I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains of Colorado or Virginia, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!



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April 29, 2014

JMU Alumni Wedding Styled Shoot | Belle Grove Plantation, Virginia Wedding Photographer

I don’t think I can even explain HOW excited I am to be sharing this with you all today!!! After photographing a JMU engagement session last night, I was too excited not to share this with you all!!! I want to start off by saying that none of this would have worked out without the help of each creative vendor as well as the owner of Belle Grove Plantation! You all are an inspiration to me and I am SO glad to have met you through this shoot! GO DUKES!

The behind the story of this shoot is kind of funny because I had no intensions of doing a styled shoot until I had puzzle pieces come together. I remember spontaneously finding Belle Grove Plantation via online and saw they host weddings. After doing some research, I then found that very place is where James Madison was born. Naturally, I HAD to email Michelle (the owner of Belle Grove Plantation) regarding a potential shoot. Again, I had a tug on my heart to do this … I had no idea where I was going to go with it at this point. After receiving Michelle’s enthusiastic response, I immediately started brainstorming ideas. Because I was pulled into this idea of emailing this venue particularly for my love for my University … why not try finding other professional and successful JMU Alumni wedding vendors?! Honestly, at this point I didn’t know if I would be able to find a JMU vendor for every puzzle piece needed, but somehow we were all able to put our heads together and create a JMU Alumni exclusive styled shoot! This was meant to inspire and excited those who attended JMU … and possibly the engaged JMU couples who are looking for a bit of JMU inspiration for their wedding day.

Do you remember Matt & Shannon’s JMU wedding back in September? I contacted them knowing they were in the area and loveeeee JMU as well. They were AMAZING and fit the part so well!!! From a cake designer to florist to wedding coordinators to makeup artist to even rental … we made a complete JMU Alumni creative team! If I could tell you that the day flew by faster than I can remember … it did. It was pretty exciting touring the home of James Madison’s childhood and not to mention sitting on a fancy couch featured in the movie Lincoln! What was even MORE exciting was when we were told that we were the first JMU Alumni to step foot into his childhood home! Geek out moment for us!!! Haha! After setting up the table, chatting about our college days and enjoying Evan’s amazinggggg cupcakes it made me realize really why I did this. Even though we may have been strangers to one another (for the most part), we all had one thing in common … WE LOVE JMU and will always bleed purple! GO DUKES!!!

Venue: Belle Grove Plantation, King George, VA
Wedding Coordinators: Jennifer from MayJune Events (’06) and Alicia Carroll (’11)
Models: Matt King (’11) & Shannon (Mueller) King (’11)
Photographers: Stephanie Messick from Stephanie Messick Photography (’11) and Ali from Alisandra Photography (’09)
Makeup: Kara from Best Face Forward – Skin, Makeup & Color Artists (’07)
: Amanda from Anthomatic (’09)
Cake: Evan from Sweets by E (’07)
Stationery: Callie McLean (’11)
Rentals: Courtney from Perfect Settings (’13)

Once a Duke, Always a Duke!

Thank each of you for making my vision come to life! Amazing day from start to finish! So blessed to have met and connected with each of you! XOXO

2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-2_webThe beautiful venue, Belle Grove Plantation! Thanks Ali for the photo! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-4_webTo say the least, we had an AMAZING day weather wise!!! So fortunate! 🙂 Don’t you love this purple and gold theme?! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-5_webGreat job Amanda for adding a little touch to the chairs! They looked great! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-10_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-12_webOf course we had Mrs. Dolly Madison attend. 😉 Callie did an amazing job putting together the stationery with metallic gold letting detail! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-14_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-15_webWhat is so unique about this house are the curved doors. So cool! And Evan, you are SO good with your cake design! I trusted her to put something together and she did it perfectly! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-17_webAmazing flowers … as always, Amanda! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-18_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-19_webLOVE the envelope liner!!! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-20_webCheesy Thursdays anyone?! Why not have a grilled cheese bar! We also had a little display of the infamous “Red, White and Blue Cookies” … if you remember those? I took the recipe and now make them whenever I can … LOVE THEM! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-22_webOf course everyone knows about the “Darts and Pats” from “The Breeze” Newspaper! Love this! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-30_webShannon, you are stunning! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-26_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-25_webLittle gold detailing. 🙂 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-35_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-42_webLove this!! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-37_webYou two are cute! Thanks Ali for the bridal shot on the right, Shannon is a pro!! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-39_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-53_webFun details. 🙂 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-41_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-49_web 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-47_webTHIS. LIGHTING. omgsh. 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-64_webLOVE the right photo!!! SO cute!!! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-56_webLove the black and white photo too! Thanks Ali for this shot of Matt on the right! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-59_webMY. FAVORITE. 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-60_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-61_webCute!!! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-62_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-68_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-69_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-73_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-72_web2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-74_webGO DUKES! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-77_webStunning. 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-84_webThanks Ali for this ending shot! Amazing day!!! 2014-03-27_jmu_alumni_styled_shoot, madison_magazine_submission-89_web

Thanks again for everyone involved in this shoot!!! Especially, Ali! Thank you SO much for helping me set up and take down … and for EVERYTHING! Including making those cute grilled cheeses! Haha! Amazing day! So proud of my Alma Mater!!!

  1. Lindsay Fauver says:

    the GOLDEN light could not be more perfect for this JMU session Steph!! I love it!!

  2. Lauren Swann says:

    You seriously out did yourself on this shoot Steph!!! Every image is STUNNING! Also, I’m definitely obsessed with the leafy garland on the back of those chairs!! Love it!!!

  3. Cat Crews says:

    Stephanie this is AMAZING!!!!! Everyone did such a fantastic job! I miss JMU so much words can’t describe, but seeing this makes me grateful that this statement is so true, “Once a DUKE, always a DUKE!”

  4. Sarah Robertson says:

    Oh my goodness… I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much I love these photos! I’m freaking out at how amazing they are. You are so talented and of course I absolutely LOVE the theme! GO DUKES!!

  5. Jennifer Gulley says:

    OMG that light and everything about this is perfect! I especially love the ‘pat’ on the straw. As a JMU alum, this is so sweet to see!

  6. Mary Neumann says:

    In a word…LOVELY!!! So fun to see your JMU pride and what a beautiful job capturing it all! xoxo!

  7. The Learned Bride says:

    Love, love, love this shoot! What gorgeous photos, they are stunning!

  8. Nikki Santerre says:

    YES! I still crave grilled cheese Thursdays (and D-Hall’s tomato soup!). These are prefect, what a wonderful idea, Steph!

  9. ashley says:

    this is so amazing! way to show your school pride!!! love it!

  10. Lelia Bartruff says:

    This is so adorable! I love it 🙂

  11. […] Back in April, Stephanie Messick asked me to be a part of a really special JMU themed styled shoot. Her idea was to gather JMU alumni who all work in the wedding industry. EV-ER-Y part of this has purple and gold all over it. Even the models! I’m so glad I agreed! We spent a while throwing around ideas to make our JMU theme come to life with class and elegance. I love how the shoot pulls in very “JMU” ideas, like the grilled cheese bar and the red, white, and blue cookies, but doesn’t feel too young or college-y. Our vendors really pulled this off, and I loved helping Steph photograph it! Here are just a few of my images, and you can see the full shoot here. […]

  12. […] * Pixie’s second Birthday! 🙂 * Organized a JMU Alumni Styled Shoot! * First wedding of the year! Wohoo wedding […]

  13. […] organizing this styled shoot because it is NOT easy! I did one a couple years ago … Remember the JMU styled shoot?! That will be the last one I organize for a long time. 😉 Being able to come and photograph this […]