The Homestead Setting
The venue for Dylan and Katie’s wedding was not just any place; it was Dylan’s family homestead in Upper Marlboro. This estate, owned by Dylan’s grandparents, is a cornerstone of his childhood memories. Dylan spent a lot of time growing up here, and the large home estate has been meticulously cared for over the years.
Dylan and Katie added their personal touch to this already meaningful location by DIY’ing many elements of their wedding. From the table settings to the décor, their hands-on approach gave the event an intimate, personalized feel. This wasn’t just a wedding; it was a narrative spun by the couple themselves. The couple’s ingenuity was evident in every corner, from the hand-painted signs directing guests to the ceremony spot to the personalized wedding favors that awaited each guest.
Our day began with Katie in the upstairs suite. She was genuinely radiant, accentuated by a stunning jewel hair piece. Katie gave her father a special cufflink with an engraved photo of the two of them on it, creating a very touching moment.
As her mother helped her into her dress, there was a sense of anticipation and emotion. Katie’s mother was visibly moved by everything that was unfolding. Adding to the atmosphere (and low-key kind of my favorite part) was Katie’s little dog, who seemed to stand guard over the room, as if sensing the importance of the occasion. The room was filled with the earthy scent of an old, but well cared for home, and the sound of distant laughter down the hall in the otherwise quiet room.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Dylan and his groomsmen were getting ready. Dylan’s mom took charge of affixing the boutonnieres onto their suits. Dylan, ever the entertainer, couldn’t resist making goofy faces for the camera. His personality really shone through, setting the tone for what was to come. The groomsmen were in high spirits, joking and laughing as they donned their suits, and floated about in that kind of camaraderie shared amongst closest friends.
Teamwork was key during the ceremony. As photographers, we coordinated closely with the officiant, the musicians, and even the guests to some extent. The ceremony unfolded on a beautifully manicured lawn under crisp and clear blue sky, which also came with a tinge of borderline unwelcome heat, though no one was deterred.
Dylan and Katie chose to forgo the traditional first look, opting instead for the raw moment of a first glance as Katie walked up the aisle. The vows they exchanged were deeply touching, though difficult for everyone in the congregation to actually hear.
Immediately following the ceremony, we captured family portraits by one of the shaded fountains that flanked the lawn.
After the family portraits, we turned our attention to capturing portraits with the wedding parties. First, we took portraits with the full party, stopping for a shot in front of the grand front entrance to the house and then a walk down the long gated driveway.
We then broke off and spent some time with the groom’s party on one of the house’s brick patios and a shrubbery-lined lawn in the front yard. Finally, we spent some time with the bride’s party, revisiting some of the spots we used for Dylan’s portraits, as well as an area near where we had captured the family portraits.
The reception took place in a clear tented structure at the back of the property. The catered food was pizzas from Cipploa Rossa Woodfired Pizza, an amazing restaurant that has since fled the DMV for the sunny skies of Florida. The desserts, provided by Sweet Crimes Bakery, looked outstanding on the dessert table which was already set up by the time reception introductions happened.
The evening was punctuated by heartfelt toasts. Dylan, having shared extensive vows during the ceremony, was asked to share them again in a setting that was easier for guests to hear. The reception also featured a good bit of dancing, including a very touching first dance between Dylan and Katie to a guitar and lyrical performance from one of Dylan’s close friends.
As the sun began its descent, we took Dylan and Katie away for a brief but magical photo session. The backdrop was a sky ablaze with colors, and we captured some truly memorable shots, especially near Dylan’s grandfather’s classic red car.
The Grand Exit
As the night wore on, the atmosphere was electric. Guests mingled and danced, celebrating the union of two extraordinary people. As the clock struck the final hour, Dylan and Katie made their grand exit. They made their way past their friends and family waving sparklers, and then rode off on the back of the red car, and as they did, fireworks lit up the sky—a surprise from the Best Man that almost no one saw coming.
Weddings are a collaborative endeavor. From the caterers to the florists, each vendor plays a crucial role in turning a couple’s dream into reality. Being a part of that process is not just a job for me; it’s a privilege and an honor.
So here’s to Dylan and Katie, and to all the vendors who contributed to making this day extraordinary. It was the perfect end to a perfect day, and a fitting start to their journey together as a married couple.