Rachael & Nelson's Quintessentially Coastal Wedding Day at The Hermitage Museum & Gardens
It’s been a while since I first met Rachael at Press 626 in Norfolk to talk about what was most important to her and her fiancé Nelson for their wedding photography. She stressed that what she was after were “The Moments”. I seem to hear this a lot from the people who hire me as their photographer. It makes my heart soar each time. It’s the reason I love wedding photography— The Moments! I talk about them often, and to know that couples and families connect with that passion of mine is beyond exciting.
The day did not disappoint.
I loved so much about Rachael & Nelson’s wedding day. I loved that Rachael got ready at her parent’s home in Norfolk, right across the river from The Hermitage. The atmosphere at a place where you are comfortable is naturally more relaxed. I think it would be especially beneficial for brides who may deal with anxiety regularly— it’s just less pressure. Bonus— if you have a special relative that has come in from out of town, like a grandmother or close cousin, it’s more likely they’ll be at the house rather than a hotel room where you are getting ready. This provides the opportunity for genuine moments with those closest to you to happen naturally.
I think the idea of the perfectly styled, clean space to get ready in has been pushed onto brides. However, I believe that there is something so endearing, emotionally charged, and telling about the photos created in a place such as a bride’s childhood home. It’s my favorite.
Kim Porter did Rachael’s makeup. Kim is my absolute favorite makeup artist in the Hampton Roads area. I love her positive attitude, strength, fire, and ambition. She also happens to do absolutely gorgeous bridal makeup, leaving brides and the bridal party looking flawless.
I love this photo so much because it happened organically. I don’t set up shots of bridesmaids helping the bride with her dress—that’s just not how I approach wedding days—so when these things happen all on their own it’s pure magic.
Last minute alterations.
Rachael commissioned a headpiece to be attached to her veil from her friend, Jamie Slye, which used a piece of her mother’s wedding dress. When she showed her mom, it was especially touching. I think everyone in the room was a little teary at this point.
Rachael is super close with her dad. In the months leading up to the wedding I got to know Rachael more. One thing I learned from all of our chats is that her father, John, LOVES Metallica’s Enter Sandman. Like, LOVES it. I know a party animal when I see one. I couldn’t wait to see him in action at the wedding.
Another thing I love? Getting to know—really know— these subtle nuances about the couples I work with. Had I not talked with Rachael throughout our time together, I would never have known that her dad loves to have fun and that they have an amazing relationship. Their first look was out on their family’s dock in the backyard, and it was lovely.
Usually while I am with the bride, Logan hangs with the groomsmen for a bit. When Logan met up with the guys at the Hermitage, they were ready. It was like there was someone off camera yelling, “ACTION!” Logan went with it, and it worked. It was the guys’ real personalities which is always so much better than anything Logan or I could come up with. Two of Nelson’s groomsmen were Rachael’s brothers, Taylor and Owen, who are total performers.
Right before the first look, I took a few moments to photograph Rachael. I love that you can see a little bit of tension in Rachael’s hand gestures in the above and below photographs which give way to a very obvious relief on both Nelson and Rachael’s faces in the following photo. A lot of couples say that they chose to do a first look to relax them, and I do think it helps. It also gives you a chance to have a few private moments in a what is otherwise a very busy day.
The Hermitage is my absolute FAVORITE Hampton Roads venue. It’s one of my favorite places without needing it for a wedding. It’s a wonderful treasure nestled in a Norfolk neighborhood.
Kelly Gish KILLED it with the florals. I am a sucker for anenomes, which were perfect with the cornflower blue and burgandy color palette.
Generally, church weddings have a lot of rules. At this particular church, we were asked not to move. So, I took up one position at the ride side of the church, Logan was at the back, and our assistant Pawel was on the left. Also: Count on your church not allowing flash photography.
After the ceremony guests made their way to the Hermitage for cocktail hour and the reception. The Art of Burning Man exhibit was still up, and guests hung out, enjoyed the sunset, fresh seafood, and the Mosaic Steel Drum Orchestra! (Such a cool touch!)
I was all about the coastal elegance that was the theme. Rachael and Jill of Sunkissed Events came up with a gorgeous setting. The combination of the cobalt blue touches, fluffy white hydrangeas, and golden glow from the candles is an all-time favorite of my mine.
Yet another talented friend of Rachael’s did a great job on all of the signage. I
I thought this oyster shell table runner was SO. GOOD.
Right before being announced Rachael had this sweet, sweet moment with her flower girl.
The Inside Out Band were FANTASTIC! They got everyone grooving… literally! There was almost no one sitting down all night.
There he is!
One of my favorite reception images EVER! And Logan snapped it!
At the very end of the night, Rachael got up and took over on trumpet, resulting in one of the best wedding moments EVER.
Rachael and Nelson’s wedding had every element for a perfect day, ALL THE MOMENTS, and I loved being a small part of it. The vendor team was out of this world, and came together to put on a one of a kind day. Thanks to everyone involved!
If you want to see their wedding film, check it out here!
Photography: Lindsay Collette, Logan Collette & assistant Pawel Malyszko
Planning: Sunkissed Events
Florals: Kelly Gish
Hair: Christina Crespo
Makeup: Kim Porter
Church: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
Venue: Hermitage Museum & Gardens
Dress: Kenneth Winston
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: The Black Tux
Caterer: Sweetwater Cuisine
Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals
Band: Inside Out Band
Lighting: Blue Steel
Signage: Sara Rhyne Design