Brandon and Marlena were married in April at Keswick Hall (which was named a Forbes Five-Star resort this year!) Since Brandon happened to be the activities director at Keswick, he knew all of the most picturesque views of the property. A week before the wedding, Brandon took Marlena and I on a tour of the large property which boasts a golf course, a creek, a willow tree, woodsy areas, manicured gardens, a pool, a little garden house, as well as the beautiful estate building itself which makes an epic backdrop for wedding day portraits. As we toured around, we planned out all of the spots where we would do portraits after their late morning ceremony. When the morning of the wedding arrived, it was overcast, and eventually a steady rain set in over the chairs set up on the patio for the ceremony. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that our grand views of the property we had planned as our portraits backdrop would have to be moved…until Brandon turned this notion on its head for me… Just before the ceremony, Brandon and Marlena met up in a quiet hallway, separated by a folding screen. They held hands around the barrier, taking turns praying out loud. The wedding coordinator had just informed us that it was raining too hard and that the ceremony would be moved inside. I’ll never forget when, while holding hands with his bride around the screen, Brandon said, with his voice confident and filled with joy, “Thank you, God, for the rain! Let it help things grow, and let it help our love also grow.” Not “Despite the rain….” but “Thank you for the rain!” At that moment, Brandon totally flipped the script for me, and I saw everything in a different light. The rain was beautiful. Everything about this day was perfect. This was their wedding day, and they were thankful for everything, even the rain itself. I felt very privileged to be right next to them in the hallway in that moment, taking photos. Sometimes as a wedding photographer, I get to witness such powerful, private moments between people, it is overwhelming. I try to disappear in these moments and observe and document, in a way that is not distracting. After a beautiful ceremony, where everyone sang together, we found a cozy, covered porch to do family photos. Then we headed over to a lovely arbor by the pool house, the latticework dripping with purple wisteria, to do our portraits of the bride and groom. It was outside, yet covered. That’s not to say we didn’t experience a few raindrops on our heads, but none of us cared a bit! Everything turned out beautiful, and once we got back to the reception inside, their friends and family proved to be more than ready to light up the dance floor at the early hour of noon. Brandon and Marlena walked into the room to “Uptown Funk” and it was pretty much a nonstop dance party from there on out. It’s a landmark year for Brandon and Marlena. Not only were they married in 2015, but Marlena has also just graduated from UVA School of Medicine. I know these two have a very bright future ahead…I’m so excited for them!