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published fine art photographer in virginia

Amber Grove Bridal Portrait Session With Kelly | Moseley, Va.| Sarah Duke Photography

February 24, 2019

Amber Grove Bridal Portrait Session With Kelly | Moseley, Va.| Sarah Duke Photography

Kelly and I met on a very windy (but gorgeously warm day in February) at the beautiful Amber Grove for her bridal portraits. I always encourage this time with the brides I collaborate with. Not only are bridal portraits fun in that the bride gets to try her complete look before her big day, but I sincerely enjoy the un-rushed time together. As a wedding photographer, capturing milestones and weddings is so much more to me than just images, it's a story, and it's the people involved that make the story compelling and worth telling! During our time at Amber Grove, I learned and got to experience firsthand the reasons why her and Austin selected this unique property as their venue, and what she was most anticipating in regards to her big day.

Upon my arrival I was warmly greeted by the owner and coordinator of events, John McBride. He explained the history of the property and took me on a tour - before I knew it I felt like I was at home! As John explained each component of the venue, from its historical roots to all the customization's he made through the years, what became very prominent to me was his sincere love for his home and the couples he serves. I have never met a venue owner with so much inspiration in creating a customized experience for each and every couple that gets married there. What stands Amber Grove apart from the rest is the team there, they have a heart for people, warm hospitality and servanthood. At the end of the tour John explained that he welcomes couples to come back on their anniversaries to celebrate - where he personally offers to cook them a nice romantic meal, or opens the property up for couples to enjoy a picnic lunch. I will never forget when he said, "I have the best job in the world...because of all the memories that are made here."

Not long after my tour, Kelly arrived and we began our session indoors. We made our way just up the stairs to a room I refer to as the hidden gem of the venue: The Blue Room. The gorgeous ship lap walls made for a soft, romantic setting... while the chandelier and fireplace made for regal features. The sun burst open the generous windows and through the overcast clouds, lighting the room perfectly. Kelly wore the stunning Monarch Gown gown from BHLDN . I loved the blush undertone and the sweeping train. Kelly's bouquet was abundant in an arrangement of eucalyptus, thistle, white roses and peonies.

We headed outdoors and spent time in the gardens and the barn loft - flowers and bushes just beginning to come out of dormancy from the winter.

As Kelly and I walked around enjoying the scenery, I learned her reasons for choosing Amber Grove not only for its aesthetic characteristics but for the overall atmosphere of the property. She mentioned that while they fell in love with the casual / rustic loft barn for their ceremony and the classy black and white checkered floor of the reception, it was the authentic charm of the property that resonated most. Another element that made the venue feel like home was the super-sweet and loving cat Klaus. (Even he was dressed for the occasion, wearing an adorable bow-tie collar, and resembling very closely to my own orange tabby cat Clifford :-D ).

Kelly mentioned she most anticipated simply being and getting married. Sure, the sparkler exit, reception celebration and cake is super exciting- but focusing on the meaning of the marriages and not the stress or elements of the day is most important.

I enjoyed my time not only capturing Kelly's bridals, but delving deeper into the meaning of why her and Austin selected the venue, and what she was looking forward to most about their big day!

I am excited to share some of my favorites from our time together, enjoy <3

Copyright © 2015-2020 Sarah Duke Photography



Venue: Amber Grove Moseley, Virginia Wedding

Gown: BHLDN The Monarch Gown

Florist: Something Borrowed Blooms, The Jane Collection

Bridal Hair/ Bridal Makeup Glam By Dana


Chapter I. Kelly & Austin's Engagement Session at VMFA

Chapter II. Kelly's Bridal Portrait Session at Amber Grove

Chapter III. Highfill Wedding - at Amber Grove

Chapter IV. Published on VA Bride Magazine - View Feature


the journal


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