I was so excited when I received a message from Katlyn. I was good friends with her fiancé when we were kids. Growing up I remember hanging out with his whole family after church. I think it’s cool how God can bring people back into your life at the perfect time. I was told it would be a normal church wedding but that changed when Katlyn’s dad surprised her by booking the venue Barns at Chip Ridge. I’ve mainly done church weddings so I was super excited to have a chance to take pictures at a beautiful venue. When I first heard the news I rushed to google pictures of the venue and I was blown away. To say I wasn’t nervous would be a lie. However, I knew I was going to do everything I could to make this day special for them and capture some of my best work.
We planned our double date at Cracker Barrel to go over wedding details and to get to know each other. Justin and I quickly picked up where we left off many years ago. It was so awesome to see how he has grown over the years. They told me that they met while they had worked at Wendy’s together. They had no idea that their relationship would turn into what it did. Their relationship started with a bang apparently as Justin almost killed her with his driving lol. They said it was snowing which made the road a little rough. Justin was saying he was surprised she didn’t break up with him when she got home. As I was chowing down on some of my favorite Chicken and Dumplings, my wife asked Katlyn how Justin purposed. She was telling us that she was actually mad at him that day. Apparently there was supposed to be a church revival that day but Justin was telling her he couldn’t make it. She was confused because it was raining but he said he had to help build a fence. Little did she know that it was a setup. When she got there she saw Justin waiting for her and he proposed. There were decorations and signs setup for her. She was completely surprised and was excited to share the moment with her family who was also there. After many more stories and laughs we all finished up and headed back home.
It was finally the wedding day! Boy was it hot! Lol. I arrived at the venue and started taking detail shots. Everyone around was so friendly and helpful the whole day; always offering to help and an overall very inviting atmosphere. It was time for me to do some getting ready shots and man it was hot! Not sure how everyone didn’t pass out from the heat. AC on full blast didn’t even seem to help as it was still very hot. Both of the bridal parties refused to let it take away from the experience though. There were laughs all around and many good stories. Once I finished up with all of the groom’s party photos I was getting ready for all the ladies in their dresses. I quickly found Paul, Katlyn’s dad, and asked if he had seen his daughter yet in her dress. He told me he hadn’t so I got super excited! I got him to stand around the corner and wait so he couldn’t see her come down. I asked him if he thought he would cry when he saw her and he said “Nah, I doubt it.” I got Katlyn closeby then told him to come around the corner. I think we all cried in that moment. I was very excited to capture that moment and probably one of the most beautiful memories I will never forget.
It was ceremony time and everyone was excited to finally see Katlyn and Justin get married. Other than everyone being blinded by the sun it was a perfect wedding. Everyone there could see how much they loved each other and everyone was very joyful for them. We got all of the family formal photos done and everyone headed inside to eat and cool off from the hot sun. After the bride and groom ate they cut the cake and then had their first dance. It was a very sweet and lovely moment that brought back memories of my wedding day. My wife and I only danced in front of 20-30 people and we were nervous. However, Justin and Katlyn danced in front of over a hundred people! I’m not sure how they did it so flawlessly and effortlessly. It was time for Paul and Katlyn to have their father daughter dance so I was ready to go. I knew Paul and myself were about to cry again lol. I captured many good photos and had some time to take a quick video. Very glad I did, it was a powerful statement to capture.
We finished the Bride and Groom portraits shortly before it was time to do a bubble exit. If you don’t know what that is then let me tell you. Its one of the funnest things you can do at a wedding lol. You get people to form two lines and blow bubbles in between the lines at the newlyweds. I got Justin and Katlyn to walk into the bubbles and captured some fun photos and video. It was so much fun and everyone was full of laughter. I got some of my favorite wedding photos so far! It was so fun except maybe for the bubbles coming at my eyes and mouth with a vengence I’ve never seen before lol! In all seriousness everyone done so well. I was so excited that everyone was wanting to blow bubbles and be a part of those shots. I will always remember how friendly and open everyone was there.
I want to thank Justin and Katlyn for allowing me to be there and celebrate their day with them! Every wedding I get to photograph changes how I see things. I realize it’s about moments like that and being with family and loved ones that really matters. Hopefully these photos and video show you all how perfect this wedding was. Excited to watch Justin and Katlyn seek the Lord together. :)
The Barns at Chip Ridge
14235 Branch Street
Abingdon, VA 24210