Jason + Cassie's Beliveau Estate Winery Wedding | Blacksburg, Virginia Wedding Photography

It was an honor to be present with Jason and Cassie along with their friends and family as they exchanged vows at Beliveau Estate Winery. I arrived at the winery while Cassie and her bridesmaids were finishing up with their hair and makeup appointment at Innovations Salon & Day Spa, so I passed a little time assisting her friends with arranging some beautiful flowers from Stonecrop Farms into centerpieces. Soon the wedding party arrived and began the final steps or preparing for the wedding. Cassie’s mother helped her into her beautiful Maggie Sottero wedding gown from Chantilly Lace which paired up beautifully with her ivory lace Blue by Betsey Johnson Leah ballet flats. The bridesmaids wore white sleeveless tops with pretty pink tulle maxi skirts from Tulle and Chantilly while the groom and groomsmen looked sharp in their grey suits from JoS. A. Bank.

The wedding ceremony took place atop a hill overlooking the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains where the altar was decorated with two wine barrels and gorgeous large pink, green, white, and magenta floral arrangements. As Cassie reached the beginning of the aisle, she teared up and took a moment to gather herself before walking to the altar arm in arm with her father.

Cassie and Jason’s officiant, Rev. Kanta Bosniak told the story of their relationship so beautifully, she was kind enough to share her words so that I could include them here:

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Jason and Cassie and hearing their love story. How they met in the summer of 2012 when Cassie picked up some hitchhikers hiking the Appalachian Trail. Jason was a hiker too, and they were mutual friends with him. In late July, they connected again through their friend Miles, hiking together and staying at a hostel in Rutland, Vermont. Jason took on a protective role, giving Cassie water and food. In mid-August, they visited in Hanover, New Hampshire, where they went into town and had both their first date... and their first kiss. Their friendship deepened into love. And they maintained a long distance relationship. She was in Pawling, New York, and his home base was in Michigan. They kept in touch, talking and Skyping every day and sharing romantic gestures. Once a week, he’d play a song and send it to her. She sent him videos of cooking and gardening… “A Day in the Life of Cassie.” In January of 2013, she went to Grand Rapids and spent a week. The 0 degrees temperatures and daily snow were no impediment to the warmth of their affection. They became an official couple and began planning a future together. Jason moved to Pawling in late April and they spent two years together there working at a landscaping company. In January of 2015, they moved to Virginia. He came back to school to finish his degree and she started teaching yoga and creating a business. The following year, Jason developed and implemented a plan. He bought her a Buddha and adorned it with love notes and her grandmother’s ring. On December 21, 2016, the night before driving up to see family for Christmas, he set the stage and started the soundtrack. Playing the Van Morrison song, “Sweet Thing,” from “Astral Weeks,” he took the ring off the Buddha, got down on one knee, and proposed… And they made each other a promise that is fulfilled today.

Following the ceremony, (and a brief intermission for photos) we sat down for a meal prepared by the wonderful folks at Beliveau Estate Winery while their DJ from A Party’s Favorite Entertainment provided music. After dinner and dancing, I learned of a tradition from Cassie’s family – a giant glass vase is filled with beer and passed down the line for everyone to take a swig. Once everyone has had their turn, it is up to the bride and groom to share what is left in the vase. Their friends and family were so eager to help the newlyweds that they finished off the vase a couple of times and it had to be refilled to be sure that Cassie and Jason were able to enjoy their fair share as well!

Blacksburg Wedding Vendor Team

Blacksburg Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Venue: Beliveau Estate Winery
Hair + Makeup: Innovations Salon & Day Spa
Wedding Gown: Maggie Sottero from Chantilly Lace Bridals
Wedding Shoes:  Blue by Betsey Johnson Leah Ballet Flats
Bridesmaid Dresses: Tulle and Chantilly
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: JoS. A. Bank
Florist: Stonecrop Farms
Officiant: Rev. Kanta Bosniak, custom ceremony services
Wedding Rings: Heirloom engagement ring; Wedding band from Kay Jewelers, Christiansburg
DJ: A Party’s Favorite Entertainment, Roanoke

Jeremy + Daphne's New Year's Eve Wedding | Mountain Lake Wedding Photos

Jeremy and Daphne have been together for ages, even longer than we have been friends [which has also been a hell of a long time considering that we all went to high school together]. So, it was a huge honor to ring in the New Year photographing their Mountain Lake Lodge wedding! Mother nature gave them the wedding gift of a beautiful layer of snow atop the mountain which provided a stunning backdrop for winter wedding photos. Their ceremony was originally planned to take place by the gazebo where Baby first takes lessons from Penny in the movie Dirty Dancing, but due to the snow, we all snuggled up close inside of the Lodge to stay warm instead.

Daphne wore a beautiful long sleeve lace wedding gown with buttons down the back and the same veil and headpiece that her mother wore on her wedding day. Her bouquet was cascade style with white roses and calla lilies stretching elegantly to nearly reach the ground.  Their wedding reception took place in Mary’s Barn. It was filled with string lights and I loved their light-up marquee letters that spelled out Daphne & Jeremy over the fireplace that was behind their sweetheart table. Guests enjoyed snapping fun photos in their photo booth which was provided by Swell Booth. We all danced the night away to the amazing live band, The Ruckus until we counted down till midnight and retired back to our cabins and hotel rooms at Mountain Lake Lodge.

Wedding Vendors
Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Venue, Lodging, + Catering: Mountain Lake Lodge
Photo Booth: Swell Booth
Musicians: The Ruckus

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