Since April 2019, we have been through a lot. It is hard to really put into words all that we've been through. We are still here. Still standing. Still fighting. Making our marriage and mental health number one priority. Though this season is nothing what we pictured last summer when I was newly pregnant with Eloise. I'm holding onto home that the biggest, brightest rainbow is awaiting us.
Photos by Rachel Gierlach @rachelgierlach
Like many late spring and early summer weddings, Jhasmine & Patrick's wedding got pushed to the fall. But, they weren't going to let the pandemic stop them from getting married on their promised day. On a warm, bright, May evening, Jhasmine and Patrick said their vows in front of their families, and friends in person & with the magic of the internet. They said their vows over the city that brought them together.
We cannot wait to capture their love again this fall. Oh, what a celebration that will be. They deserve every ounce of celebrating and happiness. Thank you for having us on your special day!
Also, Andrew and I had the opportunity to shoot film and digital for their elopement! So you may notice a difference in texture and color. You will be able to tell which ones are the magical film photographs! We absolutely love shooting film. This is something we don't offer all the time because it is expensive to buy the film, process, and develop, but when we get to it's such a treat!
In these uncertain times, the one thing I am certain about is love. I am a Christ follower. And there is scripture that talks about what we can do in love. It talks about how patient and kind love is. But the part that has always stuck out to me is this: " Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 cor. 13:6-7)
When going into our first session since the pandemic happened, Andrew and I were nervous. We didn't know what to expect. Do we wear a mask? Will it be weird staying 6ft apart? What about hugging?! I am a Texan and hugging is a way of life. Thankfully our fist session was with Chelsea & Sam. I have known Chelsea for years. Sam, Chelsea, and I all went to the same small college but oddly enough didn't really meet until after school. Chelsea and I bonded a few years ago based on our love for peter pan collared tops, books, knitting, and photography. The one takeaway I took from this session was this: love perseveres.
Though the world felt like it was crumbling around us. Things were being brought to light. So much uncertainty around our own industry, and Chelsea + Sam's wedding. I witnessed before me the power of love. Their love felt unshakeable. I could see it. I could see their love always trusting, hoping, and not failing. I know this is quite a statement, but it is true. I walked away from their session exhilarated, hopeful, and having so much peace. The not knowing is hard. But we must persevere.
Right before the pandemic hit us in the USA we got the taste of our last bit of normalcy in March when we shot Jenna and Alec's wedding at The Barns of Kanak. Everything about their day was perfect. And it was honestly a blessing when we look back at that day. We all gathered together, friends and family to celebrate their love. The weather was a beautiful unseasonably warm day, you could feel hints of spring all around. I first met Jenna when I shot her sister Kaelyn's wedding, seven, eight years ago? I honestly cannot remember what year their wedding was. But, I have been lucky enough to continue to be apart of Kaelyn's life and that has flowed over to her families. Being apart of Jenna's wedding felt like I was apart of a family members wedding. Andrew and I felt so lucky to be there. Looking at these photos fill me with joy and hope. Joy that we got to have one last big wedding before we had to close down shop, and hope that one day soon we will gather together again around the table and celebrate.
Congrats again to Jenna + Alec!
Chelsea & Andrew
Venue - The Barns of Kanak
Lettering- Kylie - The Barns of Kanak
makeup - @blushtones
Floral design- @Katefiorefloral
Nothing is more exciting when a client is willing to take a chance to shoot when the weather is not looking pretty. We had so much fun on an oddly warm February day capturing Garrett and Emily's engagement session. Andrew and I used to live in Norfolk, and it was so fun roaming the streets capturing E+G's love, and reminiscing of our own love story that took place on the same streets.
We met Emily and Garrett at a wedding in November. Even though we had only met each other once, when we got together to shoot their engagement session, it felt like we were with old friends. The afternoon was easy and light. I spent most of the session trying to get Garrett to crack a smile, and guess what.. I did! We are so excited for their future together because it is bright.
Scroll down to see more from their rainy-warm-wintery engagement session.
xo chelsea & andrew
Since losing Eloise in October, the days and weeks have felt so long and slow. We are about to embark on her due date next week (2/26). A day I have been dreading. It feels like we've been inching towards this day for so long. And yet, it's here.
I have been thinking a lot about what these months would have looked like if things would have gone our way. We would have had her baby shower, her room would be packed with dresses & wooden toys, and we would be anxiously wondering when she would arrive. I think of those hopeful people, and I miss them. The past four months have been really hard.
The early days of losing the baby were such a whirlwind. When I think about those first two months, I think of us sitting inside of a tornado. Chaos all around, and we could barely hold onto each other for safety. We shot weddings, family sessions, in between losing Eloise, healing from her birth, hemorrhaging in DC, and a surgery. We faced the hardest season yet in the middle of the most thriving season of our business. Four months later, I am still facing chaos in a slower pace.
Lately, I have been seeing glimmers of our child. I see her in the sky when the sun is setting. When the soft glow of the horizon is hitting the clouds. Do you see me, Eloise? I see her in the birds in my yard, who flutter and fly around. Are you flying Eloise? I feel her still, kicking every now and then, her telling us, "my love is unconditional." Do you know we love you, Eloise? When I pray, I picture the Father holding my sweet girl. Telling her about her parents and how deeply they love her, because our pain runs so deep.
Here I will leave you some of the words from the song that Eloise was born to on October 15, 2019 at 5:48pm.
"Endless Alleluia" by Bethel Music
In the morning when I rise to meet You
In the morning when I lift my eyes
You're the gentle light that falls around me
You're the first thought on my mind
In the evening when I lay my head down
In the evening when I close my eyes
You're still the only One I wanna cling to
You're the last thought on my mind
Brooke was one of the first friends when I moved to Norfolk, Va in 2012. She was then and now such a gift to me. The years before Andrew became my business partner, Brooke would come and second shoot weddings with me. Some of my most cherished memories with her is our long road trips and late night heart talks. We would always "dance out" our problems and always find something fun to do. She is a fellow Texan, when I hear her voice I hear home. I was so honored to capture her and Tom's engagement session last month. Nothing is sweeter than see a dear friend fall in love.
love ya Brookie, xo Chelsea
A few weeks back we got to spend time with Patricia & Ben in their element: the mountains. They met while they were on the JMU snowboarding team in their college years. They fell in love on the slops and found it fitting to do their engagement session on the very hills where their love story started. Patricia was so excited about their engagement session, she even was willing to walk in the snow in a sleeveless dress. Her joy was contagious and made the session so easy. We cannot wait to shoot their wedding this fall!
Wow, 2019 season has come to an end. We ended the season capturing Paige & Chris's wedding at one of our favorite venues, the Hermitage. The Hermitage is enchanting all year around, but in the fall, the venue is magnificent. I had been looking forward to returning to the venue for over a year since it had been two years since we had worked there.
The morning of the wedding was cold and rainy. I was anticipating walking into a hotel room full of women worrying about it raining for the planned outdoor wedding. Paige and her crew were so overjoyed that the day was here, they weren't going to allow the weather to dampen their joy. The rain held off until the reception started. The day was a perfect fall day. You could feel that winter was on the horizon, but we had the most vibrant trees framing their day.
Paige created the most beautiful event. Her team made her vision come to life. It felt like we were in a movie almost. Everything turned out wonderfully. The reception was draped in twinkle lights, and it felt like we were under the stars instead of a cloudy sky.
It was the perfect wedding to end the year. Though this year has held so many trials for us personally, we have had the most magical year when it comes to our work. I am so thankful for all of the clients and people we have met this year. At the end of the year I am always pinching myself when reflecting the year we are about to leave behind. We are so blessed to do what we do. There are times when owning a business can feel hard and overwhelming, but, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. So, we want to thank you all for investing in our photography. Being open to us during your special day. We are honored and privileged to do what we do. We are eager for the year ahead. We are still booking for this coming year, so please shoot us an email or share our business with those who are getting married!
Chelsea & Andrew
"when the bones are good, the rest don't matter
yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter
let it rain 'cause you and I remain the same
when there ain't a crack in the foundation
baby, I know any storm we're facing
will blow right over while we stay put
the house don't fall when the bones are good"
- maren morris "the bones"
*lyrics to the song they danced to <3
And they danced the night away! Such a fun evening. Big thanks to the fellow vendors below:
Venue: Hermitage Museum and Gardens
Wedding Planner & Coordinator: Sun Kissed Events
Florist: Kate Fiore Florals
Makeup artist: Elizabeth_ Dhalia Edwards
Wedding dress: Sarah Seven
Lighting: Blue Still Lighting
Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals
"For I am fearfully and wonderfully made."