top of page
published fine art photographer in virginia

A Love Like Fireworks | Regal Vintage Wedding on the James River in Richmond Virginia | Jacob & Jordan|

Saturday August 10, 2019

The setting was something out of a vintage garden overlooking the peaceful James River. Beyond the ornate, red velvet furniture pieces, and freshly cut eucalyptus ordaining the white ceremony chairs, was the underlying foundation of what truly made this venue so special and one of a kind: family, and the love shared here over the years. The widespread hills and their natural paths revealed to me a land loved and explored. In addition, the remarkable dock and its weathered floorboard showcased years of memories made here. Owned by the groom’s grandparents, Jacob would often bring Jordan here where they enjoyed these same scenes. Over the course of seven years they did just about everything here, from fishing to marveling the sunsets in the summer.

Jacob and Jordan first met in high school. Originally for his junior prom, he went with another date - that was until Jordan expressed all of her feelings to him...soon after they remained inseparable. The proposal came as a complete surprise to Jordan, who was completely caught off guard and exhausted after an early morning in nursing clinicals. Among the many elements that made their day special, I loved how they incorporated special surprises for each other. Jacob gifted Jordan with a beautiful wooden frame with their milestone dates, and Jordan surprised Jacob with the gift of a violinist for their ceremony. The day flowed seamlessly and beautifully.

By the time evening came, the sun seemed to stretch its arms over the calm water as if gracefully welcoming dusk. The sun itself seemed to be dancing, as its gold and auburn rays flooded through the huge tent where family and friends celebrated on the dance floor. I could almost see the music notes being carried away by the sweet night air as the classic song Thunderstruck by AC/DC’s echoed across the river. It was almost like the melody enticed the neighbors to come out and see for themselves. I watched as boats waited buoyantly in the water. Full of anticipation, for the finale. And after the sunset settled just over the horizon, the clear summer sky made room for the stars and a blank canvas for a showering fireworks display. Bursts of every color filled the sky; patterns, designs, and swirls illuminating the faces of guests as they cheered and marveled.

As I held the viewfinder of my camera up to capture these remarkable moments, tears unexpectedly made their ways to my eyes. Out of nowhere, I had a flashback of when I was ten years old. My father took me and my family to The Diamond on the 4th of July to see the fireworks show. This was the only other time I cried while watching fireworks… simply because it was so spectacular.

I realized, some moments demand us to experience them while others call us to capture them. It was during this time, for just a brief moment, I allowed myself at a wedding to not be the photographer. Far beyond what’s evident, I believe the human heart and its capacity for love is immeasurable.

Putting my camera down, I sat and watched. I watched as Jordan and Jacob stood with their arms embracing one another: wedding day timelines and stress melting away from their minds. I smiled as I saw everyone pause, vendor, DJ, guest, parent, child and couple, all in the presence of each other simply enjoying the moment.

Jordan and Jacob,

I like to think I fell in love with photography because I was able to replace my words and poetry with an image when recalling a memory. That was until I realized, some images still required words and captions in having them make sense. But It wasn’t until your wedding I ever experienced both photograph and word to be inadequate in depicting and describing just how amazing your day was. Having the honor of getting to know you both and being part of your day is one I will always cherish. May your love for each other stand the test of time. May it yield you both the fruits of forbearance and fortitude when tested. And may you forever revisit its roots; your days of being high school sweethearts or remembering those summer nights together at your grandparents…enjoying every moment. Cheers to you both! Enjoy a few of my many favorites from your day! <3

Copyright © 2015-2020 Sarah Duke Photography


Photographer | Sarah Duke Photography

Ceremony Venue | Bellona Arsenal, Private Estate, James River in Richmond Virginia

Reception Venue | Bellona Arsenal, Private Estate, James River in Richmond Virginia

Officiant | Steve Booth

Wedding Cake / Desserts | Sam's Club & Kroger

Wedding Gown | Chic Nostalgia, Echo Gown

Bridesmaid Dress Apparel | Lulus, Kennedy Blue, and Azazie

Grooms Attire | Men's Wearhouse,

Hair / Makeup Stylist | Salisbury Hair Productions

Florist | DIY

Party Rentals | Rent-E-Quip





Chapter 2. Jordan & Jacob's Wedding - A Love Like Fireworks