August 7, 2019

Curtis & Emily | Virginia Beach Wedding Photographer

I’m Stephanie Messick, a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Warrenton, VA. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels right 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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I remember the first time Curtis, Emily, and I got together years ago for their deployment portraits. Nooooo way that was back in 2013?! Since then, we got together for their engagement portraits and eagerly planned for their big day! 🙂 Worth the wait!!! You could really tell that this day was the best day of their lives! I love that!!! It was perfect from start to finish and I couldn’t be happier for them!!

Curtis and Emily were SO worth the drive down to Virginia Beach for their wedding on Saturday!!! But on that note, it was the beach … on a Saturday … in the summertime. And thank goodness they chose the summertime after experiencing some SUPER frigid portrait sessions in the past! Haha! They did it right!!! I had a little bit of a panic when I thought I was outsmarting the beach traffic until a bridge closed down in front of me! Fortunately, I was next to an exit so I squeezed my way over to get to their wedding on time. WHEW. But this will probably be the last time in VA Beach for me! I love the beach but not the traffic. 😉 I’m so grateful I got there on time — So worth the slight bit of panic for Curtis and Emily! <3 They just brought so much joy into my day photographing their love. And, boy, do they OOZE it! 🙂 I don’t want to spoil too much, but during the exchange of their vows before the ceremony and of course the actual ceremony just proved how fiercely they love each other!!! <3 Check out their BEST DAY EVER below!!!


Emily and Curtis spent the morning in hotels just around the corner from the venue. By the time I arrived, everyone was on TIME! Hair was just minutes from finishing and the girls were ready for their close up. 🙂 Everyone gathered around Emily raving about how beautiful she looked with her hair and makeup done. We couldn’t wait to see her in her fairytale dress and we especially couldn’t wait to see the reaction of her soon-to-be-hubby!

Emily’s sister, Haley, was such a HUGEEEEE help on Saturday!! In the midst of getting ready, I noticed the identical tattoos on both of their arms. I loved that their mom was there in spirit while they got ready. <3 Emily stepped into her dress and she was ALL smiles!!!! What a happy bride! <3 The cute part was that Curtis was the SAME way before the ceremony — All smiles (and some tears as you’ll see why below) and couldn’t wait to see his bride.

Curtis and the guys waited at the venue for Emily’s arrival to have their vow exchange. After she was dressed and ready to get the show on the road, she gathered her troops and departed to the venue just minutes down the road. Her dad welcomed her through the doors at the venue but before he walked her outside for Emily and Curtis to have a private vow exchange, they shared a little father/daughter moment. <3

Curtis and Emily did something so different and special! Family and friends gathered in a room facing two chairs in the middle of the room. Curtis sat facing away from the door so Emily could come in and not be seen by him. They sat back to back and read out loud their vows to one another. It was very sweet and I loved hearing how their love for one another has only intensified over time, and yet, they knew they were meant to be together from very early on.

After exchanging private vows, it was time to get HITCHED!!!! Curtis finally got to see his bride and couldn’t hold back the tears. Emily was stunning and of course, BEAMING with the biggest smile! The ceremony was full of energy and so personalized, making this something Curtis and Emily will NEVER forget. <3 Their groomsman, Patrick, made a wooden wine box with letters and a bottle of wine for them to open on their fifth year anniversary or their first fight. Something tells me that it won’t be opened until that special anniversary though because they were truly meant to be together. <3

Despite a little time crunch, this crew worked their magic to make these photos happen!!! 🙂 I love the pops of purple against the blues in the backdrop. And the men really got into the photos sporting their suspenders. Really, though, it was a good excuse to take off the jackets because it was pretty toasty outside! Haha! Emily did a beautiful job bringing the vision of their special day to life!!

After photographing family and friends, Curtis, Emily, and I had some time to run around on the docks! Although, there wasn’t too much running around because the dock did wobble and I wasn’t risking falling in with my equipment. 😉 HA! So with caution, we took advantage of the views that they loved about the venue! And, of courseeeee, they were sooooo happy!!! I enjoyed documenting their happiness every time they got to hold hands, dance, or come in for a tight hug. These two genuinely love each other unconditionally. <3 Also … they ROCKED their photos, despite the crunch of time!!! KUDOS!

Photographing the reception details are so much fun because I get to see the vision my couple talked about for months finally come to life! So much time planning and actively working on DIY projects paid off. I loved learning about the DIY projects and I’m sure there’s a lot that I don’t know about, but the cake stand was again made by their groomsmen, Patrick! Seems like he’s talented in the wood department so they went to the right person to craft these special items for their wedding day. 😉 Also, I overheard during the wedding that Emily’s father made the welcome sign with the help of some work buddies! So fun!!! The heart-shaped floral installment was a pretty detail they added in their wedding plans and love that they reused it from the ceremony backdrop to their sweetheart table! Beautiful!!

THIS PARTY was ready to PARTY. When I talked with Curtis and Emily about a month ago during our final meeting, they mentioned that they love to dance. 🙂 I was ready and they did not disappoint!!! After enjoying special dances, toasts, and a wonderful dinner, they gathered everyone around the dance floor for the SHOE GAME! I’ve seen a lot of shoe games in my career, but I loved that family and friends got to ask the questions instead of just the DJ. It was a great way to kick off the party! 🙂 By the end of the evening, Emily was found on the ground with just her feet showing on the staircase! HAHA! I think that is a great sign of a GREAT time! They ran through the sparklers and thanked everyone for making their day unforgettable. <3

Thank you, Curtis and Emily, for having me follow along your beautiful journey to finally becoming husband and wife!!! It was a very joyful day and I was happy to be a part of the celebration to not only document the memories but help celebrate the occasion! I cannot wait to see where your future takes you! CONGRATS!!! XOXO!!!


Thanks to the vendors who made this happen!!!

Venue- The Water Table

Catering- East Beach Catering

DJ- DJ West Entertainment LLC 

Rentals- Distinctive Event Rentals

Officiant- Ken Lane

Make-up- Blushtones

Hair- Gracefully Done Hair Design

Florist- Palette of Petals LLC

Videography- DreamClip Films

Dress- Ava Laurenne Bride

Bridesmaids Dresses- Ava Clara Couture Bridal

Groomsmen Suits- Generation Tux

Stationary- Minted



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