It’s an honor that this couple chose us for their nuptials, because I actually know Shannon personally, and it was a pleasure to be able to work with her family. Shannon and Matt held their wedding ceremony at the St. Thomas Aquinas church, located just next door to the University of Virginia Campus, as well as the Historic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.
To say this ceremony venue made for a fine shoot would be an understatement. The refreshing modern architecture of the dome structure let in a stream of natural light from its peak that fell perfectly on the bride and groom, but the colorfully stained glass windows and the soft lighting combined with the traditional ceremony didn’t fail to denote that feeling that you get while sitting in a chapel. Shannon looked stunning in her dress (credits to Bella Rosa Bridal in Charlottesville!), and the personalized touch of blue melted with the shades of the groomsmen’s attire. This made for not only an aesthetically pleasing color palate, but gently casted soft tones that mixed nicely with the colors flooding in through the church windows. The openness of the church allowed me to move around and get a lot of photographs of everyone, and there was no shortage of wonderful subjects.
Before heading to the procession, the group made a pit stop on the Downtown Mall not too far from their next destination. Miller’s is a charming bar whose green awning is recognized by many of the locals in Charlottesville. It’s known as, “that old place Dave Matthews used to bar tend,” and a popular spot for grabbing a beer, some food, and hanging out. After a formal ceremony there are always opportunities to get photos of wedding-goers loosening their ties and taking of their heels for the first time of the day. I like to see the folks acting natural together, and in here a lot of those moments took place. People were holding their drinks, laughing, congratulating the bride and groom. The whole jovial feel was beginning to surge and you could tell the party was starting soon.
Leaving the bar, I finally got my chance to work with the unique beauty found on the Downtown Mall. The day’s sun burst through the leaves of the trademark oaks that line the strip, and the versatile facades of the buildings made for great backdrops. I especially like the images I have of Matt and Shannon standing in the narrow brick walkway.
The actual procession took place in the Omni hotel. The night had begun and the party was in full swing. I got right in the action when Matt and his groomsmen began to dance, and the slight motion blur in some of the photos portrays that excitement everyone was feeling. The blues band’s vibrant light display outlined the dance floor, but once it was cleared for Shannon and Matt’s dance an electric room full of moving bodies was transformed into an intimate moment between just the two of them (these photos showcased really well in black and white). I’m no stranger to taking pictures of musicians, so it was exciting to see the groom actually stand up and perform his song for her on the saxophone. The photos of the fondness in the eyes of Shannon watching Matt play is what made one of my many favorite moments of the evening.
I would like to thank Shannon and Matt for having chosen us. It’s always an honor being trusted by a friend.
Rob Garland is the owner of Rob Garland Photographers, an award winning Charlottesville wedding photographer that specializes in wedding photojournalism and fine art printing. Rob prides himself on a classic, intuitive, heartfelt documentation with the utmost in visual integrity. He has documented many destination weddings throughout the U.S. and abroad as well as Charlottesville weddings at many of our outstanding local venues. Rob loves imagery that fails to go in and out of style and personal touches that make each wedding unique.