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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May 25, 2022

Steven & Kara | King Family Vineyards, Charlottesville Virginia Wedding Photographer

Steven & Kara | King Family Vineyards, Charlottesville Virginia Wedding Photographer

This couple melts my heart to pieces every time I hang out with them or chat over the phone. They have some of the most caring, genuine hearts! We instantly connected during our first meeting together months ago, and I loved hearing that both Steven and Kara were finishing up med school at UVA. It brought me back to Alex’s final months at VCU finishing up his med school – Fun times!!! Since that first meeting, we got together to photograph engagement portraits at UVA, they found out they are BOTH doing residency at the UVA hospital (CONGRATS!!!), and they celebrated their wedding at King Family Vineyards, graduated from UVA, and now relaxing in Hawaii for their honeymoon. I cannot think of a better place to rest and relax, and they totally deserve it after an eventful year!

You’ll look at these photos and sense Steven and Kara’s fun and genuine personalities. Because it’s true! They are exactly that and more. I laughed out loud during one of the speeches during the reception when they described Steven’s personality to be like a golden retriever. HA! Personally owning a golden retriever, I got that vibe from both Steven and Kara. πŸ™‚ They seize every moment of the day, and I loved hearing a little more of their day-to-day life like rocking out to Backstreet Boys while meal prepping together. Could they be any cuter?

To say the least, this day was extra special, and I’m so honored to have been there to celebrate with them! And these photos captured the essence of their relationship with each other and their family and friends. <3 I will forever look back on these images and be reminded of how special Steven and Kara are. Their patients will be SO lucky to have both Dr. Steven and Dr. Kara as their doctors! πŸ™‚ Talk about a power couple!

Check out their beautiful day through my lens!!!

Steven & Kara | King Family Vineyards, Charlottesville Virginia Wedding Photographer


Prepping for the Ceremony.

When I arrived at King Family Vineyards, the girls were hidden away in the bridal room having hair and makeup done by the talented Lou Stevens. All of us were feeling a little uneasy about the unpredictable weather, but thankfully, Kara had Steven arrive early in case they needed to do a first look to avoid rainy photos in the evening. πŸ™‚ Before any final decisions were made, we enjoyed the afternoon getting ready for the event of the year! Kara slipped on her gorgeous dress from Bridal Beginning, and the girls went wild when they saw her! We knew then that Steven’s reaction would be priceless … and spoiler alert … it was. πŸ˜‰ 

Just around the corner, Steven and the guys arrived early to enjoy some relaxation time before they needed to be ready for photos. And they took relaxation to another level because they came prepared with robes! Haha! Steven loved it so much and said if the girls get a robe photo, so should the guys! πŸ˜‰ I also love the sports socks with the robes. Haha! The guys had a lot of fun, and that energy went on all night long!

Before it got to be too late to do the first look, we had to make the hard decision of whether or not to trust the forecast. Ultimately, we decided to take a chance because both Steven and Kara initially wanted to wait to have their first look at the ceremony rather than beforehand. We honored that decision and prayed that the weather did us a favor and waited to rain until the reception. So after Steven and Kara had special moments with their families, it was time to get married!!!

The Ceremony.

Except… Right when the ceremony was about to start, a dark cloud came overhead and POURED. We didn’t know what to think at that moment except to hope that the rain would quickly clear up and be done until the reception. Our prayers were answered because after 10-minutes of raining, it cleared up, and everyone quickly wiped the chairs to make the outdoor ceremony happen. πŸ™‚ THANK GOODNESS!!!!

When I said above that Steven’s reaction was priceless… You have to see the photos! He anticipated he was going to cry seeing her walking down the aisle, but he was so overwhelmed by how GORGEOUS she looked! He couldn’t help but say, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh!” outloud. It was the cutest thing, and I couldn’t help but tear up watching his reaction. But I mean… Just look at her. Of COURSE, she would look incredible!!!

As they said their vows to each other, everyone couldn’t believe how beautifully their vows complimented each other. They were precious. I hope it was filmed! πŸ™‚ And after exchanging rings, they were pronounced husband and wife!

Their Best Friends.

As a little girl, my favorite colors were purple and pink! Seeing how Kara tied both of these colors together was tastefully done! I love how the girls blended different shades of purple and how the bouquets Colonial Florist and Antiques created contrasted against their outfits!

The men kept their look classic and timeless with the tux… But don’t let that fool you because they wore fun sports socks. It was such a fun crew to photograph! And naturally, they wanted a football photo. Who knew playing fake football could look so cool?

Mr. & Mrs.!!!

Due to the rain at the beginning of the ceremony, it pushed our portrait time slightly behind schedule. I wasn’t too concerned because my job was cut out … I mean, look at them. πŸ˜‰ BUT Kara was so considerate and requested for the reception to hold off 15-minutes to make up for the lost time. Their wedding coordinator, Bev, from A Grand Affair Events, was so gracious to give us that extra time because we had SO much fun running around King Family Vineyards.

We concentrated on the beautiful mountain backdrop just behind the venue so we could maximize that time in case the weather decided to turn. Fortunately, the sun started to break through the clouds just enough to create a beautiful glow in their photos! I’m so glad they decided to take a chance with the weather because their photos are some of my all-time favorites! <3

The Details.

The great thing about their wedding at King Family Vineyards is that the venue speaks for itself. Between the fireplace, twinkle lights, sliding barn doors, chandeliers, and the chairs, all other decor is just a bonus!! Steven and Kara kept the decor simple and hassle-free with a splash of color through the florals by Colonial Florist and Antiques and the purple candle (florist?)/goblets rentals (MS Events). The embroidered napkins with their last name initial were a nice touch too! 

Maliha Creations created a pink and white cake with parts of Kara’s wedding dress implemented in the design. I’m a fan of personal touches like that!! πŸ™‚ Soon enough, guests were allowed in to enjoy this space and kick off the party!

The Reception.

As soon as the room crowded with family and friends, the doors were opened to kick off the party, and the wedding party filtered in! DaH Catering provided a delicious dinner, and just as dinner finished up, Steven and Kara had their best friends say a few words. They had their childhood and college friends talk about their friendships with the bride and groom and also had some hilarious stories regarding what it was like to be roommates with Steven and Kara. For instance… Kara thought it was a great idea to set up one of her friends with Steven, but then realized that she had a crush on him and regretted that she tried doing something thoughtful for Steven to that level. HAHA! Steven and Kara’s relationship built on a friendship, and that is why they will be successful in their marriage. <3 They are each other’s best friends!

After the speeches wrapped up, Steven and Kara shared dances on the floor with their parents. And then they surprised everyone with a one-of-a-kind choreographed first dance β€” It even involved a lift!!! πŸ™‚ The dance ended with a standing ovation (well deserved). Tell me how they worked in that kind of time to do that while finishing up Med school? Ha! Then it was time for DJ Tobler to turn up the music and kick off the party!

Everyone made the most of the dance party breaking their best moves and singing at the top of their lungs. HAHA! It was a good time! Soon enough, it was time to send off the bride and groom! Everyone left the building so Steven and Kara could share a final dance together. After swaying in each other’s arms in an empty room, they ran off through the sparklers and waved their favorite people goodbye! Perfect ending to a perfect day!!

Thank You!!

THANK YOU, Steven and Kara, from the bottom of my heart for having me document your wedding at King Family Vineyards! Thinking back to our first meeting, I knew there was something extra special about you both. Our journey photographing your engagement session around UVA and your wedding day, it was evident how special and unique your relationship is. I’m honored I got to witness and document your love story and look forward to seeing all of your FUN adventures around Hawaii!!! ENJOY! You deserve the rest and relaxation!!! CONGRATS!!!!


Thanks to the vendors who made this happen!!

Venue: King Family Vineyards

Photographer: Stephanie Messick Photography

Wedding Coordinator: A Grand Affair Events

Hair and Makeup: Lou Stevens

Caterer: DaH Catering

Florist: Colonial Florist and Antiques

Baker: Maliha Creations

DJ: DJ Tobler

Invitation: HALOdesignsSHOP

Dress: Bridal Beginning in Pittsburgh

Officiant: Lisa Rogers

Rentals: MS Events