I’ve held onto this wedding for a long while , waiting to share it with y’all! All weddings that I shoot are so precious to me. The editing process bonds me to the faces, the stories, and the art of the day which makes it difficult to release it and turn it over to the rightful owners of the images- the Bride and Groom.
This wedding felt even more difficult to pass along, I wanted to sit with each photo for so much longer … you’ll see why. It was not only a beautiful day put together by Amaris but the heart and depth behind the day made it such a gift to walk through.
Amaris and Sam contacted me in December reaching out about a March wedding, I hadn’t met them before but the moment we got on the phone , I knew these were my people. For their engagement shoot, we spent time at their families house in Goshen VA (see their engagement shoot here) and left the weekend great friends. I have BIG love for these people and was so honored to be a part of their day.
Here are some words from Amaris and Sam:
Amaris and Sam had an intentional, emotional, and elegant wedding day in Williamsburg, Virginia. The bride, Amaris, describes their wedding day as calm but with “a building energy and joy throughout the day . . . it was as if the moments went by completely unhindered by time.” The weather seemed to change on the hour on their spring wedding day, bringing rain, clouds, sunshine and wind. To the couple, “it felt as if our wedding was a grand masterpiece being painted into existence. Every hour a different stroke of grace.”
For the venue, Amaris and Sam chose the beautiful Wren Chapel at The College of William and Mary in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. The chapel is rich in history, boasting a 300-year-old pipe organ, a blue tiled floor, warm wooden paneling and pews, and stunning natural light. The chapel is just a few minutes’ walk from where they first met, working together at a quaint candy shop called Wythe Candy & Gourmet, located in Colonial Williamsburg’ Merchants Square. “We had sweet beginnings” is often their go-to love story line.
A lot happened in between those days of fulfilling orders at Wythe Candy together and the couple’s wedding day. “We met, went on one date walking around historic colonial Williamsburg and then Sam moved to Memphis the next day. Four months later I moved to Chicago. We didn't have a chance to have anything more than a friendship, but we both never truly left that time we had together. Through Sam's patience, some redirection of life paths and a whole lot of grace we decided to begin dating in November 2016. Sam became something in my life that can't be put into words. I knew he was going to be with me always from that first walk together. Deep down we both knew in our bones that we were home.”
I always tell couples to prioritize the parts of their day that feel most like them. For Amaris and Sam, their first look was just that. “We can't rave enough about what that private time meant for us. Our letter exchange was really sweet, because we've written love letters to one another throughout our relationship. When reading those letters before the ceremony, we had the moment of ‘Hey. These are our last letters before we're husband and wife.’”
Amaris had impeccable, unique bridal style. She found her gown, designed by Stella York, at Studio I Do in Virginia Beach. The dress looked striking and regal combined with a drop veil and a golden grecian crown. The crown represented the Bible verse Isaiah 62:3, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Another special detail was the vintage gold ring box the bride found at an antique store for $25, which was filled with moss from her family’s mountain cabin, a place that is close to her heart.
For the wedding colors, Amaris chose a dusty pink, mauve, cream, cool blue, and gray, with gold as a primary accent color. She envisioned these colors together like a painted masterpiece with gold as the finishing touches. Amaris’ mom always brought her the first rose bloom every summer from her garden, and these colors reminded her of that, too.
Every detail of the wedding day and decor was very thoughtfully, intentionally planned. “Our wedding day became, especially for me, a culmination of endless hours of thoughts, dreams and intentional prayer to create what my mind views beauty as. I found my inspiration in certain colors found at dusk, Grecian inspired clothing, my mother's rose garden and good food/fellowship with dear friends and family. The smallest details were the biggest hopes in my heart for our guests to catch a glimpse of the grace and beauty I've known in my own life. It was a trusting process for all those involved, but on the day of it came together and honestly couldn't have been more spot on.”
The reception decor was a labor of love — the walls were decorated with DIY letter banners (that the bride made with fabric from curtains, using a Cricut machine for the lettering). The table runners were also made by hand, and were draped with greenery and vintage brass candlesticks that Amaris found and polished with her mom and grandmother. Photos from the bride and groom’s parents’ weddings were displayed in gold frames, and there was a family Bible as a guestbook, where guests signed a bookmark with their favourite verse and placed into the Bible.
For the food, the couple chose “Southern staples with a little Sam and Amaris twist” — for the appetizers: an amazing spread of charcuterie filling the table, bite-sized macaroni and cheese, and shrimp n’ grits. For dinner, the guests were served more southern fare: brisket, chicken, brown butter mashed potatoes, collard greens, cornbread, and a fresh winter salad. For drinks, the couple chose their “top 5 picks” of ginger ales from Wythe Candy to serve — they even ordered and picked up all 240 bottles together! Throughout their relationship they have loved trying and drinking every variety of ginger ale they could find. The ginger ales they chose for their reception included several custom and unique flavours, like pomegranate hibiscus and jasmine green tea flavors.
Sam is a musician and Amaris has danced for the majority of her life, so music is something they were very intentional about. They hired an organist to play the 300-year-old organ in Wren Chapel — Handel’s Royal Fireworks Overture was the processional, and they had close family and friends play two worship songs during the ceremony. The couple’s first dance was to Sam Cooke's "Nothing Can Change This Love" and their last song was Elton John's “Your Song,” which holds a special meaning for the couple — “Sam called me on my birthday when we first started dating long distance to play and sing that song for me. I still have the video of me resembling a puddle.”
More thoughts from the bride:
Any advice to other couples planning a wedding?
“A. Treasure the time you have together in the process. Set aside time for one another intentionally aside from wedding planning every week. B. We planned our wedding in 4 months and got it all done, but something that also really matters is to intentionally love and respect everyone else involved too. C. Jot down what is most important to you before booking, touring or planning anything else. This way, you will lay a foundation to start with and fall back on.
Share these things with those involved with you in the planning process so everyone is on the same page.”
Thank you to these amazing vendors:
Hair Stylist: Hair by Cat / Catherine Shackleford (no info online)
Lots and lots of love for these two. Enjoy their wedding day: