Ann & Tony's Soulful Wedding at Home

There are so many photos in this blog post.

I couldn’t whittle down this day any further, I just couldn’t. Ann and Tony’s wedding day was a HIGHLIGHT. OF. MY. CAREER. No, that isn’t hyperbole. From the very first image I captured— of Ann’s father practicing his speech alone in the reception tent—I knew it was going to be remarkable.

I can honestly say I’ve never seen more emotion packed into one day. At the end of the evening, I was completely exhausted from riding the waves of laughter and tears, smiling maniacally behind my camera at the joy of it all.

For me, this wedding was a perfect fit. Everything about Ann and Tony’s romance, priorities, and hearts resonated deep within my soul. It was everything I envisioned when I became a wedding photographer… and not one part of it had to do with luxurious linens or inventive escort card displays. Nothing was fake or staged. It was all love, in it’s purest form.

The day started peacefully and beautifully. Marissa of Studio Posy told me that before I got there Ann was performing a dance outside, and I so wish I could’ve seen that for myself. The way she moves and carries herself is graceful and elegant, which, combined with her thoughtful and deeply passionate personality, make her a complete joy to photograph.

For Ann, dance is life. After spending time in both in Cuba and Haiti, immersing herself in their vibrant cultures and traditions, she is currently focusing on teaching Afro-Caribbean Folklore, Modern, Ballet, Dance History, and the Sacred Dance of the African Diaspora as an Associate Professor of Dance at Christopher Newport University. In fact, it can even be said that dance is what brought she and Tony together. After Ann took the job at CNU, she found a super cute neighborhood to move into, with an even cuter neighbor who lived just a few doors down.

Ann got dressed and ready in the bedroom she and Tony share. He prepared downstairs. They did not see each other before Ann walked down the aisle with her father.

Blush Bridal Studio Wedding Dress
Bride and Her Mother on Wedding Day
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As I was getting to know Ann and Tony, I discovered what’s important to them. Family is number one. Photographing Ann and Tony with their parents was at the top of the list. I loved how Ann’s mom D’ann sat in the bedroom as Ann was getting ready, which provided opportunity for encouraging smiles, private moments between the two, and even a few tears. I loved documenting their relationship. You can see how proud Ann’s mother was throughout the day.

Blended Family Wedding Day Traditions

Tony has twins from a previous relationship— Ava and Angelo. They’re 11, and they’re WONDERFUL. So polite! So well-behaved! SO SWEET!

I was in awe of how beautiful Ava and Ann’s relationship is. What’s more impressive is how the wedding day was a true joining of families, with the twins being very involved. I feel like EVERY blended family should take note.

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Bride Getting Dressed with Mother & Friends

Again, I never pose a bride and her bridal party while getting ready. This moment happened naturally, and there’s no way I could’ve set it up any better. I love how Ann’s exhaling, a friend is buttoning her dress, and her maid of honor is looking up at her. I also love that D’ann is there, a steady presence in the room, with a smile as big as the sun.

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After Tony had left for the ceremony which was held at Lion’s Bridge in Newport News—a three minute drive from their home— Ann left with her mother, father, Ava, and her maid of honor.

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Bride Walking Down the Aisle
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This moment of Tony cupping Ann’s father Gus’s face and kissing him gives me ALL the feels. I immediately felt the tears welling up when this happened. It was so tender, so incredibly touching.

Bride and Groom Wedding Ceremony
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One of my favorite things about both Ann and Tony are how open they are with their emotions. When people are open with their genuine feelings and hearts, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world to see.

Dance for Oshun Folklore Dance
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Ann’s friend Ife performed “Dance for Oshun”, which was a spectacular treat. It was the BEST ceremony I’ve ever witnessed due to the amount of thought that went into it, and the involvement of so many friends and family.

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I loved this sweet moment between D’Ann and Tony’s mother Cherie. They took turns reading selections that represented the theme for the day— Family & Friends.

Traveling Wedding Photographers Lindsay and Logan Collette

Then came the family vows, and a family state of intent, which had nearly everyone in tears.

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Stepdaughter as Bridesmaid Crying

They even had a special family handshake, and encouraged their guests to turn to each other and do one, too! THIS WAS SO COOL. I LOVED this part of the wedding so very much.

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Lion's Bridge & Mariner's  Museum Wedding Day
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Ann and Tony recessed down the aisle to Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke, which I think is the best selection ever.

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It’s always a pleasure working with Marissa of Studio Posy. We’ve worked together on four weddings and the PFLAG Prom together this year, and it’s always so wonderful to know she’s on the vendor list; she always does such a beautiful job and makes sure our couples are treated well.

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Yet another highlight of the day was when Ann & Tony were announced at the reception. Two of their friends followed with trumpets playing the theme to Rocky.

Bride and Groom Announced to Rocky Theme
Wedding Reception Intro Songs for Bridal Party
Wedding Reception in Couple's Backyard

And then the Italian feast began! (Seriously though. This food was outrageously good!)

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Father of the Groom Portrait
Junior Bridesmaid & Groom's Daughter
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Wine was sipped and toasts were made, and, again, it was a mix of emotion. Highs and lows and back again.

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Good Shot Judy Wedding Band

Good Shot Judy performed at the wedding, and let me tell you, THEY ARE GOOD. Naturally, there was a LOT of dancing.

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Mother Son Dance
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I don’t normally share so many mother-son dancing images, but, as a mama to two boys, I get super emotional during this part of the day. It’s clear that Tony and Cherie have a special bond. It inspired me as a mama, and I hope hope hope that one day my boys and I will share this special tradition.

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At the end of the night Logan and I went home feeling SO GOOD about the wedding. We talked at length about the moments and our emotions throughout the day. It was so job-affirming, and we are deeply humbled to have been a part of Ann and Tony’s perfect wedding day.