Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When my old friend, Mindy, sent out an invitation for a girls backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains this July, I immediately rearranged my schedule so I could go.  I first met Mindy in 2008 working as photographers for a wedding venue in Las Vegas.  She taught me so much as far as photography techniques and we shared a love for the outdoors.  Early morning hikes in Red Rock Canyon became the norm and we even took a camping trip to Zion National Park.  After moving back to Maryland in 2009, I was able to visit Vegas a few times and see Mindy and her family.  Over the past 7 years, moves and life and family got in the way and  we haven’t seen each other since!  She is an avid outdoors-woman and coordinated the entire trip.

Photo by Mindy before heading to the trail.  From left to right, Me from Maryland, Jennifer from Florida, Mindy from Florida, Tanya from Utah, Jessica from Florida.  Adventure began from the Alum Cave Trailhead October 20, 2017.

There were plenty of water sources along the way.  Here are the girls filtering water to refill our stash.  I highly recommend the Katadyn filtration system – super easy to use!

NBD the girls doing some handstands/acrobatics along the way.  Some serious fitness in this crew!

I, on the other hand, was STRUGGLING on the initial hike up to Mt. LeConte.  My pack was about 35 lbs because I had to bring my camera gear and tripod.  The girls were wonderful and supportive and Mindy helped carry the tripod on the way up.

Jessica took naps when she could.

We happened to meet some fellow hikers at the trailhead who offered FREE lodging at the LeConte Lodge!  We had planned on staying in the backcountry shelters each night, so this was an AWESOME offer!  When we asked what the catch was and they said they just needed to fill the spaces so they could reserve the same rooms next year, we said where do we sign!

View from Mt. LeConte elevation 6,593 ft.

Photo by Jennifer

Sunrise

The moss and greenery on the mountain was just glorious.  It looked like a fairy village!

We continued our adventure to the Icewater Springs Shelter for the second night

Photo by Mindy

Photo by Jessica.  Breaks are good –  we took a lot.

Icewater Springs Shelter – we were lucky to have met some other hikers who had a tarp to drape on the open end of the shelter to stop the wind.  They collected all the firewood and built an awesome fire.  We are forever grateful for our lodging luck these past two nights!

My failed attempt at star tracks.  There was too much light at the shelter and the clouds started to roll in.  This was an hour and a half exposure.

Us at the AT!

As we hiked down the mountain on our way to the Kephart Shelter, we entered into beautiful fall foliage.

Haha, we had to!  Cute City!

An ode to Adventure Mamas

“Adventure Mamas Initiative is a non-profit organization that is redefining motherhood. We are enhancing women’s maternal health by facilitating adventure, building community, and providing educational and inspirational resources to our diverse community.

AMI is built off the premise that there is immense healing, growth, and transformation that takes place when we pursue challenge and adventure. We believe that spending time in wild places is more than a selfish luxury, it should be available to all.”

Amen!  It was an honor to backpack with these amazing mamas!

Kephart Shelter was so lovely!

The rain held off until our last day!  We hiked out in the wet, but all were in good spirits.  I loved every minute and will always remember this trip fondly.  Memories for a lifetime!

Photo by the amazing Mindy.

 

 

 

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Sarah & Sumner :: Severna Park Waterfront Wedding

The theme of this wedding was family!  The couple decided to hold the wedding celebration at Sarah’s family home, which has seen many generations grow.  The entire family worked hard to create the perfect vintage setting overlooking the Magothy River.  Sarah’s brother made the bar and micro-brews, her grandfather handled all the landscaping and lights, and her mom designed all the signage and bouquet.  Every detail had a special meaning.

Tent, tables and chairs from Absolute Party Rental and catering by Mission BBQ.

Vintage Veils creating Sarah’s gorgeous bridal look!

MOH working hard at her speech.

The cutest pups I’ve seen!

The bride’s stunning gown was designed by Essence of Australia.  It hung perfectly on the custom hangers and on Sarah!

Sarah’s bridesmaids and bridesmen held signs saying how they knew each other!

Maria captured the guys doing very important business before the ceremony: a video game face-off.

Sarah’s son, Jonah, is hysterical!  According to the couple, he was the first to say ‘I Love You’ to Sumner.  So sweet!

Sumner and his father before the ceremony.

There was no shortage of tears of joy during the ceremony.

The Southern Wedding Tradition of Burying the Bourbon is supposed to keep the rain away…it worked!  The couple buried a full bottle of bourbon upside down at the wedding site one month before the wedding day.  Jonah dug it up after the ceremony for a toast!

Sarah’s grandmother’s wedding crown was the cake topper.

Their good friend, Matt Hutchison, played the ceremony music and first dance song.

We were even blessed with a beautiful harvest moon!

Congratulations and thank you having us photograph your wedding day!  We truly felt like on of the family.

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Anne & Kevin :: Private Estate Wedding Annapolis

Anne and Kevin are such a wonderful couple and there was no shortage of tears and laughter at their wedding.  Both are successful professionals in the fields of law and nursing, so it was a joy to photograph them relaxed, in love and comfortable with their closest friends and families.  The day celebrated local vendors and family love.

I go way back with the bride’s family (almost 20 years!), so it was such an honor that they chose their wedding date around my availability.  How humbling!!!  Anne’s brother, Ben, and I have been friends since college and both share a love for wedding day visual storytelling.  He is owner and head filmmaker at Fordham Films, and we have worked together from coast to coast!  The ceremony and reception were held at their historic family farm in Arnold, MD, where Anne and Ben grew up.  They all worked so hard to prepare and decorate the property for the big day.  A little help from Absolute Party Rental, but mostly all DIY gorgeousness.  It looked amazing!

Anne’s beautiful gown was from David’s Bridal and fit her and the decor beautifully.

The cutest flower girls!  Anne and her bridesmaids were styled by Hair by Sarah Love and the talented team at Dorsey Beauty.

Anne’s father passed away in 2007, so we made a special trip to the church to visit him before the ceremony.

Maria captured this photo of Anne right before she walked down the aisle – the lens flare from the sun fit right into her arm.  I believe it was her father.

Anne’s uncles walked her down to the ceremony site in a vintage mustang!  Ben then walked her the rest of the way down the aisle in a beautiful processional.

Ode to dad.

Group shot!

Crazy socks!

Delicious cupcakes by Blue Crab CupcakesO’Loughlins Restaurant did an outstanding job with the catering as well.

A fantastic group of musicians were present, from the ceremony music provided by Ray Murphy and Jennifer Garman, Jordan Sokel from Pressing Strings played the cocktail hour, and Jay Crawdads from Higher Hands kept the reception dance floor packed.

Kevin danced with his mom and Anne made a slideshow in memory of her dad.

Wings for a late night snack?!?!?!  Yes, please.

Sparklers and surprise fireworks in the field of dreams capped off the day perfectly.  Thank you for having us and I love you both!!

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Jennifer & Neil :: Carnegie Institution for Science DC

A wedding day filled with love and laughter!  I smile and get teary eyed every time I look at Jenny and Neil’s photographs.  Margo and Courtney from Bright Occasions planned the day perfectly and Kelly with Petals by the Shore blew me away with the floral designs.  The glam squad included hair by Norma Rios of Bridal Artistry DC and make-up by Nora Kasbarian of Glam My Look.  They prepped Jenny at the Mason & Rook Hotel a few blocks from the wedding venue.

 

We all left the hotel to head to Carnegie Institution for Science (one of my FAVORITE DC wedding venues) for the first look.

We ran to the portico just as it started to rain!

Petals by the Shore DC WeddingWashington DC Bride

Neil’s reaction to seeing his bride is so beautiful!  Maria and I, and the videography team were all smiles.  Ginger Topham and her filmmakers were incredible to work with.

The bride’s sister couldn’t hold back the tears.  It was a beautiful moment!

Carnegie Institution for Science DCCarnegie Institution for Science Wedding

Look at that staircase!

Board meeting – so serious.

I fell in love with the light in the Carnegie Library the first time I photographed a wedding there in 2009.

Carnegie Institution for Science DC Wedding

Well Dunn Catering did a fantastic job and DJ Travis Skinner kept the party going well through the evening.

I knew their first dance was going to be spectacular when I told them to ‘do a little twirl and dip’ at their engagement session and they pulled out some professional ballroom dancing moves!

Neil showed such sweet gestures towards Jenny all night.  The love and kindness between these two is just beautiful.

I was able to steal the couple outside for some night portraits as a perfect way to close out the evening.  The facade of Carnegie, the portico, the rotunda, the library and the staircase, all combined with a lovely couple are what wedding photographer dreams are made of!

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Breeda & Joe :: USNA Westin Annapolis

Breeda and Joe were both in 30th Company at the US Naval Academy and share an amazing history and friendship.  She is now a pilot for the US Marines, while he is helping secure our waterways with the US Navy.  We could not be more honored to photograph the marriage of these two Lieutenants.  I knew it was going to be a fun wedding when I showed up to photograph the rehearsal dinner at Carpaccio, and was greeted by full size cardboard cutouts of the couple and the tables decorated with their childhood faces!

The preparations and reception took place at one of my favorite Annapolis venues, The Westin Annapolis.

Sharon and Lorin from Celebrations, LLC did an amazing job with decoration and coordination of the entire event.  It was a dream!  Up do’s for I do’s styled Breeda and her ‘breedsmaids’, while Joe and his boys made sure their tuxes and uniforms were crisp and clean.  The bride wore a stunning gown from Gamberdella Bridal Salon and the girls were in pale pink from David’s Bridal.  The wedding invitation, along with the decor was created by Jenifer Sirkis Designs and stunning florals by Blue Vanda Designs.

Annapolis Wedding invitations by Jenifer SirkisWedding gown at Westin AnnapolisUS Navy Annapoliswedding dress Westin Annapolis

First look with the Breedsmaids!

Obligatory groupie shot.

First look with dad!

Work it!

Cathedral veils are my fave.

Now off to the US Naval Academy Chapel for the ceremony!

Portraits in the Superintendent’s Gardens at Buchanan House.  The crepe myrtles are gorgeous here in late summer.

I love using locations that aren’t common for wedding portraits on the Academy grounds, like Dahlgren Hall and the Sea Gate.

Of course, you have the capture the staples, like Bancroft Hall, which have so much history for USNA grads.

Sea Gate

Sugarbakers outdid themselves with this gorgeous wedding cake!

Westin Annapolis first dance

Live painting by Patricia Bennett of the reception!

Two swords, of course.

Father/Daughter dance

Not a dry eye in the house for the mother/son dance.  Night Life Band kept the dance floor packed the rest of the night!

Thank you for having Maria and I photograph your wedding day!  We can’t wait to see the video from Just Hitched Films!

 

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Annie & Cory :: Riverside on the Potomac

The couple, the families, and the vendors at Annie and Cory’s wedding all have a special place in my heart.  Not only had I photographed the weddings of Cory’s sister and cousin, but my good friend and colleague, Margo of Bright Occasions wedding planning, was coordinating the entire event.  Courtney and the rest of her team kept the day running perfectly.  Kevin Joel from Sweetheart Cinema was working hard the entire event make sure they had the best film coverage of the festivities.  The couple’s uncle, Chris Laich of Chris Laich Music Services, was my first introduction to this wonderful family.  The venue, Riverside on the Potomac, is absolutely stunning and provided the perfect backdrop for this wonderful couple’s wedding day.Riverside on the Potomac WeddingRiverside on the Potomac wedding venue

groom at Riverside on the Potomac

Annie’s garter was made from her father’s tie.

wedding dress at Riverside on the Potomac

Chapel at Riverside on the Potomac

First look with the groom outside the newly restored chapel.

Bridesmaids at Riverside on the Potomacgroomsmen at Riverside on the PotomacLoudoun County VA weddingwedding party Riverside on the Potomac

Cutest award goes to ring bearer and flower girl, who had to be coaxed down the aisle with m&m’s.  Whatever works!

Priceless!

Look at this room!  Edge Floral outdid themselves in decorating the barn for the reception.  Not pictured, but Smokin Willy‘s catered the event with Ah-mazing BBQ.

Delicious cake created by Honey Bee Pastries in Leesburg, VA.

Both Annie and Cory’s fathers had passed and the nods to their memory were incorporated throughout the wedding day.  From the charm on the bridal bouquet, to the garter made of ties, their fathers’ memory was ever present.

We tried to get photos with the horses, but they weren’t having it.

Lauren and Paddy’s wedding took place in 2014 and the rest is history!

Brittany and Jeff were married the following year at the Annapolis Waterfront Marriott and are now expecting!

Annie danced with her godfather for the father/son dance.

Thank you for having us photograph your wedding day!  It was an honor.

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Claire & Sean :: Silver Swan Bayside Wedding

The beautiful light and cool breeze off the Chesapeake Bay perfectly complimented Claire and Sean’s wedding day.  The couple and their guests were full of energy and kept Maria and I in stitches!  One awesome aspect of being on the bay is the sunset.  We were blessed with a beautiful golden hour and bright pink color cast as the sun went down.  The wonderful crew of vendors included the amazing team at Silver Swan Bayside as venue and caterer, a beautiful ceremony officiated by Rev. Laura Cannon, floral arrangements by Island Flowers, desserts by Peace of Cake, and DJ James Nasty kept the dance floor packed!  The couple enjoyed a honeymoon in Ireland while we worked diligently on the post production.  Thank you and Congratulations!!

Silver Swan bayside

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Ali & Alex :: St. Mary’s Church Annapolis and Kent Island Yacht Club Wedding

The theme of this wedding was FUN!  Ali and Alex invited all of their friends and family members to witness their marriage ceremony at St. Mary’s Church followed by an amazing party on Kent Island.  The day was hot but the breeze off the bay was heavenly.  This maritime couple felt like family and Maria and I didn’t even realize when 10 hours had gone by!  The day was coordinated by Karen Coplo of From This Moment by Karen, amazing music provided by Doug Segree Band, florals by Island Flowers, delicious food by The Smoke House Grill, and a custom wedding cake baked by the groom’s aunt!  Enjoy!

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  • Donna Lavin

    Gorgeous wedding ReplyCancel

  • Linda Pagnotta

    You captured every memorable event. Awesome wedding. Photographer was the best !ReplyCancel

Catherine & Andrew :: Kurtz’s Beach Waterfront Wedding

We had such a blast at Catherine and Andrew’s engagement session last fall with their two adorable pups and Catherine’s mom to help as handler!  I knew the wedding day would be just as enjoyable at the historic and family owned venue of Kurtz’s Beach.  Being near the Chesapeake Bay for weddings not only provides gorgeous views, but a fabulous breeze.  The coordinator at Kurtz’s Beach kept everything running smoothly and Dorsey Beauty styled the bride and bridesmaids at the cottage.  Les Fleurs by Jes Wilson created the floral arrangements and the delicious cake was by Kirsten’s Cakery.  Thank you for having us photograph your beautiful wedding day!

Weddings at Kurtz's BeachKurtz's Beach Wedding

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  • Catherine

    beautiful pictures and a beautiful day!! Thanks Kate & Maria! -Catherine & AndrewReplyCancel

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