fun…. decorating and making it your own! Enjoy every minute :)

Mia Bjerring - August 1, 2014 - 9:15 am

Congratulations to the both of you! It looks amazing and I just love all that natural light. Gorgeous! Hope you are going to love living there!

Mary - August 1, 2014 - 8:54 am

YIPPEEEE!!!!! Soooo excited for you both!! Such an exciting time!!!! (And of course, I can’t wait to see it for the workshop!!! Eeeee!!!!) xoxo

Jean - August 1, 2014 - 8:53 am

We are so happy for you and Matt! Can’t wait to see it. Looks perfect for you two.

Chelsea Anderson - August 1, 2014 - 8:45 am

How exciting!!!! I’m so excited for you to have a new place!! Buying a house is so big, especially for northern virginia! I know how tough it can be to find and lose great homes! A big congratulations, friend!!!

Lelia Marie - August 1, 2014 - 8:42 am

Hooray!!! I’m so excited for you both! That is the best feeling ever :-) I can’t wait to see more!

Jill Powers - August 1, 2014 - 8:35 am

YAY!!! That’s SO exciting, Abby! I’m so happy for you two!! xoxo

Shannon S. - August 1, 2014 - 8:25 am

Ahh yay! Congrats! This is EXACTLY the same situation that we fell into when we bought our first house! I saw my dream house for sale, realized it was WAY out of our budget but seeing that house started the house searching process that led us to our current dream house. God is so gracious to us in that he can use the process to lead us to “immeasurably more”. So thankful.

Shalese - August 1, 2014 - 8:22 am

WOO CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! It looks BEAUTIFUL and bright and ready to be filled with some truly fabulous memories. :)

lindsay - August 1, 2014 - 8:21 am

Yaay!!! CONGRATULATIONS y’all!! Sterling is my home town- you’ll enjoy it!