Amanda & Jake were married a few weeks ago at the scenic Olde Mill Golf Course in Laurel Fork, VA. Surrounded by rolling, lush green hills, the ceremony was unlike any other I had ever photographed…because it was just after sunrise! A smidgen on the shy side, and admittedly nervous about having all eyes on her, Amanda joked before the big day that a sunrise wedding was all just a ploy in hopes that all of the guests would oversleep and she and Jake would quietly get married before anyone awoke! Much to her dismay, all alarms functioned properly and a lovely crowd gathered on the 10th tee that day to watch Jake and her exchange vows. The best laid plans!

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One of the things I like to do is be present at a wedding rehearsal if at all possible. It allows me to know exactly what will happen the next day, meet the bridal party, befriend the wedding director, touch base with the minister, etc. There are so many plusses to me going and it always makes for fewer surprises on the day of the wedding.

I don’t typically include images from the rehearsal in my blog, but I wanted to on this one. Amanda and Jake had planned a bonfire complete with s’mores on the night before the wedding. Unfortunately, the skies opened up and Mother Nature had another thing in mind. But Amanda had worked so hard on some special touches and the cake made by her cousin Kate was just adorable, so I HAD to open with a few shots from the night before.

Hand-crafted from pine cones and dipped in beeswax, these adorable fire starters were precious!

OMG! Look a the Hokie lovebirds on top of this cake! How adorable!

The next morning, wayyyy before the crack of dawn, I headed to Amanda’s room where Karen Shinn, a wonderful hairstylist and makeup artist from Primland, was already in place working her magic on the bride-to-be.
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Amanda’s ivory strapless gown featured beautiful floral appliqué and a trumpet skirt.
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Amanda’s something blue was a perfectly thought out blue ribbon placed by her mother in her dress. The significance? Amanda’s mom is a long-time employee and lover of Old Salem…a historical area of Winston-Salem marking the first Moravian settlement in the area. Tradition was that the Married Sisters (as opposed to the Single Sisters) wore a blue ribbon to indicate that they were married. Just love that! And yeah, the girl could totally walk in those shoes. At 5’2″ and Jake at 6’5″, she needed a little boost!
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Her borrowed and old were combined into one…the clasp on the pearl necklace (which she chose to wear as a bracelet) belonged to her great-grandmother. And the pearls that the clasp held together was on loan from her grandmother…a gift from Amanda’s grandfather to his wife years earlier.
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After a little time with Amanda, I headed over meet Jake, just as the sun was beginning to rise. I TRIED to get him to take the hat off, but he swore it was part of his morning routine. It’s the only way to  get his hair perfectly styled. When I saw the end result, I relented. It worked like a dream! The man knows his hair.
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All of the florals for the day were designed by Amanda’s mother and her close friend, Diane, who flew in from Seattle for the occasion. They were beautifully created from a mix of hops, hydrangeas, burlap ribbon and succulents. Unique, rich and full of understated elegance.
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A little shout-out to his German roots, Jake sported a nifty pair of suspenders that Amanda fashioned for him, of course in the colors of the day.
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Could she look anymore lovely?
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The misty fog was just beginning to lift as we walked onto the deck for a few portraits.
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And being an only child, there was a certain sweetness in Amanda’s dad seeing her for the first time in her dress.
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Finishing touches for Jake as his grandmother does the honors.
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Love the shot below of Amanda’s dad and Jake shaking hands. They do love that boy and have taken them in as if he were their own. So wonderful to see how they have welcomed him into their family.
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And off they went in a golf cart for some time with me and my camera!
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All I had to do was look at Amanda and say, “You want to get in the creek?” And she was in there. My kind of bride!
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Back at the club house, the guests were enjoying coffee before the brunch began.

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And inside at the brunch, the tables were beautifully decorated for the occasion. Chef Ed Badgett, III prepared a fabulous brunch for all to enjoy.
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The photo tribute to their grandparents made for a lovely display at the reception.
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And instead of a wedding cake, there was wedding pie. Amanda’s grandmother was a wonderful pie maker and in honor of her, they used her recipe and made some of her most popular pies…apple, mixed berry and peach. Her recipe was also on display.
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Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas were the order of the day.
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And old friends and family gathered to celebrate the perfect day!

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Amanda’s dad shared some lovely words in his toast and then brought everyone to tears by reading the words of Heartland’s “I Loved Her First.” Oh mercy. That one got me.
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Huge congratulations to Amanda & Jake. They are not only special people, but special friends to our family. We are so happy for them and wish them many many years of happiness!