When you see them together, it just makes sense. That photo up there is a perfect representation of Elissa and Steve. They have this awesome mutual respect for each other no matter what, and they both look at each other like they're right there in the moment but also looking into the future.
They met in Lexington, Va., where Elissa went to school and Steve is from, but during the course of their relationship, they've lived just about everywhere else ... which tells you how dedicated they are to each other.
"We spent two years driving three hours each way back and forth between Lexington and Washington, D.C. [where I had moved for a new job] to see each other until, in a moment of sweet recklessness, Steve quit his job and moved up to D.C. so we could be near each other," Elissa said.
Around the same time, Elissa was accepted to Stanford Law (yes, she's a smart girl!) and Steve convinced her that she had to take the opportunity, so off they went to California.
"I think I most admire how steady he is," Elissa said. "I have always seen him as this grounding, peaceful force—he knows what is important to him, he prioritizes the things he loves, and he goes after them quietly and capably."
Steve may have a quiet presence, but there's nothing quiet about how he wants his future to go with his new wife. When asked what he's most looking forward to in this new life? "Having a partner to explore the great, wide open."
I think that's pretty perfect. :)
(Just a little warning: You'll want to grab some coffee and get comfy cozy with this post. There are SO many details and portraits and I just couldn't narrow it down. :) Plus, you'll probably need the caffeine to keep you scrolling! Or you can watch their slideshow at the bottom of the post, complete with their first dance song!)
I loved the way Elissa planned her morning: Just her and her family taking their time to soak in the beautiful day and get ready. It wasn't rushed or stressed or fussy.
After the salon, it was off to the Middleton House to get ready ...
Alright, I need to pause for a moment here and tell you about Elissa's dress. Isn't it gorgeous?? Her mom MADE it! It's so intricate and feminine and ... I just can't believe how talented she is! Elissa danced her whole life and this dress was definitely the perfect dress for a ballerina.
Elissa's family is so close. I loved getting to hang out with them and feel their warmth all day!
Um ... yes. Gorgeous bride, gorgeous dress.
They exchanged gifts and my husband, Nathan, hung out at Steve's house while I stayed with Elissa.
So many sweet moments throughout the day.
Bethany Lutheran Church is set back on miles of farmland with a view of mountains in the background. Yep, Lexington is gorgeous.
So beautiful ...
That's a favorite up there.
And Nathan took this one below. He's getting good!
OK, another favorite up there on the right (and it's Nathan's!). You two are just so sweet together.
Then it was off to the charming House Mountain Inn for the reception. Get ready for detail overload ... most of which was DIYed by Elissa's mom, Lorna.
Lorna collected silverware from estate sales so that everyone could have a unique piece at their place setting. I think that's brilliant because then you get to reuse it!
A perfect end to a perfect night ...
Nathan and I had such an amazing time in Lexington, and we feel so blessed that we were able to document Elissa and Steve's wedding. These families and all their friends were incredibly welcoming (we actually kind of felt like part of Elissa's family!), always asking how we were and making sure we had what we needed. This photography journey has taken me so many places, but this ranks right up there at the top as one of my very best experiences. I smile every time I think of those mountains. :) THANK YOU to every, single one of you. And Elissa and Steve, we will be bugging you for a visit one of these days. So much love to you two!
To see more from Elissa and Steve's perfect rustic, mountain wedding, click here to view a SLIDESHOW or watch it here:
Ceremony: Bethany Lutheran Church Reception: House Mountain Inn Florists: Carol Herbt (reception flowers), Pamela Morgan (bridal bouquet), Sweet Williams Florist (church flowers) Hair and Makeup: Encore Salon Bakery: Country Confections DJ: King Studios Bride's Dress: Her talented mom, Lorna Hanson! Tuxes: Calvin Klein Paper Goods: DIY (along with most of the other details you see) Transportation: Lexington Limo