Summertime Romance at Glass Hill Venue

Tyler and Laura’s wedding at Glass Hill Venue in Goode, VA, was simply put, perfect. The florals had beautiful pops of color, the cake was AMAZING (see below!), and the couple is so in love. What could be better? We love this venue and always have a great time working there!

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Gorgeous Greenery in Broad Run, VA

Katie and Evan wed in June on a day with clear skies - our favorite! The wedding took place in Broad Run, Virginia. With trees hanging over the ceremony site and florals all around, the element of nature was displayed perfectly as the couple said “I do”. One of our favorite pieces at the wedding was the arch, which was simply elegant. The arch tied all the pieces of the ceremony together beautifully. We wish you the best, Katie and Evan!

Engagement Session: Rain or Shine!

Bradley and Kelly didn’t let the rain get them down during our recent engagement shoot! They were great sports and used the cotton candy clouds to their advantage. We love when a couple can take a rainy situation and make the best of it! They even included their pup in some photos, which are some of our favorites. We’re excited for their big day!

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Moments at Mount Ida

Neil and Ellie tied the knot at Mount Ida Farm in Charlottesville, VA, earlier this summer. Their wedding day consisted of dainty, clean details that we loved. Ellie’s bouquet brought a crisp, beautiful touch to the event that also felt whimsical and free. We also appreciated the other small details of the day that were thought out greatly, like the bride’s vow book and the florals around the ceremony arch. See below to find some of your own favorite moments and details from this day!

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Meet the Team: Five Questions with Cassie Foster

Today, we have the pleasure of introducing our fifth SSP team member - Cassie! She began working for Sam a few years ago and is a key member of the team. Get to know her below!


1. Where are you from?

Lynchburg, VA!

2. How did you begin working for Sam?

I first began working for Sam in 2015. It was honestly a dream of mine to get to work with such an amazing, creative and collaborative team of photographers. I've worked with everyone on the team and love the fact that we are all friends and have a great time together doing what we love.

3. What is your favorite part about shooting weddings/engagements?

My favorite part of weddings is the quieter moments. Although my extroverted personality thrives in the excitement and chaos of the day, I do love spending time with the newlyweds alone and having them just be with each other and be in the moment. Those images when they are hugging, joking around and kissing each other are always the best and showcase their love perfectly.

4. If you could travel anywhere to shoot a wedding/engagement, where would you go?

I can't choose just one, so I narrowed it down to two! Jackson Hole with a view of the Grand Tetons and the Bonneville Salt Flats.


5. How do you stay fueled up for a wedding day?

99% of the time I go to Chick-Fil-A before a wedding (it's become a ritual now). Coffee and a chicken biscuit are just the way to go!

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A Wedding Dream at Trivium Estate

On the blog today, we have another lovely Virginia wedding. This one took place at the Trivium Estate in Forest, Virginia, on a perfect day. And speaking of a blue sky, Emily and Will chose hints of blue as details that popped perfectly against their clean aesthetic. Among the highlights of the wedding was definitely Emily’s dress (check out the back of it!), which she displayed so beautifully. See below for more of our favorite moments!

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Five Escort Card Displays We Love

From one wedding to the next, we have the pleasure of seeing the creativity of every bride, groom and their planner/stylist shine through the little details. One of those details is the escort card display, also known as the way guests figure out where to sit for the long-awaited dinner! There are so many we could choose from, but you can see five of our favorites below. Hopefully you draw some inspiration from them and put your own spin on your display!


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1. The classic window display

We love this look because of how clean and organized the names appear. As you can see in the photo, Vanessa and Adam’s photos were able to be on display alongside their guests’ names. This display method is timeless!

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2. The elegant frame display

This beautiful gold frame is a great way to point guests to their seat at the dinner table. Topher and Frankie’s wedding was traditional and classic (see our last blog post for more photos!), and this display was nothing short of both of those descriptors!

3. The versatile wood plank display

Raymond and Kerry’s summer wedding made use of woods, golds, and florals. We love how they used the circles to display each table creatively. This type of idea can easily be used for your own wedding with your personal touches - it leaves room for small changes while maintaining the overall integrity of the piece.

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4. The wine-lovers’ display

You don’t have to be a wine lover to appreciate this escort card display! Ben and Rebecca’s wedding at Fleetwood Farm Winery put their drink of choice on display, even in the small ways. Corks are the perfect detail for many aspects of a wedding, and this couple used them in a classy and creative way.

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5. The “out of the box” display

Come on - you have to love this amazing display as much as we do! This is the type of escort card display that is truly out of the box (even though Lisa and Shane made great use of boxes). It’s also the perfect way to show your guests how thankful you are for them.

Celebrating Tradition in Northern Maryland

Topher and Frankie’s wedding was filled with special details and moments from the beginning to the end. The ceremony was held at Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, Maryland, which is a beautiful cathedral that has been around since the mid-20th century. This space allowed for tradition to be put on display, as you can see in the images below. The reception was close by at Antrim 1844, an estate that has been restored to maintain its original integrity from when it was built in, you guessed it, 1844.

The charm of tradition and renewed spaces made for the perfect scene for the couple’s wedding!

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Summer Wedding Style at the Virginian Hotel

Sam and Katharine’s wedding day, hosted at the Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg, Virginia, was nothing short of romantic, detailed and inspiring. We truly loved spending time with these two, from their engagement session (which was in D.C. at the height of the cherry blossom season!) to their summer wedding. We could talk about how great this day was for a long time, and we probably will.

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Light Pink Luster in Charleston

There’s something about those pink shades in Charleston! It seemed like for Fernando and Jen’s wedding, even the sky matched their color scheme. The duo’s wedding went hand in hand with the light pink shades that are omnipresent in the city (which is one of our favorites, have we mentioned that?), and guests were dazzled by the design elements of the florals and table settings. The couple’s daughter accompanied them throughout the day, making it even more meaningful (she is pictured below). We’ll see you again soon, Charleston!

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Country Club Charm

Freddie and Jamie wed earlier this summer at Boonsboro Country Club, which is local to Lynchburg, Virginia. The country club has actually been around since the early 1800s, when it was a farmhouse up until 1923. The venue has a great space for getting ready as well as an elegant inside area for a reception. The couple’s May wedding day consisted of beautiful light at a wonderful venue. We loved capturing these moments for the happy couple!

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Engagement Session: Blue Ridge Beauty

Brian and Madison’s engagement session just so happened to fall on a perfectly sunny summer’s day. The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of our favorite backdrops, and walking through vineyards with the couple were a highlight to the shoot. Some of our favorite images were towards the end of our time together, when the sun was setting and the wind blew at the most perfect time.

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Meet the Team: Five Questions with Tyler Phenes

We have another team introduction today, and this one is with Tyler Phenes. Tyler began working for Sam a few years back, and he quickly has become a staple of the SSP team. His shots are consistent and beautiful, and our team is lucky to have him. Get to know him better below!


1. Where are you from?

I’m from a small town in Upstate NY called Corning.


2. How did you begin working for Sam?

A friend from college told me I should meet a legend named Mitchell who shot weddings with an amazing photo team. I ended up getting coffee with him, and he later mentioned he’d like to introduce me to Sam. A few weeks later, I met Sam and ended up shooting my first wedding with the SSP team. That was 2016. Now, in 2019, I’m regularly shooting with the team and (cue the sappy part) have made some great friends with the folks on our team. I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunity and am so stoked to continue creating better, more consistent work for the clients we serve.


3. What is your favorite part about shooting weddings/engagements?

The moments we capture are going to live in wedding books, prints, memories, and be shared with families for generations to come. We get to capture a massive milestone in someone’s legacy, and that’s such a gift. I love that we are able to document the start of a new family and be a part of the happiest day in our client’s lives.


4. If you could travel anywhere to shoot a wedding/engagement, where would you go?

This is not an easy one to answer, so I’ll give three.

  • Japan

  • A small town in Italy

  • The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah


5. How do you stay fueled up for a wedding day?

Coffee, breakfast, and vitamins in the morning and multiple Cliff bars in my camera bag whenever I’m slowing down in the middle of the day.

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The Beginning of #Furrever at Three Girls Farm

What comes from a couple with the last name Furr who just so happens to love dogs and is about to make a commitment to forever together? An amazing hashtag for their wedding: #furrever! Raymond and Kerry are definitely going down in the "best last names for a wedding” history books. We love the way the couple tied in their pups and other personal touches to the wedding day. The florals were beautiful and perfect for the mid-May weather (notice the tree stumps the aisle markers sat on!). The wedding was at Three Girls Farm in Floyd, Virginia, and the guests loved the horses at the venue just as much as you will when you see a photo below. There were so many aspects of this wedding to appreciate - see for yourself!

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Folly Beach Wedding Bliss

Earlier this summer, we had the pleasure of shooting a wedding in Folly Beach on one of the most perfect summer nights. Burke and Jamie’s celebration began with a ceremony on the sand and ended with dinner and dancing at a venue on the water. Greenery was an important piece of the wedding that tied all the details together - especially the “burke + jamie” wall that sat behind their sweetheart table at the reception. This wedding was just as fun as it was beautiful.

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Glamorous Wild Dunes Wedding

Our real wedding highlight this week is of Robyn and Joshua. The couple said “I do” at Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, South Carolina (one of our favorite places to shoot) in front of a beautiful blue sky and bright palm trees. The venue did the couple’s vision justice; Robyn and Joshua’s wedding was nothing short of glamorous. The resort consists of two golf courses, both waterfront with views of Isle of Palms. Robyn and Joshua’s ceremony was in front of the water, giving breathtaking views for guests. After the ceremony, guests danced the night away at the indoor reception. There are so many moments we want to showcase from this day, and we’ve chosen our favorites below!

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Meet the Team: Five Questions with Ellie Richardson

Our fourth member of the SSP team we want to introduce is Ellie Richardson. Ellie has been working with Sam for four years now, and her responsibilities have grown rapidly within that time. She is a primary shooter for the team often, and she has an eye for detail shots. Read more about her below!


1. Where are you from?

I’m originally from Michigan (go Blue!), but moved to Virginia for college and have never moved back. Michigan is too cold for me now!

2. How did you begin working for Sam?

I started working for Sam during the summer after my junior year of college. I interned with Sam for that summer, and then came on as an actual shooter that spring.

3. What is your favorite part about shooting weddings and engagements?

My favorite part about engagements is getting to know more about the couple. It always helps to meet and work with a couple before the wedding day. Wedding days are chaotic, but there is always a moment during the day that makes me super grateful for what I get to do. Whether it’s the father dancing with his daughter, the couple’s vows, or an emotional toast, I always feel extra thankful I get to be the one there capturing it!

4. If you could travel anywhere to shoot a wedding/engagement, where would you go?

Ooh! There are so many amazing places. Probably southern France or Australia. Southern France is one of my favorite places ever! There are tons of amazing towns with cool architecture and colors, but all still by the water with more of a tropical feel. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s somewhere I definitely want to go, and all the people there seem super cool.

5. What is your go-to coffee order?

Iced Americano! If I’m feeling crazy, a double shot of espresso over ice with a dash of cream and sugar.

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Engagement Session: Charm in Middleburg

Summer engagement sessions are keeping us busy here at SSP, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it. One of our most recent sessions was with Trey and Alicia in downtown Middleburg, Virginia. Located in Northern Virginia, Middleburg is a charming area to walk around, and we took advantage of its attractive buildings and streets. We also spent some time at Salamander Resort, which is a 5-star hotel in the downtown area. Working with Trey and Alicia was a lot of fun, and we’ll be excited to spend time in Middleburg again soon!

Floral Beauty at the Fairmont

There is so much we could say about Jacob and Lydia’s wedding, which happened on May 4 at the Fairmont Georgetown. Every detail was thought through extremely carefully, making it difficult to even choose which detail photos to include in this post! The couple had a vision, and they worked with their vendors to make it come to life. One of our favorite pieces of this wedding was the tulip installment hanging above the head table. Sophie Felts did an amazing job of taking a potential challenge and rising to the occasion, creating a floral presence that will be discussed among vendors for a long time. There was also the champagne wall (pictured below), which was a staple piece of the wedding design. Even with all the details, the couple and their love stood out far beyond the beauty of the ceremony and reception spaces. You can see some of our favorite photos below!

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To Look or Not to Look

“Are you going to do a first look?”

This question must be asked to brides at least twenty times leading up to the wedding day. Everyone wants to know if they’ll see the groom’s reaction to the bride walking down the aisle, sharing his emotions in real time, feeling what he’s feeling. There is no right or wrong when it comes to deciding for or against a first look – it really comes down to what you want as a couple.

Couples often desire a first look for multiple reasons, one of them being the intimacy the first look brings. Having a moment just between the bride and groom is undoubtedly a special part of the wedding day, because it is likely one of the only moments during the event you’ll share between just the two of you. For that reason, it ends up being a private moment that many couples will opt in for. On the flip side, the couple may want to share the moment of seeing each other for the first time with their bridal party, family and guests. This moment creates great joy for those watching, and for this reason many couples choose to include their loved ones.

As far as photos go, couples sometimes feel like the first look is better because of all the photos that can be taken before the ceremony. The first look is perfect for the couple that wants to be a part of cocktail hour or the couple who may not even desire a cocktail hour at all. Yet, for those couples who desire a cocktail hour but do not mind taking portraits in the midst of it, a first look does not have to be a priority.

Above all else, the first look should be nobody’s decision but the couple’s. There are many friends and family members who undoubtedly want to weigh in about your choice (because they want to see the unveiling of the bride, of course!), but at the end of the day it’s up to you. And whichever choice you make, your planner and photographer will work together to iron out all the small details – no need to fear!

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