Travis + Gabi's Christmas Themed Wedding at Hotel Roanoke | Roanoke, Virginia Wedding Photographer

Hotel Roanoke, Crystal Ballroom Wedding Photos

Gabi and Travis were introduced by a mutual friend in Gainesville, Florida in 2016.  They hit it off immediately, and 6 months later Gabi packed her bags and moved to Blacksburg to live with Travis.  Travis proposed to Gabi on the top of the mountain at McAfee Knob after a 2 hour hike on the Appalachian Trail.  Their Christmas themed wedding took place on a *freezing* cold afternoon at Hotel Roanoke.  They opted for a quick first look in front of a 100+ year old Magnolia tree at the Magnolia Terrace before their ceremony.  Gabi kept warm by wrapping up in her grandmother’s fur stole and snuggling up next to Travis.

Once we were back inside, I was excited to see that Mike Ellerbrock was their officiant; he worked with my mother years ago and I used to be good friends with his daughter back in elementary school!  The ceremony took place in the Crystal Ballroom of Hotel Roanoke.  It was decorated with green garland wrapped in Christmas string lights, chandeliers, beautiful poinsettias, Christmas trees, and gold Chiavari chairs.  They exchanged very emotional vows where a few tears were shed before sealing the deal with a sweet kiss.  I loved their seating chart – a vintage picture frame with string lights which had beautiful glass Christmas ornaments with each guest’s name and table number.  DJ the DJ from Quest Entertainment did an amazing job with the music [such a great job in fact that it landed him a spot on Nuptial Ninjas aka my list of The Best Wedding Vendors in Southwest Virginia].  The only time the dance floor emptied was so folks could eat delicious wedding cake and when someone pulled a party foul and dropped a glass on the dance floor.  At the end of the night, guests sent off Gabi and Travis with a “Jingle Bell” exit by shaking little Christmas bells as they dashed off to the honeymoon suite.

Roanoke, Virginia Wedding Vendors

Roanoke, Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer, second shooting for Kristie Lea Photography
Wedding Venue: Crystal Ballroom, Hotel Roanoke
Hair and Makeup: Les Cheveux
Wedding Cake: Evie’s Wedding Cakes
DJ: DJ the DJ, Quest Entertainment
Officiant: Rev. Mike Ellerbrock

5 Tips to Help You Have Amazing Family Formal Wedding Photos

Wedding Photography Advice: Tips to Have Good Family Formal Photos

Wedding Planning: Family Portrait Planning Tips

Have you been to one of those weddings where the bride and groom disappear for nearly two hours after the ceremony for photos?  They completely miss out on their cocktail hour and then there is this awkward bit of time where their friends from college are trying to make small talk with a weird uncle…  Yeah it isn’t ideal and couples tell me all the time that their main wedding photography concern is this gap of time.  Here are some tips to help you make the family formal photo part of your big day as quick and painless as possible without leaving anyone out.

  1. Provide your photographer with a list of groupings that you would like along with the name of each family member in the shot (yelling “Hey, hey you, blue dress! Come back!” isn’t as effective as knowing actual names).
  2. Check with all of the parents to make sure you’ve got all the groupings correct to ensure that family formals being added on last minute on the day of the wedding don’t take up so much time that you won’t have time for bride and groom photos.
  3. Print everyone who will be included in the post-ceremony formal photos a list of the groupings in order so they’ll know when they are finished and can return to the reception.  Bonus points if this printout also requests that guests not try to take the same photos as the photographer - it makes the process take 2 to 3 times longer than it normally would plus you’ll get ALL of your photos after the wedding to share with your friends and family so they can just go relax.
  4. When putting together your timeline, make sure you allow 4 to 5 minutes per formal grouping that you have on your list.
  5. Don’t stop between photos for hugs and chatting, you will be reunited at the reception where you will have plenty of time to celebrate… the faster we can get you through your family formals, the sooner we can get you back to your friends and family for the party!

P.S. Could you do me a favor?  If you found this information helpful, please share with a friend via email or social media using the share button below.

Wedding Photography Advice: Tips to Have Good Family Formal Photos

Jessica + Matthew’s Wytheville Wedding | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Jessica and Matthew’s wedding ceremony took place at the St. Paul Methodist Church in Wytheville, Virginia.  Jessica got ready in a gorgeous estate next door owned by the church.  She looked stunning with her half updo and long sleeved lace wedding dress that buttoned up the back.  Jessica and Matthew decided to have a “first look” prior to the ceremony outside on a beautiful brick pathway that was covered in moss.  I loved their pink, green, and white floral arrangements that included roses, bells of Ireland, and hydrangea in milk glass and hobnail vases as well as adorning their various flavors of wedding cakes.  At golden hour we had the chance to sneak out onto the greens at Wytheville Golf Club for some more photos of the bride and groom which ended up being some of my favorite from the entire day!

Wytheville, Virginia Wedding Vendors

Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer, second shooting for Kristie Lea Photography
Ceremony Venue: St. Paul United Methodist Church, Wytheville, Virginia
Reception Venue: Wytheville Golf Club

Mountain Lake Lodge Styled Wedding Photos | Virginia Wedding Photographer

In September, Mountain Lake Lodge hosted their annual Wedding Open House.  A few of the popular locations for weddings to be held, such as the ballroom and Mary’s Barn, were set up with vendors so couples could find their perfect wedding day team while touring their venue!  Once the open house was over, a few models arrived to have their makeup done by Jessica Hall from Glam House Day Spa and we gathered a few vendors together for a styled shoot.  We selected dresses, a jacket, earrings, and a veil from Chantilly Lace; wedding bands, engagement rings, and bracelets from Kent Jewelers; and flowers from Stonecrop Farms and Radford City Florist.  The scenic overlook of the Blue Ridge Mountains provided the perfect backdrop for our photo shoot and is another beautiful location at Mountain Lake for couples to tie the knot.  I am sneaking some non-wedding related photos in here from where I got silly with the events team from Mountain Lake during the shoot.  If your professional team headshots don’t include a cheerleader pyramid then you should act up next time because real smiles are the best smiles.  I am so happy that I had the opportunity to work with this fabulous group… all of the vendors and models were so much fun to hang out with and I cannot think of a better way to spend an afternoon than creating beautiful images with wonderful people.

Southwest Virginia Wedding Vendors

Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Venue: Mountain Lake Lodge
Bridal Boutique: Chantilly Lace
Jeweler: Kent Jewelers
Makeup: Jessica Hall, Glam House Day Spa
Florists: Stonecrop Farms [Flower crown and matching bouquet] and Radford City Florist [Pink and purple bouquet]

NeLea + Jesse’s Backyard Wedding in Lebanon, Virginia | Southwest Virginia Wedding Photographers

I met NeLea a few years ago when she was a bridesmaid at Danielle + Michael’s Biltmore Estate Wedding so I was super excited to hear from her when Jesse asked her to marry him!  I am copying the story of how NeLea and Jesse met directly from an email she sent me because the way she describes it made me laugh: “We met at this really sketch club in Johnson City called Chrome in 2013. It’s been shut down since but it’s worth a google. Guess Ed Sheeran was wrong when he said the club isn’t the best place to find a lover. We were just long distance friends until 2015 when I was invited out with Jesse and his friends for his birthday. First official date was April 1st, 2015, the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s passing. He took me to play mini-golf, dinner, and to Blackbird Bakery to keep my mind off of it.”  When Jesse proposed, he took NeLea to the park across the street from the bakery where they had their first date.  It was his birthday so he had his family meet them at the bakery for dessert.  Jesse asked NeLea to read something off of the statue outside of the bakery and when she turned around he was down on one knee.  Another fun fact, that bakery is called Blackbird Bakery and they made NeLea and Jesse’s wedding cake!  In addition to the cake form their favorite bakery, NeLea and Jesse’s families whipped up some amazing confections for a huge dessert table that I returned to graze from all night.  NeLea’s something blue and something new were her sparkly blue wedding shoes.  Her something old and something borrowed was the wedding and anniversary rings that her father gave to her mother.  Believe it or not NeLea’s dress was actually a prom dress AND this wedding actually took place in Jesse’s family’s back yard – I wish my back yard was this amazing!

Another fun fact: I still don’t know the correct way to say Lebanon.

Wedding Vendor Team
Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Dress: Colors Dress purchased at Belmeade Formal Wear in Bristol, Virginia
Hair: Britney Nidiffer from Prestige Aesthetics in Johnson City, Tennessee
Officiant: Shawn Raley, Knoxville, Tennessee
Florist: Bobbi's Dream Florist and Gifts
Wedding Cake: Blackbird Bakery
Catering: Bonanza Steakhouse
Jewelers: Zale’s and Goodman Jewelers
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groomsmen Attire: Kegley and Company