I had the honor and pleasure of hanging out with this amazing couple for their wedding at the north of botanical Gardens.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day with the weather just turning that weekend to being beautiful, partly sunny, and around 60°
They wanted a vintage BoHo wedding with bridesmaids dresses a dusty rose and the groomsmen you had on navy blue and white suit’s.
They are red velvet cake had a really cute cake topper that said “this is us”
And of course handmade cupcakes were around for the guests.
Creative catering of Virginia made us a wonderful meal of grilled potatoes, green beans, chicken and steak and fresh green salad.
Caitlin’s gorgeous dress was from New Beginnings Bridal Studio in Virginia Beach. I love how it flowed so well with the garden theme.
The couple exchanged their vows in the reflection garden surrounded by friends and family right next to a beautiful flowing stream.
After the family portrait session, I was able to walk around with the bride and groom for a private photo session around the beautiful flowers and gardens at the botanical gardens
Then we took a golf cart back to the reception hall and danced the night away with Astro DJ entertainment, serenading us.
Virginia Beach Photo Booth company was able to set up a super fun and interactive photo booth where everyone got to take a printed photo home.
I teared up a little bit when the couple have their first dance under the market lights.
The father daughter dance was so sweet and special. And I even got to witness a very rare occasion of the groom dancing with his mother!
We had so much fun playing corn hole, deck games, connect four and enjoying as super fun cotton candy machine on site!
Story of Their Proposal From the Bride:
I refreshed my email for what must’ve been 100th time eager to hear anything from Alan. He had been at sea on deployment with the Navy for about 67 days at this point, which, according to my mental tally, was nine days longer than expected and I was getting pretty antsy to hear any word on when he'd finally be coming home.
I was working the late shift at work that evening when about an hour before closing someone walked in wearing a Navy uniform. I didn’t even think to look twice, as I had countlessly rendered myself a sense of false hope of Alan’s return anytime I saw someone in uniform. But as I continued back to getting the store ready to close, my coworker drew my attention back to the man who just walked in, and there he was standing in doorway. After what felt like the longest summer, Alan was finally home.
The emotions that came with seeing my best friend for the first time in months are unfathomable. I always thought that when he came home, I’d cry uncontrollably, seeing as I cry at just about everything.. literally, you know that commercial for Extra gum that plays "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You?"
I break down every time it comes on so believe me, it was a huge shock that I wasn't crying. But in that moment, I couldn’t even find the words to say “hello." I was utterly speechless. While I attempted to piece together the reality of Alan standing in front me, he stood in the doorway with the goofiest smile. He was incredibly proud of himself for catching me so off guard. Once I wrapped my mind around him finally being home, all I can remember is then wrapping my arms around him and never wanting to let go. After we had a chance to get back on our normal schedule, he surprised me AGAIN with a trip to the Grand Canyon; a place we had always talked about going together. And less than a week later we were on a plane to Arizona and I swear I’ve never felt such excitement. I’m not sure if you’ve ever gone to the Grand Canyon, but it honestly is a must visit place. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
The colors of the canyon, the wildlife surrounding the rim, it’s all so unbelievably indescribable. In the week we were there, I think it’s safe to say that we did just about everything we could in a such a short time. We went horseback riding, we took a helicopter tour above the canyon, we went hiking, we went sightseeing, we watched the sunset, the last thing on our list of things to do was to watch the sunrise over the canyon before we headed home. On October 2nd, Alan woke me up at four in the morning to go see the sun rise over the Desert View Watchtower scenic point.
I was a little hesitant to get out of bed, seeing as it was the coldest morning of the trip, to go sit in the wind in the dark for an hour and it took some time to convince me. Once we finally made it to the watchtower, we stood with about a dozen other tourists who were also up early, braving the cold to see such a remarkable sight.
We must’ve been out there for about 20 or so minutes before I had suggested heading back to the car, but Alan insisted we stay. After some back and forth on the matter, we settled on going back to the car, but only after we got our picture taken, given the amazing view. Alan told me to hold our spot against the railing while he asked someone to take a picture of us.
The man he chose looked pretty questionable and didn’t really seem like he knew how to hold the camera but Alan was confident in this complete stranger’s skills. After a few photos were taken, Alan turned to me, got down on one knee, and pulled out the most beautiful ring. As we both started to tear up (don't tell him I told you guys he got teary!!) he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was so incredibly happy and excited and emotional.
It was honestly, without a doubt, the most incredible moment of my entire life. I am so grateful for all of the amazing adventures we've had so far, but I know that marrying him is going to be the greatest adventure of all and I simply cannot wait. Side note, right after we got home from that trip he let me get a puppy, so it was basically the best week of my entire life!
Christal Marshall is a mom of three, photographer, videographer, homeschooler and just a straight hustler.
She was voted top 20 wedding photographers in VA in 2016 and 2018. She has been featured over 50 times in various different publications.
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