November 14, 2019

Anthony & Kathryn | The Great Marsh Estate, Virginia Wedding Photographer

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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Today’s feature is very dear to my heart and I’m excited to share this celebration with you all! This darling couple, Anthony and Kathryn, is very special to so many. When I think of them, 1 John 4:19 comes to mind. The way they love, not just each other, but to everyone around them is so inspiring. I was first connected with them through a sweet friend, Chloe, and since getting to hang out with them in Fort Lauderdale for their engagement portraits, I could hardly wait for their wedding day! When we met in Florida, it was as if we had been friends before my business even connected us. Maybe it was our love for Jesus or sushi and ice cream, or just how easy it was to have a conversation with them. I knew then that their wedding was one I would look forward to in October. <3 It ended up being a stunning day from start to finish and I’m excited to share their day with you today!!


Prepping for Forever.

The leaves gracefully fell as I drove up the tree-lined driveway to the Great Marsh Estate. It was a beautiful overcast fall day β€” Fortunately, no rain during the times it mattered the most! Just sprinkles in the morning for luck. πŸ˜‰ Countless memories of this beautiful home flooded my mind from my childhood years, and I love that this place now stores favorite memories to many couples. <3 One of those couples is Anthony and Kathryn! The estate was surrounded by bright orange trees, which instantly heightened my excitement! As I took photos around the property, Kathryn and the girls were having a great time in the bridal suite getting dolled up for the big day. As I entered the room, the girls were laughing and helping the bride anyway they possibly could (even hand feeding food to her, lol!) while hair and makeup were finishing up by the fabulous, Amie Decker Beauty. They also managed to throw a little confetti party to kick off the day! Haha! So cute!! 

As soon as the dress, shoes, and the fun details started to come out, the girls couldn’t help but get excited. Kathryn’s Stella York wedding gown hung in a little side room where she would get ready, and everyone (including her father and brother) could hardly wait to see her! There were a few times when we had to hold them back while she was finishing up. Haha! Before they were allowed into the room to see her, she had a few final touches. Kathryn slipped on her Bella Belle flats, and just before it was time to put on the veil, her sister took their mother’s necklace and placed it around Kathryn’s neck. Their eyes filled with tears. They didn’t really have to say anything to know what the other one was thinking. But their mom was there in spirit at that very moment. After gathering their emotions together, their dad and brother came in to see their beautiful daughter/sister! Such sweet moments with family. <3

Downstairs, Anthony was hidden away, getting ready for his big day. I say “his big day” because the groom is just as important on the wedding day as the bride is, despite what the guys think. πŸ˜‰ But before running off to the church, he wanted to share a moment with Kathryn and pray over their wedding day and marriage. <3 Their hands met around the dining room door and the words they expressed to each other before the ceremony made me tear up. Anthony and Kathryn’s faithfulness to God’s plan in their lives is beautiful. God has been and will always be the center of their relationship. Now He will be the center of their marriage and future family. Above them in the dining room was a mural with painted birds (Kathryn’s mom’s favorite). A beautiful reminder that her mom was present all day long. And this was just the start because then they were off to the church to tie the knot!

The Ceremony.

Family and friends gathered in a small church in Middleburg, VA. Anthony stood at the altar in “awe” as his bride made her way down the aisle, side by side with her father. I love one photo Kathryn recently posted on Instagram of them just before walking down the aisle with the quote, “Dad, I promise that I’m not scared, I’m just really excited!” Haha! That smile says it all. <3

Anthony and Kathryn ooze love. Whether it’s through their actions, gestures, or affirming words, I think they cover all of the Five Love Languages! Haha! You’ll see below some of the sweetest, most unexpected moments that occurred during the ceremony. Like the moment Anthony reached for Kathryn’s hand and gave her a gentle kiss or that time he leaned into her and rested his head on her shoulder during the Priest’s sermon about marriage. The videographers and I couldn’t help but gush over them after the ceremony was done … As if we watched a movie … “Oh my gosh, did you see when Anthony kissed her hand or when he brushed her hair back?” Haha! We were so honored to be there because we knew this ceremony is only the start of their inspiring love.

After Anthony and Kathryn exchanged their vows, rings, and took part in Communion, they were pronounced as husband and wife!!! Anthony and Kathryn came in for their first kiss, which then quickly turned into the BIGGEST smiles on their faces as they made their way down the aisle. πŸ™‚ They ran off around the corner to celebrate with their immediate families while everyone else hopped into their cars to head to the Great Marsh Estate!

Their Best Friends.

This crew was fun!! Although, I think the guys probably thought I was treating them as if they were in boot camp. “You cannot run off to cocktail hour until your photos are done.” Haha! After telling them to stay put, I looked over while snapping photos of the bride and the girls and saw them sneaking behind trees to the cocktail hour!!! They shamelessly walked over with some guys “missing in the bathroom.” When they came back with beers in their hands, I had to laugh. #typical. Beers in the “bathroom,” huh? HA! We had to play a little catch up with the timeline and take wedding party photos during the cocktail hour, but I beg to differ that we had just as much fun as the guests. πŸ˜‰ Even if the guys thought I was a photo Natze. Hopefully, they didn’t really believe that because it seemed as though they had a good time!

Aside from what happened during this portion of the day, I appreciated the simple aesthetic Kathryn and Anthony were after! The men had a clean and classic look from THE BLACK TUX, while the girls sported the same long, flowy burgundy dress. Holly Heider Chapple Flowers provided beautiful bouquets, primarily white with greenery and an accent of burgundy, to work with the color scheme. I loved that Holly created and designed every bouquet with the asymmetric design (my favorite!). You don’t typically see that in bridesmaid bouquets (mostly the bride’s flowers), so I love that she did that! As we walked to a tree with orange leaves covering the ground, Kathryn and the kids scooped up a pile of leaves to toss in the air. Oh, the joy of this day with family and friends just made me so grateful to be their photographer!!

Anthony & Kathryn’s Newlywed Bliss.

Before Anthony and Kathryn were introduced at their party, we ran around the property to take newlywed portraits!! πŸ™‚ My favorite part!! This was a whirlwind of a time β€” There was so much to cover around the estate, and we managed to hit our favorite spots, but I could have easilyyyyy photographed them much longer. πŸ™‚ Even though taking photos during this part of the day can be a bit pressed for time, it was one of my favorite parts of their day! Lauren from Great Marsh Estate, Katie from Tilly and Teal, the Kathykins Creative team, and I all shared a golf cart and drove around the property. It was super fun hanging out with Anthony, Kathryn, and the great vendors during that time. πŸ™‚ And, of COURSE, Anthony and Kathryn looked absolutely AMAZING and so happy together!!! I just see pure joy in these photos!

The Details.

The vendor team who made this day possible outdid themselves! Tilly and Teal did a fabulous job bringing the vision together and made sure everyone was on the same page leading up to the big day. Katie even managed to surprise Anthony and Kathryn with a surprise popcorn bar because that is one of their guilty pleasures!!! How sweet and thoughtful was that?! 

As guests walked into the barn, a table assignment display (made by the incredibly talented Sara Kate Couture) greeted each person as they found their seats for the evening. The room was lit with candles in all directions, provided by Holly Heider Chapple Flowers. It turned out that their wedding cleared out Holly’s candle inventory! Impressive. Anthony and Kathryn had two farmhouse tables pushed together to make their “sweetheart table.” It was COVERED in candles, greenery, and flowers. What a way to make a statement!! I also loved the simplicity of the calligraphy name cards (made by Sara Kate Couture) weaved into the fork tines. The room felt so cozy with the warm candlelights, wooden farmhouse tables/chairs, and the burgundy touches throughout the room. What made this atmosphere even cozier was the hot apple cider! YUM! What a great addition to a chilly, fall wedding day. πŸ™‚

The Party.

Anthony and Kathryn came into the reception, ready to show off a dance they had been practicing. πŸ™‚ It was fun watching them enjoy their time in the middle of the floor, twirling around and laughing together. Cheers filled the room as Anthony dipped his WIFE down for a kiss and walked back to their seats. After a dance like that, I’m sure everyone was ready to dance! I’m sure the fabulous Craig Wood from Perpetual Sound LLC (HE’S THE BEST!!! Alex and I used him for our wedding!) was ready to get the crowd on their feet. Haha! But before even thinking about having the energy to move and groove on the dance floor, Purple Onion Catering Co. had the yummiest food prepared for everyone. πŸ™‚ After dinner, toasts, some tear-jerking parent dances, and cake tasting fun by the AH-MAZING Gateau (who Alex and I also used for our personal wedding cake! YUM!), everyone flooded to the floor for a big group photo and started the party!

It was an entertaining evening with family and friends gathered from all over the country. Anthony and Kathryn were very intentional with making time for each table as the night carried on. But it wasn’t long before their college friends pulled them for the conga line, a sorority song dedicated to Kathryn, plenty of group photos (that’s a GIVEN!), and lastly … what’s more of a “bro way” of celebrating than by picking up Anthony in the air?! Haha! These friend groups knew how to make this couple feel very special. <3 As the evening came to a close, Anthony and Kathryn stood in the middle of a circle with their families surrounding them. They all locked arms rocking back and forth as Anthony danced with his bride. Just when everyone was pushed out of the door for a sparkler exit, Craig Wood turned on one private slow dance for Anthony and Kathryn to enjoy their final dance together in an empty room. <3 What a beautiful and quiet moment to end the night. As soon as the song ended, Anthony grabbed Kathryn’s hand, and they ran through the sparkler exit with the biggest smiles on their faces. πŸ™‚ For sure, it will be a wedding many will talk about for years to come. <3

Thank you, Anthony and Kathryn, for giving me the highest honor of being your wedding photographer!!! You two are so loved by many. <3 I loved documenting these moments for you β€” Love was evident every minute of the day. I cannot wait to see how God uses your marriage to inspire so many for years to come. Love you both!!! XOXO!


Thanks to the vendors who made this happen!!!

Venue: Great Marsh Estate

Planner: Tilly and Teal

Photography: Stephanie Messick Photography

Florals: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers

Cake: Gateau

Calligraphy: Sara Kate Couture

Catering: Purple Onion Catering Co.

Cinema: Kathykins Creative

Dress: Stella York

Dress Shop: MerlilΓ­ Bridal Boutique

Entertainment: Perpetual Sound LLC

Groom Attire: THE BLACK TUX

Hair: Amie Decker Beauty

Make-up: Amie Decker Beauty

Officiant: Father Francis Peffley

Rentals + Decor: Main Street Rentals

Rings: Ascot Jewelers

Stationery: Sara Kate Couture



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