Trip out west

I took a short trip out to Los Angeles last week to visit with two close aunts and my cousin that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was wonderful! I really enjoyed spending time with them, especially after being gone for so long. The smog wasn’t even all that bad (maybe it was the winter), but overall the trip was an unqualified success.

The night before my flight back, I stopped by one of the ubiquitous In-n-Out Burgers that dot the Southern California landscape. It’s not fast food per se, as everything is cooked to order and they don’t employ freezers or microwaves. Everything is fresh and everything is awesome.

Shown below are before-and-after shots of an order of a Double Double (Animal Style, natch), fries, and a soda. Nice way to end a trip out west.

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Deep Creek Lake

We ended up taking a brief winter break, as you saw below, at a secluded B&B located on Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. The inn, called Lake Pointe Inn, was one that we had visited in the past, and absolutely loved. We stayed in two different rooms while there just to experience all the place had to offer (not to mention the served-warm chocolate cookies that were placed out in abundance in the kitchen for guests to enjoy. If you’re looking for a nice romantic weekend away, whether it be in the summer or winter (Wisp ski resort is right across the street), you really can’t go wrong here. Certainly one of our favorites.

We ended our visit by bundling up and heading outside with some blankets to the fire pit, where we lit a fire for a short spell and enjoyed the view before reluctantly heading home. We don’t have any weddings during the month of March, so we’ll likely take a slightly longer trip that takes a bit more planning to get to (we’re generally working when everyone else is vacationing in summertime), and of course will share details upon our return. In the meantime, here are a few from the area to tie you over.

View from our room onto the frozen lake:

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It was darn cold, and Wisp took the opportunity to make some snow:

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We went exploring along most of the lake’s shoreline:

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Back at the B&B, here are a couple of lake-facing chairs that usually see more action in the summer:

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Down by Muddy Creek Falls located in Swallow Falls State Park. We were amazed by how frozen and snow-covered everything was:

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Muddy Creek Falls:

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Kelly & Pete’s wedding

Loyal blog viewers will definitely recognize this fun couple! We finally got to do Kelly & Pete’s wedding this past weekend in Richmond. We had so much fun with them on their extended engagement session back in October, starting out at Maymont Park and ending up at Shockhoe Slip for some night-time portraits. A year before their engagement session, Kelly caught the bouquet at Laura & Jeff’s wedding just outside of Richmond. When Pete popped the question, Laura suggested Kelly give us a call, and the rest, they say, is history.

We knew then that their winter-themed celebration was going to be blast, and it certainly was. As if on cue, the afternoon of the wedding it started to snow and covered everything outside in a thin, yet beautiful white blanket. Luckily the temps hovered right around freezing, so it didn’t stick the roads too much, though. Despite the weather and some minor early delays, planner extraordinaire Windy Jennings kept everyone happy and on schedule. Kelly donned her Melissa Sweet gown just prior to some in-church portraits and looked stunning. We can only imagine how Pete felt when he first saw her walking down the aisle toward him, being escorted by both of her parents. Family friend and officiant Dan Mannen led the very personal, humorous, and touching ceremony held at the beautiful Seventh Street Christian Church.

After the ceremony, everyone headed to the gorgeous Country Club Of Virginia for the reception, organzied by their in-house coordinators Amber and Leighanne, who we had met originally at Kelly’s bridal session (more on that later). The ballroom was literally transformed into a sparkly winter wonderland. Kelly’s mom, Judy, who was deeply involved in helping to plan her daughter’s wedding was enthralled with everything. It was just gorgeous and Kelly & Pete loved seeing how the plants and lights were arranged throughout the room to set just the right mood. Kelly’s mom surprised her with several special thouches throughout the day as well. Judy had her lace wedding dress reincarnated as the table topper on the cake table, which was lit from beneath with white holiday lights. The dress was also used as a ribbon tie on Kelly’s all-white bouquet and on the ring bearer’s pillow, which definitely added to the smiles that day.

The band, named Casper, started the evening going on a high note with a highly energetic performance. Nary a soul was sitting in their seats surrounding the times set aside for heart-felt toasts by their Maids-of-Honor and Best Men. Everyone danced until the very end, when they braved the cold and subsiding snow flurries to head outside to see off the happy couple with bright, long sparklers. It was an energetic ending befitting an energetic celebration, and we were thrilled to have been a part of it. Thanks, you two!

View a slideshow of our favorite images from their wedding.

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Previously unseen, lest Pete see them on our blog (yes, guys, we know you look!), here are a few of our favorites from Kelly’s bridal portrait session a few months ago. Judy arranged to have one of them printed as a beautiful Giclée print and framed at the entrance to the ballroom.

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Jessica & Matt’s wedding

Congratulations to Jessica & Matt, who took advantage of New Year’s Eve’s inherent celebratory qualities and invited their friends and family to celebrate not just ringing in the new year, but Jessica & Matt’s quite obvious love for one another. We started documenting their wedding day at the ever-elegant Willard Hotel across from the White House in Washington, DC. Jessica had donned her sleek Monique L’huillier gown earlier, just prior to starting her hair and make-up, which was expertly done by Zak, her stylist who had worked with her for the past eight years and who cut quite a rug at the reception, but more on that later.

The couple decided to see each other before their ceremony in a private moment in the hotel’s Jenny Lind suite overlooking the Washington Monument. Right afterwards, with the sun close to the horizon, we all drove to the Jefferson Memorial for some quick and fun portraits of the two of them. It was beautiful out there! Because there were nary a cloud in the sky, the warm afternoon light shone softly on their faces and we shot along the monument’s western edge until the sun set. Returning to the hotel, they had gotten their families together for a short portrait session just before the start of the ceremony, which was held in the gorgeous Crystal Room. It was officiated by Michael, a close family friend of theirs, and filled with incredibly humorous and touching moments. Jessica & Matt joyously bounded down the aisle afterwards for an impromptu receiving line, followed by a bagpiper leading the guests downstairs to the ballroom and cocktail hour.

To say the ballroom was an elegant mix of winter bliss and holiday fun would be a profound understatement. The fabulous Michele Hodges, who had helped with the wedding’s planning, coordinated the layout for one of the hotel’s most visually stunning weddings. None other than Petal’s Edge designed the festive glittery tablescapes (and had made Jessica’s bouquet chiefly of large white peonies blooms, which made for one of the more aromatic bouquets we’ve seen). Everything behind the scenes worked so smoothly, and we hadn’t ever seen a hotel staff so friendly and eager to help as the Willard’s.

Escapade Band started the night off with the perfect energy level and kept it there throughout the night and into the start of the new year. After announcing Jessica & Matt and their first dance, Jessica’s parents welcomed everyone and signaled the start of dinner. After dinner, and some incredibly funny toasts, notably by Jessica’s two sisters, you couldn’t keep people off the dance floor, as the band kept everyone moving. Things continued into 2008, as everyone toasted to the couple and just kept dancing. Things wound down around 1am, at least in the ballroom, but the party was to continue until the wee hours elsewhere in the hotel. This was our first wedding on New Year’s Eve, and we had an absolute blast. Jessica & Matt, you were such a pleasure to be around–thank you and congratulations!

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