November 6, 2019

Pat & Tara | Raspberry Plain Manor, Virginia 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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Since photographing Pat and Tara’s engagement session, I had been looking forward to seeing them again. Not only are they beautiful, but they are so personable and as SWEET as can be! <3 One trait I quickly picked up about Tara, even from our first meeting, is her skill to organize. It makes me think she needs to get into the wedding industry as a coordinator or something, especially since she told me she enjoyed planning! <= This was definitely not me after I planned my wedding!!! HAHA! As we quickly approached the “BIG DAY,” I couldn’t help but think how beautiful the Virginia trees will look on their October wedding day. I excitedly packed my sweaters and boots and headed north to document one of my favorite weddings of the year. <3 Check out the real magic below!!!

PAT & TARA’S WEDDING DAY

Prepping for Forever.

After photographing a wedding at Raspberry Plain Manor last December, I was excited to come back again on a PERFECT fall day. Literally, the most beautiful day we could have prayed to have on October 25th. <3 I met with the girls in the bridal suite, and if you’re at all familiar with this venue, you know that the bridal suite is top-notch! It’s room after room of places to get ready, which meant plenty of options for photos. 😉 The celebration all began with fairy dust and rainbows … JK … try a confetti BOMB! What a way to kick off the day. 🙂 But the champagne pouring the drinking had to be put to the side because it was time to get dressed! While looking through Tara’s details, I couldn’t help but admire the simplicity of it all. Her blue suede heels … The simple, yet elegant wedding monogram on their invites Alexa Nelson Prints created … Her jewelry … Oh, and let’s definitely admire her lace fitted Stella York dress. 🙂 After seeing everything come together, especially once the veil was in place, she looked like a VERY happy, stunning bride, thanks to Ana B Artists for the beautiful work on her hair and makeup!! Tara’s next mission was to see her soon-to-be-hubby!

Just feet away, the guys were hidden behind a door getting ready. Although with all of the men hanging out, the room heated up pretty quickly, so they really weren’t that hidden away. 😉 But when they were in the room, cards and money were flying left and right! 😉 HAHA! Talk about a manly scene … beer and cards. While the guys had the opportunity to hang, Pat was sprucing up to see his beautiful soon-to-be-bride! She sent me over with some gifts. One of the gifts was a watch with an engraved note.”To my Husband. I will love you more every minute, until the end of time. <3 Tara 10-25-19″ He smiled when he saw it was Michael Kors because he knows how much Tara loves Michael Kors! Pat immediately put it on and then was off to a beautiful orange tree where he would anxiously await for her arrival.

The First Look.

Pat turned around with his jaw dropped and immediately brought her in for a hug. Behind us stood two little flower girls peeking through the windows with big smiles. I can only imagine what those little girls thought as they watched their version of a real-life Barbie and Ken see each other. 🙂 Pat and Tara soaked in the moment together underneath a canopy of orange leaves. Talk about a beautiful fall day — I don’t think we could’ve asked for a more perfect tree for their first look! 🙂 Infectious smiles carried over to the front door of the venue, where we spotted some family and friends peeking. It was a beautiful sight, though!! As soon as we started taking portraits, Pat and Tara were effortless in front of the camera — I would say it’s because of the engagement session, but I really think it was because of how HAPPY and EXCITED they were to get married!! Pat took Tara’s hand and guided her down to the secret garden where they eventually slow danced together under an arch of greenery. He grabbed her in for a kiss just knowing that their first kiss as husband and wife was just a couple of hours away! 🙂

Their Best Friends.

We wandered towards one of my favorite spots of Raspberry Plain, where it was just rolling hills of fall foliage. The sun came in and out, but just enough to leave us with a beautiful glow for this time of the day. 🙂 Tara dressed the girls in long, flowy dusty blue dresses paired with gorgeous bouquets J. Morris Flowers crafted (*Jennifer always does a phenomenal job with her flowers!!*), while the men kept it classic with bow ties and a sharp-looking suit! And when I got this crew together for photos, they made it easy-going and FUN!!! I was a little concerned an entire shuttle of guests were going to arrive as I was taking the bridal party photos (uh, yeah … that would be bad!!), but after we were reassured the bus was 15-minutes away, we were able to capture some of my favorite photos below!! 🙂 Also, the picture of the ring bearer before the ceremony section of the blog post makes me laugh every time!

The Ceremony.

Finally. It was time for Pat and Tara to TIE THE KNOT!!!! 🙂 The ceremony patio overlooked a golf course and again, those pretty rolling hills I loved in the wedding party photos. J. Morris Flowers decorated the arbor beautifully with flowers and drapery and added gold lanterns with floral arrangements down the aisle. Yet again, Pat found himself for the second time of the day waiting to see his bride. But this “second look” was even more emotional than the first look! Tears flooded his eyes after she turned the corner to see him while Kate Rodgers gracefully played her harp. Pat wasn’t the only one tearing up as I caught many people wiping their eyes. <3 Then Gary Maines from SouthPoint Church began the ceremony by sharing how he knew Tara and met Pat. During his storytelling, he also shared their journeys as Christians, which was a beautiful testimony to how they will put God first in their marriage! As soon as they were pronounced as husband and wife, they came in for a kiss and immediately raised their arms with excitement! They were BEAMING with joy as family and friends cheered for them. After some high fives and celebrating with family, we snuck around to the front just before the sun was gone entirely to show off their excitement!!!! 🙂 Definitely one of my favorite photos! Haha! They are so darn cute!!

The Details

As the winding stone path led guests to the manor house, you couldn’t help but think, “fall has arrived!!!” What a beautiful entrance to the venue! Tara and Pat used ornate gold mirrors as signage with the help of Megan Lucas’s calligraphy talent. The gold theme carried throughout the details as guests checked out the acrylic signage guiding them from room to room of the spacious manor home. The side rooms were decorated with photos of loved ones. A beautiful white pumpkin with a customized wedding logo welcomed guests as they made their way to a frame where they were able to sign their name and leave a little note. Tara coordinated with an artist to draw Pat and Tara in their wedding attire. This meant Pat wasn’t allowed to see this piece of artwork before their first look because Tara’s dress was drawn in detail. 😉 Pat was good and didn’t want to peek beforehand!

In the next room where the bar was located, Tara came up with the idea of building a Moscow mule pallet wall! It turned out BEAUTIFUL!!!! Each guest had their own cup for the night with a customized calligraphy tag. I still have the card on my cup because it was too pretty to take off!! Haha! After guests filled their cup and found where they were seated for the evening, they entered into the spacious ballroom checking out the beautiful decor. The entire room felt light and airy with the classic white tablecloths contrasting with the pinks, golds, greenery, and burgundy touches, thanks to Iconic Events and Gala Cuisine‘s hard work decorating! Tara’s family had been collecting little white and gold pumpkins for a while, and I loved seeing the fall touches come together without it screaming orange and red. 🙂 Overall, the atmosphere was very romantic with an abundance of candles lit and flowers/greenery in every direction possible, all thanks to the talented J. Morris Flowers. And let’s not forget the dessert … Tara and Pat had two wedding cakes to please the vanilla and chocolate lovers! 🙂 And of course, what goes great with chocolate other than chocolate-covered strawberries wearing little tuxes! Haha! So cute!!! This was all done by the talented, Edna Guajardo, who surprised me with samples of her delicious cakes during the reception! So thoughtful!!!

The Party.

Knowing that Pat and Tara LOVE to dance (after all, Tara grew up as a dancer), I knew this night was not going to disappoint. Oh, and DJ Mova made sure of it by playing the BEST hits all night long! I was so tempted to jump right in with everyone on the dance floor … Although, I know I would not be able to hang with the two flower girls. They showed off their MOVES and just jumped right into splits like it was not a big deal. So impressive. But before this party scene happened, Pat and Tara got to feel like VIPs by sharing their first dance as husband and wife and hear some beautifully done speeches. <3 The speeches were all testimonials to how special Tara and Pat are, even with the embarrassing stories. Haha! Soon after, Tara and Pat brought their loved ones to the dance floor for their special dances. Tara’s grandmother’s face lit up watching Tara and her grandfather dance together — One of my favorite photos. <3 As the evening progressed, the wedding party gave me a heads up the confetti bomb was about to make an appearance! What better way to celebrate and end the evening than with confetti (another favorite photo — How many favorites am I allowed to have? How about this entire blog post?? :))?! Everyone came together for one final song before sending the bride and groom off. But what the guests didn’t know was that the real final song was saved just for Pat and Tara. <3 As family and friends stood outside with sparklers, Pat and Tara shared one last dance to be present and still. As I looked over towards the exit, the catering staff had their heads peeking in with tears in their eyes. It was a special moment watching them end their fairytale day. Then Pat grabbed Tara’s hand and rushed her out of the door to dip her down for a kiss with sparklers lit around them. Indeed it was the most magical day from start to finish. <3

Thank you, Pat and Tara, for giving me the most perfect wedding day to document!!! Gosh, I cannot help but love every moment I got to celebrate with you all. I cannot wait to see your marriage blossom over the years to come. <3 Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything. CONGRATS!!! XOXO!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Thanks to the vendors who made this happen!!!

Venue: Raspberry Plain Manor

Wedding Planner: Iconic Events

Photography: Stephanie Messick Photography

Hair and Makeup: Ana B Artists 

Caterer:  Gala Cuisine

Florist: J. Morris Flowers

Baker: Edna Guajardo // Edna.guajardo@corbion.com

DJ: DJ Mova

Harpist: Kate Rodgers from Harp 2 Go

Stationery: Alexa Nelson Prints

Dress Designer: Stella York from Ellie’s Bridal Boutique

Officiant: Gary Maines, SouthPoint Church

Photo Booth: A-list photos

Transportation: Chariots for Hire

Calligrapher: Megan Lucas

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