When a photographer is as enthusiastic as Kelli Brewer was when she submitted this engagement session with us, we knew we had to publish it.

I often tell couples to bring along any props or special items that they may want to shoot with, but I never imagined those props would be a FIRETRUCK and a huge tractor. Did I mention I got to ride in the Firetruck? Because I did, and it was AWESOME. It was great to get to know Crystal and John, their story, see where they come from and get even more excited about their wedding day. Sure, it was a bit of a drive but once you check out the backdrops for our session, you’d have done it in a heartbeat too!

Between the firetruck, the gorgeous farm shots with a quintessential red barn, and two adorable dogs, we’re in love with this one. Scroll down and enjoy!

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Anyone who has shopped for a wedding gown knows that bridal salons stock dresses in sample sizes. Dresses are usually in a “bridal size” 8 or 10. Vanity sizing never hit the wedding gown industry, so these dresses usually correspond to smaller “street” sizes. If the sample is too large, you know you’ll be wearing a row of clips on the back of the gown to make it fit. If the sample is too small, you’ll be trying to envision yourself in a dress that isn’t even zipped or laced up. Making a decision about purchasing a gown in either situation can be nerve-racking.

Many salons are stocking larger samples these days, allowing women of all sizes to have that magical moment when they see themselves as a bride for the first time. One salon in our region is dedicated to giving curvy girls the full bridal salon experience and TLC has taken notice!

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Yukia Walker and Yuneisia Harris were inspired to open a specialty bridal salon after Yukia was disappointed with shopping for her wedding dress in 2008. With limited options available, Yukia wound up buying a dress that she didn’t feel comfortable in. The sisters realized that the DC region’s wedding gown options were lacking and Curvaceous Couture was born!

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Curvaceous Couture opened in Columbia, Maryland in 2010. Since then, Yukia and Yuneisia have made it their mission to help curvy brides look and feel amazing in the right dress for their figure on their special day. TLC’s new series about the salon is called Curvy Brides it premiers on May 1 at 9:30 pm.

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Now there’s a casting call for area brides who would be willing to have their Curvaceous Couture experience films for the Curvy Brides show. If you’re interested in being on the show, send your name, contract information, wedding date, dress size, and some photos to CurvyBridalShow@gmail.com. Don’t forget to watching Curvy Brides on May 1st!

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jen fariello charlottesville wedding photography
With the onslaught of wedding blogs, wedding magazines, Instagram hashtags… the chances that your wedding photos will be published or, at least, readily available for the world to see are high. Add that on top of the hope that your wedding portraits will be cherished images, treasured for eternity, and the fact that you probably aren’t a professional model… and you are undoubtably facing some pressure when your wedding photographer points his lens your way.

Fear not– wedding portraits should be FUN, not stressful! But if you do feel a bit of anxiety when thinking about the portrait portion of your wedding day, take a deep breath, channel your inner Next Top Model– and take note of these three tips:
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1. Laugh. It’s so simple, but a laugh truly transforms your features and highlights your natural beauty… and if we had to guess, your partner probably LOVES your laugh. Capturing it in the moment is a special way to preserve your memories of the day! So if you’re feeling flustered by all the attention of the camera or your face is burning from smiling for hours, take a deep breath, think of the last time you genuinely laughed, and recapture that feeling. Or ask your photographer, groom, or maid of honor to tell you the cheesiest jokes during portrait time!
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2. Don’t look into the camera. This might seem counterproductive– why would I look away when my photographer is taking a picture of me?– but trust us; some of the most stunning portraits capture a bride and groom wrapped up in the moment or distracted by something off screen. That pure gaze is sometimes more captivating than a “forced smile, intense eye contact” portrait.
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3. Make time for photography. When you look at the traditional wedding day timeline, there’s usually somewhere between 30 – 45 minutes allotted for post-ceremony portraits. I’m going to be brutally honest… that’s not enough time if you’re hoping to make a bevy of diverse portraits. By the time you set up in one location, take a few shots, move on to another location, take a few shots, gather up the bridal party and family for those required shots… you are going way over your allotted time. Making portraits takes time, especially if you want to wander around the grounds of your reception site and take a picture in half a dozen locations. Photographers live for portraits– and if you cut down their time, you risk stifling spontaneous moments and unique photo opportunities. By carving out a good amount of time (which might mean you do a First Look instead of cramming all portraits in between ceremony and reception), you, your photographer, and your planner will feel so much more relaxed– meaning your portraits will be more relaxed! If you’re stressing about moving on to the next thing on the timeline, it will show in your face.
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And if all else fails… just kiss! Kiss portraits might be the most beautiful images ever.

What are you most excited about for your wedding day? How do you want to maximize your photography time? What other questions do you have about wedding photography or wedding planning? If you’ve already tied the knot, do you have any portrait tips? 

all photos by Jen Fariello

Charlottesville Wedding Venues With On-Site Accommodations

by Jeannine SmithApril 6, 2015

Imagine dancing the night away at a wedding reception, enjoying a scrumptious cake and dessert table, waving good-buy to the newlyweds, and then falling into bed just steps away. When your wedding venue has on-site accommodations, that’s the experience your guests have. Our round up includes a farm with rustic cabins, a large resort, and […]

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Fall Trump Winery Wedding by Aaron Watson Photography

by Stephanie MarieApril 1, 2015

Take fall in Virginia, a slew of fantastic local vendors, and a beautiful setting like Trump Winery and you’ve got the makings of a magical Charlottesville wedding! Maria & Greg’s vineyard celebration is classic Charlottesville at its finest. We LOVE when couples use the chapel at Trump for portraits– it adds a touch of fairy […]

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Bohemian Bridal Inspiration from Lindsay Zovko

by Jeannine SmithMarch 27, 2015

As we look forward to the start of another wedding season, it seems our local vendors are inspired! We have had several teams share beautiful editorial shoots lately and I hope seeing them will inspire brides and other wedding professionals alike! This week’s shoot is from Lindsay Zovko Photography. The setting was Montfair Resort Farm […]

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Late Winter Engagement Session by Robert Radifiera

by Jeannine SmithMarch 25, 2015

With one more winter storm in the forecast, we thought this was the perfect time to share a snowy engagement session from Robert Radifera Photography. Jenny and Mario chose a private horse farm for this charming session. We love the fantastic, turquoise blanket they used as a prop as well as the huge, galvanized metal […]

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Five Tips for Wedding Gown Shopping

by Jeannine SmithMarch 23, 2015

Shopping for your wedding gown can be such a wonderful experience. Between sharing a special day with some loved ones to looking like a bride for the first time, it can provide that moment when “it all gets read.” Anyone who has seen Say Yes to the Dress has a general idea of how an […]

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Best of 2014: Jason Keefer Photography

by Stephanie MarieMarch 20, 2015

We’re wrapping up our Best of 2014 series with one last favorite photographers, Jason and Tammy Keefer! We could rave on and on about Jason and Tammy– not only are they incredible members of the Charlottesville wedding community, but their work is unparalleled; their photography is full of life, capture the most minute but poignant […]

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Rachel & John’s Boar’s Head Inn Wedding by We Are The Mitchells

by Stephanie MarieMarch 18, 2015

There’s nothing that says “Charlottesville” like a beautiful UVA Chapel wedding and nothing that says “spring” more than a pretty pastel pink color palette– and this wedding, photographed by We Are The Mitchells, effortlessly combines both! The dainty florals by Hedge Fine Blooms enhance the romance of the UVA garden and Boar’s Head Inn portraits […]

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