where stories are told
I think Hampton Roads will always remember the 2018 Hurricane Season; I think we will all remember it as "the time we dodged the bullet". Hurricane Florence was headed straight for us as a raging, massive Category 4 hurricane. And if you've ever been to Hampton Roads, you know we have some serious flooding issues. We're knee deep in water at the first sight of a raincloud. I've seen people kayaking the streets of Downtown Norfolk.
Whenever I think back to Hurricane Florence, I'll always remember my "hurricane bride". We nervously watched the news and anticipated the storm. Each day it got closer and I said, "Okay, I've got to call my bride. We need to make a plan." And when she answered, she was the epitome of cool. Absolutely calm, collected, and totally unworried about the impending natural disaster just off our coast. She assured me that she had already had her freakout and was now at peace, but it took her a whole lunch break to calm me down. I'm not kidding.
She assured me everything would be fine, the venue was far enough north that we might get rain, but no flooding. Hurricane or no hurricane, this wedding was happening. Why? Because this union was 10 years in the making. So, I sat and watched the news religiously for the next 72 hours. And wouldn't you know, the giant monster shifted- we were in the all clear. Just like she said. Crazy how things work out like that, huh? It must be fate.
It was my favorite kind of wedding. The kind where everyone is your friend. The kind where you feel like you belong. The kind where you feel like you are welcomed into their family. Intimate and warm, filled with love and laughter. Fourteen people gathered there that day to witness the union of this couple and it was absolutely beautiful. I stepped out of the car and was immediately greeted and hugged by everyone. That's the kind of wedding it was.
The grey skies and remnants of Hurricane Florence were brightened by bold yellow sunflowers, lush greenery, floral accents, and twinkling lights hung around the front porch giving the perfect ambiance. Truly an evening to remember.
The old English Manor style farmhouse sat on 23 private acres and made the perfect venue for this small and intimate wedding. From the mammoth fireplaces to the ivy covered walls, the farmhouse oozed country charm and understated elegance. The candles and strings of lights gave the perfect romantic touches. Throughout the breezy evening on that big farmhouse front porch, there were stories shared, tears shed, good food, and a whole lot of smiles. There was even a lost dog, a search party, and an emotional, happy reunion! Also, fabulous cupcakes. Let's not forget the important things in life. What's a wedding without cake after all?
Here's a few more images from their special day. Feel free to leave a comment and congratulate the Mr. & Mrs.!
My personal note to the newlyweds is this: I wish you many years of happiness and adventures. Truly, you two are were made for each other. Come hell or high water (sometimes literally), I know that you two will embrace whatever life throws your way because you've got each other. Thank you for including me on your wedding day, my Hurricane Bride!
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I promised a while back on Facebook that I would blog about my personal 365 Project. I've spent the last few weeks mulling over pictures in my project and trying put into words how important this is to me. I've come to the conclusion that I can't possibly convey what it means to me in mere words, because it's just too much. As a human being, we are equipped with the most awe inspiring capacity to love. And sometimes, words just fail us.
I set out on my journey as a photographer searching for the beautiful. The perfect light. The perfect pose. The perfect setting. But what I found was that in those really mundane days, I could find beauty too. In those hectic days, I found beauty. In the overwhelming days, I found beauty. I have pushed myself to focus on this project, but as you can imagine, it's hard being the mom AND the photographer. In those really hectic moments, it's hard for me to capture the shots and tell the story because...well... I'm being the referee! I'm doing damage control. I'm wiping tears and kissing boo boos.
So trust me when I say, you will NOT regret hiring someone to do a documentary style Day in the Life session with you. I will strive to capture more of those moments in my own family because they are important to the story of our family.
Looking back on the images that I chose to describe our year, I am so thankful that I decided to embark on this journey. I am reminded of a song by one of my very favorite artists (Darius Rucker- we refer to him as Hootie) "It Won't Be Like This For Long". Have you heard it? There's a line in there that says:
He lays down there beside her 'til her eyes are finally closed
And just watching her, it breaks his heart 'cause he already knows
It won't be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be all grown up and gone
And this phase is gonna fly by, so he's trying to hold on
'Cause it won't be like this for long
Wow. Has there ever been truer words spoken or sung? I know it's coming. I know growing up happens, but I just want to cling to these moments forever. I want to cling to that mischievous grin. I want to cling to the sound of a one sided conversation behind closed doors. I want to cling to the feeling of them wrapped around my leg and sloppy kisses on my cheek. That right there is my whole entire motivation for this project. I want to have these memories tucked safely away so that I can cling on to them forever. And one day, they will be passed down to my children and from my children to theirs. My hope is to convey our story and to convey the emotion that I feel in a single image. There's going to come a day when she won't play pretend in costumes. And there's going to be a day when he won't play with his beloved Rocket anymore.
This year, I dive further into this project and attempt to be in the pictures. I am committed to pushing myself as a photographer and embracing the beautiful mess of life. In my next blog post, I will formally introduce Day in the Life sessions and why it is important to book at least one in your life. I will leave you with images from our 2015.
Well, here I am. Back in the Hampton Roads area (Chesapeake, specifically) and finally getting settled in. It has been such a whirlwind since we moved here in August. I took a few months to devote entirely to our new life here and our little family, but now, I am back in the saddle. Getting a home settled is no easy task- sometimes I feel as though I should be a pro at it. Hey- we just go where the Navy send us. I love this area. Coming from an extremely small town, I love the activity and the energy here. There's so much to do and see. So much history to embrace! Have you explored Old Town Portsmouth? It is positively to DIE for. I could spend all day walking around that area and drooling over the old, beautiful homes. It's incredible. Although I find myself counting down the days until summer and we can hit the beach! Another favorite place of mine to visit is the Chrysler Art Museum. They have a great collection and it is breathtakingly beautiful. It's rarely crowded and it's free. And there's the Norfolk zoo too, the littles love exploring new places. And this one has free roaming peacocks!
Anyways, some pretty exciting things are happening here at Jess Nicole Photography. I am most excited about 2 things (no, I can't pick just one).
1.) I am now offering beautiful, custom made frames from The Organic Bloom! Have you seen them yet? They are GORGEOUS and they make the perfect addition to any home. I am offering them in every package that I sell- they can be completely customized to fit any décor. Can't you just see your charming family inside one of those babies? I can! They are ready to hang and making a jaw-dropping display on your wall couldn't be easier. Check them out here at www.theorganicbloom.com
On to my second point...
2.) I am offering a very unique session to my clients- A Day In the Life. Intrigued yet? A Day In the Life session allows me to come to your home and photograph you and your family just as you are. In the comfort of your home. Those little moments that are so precious to you? I'll be there to capture those. Those sweet kisses, play time, reading books, and let's face it- sometimes tantrums- I'll be there. There are a few reasons why I feel it is SO important to book at least one of these sessions during your child's younger years. I will be doing several blogs on this subject, but for now, here are a few reasons for you to think over. In the most boring, mundane daily tasks, your life is beautiful. Marinate on that for a minute. YOUR life is beautiful. Your children's laughter, tears, snuggles, and excitement; guess who they share that with? That's right. You. Mom and Dad. You know how as a parent sometimes you feel your heart hurt because you love them so much? How you sometimes can't breathe because they just take your breath away? If you loved them one single ounce more that you would just burst? An outside eye looking in can show you just how heartbreakingly beautiful your family is. Even in a messy bun and yoga pants. Even with crayon on the wall. And even with *gasp* dishes in the sink. Another reason is that because this session includes a Heirloom Album, your children will have an accurate portrayal of their childhood for generations to come. They can sit with their children and remember how it looked and felt to be cuddled and surrounded by love. A Day In the Life session is all about your family, the way you really are. Honestly. Who you are, in your surroundings, in your life that you have built. It's real life folks! And, we can do anything you'd like. A trip to the grocery store (we all know what an adventure that can be!), reading books, playing, cooking, having a family day, whatever it is that you do. Trust me- it'll be good.
So, there you have it. That's what's up. I'll leave you with a few more glimpses of a day in my life. And yes, there was a time where my daughter insisted on wearing a costume EVERYWHERE. Even antiquing. Even to Texas. Even in the woods. Even at the farm. And yes, even to bed.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.
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