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Andrea and Hunter: Married

I have photographed weddings for people I “know” before, but this was different. I have known Andrea for the majority of my life. She was probably 2 or 3 when we first met at church functions and family birthday parties. She grew up just a few miles from me. We have so many memories together and a friendship that has seen many years and seasons. This wedding was a a bit more personal to me than most and when Andrea asked me to photograph her and Hunter saying “I Do”, I had no idea that I would be sitting in a room with a great group of girls before Andrea walked down the isle crying tears of hope and joy for my sweet friend as they prayed over her. She was (and is) so happy and it was tangible.

These images will help us all remember that truly wonderful day, but there are a few words and moments that I will honestly never forget. Andrea gave Hunter a journal before the wedding and I think she filled it 2/3’s of the way with notes to Hunter. He patiently read through every word quietly, until one page – I don’t know what it said – when his eyes teared up and his voice cracked as he said, “She got me”, followed by sweet laughter. Hunter wrote a letter for Andrea as well and when she opened it she said, “He never writes this much!” Andrea read it quietly in a room with me and the videographer while making good use of her new monogrammed handkerchief, and when she finished she looked up teary eyed and shrugged her shoulders a little. I looked at her inquiring what that shrug meant and she replied SO honestly and sweetly, “I just can’t believe this is happening. It feels too good to be true.” It is true, and I’ll never forget it or the complete joy I felt for her in that moment.

I have to remember that you’re likely here for these pictures, not for my longwinded recollection of the day, but guys, it was SUCH a good day. I remember the joyful exclamations and “Whoooos!” when Andrea declared that she was getting married outside rain or no rain. I remember how it rained ALL day until the sky perfectly cleared up minutes before the ceremony started and not another drop of rain fell. I remember how Hunter was so ready to marry his bride, so much so that he exclaimed, “I WILL.” after the first line of Pastor Jeffrey’s “Do you take Andrea..” charge (there were several more lines to go). I remember giving the camera a rest for a minute and dancing with my best friends. I remember a coffee date months ago where Andrea and I sat and talked for hours about life and God and planning and family and marriage, and we both cried and thought forward to what this day would mean. I don’t think either of us foresaw the perfection that it was. I don’t use the word “perfect” lightly, but it’s the word Andrea has used repeatedly since the conclusion of that day, and if it was perfect to her and Hunter, then I will use it with pride.

Hunter & Andrea, your wedding was unforgettable. I’m so happy I could witness the start of your life together, and I am so excited that you two get to take it on with each other, and more importantly with the God you have included in your wedding day and in your life. Something you both know well is that life is not perfect. On the days of life that don’t live up to the sheer perfection you experienced this September, I pray that you two will be each others stream in the desert and that you will look to the One who joined you. What God brought together let no man separate. I love you and hope these images help you hold on to every piece of your wedding day. Congratulations once again, friends. ❤

Here are a few of my favorites from the day! There is a link at the bottom to see the full day!

 

 

 

 

 

I love this picture because I told Hunter to say something sweet in Andrea’s ear and he proceeded to sing the lyrics to Whisper….”hey Lil’ Mama lemme whisper in your ear”. Needless to say, that is a genuine laugh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view Full Day’s Gallery click here!

 

Andrea: Bridal

When Andrea suggested we do her bridal portrait session at a lavender farm, I was ALL in. She scheduled an appointment with White Oak Lavender Farm in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I told Andrea that I had never been there before and I was so excited to shoot in a new location! When I pulled into the farm I realized that not only had I been there before, but I had shot there before about 5 or 6 years ago when I was in college. (whoops). Nonetheless, I could not have been more excited for this shoot. You can see why!

Andrea’s mother-in-law, Sandra, had the date added to Andrea’s dress – something blue. 🙂

The day we shot these foreshadowed Andrea and Hunter’s wedding day and we didn’t even know it! It was calling for rain the entire day, but Andrea and I held out and prayed that the skies would hold back and we could have the bridal shoot that she had dreamed of – and just like this past weekend on her wedding day – prayers were answered and we had exactly what we’d hoped for. It began to rain the second we got into our cars to leave the farm, and I looked up and thanked the Lord!

I will forever be obsessed with this image!

Lavender is in full bloom in June and July. Andrea’s session was in mid August, so again, we were hopeful that there would be lavender left to make an appearence in her portraits, and it was!

Andrea, I know I have said it a dozen times, but I am so glad I was the one to capture this season of your life. You are truly beautiful, but how gorgeous you are in these pictures pales in comparison to the who you are – to your character. I am so happy to call you a friend. Could you imagine when we were 8 and 9 years old in dance classes and Sunday school together or in high school show choir and me crashing half of your family gatherings that our lives would unfold and merge in this way? I definitely didn’t, but I am joyous that they have. Love you, friend. I can’t wait to share your wedding day!

Venue: White Oak Lavender Farm Dress:  Celebration Bridal, Flowers: Bloom by Doyle’s, Hair: Carrie Anne England with Arte Dei Capelli Salon, Make-up: Chantay with In Your Face Make-Up Art

Willow: Dancer

My mom posted on Facebook the other day, as countless moms posted their child’s first day of school pictures, that this will be the first year in 25 years that she doesn’t have a child starting school, and the first year in almost 27 years that she doesn’t have a child in dance classes. Willow, the youngest of our bunch, has graduated high school and had her last dance recital! *cue tears and “how the time flies” cliches*. But foreal, time flies! Willow is 18 (!!!) and headed of to The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine in just two weeks where she will take off her dancing shoes and put on her “Human Ecology”/Environmentalist shoes and start her college education!

Willow is many things. She is tall and she is beautiful, as everyone can see in these images and the countless images I post of her, but she is much more than that! She has overcome a lot in her 18 years, and though she is still young and has so much more life ahead of her, she seems to have turned out pretty okay. 😉 There isn’ t a perfect teenage out there, we all know that, but she’s definitely my favorite teenager. She is smart. She is funny. She thinks I’m funny (which is one of the best things about her, obviously.) She is passionate. She is quiet and reserved and loud and outgoing at the same time. She is loved.

Willow, this is the part of your life where you are on your own more than you have ever been in your 18 years. At the risk of sounding like a mom, here I go with some college bound advice. Make good choices. Call Mom. If you need help, ask. Don’t jump off the bridge because all of your friends did (peer pressure and all that jazz). If your friends can’t handle you being different than them, they aren’t your friends. It’s okay to be weird. Care about people. Be a quality friend, even if it’s not always reciprocated. Dad is probably right. Cultivate a relationship with God and talk to Him even when it’s hard or not the cool thing to do, because when everyone else bails – He won’t. Don’t learn that the hard way. You’ll likely make some friends that will be in your life for the rest of your life. Choose wisely. Remember that I love you and I will drive 16 hours to be there any day of the week if you needed me.

Love,

Your Big Sister – Emily

“Bad Decision”

🔜‼️🎙NEW MUSIC!!!!!!!!!! 🎙🔜‼️
That’s right! I am excited to announce that I am releasing my single, “Bad Decision”, this month!!!! I wrote this song last March in Nashville, TN and had the opportunity to play it live several times there. Now, with an amazing team of musicians and an a great producer, we have brought it to life in an entirely new way! A lot of work and vision has gone into this song and it is the first release of much more to come!! I’ll be giving more information soon about release dates and how you can listen!!!! Spread the word. There’s music on the way.

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Katherine & Bill: Married

Katherine and Bill are married! When I first met Katherine and Bill and shot their engagement session months ago, I knew this day was going to be a good day. They are so kind, so down to earth, and this day reflected who they are so well! They has a beautiful Catholic ceremony at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church followed by a lively reception at the Sheraton in Reston, VA. There was a lot of dancing, a lot of laughter and a lot of love! I’m so happy to have met this couple and been a witness to this day. Katherine’s family is Peruvian and seeing their traditions sprinkled into the day was so cool! (as well as watching the men in Bill’s family have an air-guitar-off in the middle of the dance floor). Congratulations, Katherine and Bill! Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this day. I wish I could share the hundreds of images from this day, but here is a look inside their wedding day!!

 Look at this Church!!

Katherine thought she wouldn’t cry, but walking down that isle changed things a bit!

They did it!

The Brides father made their cake at his bakery, Gianina’s Bakery.

They legitimately danced the night away!

The Westermans

Mary & Wayne: Married

Mary has been ready for this day for quite some time! We’ve talked about the dress, the shoes, the man (OohRah is what she calls her Marine) for months now, and every time we did, her giddiness was tangible! We also talked about the dock and the overlook of the lake at Lake of the Woods where she and OohRah were to be married. So, day of, Mary is tucked away in her room getting into hair, makeup and that beautiful dress when a call comes in saying that a reunion has taken over the lake spot where she was to be married. The intoxicated party guests were immovable in time for the ceremony (in an hour…).

If there was ever a time for someone to have a bridezilla moment, this was it, but Mary handled it SO gracefully. She responded, “Ask Wayne.. We’ll do what he says.” This was a great illustration of a statement she made later in their handwritten vows. She promised to always look to Wayne as the head of their household. When I told Wayne what was going on, he had the best answer. He said, “I don’t care where we get married. By the end of the day I am putting a ring on that woman’s finger. That’s what I want. It makes no difference to me where that happens. Let’s do it in the backyard.” So, that’s what happened. Every part of this wedding day took place in the home and yard that Mary and Wayne have built and will continue to build together, and it fit them perfectly. Congratulations, Mary and Wayne! Here are some of my favorites from the day!

Mary LOVES Paris and Beauty and the Beast! The Eiffel Tower makes quite a few cameos in her wedding decor.

The garter set was made out of the camis that Wayne wore during his last tour in Iraq!

Beauty and the beast ring box!

First dance and cake fun with this Beauty and her Beast

Sara & Thomas: Married

May 20th was a busy day for me! Directly after watching my little sister graduate from high school, I hopped in my jeep and headed to photograph Sara and Thomas Easter’s wedding alongside Heather Atkins (Kidd Photography .. she’s lovely, check her out!).

If you know me, this next sequence of events will come as no surprise to you. As I pull into the mile long gravel driveway of the Bride’s parents house to begin “before” pictures, I must’ve popped a tire on a sharp rock. As soon as I got out of the car I can hear the air quickly escaping my tire. Knowing that I still had to travel to the church and the reception location, I greeted everyone with a lovely, “Hi, everyone! I’ve popped a tire. (help me please)”. Thankfully the Father of the Bride and a family friend/videographer patched my tire and filled it with air while we started photographing. (Thanks again!!!)

All’s well that end’s well, right?! WELL, when I got to the church I did something I do at least once a month, if not more. I locked my keys in my car. There was still time before the ceremony and owning a soft top Jeep means I can unzip that back window and crawl through – crisis averted. EXCEPT.. it decided to storm before the night was over and my unzipped windows allowed for a few inches of standing water in my vehicle…nothing a good old shop vac can’t fix. This is my life, friends.

This was a fun story to tell, but the most important thing that happened while all of that was also happening, was these two GOT MARRIED! My scatterbrained-ness aside, it was a beautiful day. Man, when Thomas kissed Sara, he KISSED her. Their love was tangible. Here’s a look into their day!

Vendors:

Dress: Celebration Bridal – Lynchburg, VA

Bridesmaids: Azazie

Invitations: Zazzle

Catering: Magnolia Foods

Venue:  Ceremony – Oakdale Baptist Chruch, Reception – Historic Riverview by the James

Hair and Make-up: Hot Spot Salon

Coordination and Planning: Sarah Proctor with Historic Riverview at the James

Flowers: Irvington Springs Farm

Basic Invite

As you may have seen on my page last week, basicinvite.com ran a feature on me as a photographer on their blog (Click here to check it out!), and I wanted to share a little bit more about what my partnership with them entails! Everyone needs what basicinvite.com offers at some point or another – wedding, party or event invitations, baby announcements, stationary, place cards, gift tags, business resources and more! I am so pleased to be able to offer an ongoing discount with this company, especially since my business serves a lot of the people in the same realm. By partnering with basicinvite.com, I can offer a 20% discount site wide on any and everything that basic invite offers as well as free shipping!

With EJR Photography’s personal discount code: EJRPHOTO, you can take advantage of this discount and simultaneously support two pretty great businesses! 😉

I hope you take the time to check it out! Also, check out the blog post on their site that is featuring photographers from all over! I got to combine writing, another passion of mine, with some of my favorite images for their blog post. Below is a little snippet of it, but see the whole post here!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

– Em

That’s what I use..

How many of you struggle to walk down the “bathroom” aisle in a store without wanting to try out everything until you find the perfect facewash…hairspray…bath scrub….etc? Guilty. That is me. I love the toiletry section of any store and I doubt I am alone in that! For a quick little blog post I decided to feature some of my current favorite products that I’m using a lot, if not every day that are doing the trick. Here are few of my current faves:

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I have been a fan of Neutrogena products for a while. The have the absolute BEST makeup removing products (especially wipes), and I have found no others that compare. I could actually write a whole post about their Make-up Removing Cleansing Wipes, but I will spare you for now. I advertise them every time I talk to a fellow make-up wearer about makeup remover. It’s true. Anyway, this Deep Clean Cleanser is my newest Neutrogena find. In all honesty, I didn’t “find” it. It was in my little sisters Easter basket and she gave it to me because she can’t use anything that isn’t for dry skin – and this is more geared toward oil build up. I LOVE it. What I like the most about it is that it is a mask AND a cleanser. It’s pretty thick, so you can leave it on in a solid full coverage layer for a few minutes and then wash it off like a face wash (or use it only as a face wash). Face masks make me feel irrationally fancy and like I am doing a really good thing for my skin, and I like the results of this one! Target…Wal*Mart…CVS..it’s everywhere, and I am a fan.

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Alright, dry-shampooer’s..(most every girl in their 20’s). This is the best dry shampoo I have used yet. Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo works SO well, smells SO good (or not at all if you get unscented) and is a pretty awesome brand all around. I have used several different Dry Shampoo’s and I always come back to this one. I was blessed with he flattest of hair naturally, so I like the Plump For Joy Body Building Dry Shampoo to give a little volume. I’ve found that if I know I’m going to have a no hair-washing day, I can spray it on before bed, let it absorb all night and then look super fresh in the morning.  It works quickly though if you need to use it after the gym or on a in a rush! Another NYMBrand product I love is the Double Take Texture Spray.DSC_0718.jpg

Like I said, my hair has zero volume on it’s own. This spray is great for lift and works especially well if you have styled your hair and want to give it texture and hold along with movement that doesn’t look like your hair has been sprayed to your head with product. I like to use a wand to curl all of my hair and then spray this throughout to keep that look all day long. As I stated previously, Not Your Mother’s is a great brand to support. They have some unique charactaristics in that all of their products are gluten free, animal product free, and none of their products are tested on animals, but one of the reason’s I like them is that they are a corporate sponsor of the Young Survival Coalition. YSC is an organization that educates and provides resources, connection groups and support to women living with and survivors of breast cancer. DSC_0728.jpg

Alright, my last product to share is Bath & Body Works At the Sea Sand and Sea Salt Scrub. I have never been a person to seek out and buy a “scrub”. They are usually given to me as gifts, and this one is no exception (another Easter basket goody…thanks mom). I may have to purchase this one when I run out though! I’ve been using it on my elbows and knees which are generally areas that dry out faster that others. I noticed the back of my arms close to my elbows where I lean over on a desk or table were a bit rough, so I started using the scrub to smooth my skin back out. It honestly feels like rubbing wet sand on your skin. Exfoliate away, my friends.

So..there you have it –  a few of my current favorite bathroom goodies. Try them out! You may like them just as much as I do. 🙂