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published fine art photographer in virginia

Published on Virginia Bride Magazine Real Virginia Wedding: Kelly And Austin | Featured Sarah Duke Photography

Wednesday May 29, 2019

Virginia Bride Magazine / Real VA Wedding: Kelly And Austin | Featured | Sarah Duke Photography

I’m so excited to share that the Highfill Wedding was just been featured on the popular wedding blog, Virginia Bride Magazine — be sure to head over to their page to see the full post HERE!

And view my submission text below. It’s always fun to relive a wedding day, especially one that had so many meaningful elements!


My Submission Text:

What made this beautiful wedding at Amber Grove so unique and stand apart from the rest, was that it included new elements alongside traditional ones.  And also, that the primary focus was on the most important factor of any wedding day:  simply being and getting married!  In fact, when I asked the couple what wedding planning advice they had to offer future couples it was to: "Focus on the meaning of marriage and not on the stress of the day (its only a day)."

Being a wedding photographer and having the opportunity to capture the moments, it was genuinely refreshing to capture a wedding rooted in this simple fact.  Sure, the sparkler exit, reception celebration, and cake are super exciting- but focusing on the meaning of the marriage and not the stressors of the day is most importantHaving just planned my own wedding two years ago, I know this is easier said than done, which makes their wedding even further relatable in seeing just how they made this possible:

They found ways to unwind and relax before the ceremony by incorporating elements that were important to them into their day, even if it meant breaking “tradition”.  For example, Kelly and Austin decided it would mean more to them to express/read their handwritten vows to each other privately, yet without taking a single peak at each other.  Austin reached out his hand to her and the excitement and anticipation glowed from their expressions as Kelly hid on one side of the barn, and Austin on the other side.  I crouched under a magnolia tree in an attempt to be as incognito as possible, and before I knew it, found myself lost in the moment. As I watched Kelly and Austin share their vows I saw before me two people whose faith and love to be awe-inspiring. Seriously, what an incredible moment, I even thought to myself how I wished I had done the same thing at my wedding! The exchange of sharing their vows was the highlight of everything that meant most to them - the true meaning of marriage and the foundation on which it stands. In fact, when I asked them what wedding planning advice they had to offer future couples it was to: "Focus on the meaning of marriage and not on the stress of the day (its only a day)."  And this is advice I know will resonate with the many, real couples who are in the process of planning. 

As a second example, Kelly decided to share a first look with her brothers before the ceremony, and both of them did the honors of escorting her down the aisle. The walk down the aisle is often times a very real, unspoken pain for some couples.  However, the uniqueness of Kelly incorporating someone completely different other than what tradition outlines (and in this case incorporating TWO people) is another element I am confident will inspire couples planning their own wedding.  

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the details and stressors of planning a wedding day – from coordinating vendors, colors, and budgeting…. to picking a venue, mailing invitations, and decorating – but what is most important is making space in the hustle and bustle of the wedding timeline for those unforgettable elements that bring characteristic and real meaning to a day that should be remembered as none other than unforgettable. 

Copyright © 2015-2020 Sarah Duke Photography



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