I’ve been excited for Mitch and Erin’s Stone Tower Winery wedding since the day Erin message me on Instagram asking if I’d be their wedding photographer. You may wonder how a Chicago wedding photographer ended up with a bride from Virginia. You can read all about that story on their engagement session blog post.
As you can imagine, Erin had quite a time trying to plan her wedding with current restrictions on gatherings changing so frequently over the course of wedding planning. They decided last minute to add a tent on the patio of Stone Tower Winery so that they could have a few more people celebrating with them on their special day. It turned out to be simply perfect. The weather forecast cleared up and it was a beautiful spring day in Virginia.
When I arrived to Stone Tower property on their wedding day, I met up with Michael, the videographer to help orchestrate a very fun surprise for Mitch. He has a very close friend, Christian, in the military that wasn’t going to be able to make the wedding. However, what Mitch didn’t know, is that Christian found a way to attend after all, and he and Erin were working behind the scenes to surprise Mitch. Erin had reached out to Michael and I a couple of weeks before the wedding to make sure that we would be able to capture the surprise on video and in pictures. How sweet is that?
When Christian arrived, we set him up behind the house where Mitch and the guys were all getting ready and then brought Mitch out back to take some “groom photos”. He was so surprised to see Christian walk out of the gazebo. Bro hugs all around!
After the big surprise, we headed over to meet up with Erin. They were finishing up with hair and makeup, so I got to work on her gorgeous details before Erin gave her mom a sweet gift and got into her dress. I love photographing mother daughter moments on wedding days, probably because I think about how it will be when my own girls get married. We followed that with some bridesmaid photos with Erin and her girls. Gosh these girls were beautiful and all so fun and sweet. I could have just hung out with them all night!
One of the sweetest moments was when Erin Facetimed her Pop Pop that wasn’t able to make it to her wedding. He gushed over how gorgeous she looked and there were tears in the eyes of anyone in earshot of this moment. It was so obvious how special they are to each other.
Mitch and Erin had decided not to do a first look, but did have a first touch where they read letters to each other before the ceremony. I asked Erin if she thought Mitch would cry, and she said he was not a crier. After seeing how he reacted when Christian walked out of the gazebo, I was not convinced! While Mitch may not have actually shed tears during the first touch, he was definitely holding them back. It was one of my favorite moments of the day.
The ceremony took place on a hill with the vineyards and rolling hills showing off behind the beautiful arbor. I forgot to mention that Erin did all of the flowers herself (I think she’s found herself a side gig) and the floral arrangement on the arbor was stunning! I’ve seen a lot of wedding flowers in my day, and these were professional level for sure.
Erin walked down the aisle with her dad as Mitch took in his bride with a beaming smile. I can’t prove that there were tears, but I do think I saw one or two. The couple exchanged their vows in front of their family and friends and I was reminded how much I love outdoor weddings.
Following the ceremony, as guests made their way to cocktail hour on the patio, we did family photos, wedding party photos and then photos of the newlyweds. I could have photographed them all evening on this beautiful property, but we finished up in time to get them back to cocktail hour to hang out with their guests.
The reception began with introductions of the wedding party, followed by a sweet first dance and toasts. Dinner was served, the cake was cut, the special dances were dance and then, the dance floor opened! It was so fun to see a full, happy dance floor again. The night ended with a sparkler exit for the new Mr and Mrs.
*I apologize in advance for the picture overload. I couldn’t help myself!
Venue: Stone Tower Winery
Planner: Serendipity Wedding Services
Videography: Michael Lemley Films
Photographer: Karen Shoufler Photography
Hair Stylist: Beauty by Sue
MUA: Evergreen Beauty
Bridal Boutique: Vivid Bridal Boutique
Dress Designer: Stella York
Officiant: Ron Patrella
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Planning a wedding in Chicago, Virginia, Florida or beyond? I would love to chat with you to see If we’d be the perfect fit for capturing your wedding day! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form.