Iโ€™m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether Iโ€™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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December 19, 2019

Jonathan & Mary Sheldon | Pippin Hill Vineyards, Virginia Wedding Photographer

What a beautiful way to cap off the 2019 year! Jonathan and Mary Sheldon’s wedding was an absolute DREAM come true to this couple, as well as everyone involved. Mary Sheldon said in an Instagram post that she had dreamt this very day since she was a little girl and couldn’t have dreamt of a day more special. <3 Indeed it was special, especially sharing it with their loved ones! And gosh, are they LOVED by so many!!! 

Since their initial phone meeting, I knew there was something notable about Jonathan and Mary Sheldon โ€” Right off the bat, they were personable, as sweet as can be, classy, southern, adventurers, and loved wine, skinny margaritas, and tacos! <= Definitely worth noting because all of this made me want to be friends with them! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I love that grilled cheese made it into their love story too. HAHA! If you haven’t seen their engagement session or haven’t heard of their love story, check it out HERE to see what I mean!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Most importantly, what captured my attention were their hearts for each other and their family/friends. Whenever we hopped on the phone to chat, it was as if I was catching up with an old friend! They really know how to make everyone feel special and have FUN! Even if it’s just a short car ride jamming out to Kygo. ๐Ÿ˜‰ HAHA!

I cannot believe how quickly their wedding came up, and now that they are Mr. and Mrs., I’m excited to watch their marriage blossom over the years ahead! I hope I find myself traveling through Raleigh often for a catch-up taco date soon and hear about their recent adventures! ๐Ÿ™‚ In the meantime, I love this time reminiscing their wedding day and hope you enjoy it just as much as I did while photographing their moments. <3


Prepping for Forever.

It was a beautiful, chilly December day at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. Although, the chill didn’t keep visitors from enjoying a gorgeous Sunday afternoon sipping the vineyard’s flavorful wines inside the veranda and tasting room. Just up the staircase, the girls were hiding away, enjoying the delicious food Pippin Hill prepped for them while having their hair and makeup done by the fabulous Jennifer Saunders Bridal team! Mary Sheldon was all smiles as she welcomed every guest who walked in to say, “Hi!” <= Gosh, I love her! She had her satin dress hanging, and details gathered ready for her to get dressed. It was an exciting time because she was just hours away from saying “YES!” to the love of her life! She thought through the vision for their day. Everything was so classy, from her details to her hair/makeup. She kept everything understated and timeless, which worked so well with their vibe!! After all, they were going after … “Elegant. Understated Grace Kelly in the woods in December but not Christmas and lots of fun” HAHA! Look through this post and think about this statement! I say they pulled it off! ๐Ÿ™‚ As soon as she slipped on her gown, the tears started flowing. She looked incredible, and I loved seeing that moment shared with her family and friends, and especially her grandmother. <3 Jonathan was an answered prayer and they all couldn’t contain the joy as well as the happy tears. Just when we thought the tears were done, Jonathan had two letters for Mary Sheldon as well as her parents. What a thoughtful gesture to include her parents too โ€” He’s a gentleman! ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of Jonathan โ€ฆ He was hiding downstairs, getting ready to see his lovely bride! Just like Mary Sheldon, he had a matching handkerchief embroidered by Mary Sheldon’s mother with the cross in between their initials. I love this reminder to keep Christ in the center of their relationship. ๐Ÿ™‚ AMEN! After Jonathan put on his jacket, tightened his shoes, secured his cuff links, and adjusted his bow tie, it was time to see Mary Sheldon for their first look!!!

The First Look.

Mary Sheldon walked gracefully up to Jonathan with his back turned away from her anxiously waiting for her cue. As she stepped closer to him, he threw his hands over his eyes excited but also afraid to mistakenly see his bride. Haha! As soon as she tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and gasped! Jonathan took a minute to admire the detailing of her dress. He exclaimed, “It’s SO you, Mary Sheldon!” He loved it. Mary Sheldon loved it. We all loved how classy and timeless they looked! ๐Ÿ™‚ Jonathan grabbed Mary Sheldon’s hand and walked around the venue, taking in the stunning views.

Mary Sheldon had a beautiful bouquet made for her. Again, going with the understated and classy appeal, Blue Ridge Floral Design handcrafted a neutral color pallet bouquet filled with big white blossoms. It paired so well with Mary Sheldon’s dress! Speaking of the gorgeous bride, as we were photographing, I looked over at Mary Sheldon and asked her to give me “Grace Kelly.” BAM! She did it effortlessly!!! Remember the theme I mentioned above, “Elegant. Understated Grace Kelly in the woods in December but not Christmas and lots of fun” Ummmm … SHE NAILED IT. We all laughed, and she said all I had to do was ask. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love it! Then they had their SWEET golden retriever pup (Ollie’s girlfriend), Emma, join us for a few photos!!! Emma was all smiles because she couldn’t wait to reunite with her parents after watching them play in the fields without her while we were taking photos. Haha! And just before we had the wedding party join us for some pictures, Jonathan and Mary Sheldon took a moment together to pray over the rings and their marriage. It was a calm, serene part of the day that I know they will cherish. It was definitely one of my favorite moments!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Their Best Friends.

Lucky us! Not only did we have our lovely bridal party and groomsmen to photograph, but the flower girls and the ring pup topped the cake! ๐Ÿ™‚ I might have to pocket Emma and take her to every wedding I photograph! I mean… Look at her smile below!! ๐Ÿ™‚ So cute!!!

Jonathan had the guys dressed to impress in their classic tuxes while the girls wore pretty long black dresses. Each girl got to choose a style that worked for them, which is a great way to please everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mary Sheldon kept it simple with their bouquets too by keeping the look consistent with hers, but smaller in size. And speaking of consistency, everyone kept it simple by doing the same hairstyle โ€” I was a fan of the low bun because it will always be in style! And don’t worry, Emma, your hairstyle will always be in style too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Haha!

The Ceremony.

As chilly as it was outside, Jonathan and Mary Sheldon decided to move the ceremony into the veranda. It ended up to be so romantic with the twinkle lights strung above the altar. What a beautiful way to utilize the property by having photos outside, the ceremony in the veranda, cocktail hour in the tasting room, and the reception in the ballroom! I loved this set up for their day. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Bloom Trio and Event musiciansย started playing, and Mary Sheldon made her entrance into the veranda where everyone had their eyes on her. Jonathan’s eyes filled with tears as he watched her make her way to him. As the music quieted, Mary Sheldon’s father met her at the altar to give her away to his son-in-law. They all came in for a hug, and while everyone was smiling, there were still some tears wiped away from family and friends. Their ceremony was so personable from Mr. Brian Gambino sharing stories of how they met to how Jonathan proposed, we all had a good laugh hearing their sweet stories. Again, if you aren’t familiar with their love story, check it outย HERE! ๐Ÿ™‚

They also exchanged personal vows to each other that melted all of our hearts. Jonathan and Mary Sheldon’s sense of humor and commitment to love each other every day was captured so well in their writings. Toward the end of the ceremony, Emma had her big moment by walking the rings to her parents. She was so excited as any pup would be. ๐Ÿ™‚ Haha! After Jonathan and Mary Sheldon exchanged their rings and were pronounced husband and wife,ย The Bloom Trio and Event musiciansย started playing as they came in for their first kiss!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Then they were off on their marry way to enjoy a private cocktail hour together!

The Details.

While planning for their big day, they kept the color theme of blacks, ivory, hydrangea green, and gold in mind. Blue Ridge Floral Design did a great job carrying the colors throughout the room set up. As my eyes wandered around the ballroom, I loved seeing the whites carried from the tables to the drapery hanging around the doors with greenery tie-backs. Every seat had a personalized menu card with each guest name (I’m always a fan of customized details!!) written in a pretty, classic calligraphy font, and I especially loved the little detailing of a leaf at each plate setting. 

When it came to Jonathan and Mary Sheldon’s sweetheart table, it was decked out in florals and candles, making their set up extra romantic and the centerpiece of the room, thanks to Donovan-Groves Events attention to detail! They had oversized lanterns set up around the venue and in front of their table, making it as cozy as can be. And I was also a HUGE fan of the hot chocolate and hot apple cider station that was set up next to the door leading out to the s’mores station. ๐Ÿ™‚ They did a great job creating an understated, yet classy and timeless environment for their family and friends to enjoy!

The Party

I would say this was my favorite part of the day, but really, their entire day was my favorite!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ As soon as the doors opened for Jonathan and Mary Sheldon to enjoy their party, everyone stood to their feet and walked towards the dance floor to watch them enjoy their first dance together. You better believe with their classy taste, they had a choreographed dance. Oh, these two. <3 After a sweet kiss, Jonathan took Mary Sheldon’s hand and guided them to their seat for the evening. They laughed and cried as they listened to their family and friends speak so fondly about them as individuals and as a couple, and enjoyed a very delicious wedding meal provided byย Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards!ย 

As dinner wrapped up, they stood up in front of their guests to thank them for their support and love, and announced instead of a cake cutting, they were going roast a marshmallow and feed each other s’mores. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so CUTE!!!! For their guests, they had a fire pit outside with s’more treats to enjoy.

The Real Party!!

As much of a party it was outside hanging around the fire pit, let me tell you that the real party was on the dance floor because they had the FABULOUSย Affirmative Groove-Sam Hill Entertainmentย band playing!!! Oh my gosh, they are the best!!! I loved seeing the energy they had while singing, as well as the energy on the dance floor.

After hours of fun, their guests were asked to line up for a sparkler exit outside. Jonathan brought his bride to the middle of the dance floor for one final dance together. It was the best way to end the night in each other’s arms as time moved slowly. The song came to a close, and they ran outside with sparklers waiving over them and family/friends cheering. Jonathan brought Mary Sheldon in for a kiss and waved to everyone goodbye. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was the perfect time for time to pause as they looked back at everyone who came out to celebrate their special day. And it was a day they will never forget. <3

THANK YOU both so much for not just having me photograph your day, but for your kind and loving hearts. Your wedding at Pippin Hill Vineyards was magical. And I feel so grateful for your friendship this Holiday season. I also appreciate everything you did to make your wedding day a pure JOY to document! XOXO!! I hope you’re having the BEST time in Europe!!!


Thanks to the vendors who made this happen!!

Venue: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Wedding Planner: Donovan-Groves Events
Beauty: Jennifer Saunders Bridal, LLC
Ceremony Music: The Bloom Trio and Event Musicians
Band: Affirmative Groove-Sam Hill Entertainment
Florals: Blue Ridge Floral Design
Officiant: Mr. Brian Gambino
Photographer: Stephanie Messick Photography
Assistant Photographer: Krysta Norman
Stationery: Design Inklings
Transportation: Camryn Limousine