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Meet Ashton and Rachel!

I don’t normally wait this long for a blog post to be shared for a wedding but you see right after their honeymoon Rachel was off to boot camp for the United States Coast Guard to serve our country and I didn’t want this to be public until they could enjoy them together in a private moment after she arrived home from her graduation.  Well today is the DAY!  Welcome Home Rachel!

 Here is your story Rachel and Ashton!

This was the BEST DAY of their lives! Thus far!  <3

It was only a week before the wedding when I met Rachel for the first time and I actually met Ashton the night before the wedding.  You see Rachel was finishing up her college career at Liberty University and was hours away and Ashton serves in our Military so he was at his new duty station in Florida so Rachels mom Paula did most of the planning, finding venders and such for their wedding, and gathering all the details…. you name it she pulled it together.   She did a great job too!  She is quite the organizer!

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I usually show up at the rehearsal if I can for a few minutes just to see how the day is going to flow and meet all of the family and important people in my couples lives. Since I had not met Rachel or Ashton until days before the wedding I stayed a few extra minutes and took a few portraits with them since we didn’t get to do an engagement session.  The storm that was coming was a WHOPPER and we had to make it quick, but we managed to get a few before the bottom fell out!   We not only captured the intense lightning in the back ground but the rainbow that followed the storm.

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Rachel and Ashton it was my pleasure to be with you to capture your day!  It was a beautiful day.

Wedding days go by so fast and  before you know it they are over and you are off into a new life and journey…so I hope this serves as a reminder of just how awesome a day it was!

Relive your day!

When we enter the room where the bride and her girls are getting ready it’s always a happy loud and fun room.

Filled with laughter, makeup, curling irons, steamers, pretty dresses and pretty girls!

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While the girls get all pretty we set off to photograph all of the details.

I loved photographing your dress it was a perfect fit for you!  And you looked amazing in it!

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Rachels Rings are heirlooms from Ashtons family. As were the pearls she wore.

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Once the girls are ready to get dressed it’s always fun to take them out for a few fun photos before they get in their wedding attire.

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And the mom’s got in on the fun with their own robes! LOL.

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This is was a beautiful moment….all of the women who mean the most to Rachel and know her inside and out saying a prayer over her and her impending marriage.

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Rachel held it together until her Maid of Honor, Kathleen started praying…and if I am honest…I cried to because her words are so eloquent for her best friend.

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This moment….is always surreal for the bride putting on her dress the one she’s dreamed about since she was a little girl.  The dress she picked after trying on many.

Rachel it was so beautiful on you!

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Your flowers were simply beautiful!

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This image speaks volumes.  A bible that is well worn like this has been put to good use!

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Ashton, you were so handsome!

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Waiting for his Rachel.

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We ventured over to this beautiful bridge on the Regent University Campus for their first look and it could not have been more perfect.  Ashton was nervous and Rachel was ready to see her groom!

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This moment….always lingers….and it’s a beautiful moment and that is what this time is for…to melt into each others arms take in all that is about to happen with the one you love the most!

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Yes he cried…and hugged her again…and it was perfect!

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This group of guys!  Handsome!

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How beautiful is this group of ladies.

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Rachel went back and put on her her momma’s veil after the first look to wear down the isle.

She didn’t want Ashton to see her again until she walked down the isle in her mothers veil so they took a moment to pray around the door before the ceremony!

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Show time.

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He closed his eye…waiting to open them as his bride came through the doorway. His dad’s face is precious!

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The swan was right on point! She showed up during the prayer!!!

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When two families become one!

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Siblings LOL!

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The sun was so pretty and glowy!  This time of the day is so perfect for photos.  I am so glad we were able to make it to the fountain for portraits.

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Ashton! That face…LOL.

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Paula and her minions had the ballroom looking so pretty!  The table centerpieces were simple yet pretty with the submerged fairy lights and hydrangeas on a beautiful wooden base made by Chris Meyer and James Williams

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Mr. and Mrs. Carrow!

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Toasts are so fun…you learn so much more about the couple through the stories of their parents and friends.  🙂

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These moments…mean so much.

Although her daddy was set to have much needed knee replacement surgery just days after the wedding he was still able to dance with his daughter.

I love these moments.

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On the other hand…nothing was wrong with Ashton’s momma’s knees!  LOL she tore up the floor! 🙂  It was so fun!

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Kurt from Astro DJ’s kept the floor full and even showed some how to do the cupid shuffle.

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How low can you go? Rachel answered that question!  Ya’ll that takes stellar abs and apparently Rachel has them!

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The cake topper was soooo cute!  Since they are both sharp shooters.

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We snuck away for a quick night photo and guess who showed up again??  The swan.

I saw the ripples on her dress from the water being stirred and when I took the shot the swan was sitting right there! So so perfect!

I love when couples make time for these night photos it really does pay off!

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Back inside for the bouquet toss and some final dancing and last song…before sending them off into their future.

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Surrounded by friends and family in a circle of love they danced to their last song of the night.

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Rachel and Aston!  Your day was perfect!  Surrounded by family and friends who love you very much!

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Here are some of frienders who who made this day so wonderful for Rachel and Ashton!

Venue: Founders Inn and Spa

Brides Dress – Stella New YorkMaya Couture

Grooms and Groomen attire – Mens Warehouse

Bridesmaids dresses – All The Rage

Flowers – Wholesale Flower Market Inc – Chesapeake

Hair and Makeup – Lolly from Mirrors Salon and Boutique

Table design – Paula Williams (brides mom)

Minions – Brooke Hunt and Tabitha Hinnenkamp

Pastor – Dr. Timothy Lambert

Mistress of Ceremonies – Rodica Lambert

Wedding Cake – Founders Inn and Spa

DJ – Kurt from Astro DJ’s

And last but certainly NEVER least…my awesome sidekick Heather Hartsell for her assistance and second shooting!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to capture your day!  I wish you much love and happiness on your new journey as husband and wife!


New Logo without sand dollar

Anchored in Love


You know I love the beach, specifically the Outer Banks,  everything about it, the sand, the warm salty air, the smell of the ocean and sunscreen! I will live there one day!  Being an Outer Banks Wedding Photographer makes my salty soul happy! So when I knew that my first wedding of this season was in one of the many beach locations I love, Carolla Beach and at the Whalehead I was ecstatic, to say the least!  This location has a small town feel with a lot of gorgeousness surround by the sea and rich history.  The history alone of the location is a beautiful love story in itself.  The mansion was built by Edward Collins Knight Jr. for his bride Marie because she love to duck hunt and none of the hunt clubs would allow women as members in 1925 so her groom purchased 4 miles of the area and built her an exclusive hunting lodge.  So for a wedding to take place on these romantic grounds is beyond amazing!  Just look at this view of the beautiful Whalehead Club It’s breathtaking! Although they do not permit photos to be taken inside, you will see the outside of this beautiful location offers many gorgeous choices!  Becca and Ruben your wedding was simply amazing from the location to the sunset skies and the food truck! <3  Your day was perfect…well the 50mph winds were a little tough for the bubble exit but we pulled it off!  Relive your day! XOXO

Historic Whalehead Corolla Beach

The family rented two homes for the week prior to the wedding day so they could spend time relaxing and beaching it up! The adults stayed in one house and the bridal party in the other!

Smart thinking Wayne and Carla! 🙂

Becca and Ruben here is your wedding day from the rehearsal to bubble exit and what a wonderful day it was!

Here is a couple of images that Wayne was not teary eyed in…every time he cried I did to I think 🙂

Family is everything!

When I arrived at the girls beach house all the girls were laughing, giggling, painting toes and just having a good time anticipating the day.

Last few sprays because the beach wind was gonna play havoc on the hair!  This hair style is now coined the “Becca Bun”

This little crabby dude made the trip from FL just for this ring shot!

These are Becca’s Grandma’s rings and her something old.

These moments right here.

She’s your best friend, she’s by your side on one of the most important days of your life. She’s your maid of honor.

Becca had a few moments here and there when her emotions of the day spilled out and this was one, when her mom helped her with her bracelet.

That’s a lot of beautiful right here.


Your flower choices for your bouquets were beautiful, I’ve seen sunflower bouquets but none as pretty as this.

The sweetest flower girl and the prettiest little flower crown I’ve ever seen!

Meanwhile, at the boys house, my amazing second photographer Heather was hanging out with the boys and capturing their shenanigans.

Last few minutes before

Father daughter first looks always get me…but this one really GOT me..Like Whoa.

Ceremony time!  The wind was whipping and the sun was shining and it was beautiful! The driftwood arch was amazing!

The walk was soooo long we had Ruben turn his back until she got to the chairs to turn around…

So the back story behind the Flamingo.

He was their mascot all week, went everywhere with the group, to the beach out to dinner, everywhere, so it was right that he was part of the wedding too. So he walked part of the way with Abbie.

He was the perfect escort.

The flower girl was so adorable she stopped half way down the long walk and our wonderful coordinator Brittany helped her run to her momma. We all started hollering run to momma Layna run to momma, and when she got site of her mom it was the most precious moment!

I know you are saying it.. awwww! Because we all did.

There was no way on earth these candles were staying lit but we lit them anyway!

See this look…that’s the look of hours of anticipation and anxiousness gone!

©MelodyGillikinPhotography Outer Banks Wedding Photographer | Whalehead

Golden hour just seems more golden on the shore!

The trees are amazing at Whalehead.

This photo right here! <3

The sky was starting to turn a pretty shade of pink, and purple cotton candy.

So happy to be the new Mrs. Guerrero!

And then she sees her parents, both crying and she loses it again and so did I. Such a sweet moment full of love and gratitude for all they have done to make their day perfect.

He loved her first.

Momma’s boy’s are the best!

This food truck served the most delicious food, their crab cake empanadas To.Die.For! And if you wanted they served you a completely Vegan meal.

Can you tell which one is Vegan? Nope. and both delicious! BOTH!

The sun was setting so we took full advantage of the beautiful skies

Mr. and Mrs. Guerrero.

Party time!

Cake and Toasts and lots of laughs!

Becca’s cake and cupcakes were Vegan! And tasted amazing.

The cake smash happened so fast no one saw it coming even Ruben. LOL.

When Wayne asked Carla to marry him he asked the DJ play a certain song and he played the wrong song so we reenacted it for them.  It was the best!

I love night images it is true!

But the Grand Finale of the night goes to THIS photo… it is all of it! The tree of LIFE and love and Happily ever after!

©MelodyGillikinPhotography Outer Banks Wedding Photographer

The wind was blowing about 50mph so we had to be quick with the bubble exit on the side of the mansion to block some of the wind!

Becca and Ruben and the whole Leland / Guerrero family!  It was such an honor and a blast to spend the day with you capturing the most perfect day!

I pray many blessings and love and adventures are ahead for your new marriage.




Here are the fabulous vendors who made the day a HUGE success! 


The GORGEOUS Venue: Whalehead Club

The ever fabulous coordinators and event rentals: Chic Unique Vintage Rentals and Events

Catering: Sofrito’s

Hair and Makeup by the fab duo: Paula Stone and Jessica Barbini

Tent and table rentals: Metro Rentals

DJ: A Team DJ Services

Linens: Classy Covers

Delicious Cake / Cupcakes: My Vegan Sweet Tooth

Transportation: Island Limo

Gorgeous Flowers by : Bells and Whistles

As always, thank you for coming to my blog and being a part of the joy I get to share!














It was such a blast going to East Carolina University yesterday to take Brittany’s senior photos.  She has worked so hard these past four years to complete her undergraduate degree in Public Health and Pre-Dentistry.  She wants to be a Dentist and graduating 10th in her class with top honors, I am sure that she will have no issues at all achieving her goals.

I travel all the time for photography, and I love it.  I get to see new places and experience new things in addition to creating wonderful memories for my clients.  I photographed Brittany’s  senior portraits when she graduated from East Carteret High, NC. 4 years ago and she was beautiful then and has grown into a beautiful confident young woman, who knows what she wants.

Congratulations Brittany on your huge accomplishments!  ECU was blessed to have you!

I was told that the Cupala is something that no undergraduate walks through because the legend is that if an undergrad walks through it you won’t graduate when anticipated….guess what I was probably the ONLY person to ever walk through it LOL…since I am pretty sure I will never graduate from ECU. 🙂

We walked around to every gate and asked two people to please let us in for just 10 min so we could grab a few photos in the purple bleachers, after two “no’s” we finally asked the right person well, he asked us.  Coach Conners, the strength training coach for the ECU football team watched us walk by the workout room for a third time and popped his head out and asked us if we couldn’t find anyone to let us in, we said ….nope but could you?  He thought for moment…and said “make it quick” and we did!  Thanks Coach!

East Carolina University Senior Portraits

Right by the stadium was this beautiful train track…in beautiful light!  We took full advantage of it…She was so beautiful people were staring and for good cause!

Running out of light we went uptown to finish off our night and found some pretty cool places!

Thank you once again, Brittany, for allowing me to document this special time in your life!

I look forward to other big events to come!



This past weekend I had the opportunity to give back this and it was for a cause that is so close to my heart.  There were no organizations like St Balderick’s Foundation back when my brother Kevin lost his battle with Leukemia. I am thankful for what they are doing for pediatric cancer and pray that this disease is finally obliterated from the face of the earth.

These BRAVE people gave up their hair for a great cause….I had a several moments when I thought….oh my word…I don’t think I could do this…shave my head but #Teamslice432 won an award for raising the most money for this event and I was so honored to participate in a small way!  I am sure Louie would be so proud of his momma and this entire event!  #Teamsice432 ROCKS!

I know Louie is so proud of you both! xoxo

Thank you Melissa for asking me to be there!  It was an honor!


To Learn More About St. Baldrick’s Foundation Click


or find them on Facebook




Anna and Tyler

 Despite Virginia’s weather mood swings, your beach wedding at the Sheraton Oceanfront was beautiful!

I am so honored to have been part of your day and capture every moment for you and Tyler to cherish forever.

Thank goodness it warmed up some and so glad you both braved the cold chilly air to create some beautiful images on the beach!

Here is your day…your BEST DAY EVER (so far)

I laughed…cried…and smiled a lot with you all day! Just seeing you guys so happy and in love makes my job so easy!

Don’t let the blue sky and puffy white clouds fool you…it quickly became overcast and it was so cold the fountain was full of icicles!

But inside it was sunny and 75! With a beautiful bride and all her details!

I LOVED this ring box! So personal and perfect!

Boys being boys! LOL.

The moments with your momma as you get into your wedding dress for real….it’s a beautiful thing.

Anna, you were simply stunning!

The look on their faces says it all!  I LOVE all kinds of first looks!

And this one….your daddy was so sweet.

And watching your momma…watch the two of you was sweet too. Her heart must have been bursting! I know mine was!

It was sooooo cold but that did not stop either of you from making your first look warm and full of love.

Tyler, your reaction was PRICELESS! I always get teary!

I love this romantic image of you guys!

Sheraton Oceanfont Wedding Melody Gillikin Photography

It was so cold our goose bumps had goose bumps…everyone was eager to get inside for a few portraits before the ceremony and to get

feeling back in our faces LOL.

Ceremony time.

The image on the right below caught my attention and caused me to pause and think…I wonder what was going through your daddy’s mind as he looked at you in this moment.

Was it remembering the day you were born? Was it the first time you took your first step?

Was it remembering the first time you said “I love you, daddy”

Was it your first day of school? Your first date?

I wish I had asked him but whatever it was, I am sure it was with a heart full of love.

And when your daddy took over the ceremony after giving your hand to Tyler….I melted.  The room was so full of emotions.

I have to admit…when I was taking this photo I was also seeing the sky turn pink outside and could not wait to get your “just married” photos on the beach.

 The Heavens agreed and the skies rejoiced with an array of beautiful colors!  Even if it was only for the last 5 min of sunset, it was BEAUTIFUL! Beach Wedding Photography www.melodygillikinphotography beach weddings

First Dances…I love them.

These two ladies right here! They did a FANTASTIC job coordinating the day and keeping everyone on track…not to mention they toss a pretty mean veil. 😉

I love following the bride and groom around to the tables seeing them with their family and friends.

Not gonna lie…the song that was played during the mother and son dance had me a blubbering mess behind my camera.

Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman.

I had never heard it before but man….is it a powerful momma song.

I truly don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

Julian had the dance floor full all night long!

I loved the ombre blue cake and the cute topper, but the fun detail on the back was totally them!

Back to dancing the rest of the night away.

Anna’s veil belonged to her momma, she wore it on her wedding day and so did Anna’s sister. So we had a little fun with it to commemorate its meaning.

We then snuck away for just a little bit for some night portraits by the pool…ahhh. I LOVE them.

The night wrapped up with some photo booth fun and the traditional tosses.

The little ring bearer cracked me up…I thought he was gonna be the only single dude on the floor! LOL!

And then off into the night as the new

Mr. and Mrs. Disharoon

Established 12-17-16


Anna and Tyler

Thank you again for trusting me with your most precious moments and memories!

I wish you and Tyler the best life has to offer for years and years to come!


Today was also made possible by the following wonderful friendors!

Venue- Sheraton Oceanfront – Nancy Rosen – Event Manager

Brides Dress –Here and Now Bridal

Guys Suits – Men’s Warehouse

Hair and Makeup – Nina Quintana of Abracadabra Salon

Flowers – DIY Bride and family

Cake – Patti Cakes Inc.

DJ – Julian Rivera

Catering – The Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel

Cute ring box – End Grain Wood Shoppe (Etsy)

Day of Coordinators – Angela Carley, Kelsie Carley, and Allison Disharoon

Videographer – Riverdale 24 Productions

(you need to click on THIS link to see their video!)


The temperature in Norfolk | Newport News for this vow renewal was exactly 20 below zero (ok I might be exaggerating a tad) on December 10th 2016…

but it didn’t matter because it was

 Chrystelle and James’s wedding day!!!

But I am sure the wind chill was pretty close to zero and that’s not typical of Virginia weather in December. It’s normally in the 50’s at the least.

Anyone who knows me knows….I love love love Christmas and the Christmas season,

and this wedding vow renewal was such a wonderful way to kick off the Holiday season.

Chrystelle and James have been married for a few years but when they got married they just did a quick little wedding ceremony because they

both serve our country in the Military and often have to go in different directions so when the time was right they

planned the perfect day….the day they always wanted.

The one they dreamed of  when they first got married and were determined to make it happen with family and friends.

Chrystelle and James, Thank you so much for allowing me to tell your love story!

Here is your day! And a beautiful day it was!


I like to be at the rehearsals if I can make it so I can see how the ceremony is going to flow so there are no surprises on the wedding day and boy was there!

So many special moments that were significant and meaningful to them.

But I was most excited for their walk back down the aisle because they are HUGE Alabama fans…well James is now by default and vows LOL and so when

they walked back down to Sweet Home Alabama…I was so excited because I knew I liked them…but now I LOVED them! <3

The day started as usual with everyone getting ready, hair, makeup, and hairspray and lots and lots of laughter and smiles.

Chrystelle’s details were so pretty they all had that old Holywood Noir look to them so I photographed them that way.

Ok let me pause right here and say that is Chrystelle’s MOM helping her with her dress…not her sister…her MOM! I want what ever skin care she uses!

I don’t think I have had a groom that smiled and laughed as much as James.  We had to make him do the “serious face”  🙂

There is just something about those father daughter first moments, when he sees her in her wedding dress. He was speechless. <3

Talk about brave…the sun was going down quickly and they ALL went out for a group shot.  I am not kidding it was frrrreeeezing.

This moment right here is probably one of my very favorite non-first look moments. They were back to back in chairs and their families and bridal party all

gathered around them to pray, worship and sing.  I was covered in goosebumps the entire time.

There were tears of joy and sheer emotion that spilled out all over that room.

It was overpowering and spirit filled.

NewLife Ghent is so pretty inside the lines, curves and stained glass are beautiful!

Every bride should take a few moments to herself before the ceremony and service, to take it all in, to savor the moment.

The worship service was moving!

James didn’t know that this moment was gonna take place, and what a beautiful symbolic moment it was.

I love the first kiss…but I love the moments and the hugs right after, so sweet.

Then cue the music. Sweet Home Alabama! and then dancing back down the aisle.


The first few moments after the ceremony are so full of pure excitement, love and joy.

Many couples opt for their exit to be from the ceremony site vs at the end of the night and I loved the lit colorful sabers! FUN!

It was dark and too cold to do any bridal party photos outside so we opted for inside. What a good-looking group!

However, they braved the cold together but LOVE was keeping them warm.

My second photographer, Michelle,  was running around with a can of aerosol fog spraying like crazy for these two images…and ummmmm you sprayed a smoke HEART! <3 How Awesome!!! Then it dissipated.  But still cool.

Off to dinner and dancing!

First Dances <3

See, constant smile on Jame’s face.  Happy man for sure!

I did mention she was a chef right?  Chrystelle came up with her own amazing menu and let me tell you it was AMAZING!

Let the par-tay begin!

Speeches and laughter…there’s that grin again…I tell you, you could NOT wipe it off his face all day!

I gave them a little surprise..a few photos from their day in an album before the day was over.

Cupcakes are always the BEST!

Last Dance before being whisked off into the night for a few night portraits to finish out the night.

There could not have been a better way to end the night and it included the best backdrop in all of Hampton Roads for their night portrait, The Hampton Coliseum!

Chrystelle and James it was a sheer delight to document and tell your Love Story!

Your day was filled with so much detail and meaningful moments.

I pray that you will forever in love and will look back on your day with big smiles and realized just how blessed you are!

Special thanks to all of the frienders who made their day possible.

Please put your hands together for:

Wedding Planner / Event Coordinator- The lovely Kristin Visher

Brides Dress – Blush Bridal Boutique

Gentleman’s attire from Ace Tuxedo Newport News

Hair and Makeup – The Fabulous Tanza Hines

DJ / Photo Booth – The awesome 196 Events

YUMMY Cupcakes by – Scratch Bakery 

The beautiful flowers were designed by – Kate Fiore Floral Design

The cute flower girl dresses were created by- Star DeJesus at Starstyles

The gorgeous tables and event decor decorations and set up were by – Tammy

The FABULOUS Menu and Catering by – Chef Kyle at Embassy Suites and Hotels – AMAZING menu and fabulous flavor!

Venues:  New Life Church Ghent / Embassy Suites Event Convention Center Hampton

  • Drew Miller - February 28, 2017 - 11:33 AM

    An event to remember! Very proud of you two. May God bless your eternal journey!ReplyCancel