• Autumn Merica

Cook Wedding - 06/19/21

Happy Sunday everybody! I'm so excited to be switching it up some this week and filling your day with a little bit of love! Today's blog post is about Nicole and Bradley's wedding. Let me tell you guys, this blog post is long awaited. Nicole and Bradley were supposed to tie the knot on New Years Eve of 2020 and had to reschedule twice because of Covid-19, so Kaity and I were so excited to finally be able to share their big day and capture amazing memories for them!

A Mountain View Destination Wedding

Nicole and Bradley came in from southern Maryland to have their wedding in Luray at Brenwood Lakes. This was mine and Kaity’s second time shooting there, and we love the venue and the owners so much! Nicole actually found us off the venue’s website, which made my heart so happy because I love vendor relationships and collaborations! We arrived a few hours before the ceremony to get photos of Nicole getting ready, and we even had some time before the ceremony to take photos of Bradley and his groomsmen. Each wedding is a different experience when it comes to portraits depending on the bride and groom’s preferences; Nicole and Bradley chose not to do a first look but getting the groomsmen photos done ahead of time allowed us flexibility to execute a few different poses without having to worry about being on a schedule! Since we had that time, I asked Bradley if he would let his groomsmen toss him up into the air. To most that sounds strange, but in the photography world it was actually a very big trend for the last two years. I never had the opportunity to do this until now, so when Bradley said yes, I was so excited! The photos from that turned out amazing, and we finished up with these fun shots just in time to head inside and photograph the final touches of Nicole getting ready before the ceremony. She and her bridesmaids had custom shirts made, and Bradley’s sister had found a bottle of champagne named “Cooks” which she wanted to incorporate into the photos since Bradley’s last name (and Nicole’s soon to be last name) was Cook! We got photos of Nicole popping the champagne with her bridesmaids around her before she got into her dress.

It was finally time for Nicole to walk down the aisle. With her mom and dad on either side of her, she came out to “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. It had rained about an hour before the ceremony but cleared up just in time. The sky was still a bit cloudy and overcast, but right when Nicole came out and the song started playing, the clouds moved, and the sun began shining. I loved the timing of that and was so happy that they were going to have gorgeous weather for their ceremony! Bradley’s brother-in-law officiated the ceremony, which added a personal touch to the entire thing and included some funny stories to keep guests laughing! After they shared their first kiss and exited the ceremony as newlyweds, we got to move on to my favorite part of the day – the portraits.

Brenwood Lakes has so many different areas to offer for portraits, so we tried to incorporate as much of that into their photos as we could. We had done the groomsmen photos by the lake, so we did the family portraits by the gazebo and the rest of the bridal party portraits in a shady area with beautiful landscaping! I love doing the portraits of just the bride and groom, because not only does it allow me a lot of creative freedom, but it also showcases the love between a couple on their wedding day more than any other photos we take throughout the day. Nicole and Bradley have a precious 9-month-old boy, and the photos I did of the 3 of them ended up being my favorite out of all of them. It was a hot day, but the sun was shining, and everyone was more than happy to capture these beautiful memories for the happy couple.

Now for what most people consider the most fun part of the day, the reception. This time allows Kaity and I SO many opportunities for photos – entrances, detail shots, cake cutting, and the formal and not-so-formals dances of the night. I have to say, the photos from the entrances are probably my personal favorites of the night. Each bridesmaid and groomsmen that came in had a unique entrance, which has become popular in the wedding world now and I am here for it! Even Nicole and Bradley’s parents had organized some fun dance moves, and they had everyone laughing and enjoying themselves from the very beginning. We enjoyed some great food, and Nicole and Bradley shared dances with each other, Nicole’s dad and step dad, and Bradley’s mom. You can tell Bradley and his mom are both life-of-the-party type of people, and they started their dance with a beautiful slow song but ended it with a more upbeat dancing song and those great dance moves that they had throughout the entire night!


We wrapped up our night after the cake cutting and headed home to immediately begin working on the photos from an amazing day! Thank you to Nicole and Bradley for having us yesterday. We had an amazing time and can’t wait to share the rest of the photos with you from your big day!


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