The Shumaker’s | Married in Virginia
Have you ever met someone and instantly felt they had been sent to cross your path on purpose? I met Anne several years back, during a time when I was still working an office job in the medical field. Our casual conversation naturally flowed towards the subject of family life, and we discovered that our children were a year apart exactly to the date. What are the odds?! We bonded instantly as strong mamas and survivors of our speckled pasts; two kindred spirits exchanging stories of the soul. To my delight, we crossed paths many more times after our initial meeting, and with each chat, we continued to find similarities in our journeys.
Anne reminded me of a version of myself I hadn’t met yet; a woman who was brave enough to ask for the very best. Like myself, Anne had experienced many highs and lows of love, but what she didn’t know was that I had recently called off a wedding around the time we had met. As she spoke of her and Darrell’s love story, she sounded so confident and so pleased with the man she had given her heart to. The way he accepted every single part of her, the way he loved her son as his own, and how they fit together so seamlessly as a family… it was all something my broken heart really needed to hear. I remember calling my friend after that day at work to tell her that I felt Anne was sent to deliver an important message- to trust in life’s timing and to never give up on the dream of my Happily Ever After.
Fast forward to 2021, and I had finally quit my office job to immerse myself in a year of goal-digging and self-love. Coincidentally, Darrell had finally popped the question to Anne around the same time, and the stars aligned perfectly for me to document their big day. All year, we planned for this gorgeous event, and when the day finally came, I found myself holding back tears of happiness for her. She had triumphed through some of life’s toughest days, and to see her happy, dancing, laughing, and kissing the love of her life with her baby boy by their side… it hit me that this was the happy ending I wasn’t sure I believed could exist for me at one point until Anne entered my life. This was a day that brought much more than beautiful photos for my blog; it brought healing to my heart.
Anne and Darrell’s vision was simple: they wanted their day to be colorful, classic, and customized to their own personalities. Virginia fall colors danced across the color pallet, married with pops of vintage lace and lush greenery. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect bridal gown for the day- giving botanical fairy princess vibes with a touch of glamour and a train to die for. Anne’s love for burgundy and navy added the perfect jewel-toned pop any November Bride would swoon over. Darrell and Anne’s love for nature fueled their venue choice; they especially loved my idea of holding their ceremony in the Pine Tree Pasture. Surrounding yourself with whatever you love most is a wedding tip I’m quite partial to; the possibilities are literally endless.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- capturing wedding details is one of the jobs I’m most blissed about snapping on a wedding day. Maybe it’s just my Leo moon influence, but something about being one of the only authorized handlers of important details most people don’t get to see up-close makes me feel like a true behind-the-scenes badass. This couple carefully selected several sentimental details and wanted them all to be appropriately documented – I thought the special memorial table they displayed at their reception was such a meaningful touch and I felt honored to freeze it in time. (Anne’s mention of this in her exit interview warmed my heart!)
Not every wedding goes exactly as planned, but I’m a firm believer in doing what CAN be done to avoid or intercept chaos at all costs. Each couple who books with me is given a customized day-of timeline created specifically with the execution of their portraits in mind. This added support goes a long way in ensuring that all desired images can be captured and all important events are covered appropriately. Flexibility is important but so is having an educated plan in the first place. I’m so thankful Anne and Darrel trusted in me to handle any obstacle that was thrown our way. Because of their confidence in my plan, we were able to capture images that perfectly encapsulate their day. Read more about this and more in Anne’s own words- enjoy her exit interview below!
A quick Exit Interview with the Bride:
Question: What was it like to work with Ashley Dorton Photography leading up to your wedding day?
Anne’s Answer: Leading up to my wedding, Ashley was there if I needed her or had any questions. We already had a friendship prior to the wedding, so I didn’t really have a whole lot of questions because I trusted I was in good hands.
Question: What was it like to work with Ashley Dorton Photography on your wedding day?
Anne’s Answer: To say Ashley came into my life at the right time is an understatement. From the beginning, we bonded as fellow women who had been through similar experiences, and as mothers with children practically a year apart to the day. I like to think our friendship prior to my wedding helped her save it. If it wasn’t for her professionalism and way to take charge, my wedding would have been pure chaos. No bride wants chaos at her wedding and special things to be forgotten when you take such time to make the day special. Ashley took charge and helped the timeline move along. My husband and I were married on the birthday of his cousin, who had passed. Ashley made it a point to take a picture of a special keepsake and memory for my husband in his cousin’s memory on the spot. She was around when I needed her and even stayed late to capture special pictures of just my husband and me at the end of the night.
Question: What was your favorite highlight/memory from working with Ashley Dorton Photography?
Anne’s Answer: My husband and I were married on the birthday of his cousin, who had passed. Ashley made it a point to take a picture of a special keepsake and memory for my husband in his cousin’s memory, on the spot. She was around when I needed her and even stayed late to capture special pictures of just my husband and I at the end of the night.
Question: Advice to brides thinking about booking Ashley Dorton Photography for their wedding day?
Anne’s Answer: Make sure to share the timeline your chosen venue comes up with too with Ashley, so they can be on the same page (not a slight to Ashley-just a tip in general)
To Anne and Darrell,
Thank you for coming into my life at a time when my faith in love needed restoring. I’m humbled by your love story and to have been chosen to document such a wonderful occasion for your family. To call you both my friends is an honor I’m proud to claim.
And finally, a huge Thank You to all of the amazing vendors who played a special part in making this event such a success!
Cheers to seeing two people who deserve the very best finally find it within each other!