The beginning of October started off beautifully! We kicked off a very busy season for us with James and Ashley's wedding day at The Hermitage Museum & Gardens in Norfolk. 

I knew I liked the Hermitage; it's a historic property surrounded on three sides by the Lafayette River with sprawling gardens and jaw-dropping arts & crafts-style architecture. It features an impressive collection of art, and often brings in interesting exhibits. (I fell in love with Bruce Munro's work after visiting the Hermitage in 2014 to see his installations, and am really looking forward to viewing Stickwork: Patrick Doherty later this month!) 

What I didn't know is how much I loved working at the Hermitage! I know it may sound silly to say, but being there I felt at home! It's so peaceful, and the sunsets on the water are surreal. From a photographer's perspective, it's a dream come true with dramatic lighting indoors, and loads of ground to cover. 

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day, or a better couple to celebrate with! 

As I wrote back when Logan and I shot James and Ashley's engagement session, these two are really in love. The way they look at each other, touch each other, and speak to each other is beautiful and tender. Needing no coaxing from me, they interacted organically, which resulted in beautiful images that reflect their authentic selves.

Other things I loved about this day: 

  •  Ashley has THE BEST forehead. Weird, I know. But I loved photographing her silhouette--she's so elegant!
  • This wedding was the first I have ever worked with The 919 band-- and they were AWESOME! The most-asked question I get that isn't photography related is, Do you have any suggestions for bands? This Raleigh-based group is fantastic! A highlight of the evening was their cover of The Backstreet Boy's I Want it That Way, and how THAT song brought everyone out on the dance floor! (I even saw some choreography from the music video-hahaha!)
  • Hands-down the VIP of the day goes to one of the bartenders named Iran. He was ON. TOP. OF. IT. At one point in the evening a group of relatives all gathered together for a celebratory shot (drink). Iran scooped one of the guest's little girls up so her parents could join in. It was so above & beyond "customer service", our minds were blown. Not only that, but everywhere we turned he was running a glass of champagne or wine to Ashley, or a beer to James. Lamenting, Logan and I said that if something had happened to either one of us, Iran would've stepped in to be the photographer. I mentioned this to Iran and he said dead seriously--Well, I would make sure you were OK before I started taking pictures! Like I said. VIP.
  • I came home from this wedding really confident. That doesn't happen all too often, to be honest. Logan hates when I upload all of my images from a shoot because I immediately begin to list all of the mistakes I made, how I could've done better, how I am sure I didn't get enough images, etc. None of that happened this day. I was proud of the work I did, and I stand by it.

All in all, James and Ashley worked so hard over the last year or so to create a day that was everything they imagined. When Ashley arrived to the Hermitage from the Freemason Inn where she was getting ready with her bridesmaids, she went to check out the reception space. Once there she started crying happy tears, and it was so endearing for me. I know how much work she put into the day, and to have it all come to fruition in gorgeous detail must've been most rewarding. 

Thank you, thank you, James & Ashley, for trusting us on this momentous day! It was so special to celebrate with your sweet family on the banks of the Lafayette. We wish you all the love, all the blessings, and all the happiness for many, many years to come!


The Collettes


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