Arrival at Stone Ridge Hollow
Driving up to Stone Ridge Hollow, I felt a sense of anticipation. The venue, found in Forest Hill, Maryland, was set to be the backdrop for Katelin and Kevin’s wedding. The sky was overcast, and the world was grappling with a pandemic. Yet, optimism was in the air and hand sanitizer and face masks were everywhere. Felipe, my regular comrade in weddings and often life, had already arrived. His camera was set up, and he was exploring the venue’s offerings.
Our approach to capturing weddings is well-practiced. Felipe was with Kevin’s party, and I was with Katelin’s. The team from Creative Roots Salon was finishing their work and I focused on capturing the details: the rings, the dress, the shoes, and the like.
Katelin’s dress had a special touch. A piece of her dad’s shirt was sewn onto it. This detail was deeply sentimental. While I was capturing this, Felipe was photographing the men in their vibrant Hawaiian gift-shirts which brought out a lot of the personality that would soon be stuffed into formal wedding attire. Plus like, who doesn’t love a good Hawaiian shirt?
The Party Formals
Katelin and Kevin chose not to have a traditional first look. This isn’t an uncommon decision, though it comes with some trade-offs, namely in a tighter timeline later in the day and greater attention to detail in who is where and when. In this case Felipe and I coordinated via the walkie-talkies on our watches to keep Katelin and Kevin from seeing each other while capturing portraits. We took photos with their respective wedding parties, occasionally swapping bride and groom to take portraits with the opposite wedding parties. It adds variety to the photo collection in the end.
Felipe was capturing the men, while I focused on the women and the photos reflect the day’s energy and excitement.
The Outdoor Ceremony
The ceremony was outdoors. A floral archway by Floral Expressions served as the backdrop. It overlooked a beautiful pond, one of the venue’s key features. As Katelin walked down the aisle, her brother gave her a fist bump. It was a unique and personal touch.
These personal touches make each wedding special. They add character to the ceremony and make it memorable.
Cocktail Hour and Family Portraits
After the ceremony, Felipe covered the cocktail hour and I used the time to capture full wedding party portraits and family photos. The rustic setting of Stone Ridge Hollow added warmth to the photos, even on a cloudy day.
The venue’s scenic backdrop provided a beautiful setting for the family portraits, too, which were captured the same spot to save time.
The reception was a mix of social distancing and lively party atmosphere. It took place in the venue’s spacious second-story reception lodge, which is really a remarkably beautiful place to hold an event, perhaps especially a wedding. Dean’s DJ was on the turn tables maintaining the energy in the room.
DIY elements were evident everywhere, from welcome signs and seating charts to dessert stands and centerpieces. Felipe and I did our best to hunt down and capture every detail, which at times blended near seamlessly with the venue’s own design aesthetic — which in most respects is a good, if not rather impressive, feat.
Sunset Portraits and Ongoing Festivities
As the sun began to set, I took Katelin and Kevin aside for some portraits. The weather didn’t provide the colorful sunset we had hoped for, which was a little disappointing from my perspective. However, the venue still offered a moody backdrop, which has a different kind of charm deserving of its own sort of appreciation.
Felipe was busy capturing the festivities. The atmosphere was boisterous, and the guests were clearly enjoying themselves.
The day was a success. We captured moments of love, laughter, and unique DIY elements. Vendors like Flavor Cupcakery, Floral Expressions By Jennifer, and Creative Roots Salon contributed to making the day memorable. Editing Life Videography had also been on the scene that day, but they didn’t appear in any photos, which for the photographers in the audience should tell you everything you need to know about how good they are to work with. Dean’s DJ Service did a marvelous job as well. Stone Ridge Hollow was an ideal setting for Katelin and Kevin’s special day. As a photographer, capturing these moments is a privilege that I always look forward to.