Iā€™m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether Iā€™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!

Enthusiastically capturing authentic connections IN COLORADO & VIRGINIA
since 2012.


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November 10, 2021

Matt & Briana | The Great Marsh Estate, Virginia Wedding Photographer

Matt & Briana | The Great Marsh Estate, Virginia Wedding Photographer

I’m kicking off the September wedding season with this beautiful wedding day!!! I was looking forward to Matt and Briana’s big celebration, especially after hanging out with them last year! And after photographing Bri’s sister, Gabby and Stephen’s wedding years back, I knew that this family was ready for another reason to get back together! They love to have FUN! Whenever I think of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” song, I think of that wedding!!! Haha! The entire dance floor went NUTS. Needless to say, I was excited and honored to be Bri and Matt’s photographer for their Great Marsh Estate wedding! I was ready to dance behind my camera again. šŸ˜‰ HA!

When we met up for their engagement portraits last summer, we talked about how crazy it was to get married during the pandemic… But we both said that things should *hopefully* work out by May 2021! I know I was hopeful, and I didn’t want them to go through the stressors of postponing after seeing what my 2020 couples went through.

When early spring rolled around, Matt and Briana reached out to me saying that they had to postpone their special day to early September. I was crushed because the date they announced wasn’t a day I was planning to be in Virginia… But after talking about all of the options, we had the talented Michelle from Lieb Photographic LLC step in my place to photograph their day. I’m so grateful for her time and energy to document Bri and Matt’s wedding!!! When I got the photos to edit, I was so envious ā€” Bri and Matt looked absolutely AMAZING, and I so wish I could’ve celebrated with them!!! Check out their big day below!!!

Matt & Briana | The Great Marsh Estate, Virginia Wedding Photographer


Prepping for the Ceremony.

Briana and her best friends were upstairs in the bridal suite having hair and makeup done (thanks to Makeup by Shirin and Maria) while the men were downstairs in their separate quarters. I love when venues have private areas for both parties to get ready! After Bri got into her dress and showed it off to her family and friends, they went crazy ā€” She looked AMAZING! Not every bride can pull off a dress like that!!! I love the “twirl-factor” and how it delicately draped on her body! She clearly rocked the look! And Matt looked sharp in a classic black suit! I know that nerves must have been high during this part of the day as they were just minutes away from seeing each other at the ceremony!

Also, how often do you see a bride celebrate her 30th Birthday on her wedding day?! I know that their anniversary will be easy to remember!!! šŸ™‚ Haha!

The Ceremony.

The ceremony was set up on the back lawn and everything was ready to go. Guests arrived and started filling in the seats while Atoka String Quartet played in the background. With tears in Briana’s eyes, she walked down the aisle to see Matt waiting for her at the altar. It must have been a flood of emotions ā€” especially seeing everything come together as if it was a dream!!

The ceremony was personal because they involved loved ones to officiate, speak, and sing during their ceremony. Not only did it make the ceremony special, but it also allowed everyone to smile and laugh! And speaking of which, Bri’s smile/laugh is seriously contagious! Michelle captured that beautifully, as you’ll see below! After Matt and Briana were pronounced husband and wife, they walked down the aisle celebrating and snuck in another kiss! One of my favorite shots of the day, surrounded by everyone they love so dearly!!

Their Best Friends.

Matt and Briana gathered their best friends together for photos around the mansion. The girls looked so great in their dusty purple gowns. And I love that they all chose different styles of dresses! The white bouquets crafted by Farm & Fields were the perfect contrast against the color pallet ā€“ And, of course, with lots of greenery like Bri wanted! The guys kept it simple and classy with their black suits, while Matt sported a bow tie. But I love that the Bridesman wore a dusty purple tie to match the flow with the bridesmaids. šŸ™‚

Mr. & Mrs.!!!

Looking through these photos Michelle took of Matt and Bri, this is where I’m super envious!!! They looked SO GOOD!! <3 Matt and Bri ended up with a BEAUTIFUL evening around the estate, and that golden light was perfect!!! And I love all of the twirling photos of Briana because again… her dress had THE twirl-factor! šŸ™‚ I know Michelle could’ve photographed these two all evening long, but they had a party they could hardly wait to attend!! A very special party, I might add. šŸ˜‰

The Details.

Briana and Matt wanted a lot of greenery! Fortunately being the beginning of September, not only did they have lots of greenery inside dressed up by Farm & Fields, but they also had lots of greenery outside too! Haha! One detail I’m obsessed with is the boxwood wall with the custom neon light! Such a fun photo backdrop!!!

The Reception.

They crammed the stable with I’m sure the max amount allowed with family and friends from all over! After the first dances, speeches from loved ones, a scrumptious dinner by Serendipity Catering & Design, and parent dances, it was finally time to break open the dance floor! I’m sure Black Tie Entertainment had fun with this group, especially after the last time I saw them come together for a party! Haha!

Looking through the photos, the evening seemed to go by so quickly between the dinner and events, and soon enough, it was time to bring out the cake! Except, they surprised Briana with a side Birthday cake!! How thoughtful and fun! And just before the sparkler exit, Briana’s mom gathered family outside to hand out some special gifts. One of which was a wedding quilt for Matt and Briana! An heirloom to cherish forever. <3 Soon after, everyone was asked to leave the dance floor and crowd around outside to congratulate the couple one last time! Matt and Briana ran through the sparklers and sealed the night with a kiss! A perfect ending to a fun celebration!!!

Thank You!!

THANK YOU, Matt and Briana, for having Michelle as your photographer document your wedding day at Great Marsh Estate!!! I’m so sad I had to celebrate from afar, but goodness… You two looked absolutely incredible! I love living through these moments that Michelle documented and I hope to see you all again in the near future. <3


Thanks to the vendors who made this happen!!

Venue:Ā Great Marsh Estate
Coordination: Katie of Rose & Lily Events
Photographer: Stephanie Messick Photography | Associate Photographer: Lieb Photographic LLC
Makeup: Makeup by Shirin
Hair: Maria
Cinema:Ā Whole Heart Studios
Catering:Ā Serendipity Catering & Design
DJ/Music:Ā Black Tie EntertainmentĀ & Atoka String Quartet
Florist: Farm & Fields
Officiant: Valerie Hengehmuhle
Transportation:Ā Reston Limousine


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