Oh my goodness…where to begin! I have been anticipating this day for quite some time. It’s a special thing to photograph your last wedding of the year at a venue managed by two of the most incredible people you know. But it’s also equally special when the two people tying the knot are an extra special part of your life as well. This Great Marsh Estate wedding couldn’t have happened on a rainier or muddier day of the year, but that didn’t stop these two! Emma and Brooks became Mr. and Mrs. Ward (#newlywards) in the rainiest year on record for this part of the country.
If you’ve read their engagement session blog, then you already know that Emma is a former student of mine as well as a former co-leader with me serving LHS Younglife. Not only that, but the first day of school with Emma in my photography class just happened to be the day of the infamous East Coast Earthquake of 2011. Emma happened to be absent on that first day of school. So when she came back the next day, it was quite an eventful start to the school year. Right away, I knew she was creative, thoughtful, fun and bright. After she graduated and went on to my alma mater, JMU, I was thrilled to see her start leading Younglife at a local Harrisonburg area high school. And later, she began teaching at her high school as well as leading Younglife there.
Emma never planned on meeting Brooks. She never planned on their friendship, or dating him or saying “I Do.” But “Brooks and Emma” was the rather unexpected relationship that was one of the most absolutely perfect matches one could witness in a lifetime. I wasn’t surprised at all when she told me about their engagement and couldn’t have been happier for them!
Planning a wedding on your Winter Break as a teacher is not easy. But thanks to the help of many people, Emma and Brooks got things underway and did it! The day of the wedding, the rain came pouring down on an already saturated ground. Seriously, this has been the rainiest year on record and the muddy ground all over Virginia testifies to it! But it in no way diminished from the day or from Emma’s relaxed demeanor as she prepared to see Brooks for the first time that day.
Emma’s mother and her bridesmaids helped her prepare her dress as well as her shoes and jewelry. Emma was radiant as her blue eyes sparkled and her flawless hair and make up simply accented her natural beauty.
Emma’s mother gifted her a pair of knock out Steve Madden pumps and Good Earth Flowers created a stunning floral crown!
The bridal suite at Great Marsh made for a perfect place for Emma to prepare and we even photographed some of her bridal portraits in the suite since it was raining.
We then went to the elevated veranda for bridal portraits, which provided protection for Emma from the rain. There we photographed some incredibly lovely images as well as some on the way down the grand staircase.
Emma’s dress had such beautiful form and flow and she looked just as beautiful twirling in it as she did for still poses!
We then photographed the ladies together…all ten of them! And they looked so very lovely, bright and full of joy! We also experienced about 15 minutes of no rain and were able to take some photos in front of the back of the house.
Once we returned inside, Emma and her father shared their own special first look! The flower girls were also ready (daughters of bridesmaid Erin). How precious are these sweet moments?!
Now let’s not forget the men! Brooks prepared for his big day with his groomsmen while Emma and the ladies spent time together.
Brooks was nervous but as smartly dressed and debonair as could be with a stand out tie designed by his friend, Michelle Carter. He and his men also came together for group portraits under the protection of the back veranda.
Once it was time for the first look, Emma walked out the back door and tapped Brooks on the shoulder.
They shared the time away from the eyes of their guests and in a private corner on the veranda. After this sweet and special moment, we photographed their couples’ portraits here as well.
What a special time it was. I even managed to walk out in the rain and mud with an assistant holding an umbrella so I could capture some from further back. And it was so worth it to be able to give them these moments.
After more family and group photographs inside, it let up enough to capture some group portraits outside as well.
We even experienced a slight let up in the rain at the end again! Then it was time to prepare for the ceremony.
Due to the rain, the ceremony was held in The Stable. And it was perfect! Their good friend, Josh Griffin was the officiant and he led them in a service of joy, love and faith. He also reminded us all of the foundation of their love in Jesus. Two special young women read from the Bible and the two flower girls made sure their baskets were emptied of every last petal!
The reception was equally as special and full of wonderful moments not to be forgotten. And the entire Stable felt like a warm and cozy Christmas cabin.
All of the first dances were a testament of love and watching Emma and Brooks dance their way into the reception made for a wonderful start to the evening.
Toasts were given by the maid of honor, best man and by Emma’s brother. The most unforgettable moment for me was hearing Emma’s brother speak of his relationship with his sister. He said that even though she had taught him about loving other people regardless, people will disappoint you at times. (I love this girl’s grace!) But then he said that she has NEVER disappointed him. (Cue the tears…). He also happened to mention that when she was a child she confided in him that her first born daughter would be named Muffin Hiatus. We’re all holding you both to that. I can’t wait to meet her one day.
Congratulations, Emma and Brooks! It was an incredible day and I can’t thank you enough for the honor of serving you and your families. Keep scrolling, friends, for more highlights from their Great Marsh Estate wedding and for the wedding professionals who helped make this day extra special.
Thank you to these wonderful wedding professionals who helped make the day possible!
Venue: Great Marsh Estate
Coordination: Main Street Weddings
Linens: Main Street Linens
Florals: Good Earth Flowers
Hair and Make Up: Sara Dodson, A Vanity Affair
Wedding Gown: David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Men’s Ties: Michelle Carter Studio
Catering: Famous Dave’s
Donuts: Duck Donuts
Favors: Fisher’s Popcorn
To see more Great Marsh Estate weddings, engagements and anniversary sessions, peruse HERE.
Michelle Lieb with Lieb Photographic is a Virginia Wedding Photographer, Charlottesville Wedding
Photographer, Baltimore Wedding Photographer and Maryland Wedding Photographer. She is also a
Washington DC Wedding Photographer, Phoenix Wedding Photographer, Arizona Wedding Photographer
and a Destination Wedding Photographer!