Two Lions Vineyard
Two Lions Vineyard in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is not just a venue; it’s a narrative space. The vineyard is a new addition to the wedding scene and this was one of the first wedding stories to unfold under its sky, and on this particular day, it was the setting for Banks and Caitlin’s gorgeous wedding. The vineyard offered a blend of rustic charm and elegance, providing a versatile canvas for the day’s events.
The venue’s layout played a significant role in the day’s flow. From the upstairs wedding suite to the barrel room in the basement, each space had its own character, contributing to the overall experience. The vineyard itself was a silent witness to the day’s unfolding drama, its grapevines and open skies adding a touch of natural beauty.
The day started in the vineyard’s upstairs wedding suite, a space that served as something of a sanctuary for Caitlin, her mom, and her bridesmaids. Caitlin’s tattoos, each a unique piece of art added a layer of individuality to the day.
The flower girl was there, too, her presence add a touch of innocence to the room. Banks’ sister arrived shortly after we got there, ring bearer in tow, and the room was filled with the kind of moments that make weddings so special. The atmosphere was a mix of excitement and calm before the storm, so to speak—A charming blend of emotions as everyone prepared for the ceremony.
Banks and His Kids
While Caitlin and her entourage were upstairs, Banks and his kids were downstairs in the reception hall. I was capturing the little details of cakes and table displays and various accruements scattered about, but I also managed to catch some candid shots of the kids. Their laughter and typical kid-obliviousness to the gravity of the day added a light-hearted touch to the atmosphere.
Banks himself was a genuine model of composure. Dressed and ready, he spent quality time with his kids—well, as quality-time as can be expected for a wedding day—creating memories before the ceremony. It was clear that for Banks, this day was not just about starting a new chapter with Caitlin, but also about celebrating family.
The Ceremony Twist
As the sky threatened rain and the clouds loomed, we faced a hiccup: the original officiant was missing. Yikes. But some flexibility and quick thinking saved the day. The family started scrambling to find a stand-in for the officiant. I’m a registered officiant myself, and tepidly offered to hand the camera to Felipe and do what I needed to do, but thankfully Caitlin’s brother stepped in. Did you hear that? It was my sigh of relief reverberating through time itself. The stand in officiant added an unexpected but welcome emotional layer to the ceremony.
The barrel room, with its soft lighting and industrial charm, set the stage for this pivotal moment. The room was transformed into an intimate space where Banks and Caitlin would make their vows. The wooden barrels against the back wall and the ambient lighting created a cozy atmosphere that contrasted beautifully with the day’s earlier tension.
Family Portraits in the Wine Cellar
Immediately after the ceremony, as is our typical procedural custom, it was time for family portraits. I would normally set up a monolight for the family portraits, but the wine cellar’s smooth, neutral-colored stone walls acted as big reflectors, eliminating the need for extra lighting and creating some gorgeous soft portrait lighting.
Clay Estes Productions, our videography counterparts, did an excellent job capturing the day while staying out of our shots. Their professionalism made our job easier and the event smoother. It’s always a pleasure to work with vendors who understand the collaborative nature of wedding photography and videography.
As the storm clouds drifted into the distance, they made way for one of the most brilliant sunsets the Chesapeake region has to offer. The sky was almost literally ablaze with colors, providing a surreal backdrop for some of the most stunning photos of the day. Banks and Caitlin stood against this canvas of nature, and the result was nothing short of magical.
This was honestly like one of those sunsets you dream about as a photographer. The natural light at sunset, often referred to as the “golden hour,” offered a soft, warm glow that enhanced the romantic atmosphere. I used a speed light in a pinch to punch in some soft light that looked really amazing against the sky.
The energy in the room was palpable as we moved to the reception. Josh Baynham from Chris Styles DJ’s had everyone on their feet, dancing and celebrating. The food was delicious, and the dessert was incredible. During the cake cutting Banks & Caitlin couldn’t help themselves but to smash the cake into each others faces, and presumably all the way up into each other’s brains.
One of the highlights was the Shoe Game, a fun and interactive way to engage the guests and add a touch of humor to the festivities. The game brought out laughter and cheers, serving as an ice-breaker and making the evening even more memorable.
Amidst the fun and laughter, there were poignant moments that captured the underlying family-centric current of the day, too. Dances between Banks and his mom, and Caitlin and her mom, served as emotional high points.
These dances were a poignant reminder of the familial bonds that weddings celebrate and honor. They were moments of pure emotion and genuine reflection that highlighted the importance of family in both Banks’ and Caitlin’s lives.
The Final Shot
As the night came to a close, we stepped outside for one final shot: Banks and Caitlin on the patio, Banks with a cigar in hand, framed against a backlit cloud of cigar smoke. It was the perfect ending to a day that had been anything but ordinary.
This final shot was more than just a photo; it was a symbol of Banks and Caitlin’s journey. As they stood there, they were not just ending their wedding day but also embarking on a new adventure together.
In my years behind the lens, each wedding tells its own story. This one was a collaborative masterpiece, a couple who weren’t afraid to do things their way, a stellar cast of vendors that each did a great job bringing their piece of the puzzle together. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to gather information about all of the vendors that participated that day, but if you know who you are, let me know and I’ll work you into the story!