The weddings that look best on film are invariably those that are personal. That tell the couple’s love story and reveal what makes it unique. And that reflect their personalities, both as individuals and as a combined entity. We call those “heart weddings,” and they are hands-down our favorites to document. And that’s why we loved photographing Hesa and Alan’s Dominion Energy Center wedding in Richmond, VA. Every moment that they shared with each other and with their guests was authentic, true to themselves and beautiful. The laughter while they got ready with their wedding party. The reactions to the unique elements in their touching and funny Carpenter Theater wedding ceremony. And the way their guests’ truly awesome moves took the reception dance floor energy to a new level. Every minute of the day produced truly unforgettable images!
Fun Getting Ready for a Richmond VA Wedding
Before heading to Dominion Energy Center, Hesa and her bridespeople congregated in a suite at the Hilton Richmond Downtown hotel next door. This wedding’s personal touches were apparent immediately. Hesa and several of the members of her wedding party (including an adorable flower girl) sported elf ears. (Which stayed on throughout the ceremony!) White was far too boring a color for the bride’s wedding dress. Instead, Hesa opted for a striking rainbow-hued outfit that definitely caught the eye! She complemented it with a similarly colored light-up headband and an adorable stuffed rabbit.
It was clear from the beginning that the bride wasn’t only going to do things her way. She was also going to have a great time doing it! Hesa and her bridespeople spent most of the early afternoon cracking up about one thing or another. Like when the bride wiped out while her friends straightened her dress. Or when the flower girls and ring bearer kept running back and forth through the veil as it was being pinned to Hesa’s hair.
Groom getting ready at the Dominion Energy Center Carpenter Theater
There was just as much laughter among Alan and his half of the wedding party. As the group got into their wedding suits, they were cracking jokes and having a great time. (The bottle of whiskey they passed around didn’t hurt either!) You could literally see Alan relaxing more and more thanks to the presence of his closest friends. By the time we called him for his first look with Hesa, he was loose and fully ready for his Richmond VA wedding ceremony.
Sweet First Look and Couples Portraits Before a Carpenter Theater Wedding Ceremony
Hesa and Alan saw one another for the first time in Carpenter Theater – Dominion Energy Center’s main event space. That location was one of the most stunning wedding venues we’ve ever worked in and a fantastic spot for a first look. To really take advantage of the room, we had Alan stand up on stage facing the back. Hesa then walked down into the bowl of the auditorium and up to the front. Thanks to the lighting, she appears as an almost ghostly figure approaching her husband-to-be. Hesa stood back-to-back with Alan for a moment to heighten the anticipation. Then she tapped him on the shoulder, and the two shared a very sweet first look.
After the couple took a few minutes of private time, we started the couples portraits portion of their day. Our original plan had been to take advantage of the beautiful summer day and go outside. Especially because Hesa and Alan had specifically asked us to get some pictures of them under the marquee, which displayed their customized wedding announcement. But at the same time, the grandeur of Carpenter Theater was hard to ignore. So we took a couple of shots of them with the lights of the theater sparkling above them and made a mental note to return.
And return we did! After creating some very lovely portraits of them under the marquee, we brought them back into Dominion Energy Center and up onto the stage. We used the theater lights and colors of the backdrop to produce some very visually stunning pictures of Hesa and Alan. We particularly loved the silhouette that we took of them!
Personalized Dominion Energy Center Wedding Ceremony
Hesa and Alan’s commitment to making their marriage celebrations their own went well beyond their choices of clothing. Their Dominion Energy Center wedding ceremony was an expression of everything that makes them unique as people and their relationship one-of-a-kind. It was fun and funny, just like the couple. For example, they played a quick game of “Rock-Paper-Scissors” to determine who would read their vows first. Then the bride and groom pretended to have forgotten their rings, only to “find” them already on their fingers. (Hesa and Alan had been legally married for a while.) We’re not sure when we’ve photographed another wedding ceremony with so much laughter and silliness!
Crazy Dance Floor on the Carpenter Theater Stage
It turned out that the fun was only just beginning. Hesa and Alan’s reception was one of the wildest we’ve ever witnessed. And just like the ceremony, it was entirely personal and unique to the couple. It kicked off with the wedding party streaming down the Carpenter Theater aisles and onto the stage. Once there, they made a sort of saber arch with the plastic lightsabers they were carrying. The bride and groom – both huge Star Wars fans – then passed through and into the middle of the dance floor. After a very sweet first dance, Hesa and Alan took their seats, ate dinner and enjoyed the toasts their best people offered.
The speeches were both funny and touching, and produced some of the most memorable moments of the wedding reception. We laughed along with the crowd when someone heckled one of Alan’s best people. Even funnier was the end of that speech, when the toaster pretended to kidnap the bride! But underlying all the humor was genuine love and affection for the couple.
The best was still yet to come, though, at least as far as awesome photos were concerned. Once the dance floor opened up, things kicked up to another level. When we say that Hesa and Alan’s wedding guests got crazy, we mean they got CRAZY! In hindsight, it wasn’t a huge surprise. Two members of the wedding party were burlesque dancers, so there were a lot of awesome moves and an uninhibited vibe on the floor. So everywhere we turned, there was a great photo to take. Three guests adding extra bits of choreography to the traditional “YMCA” dance. Various people headbanging to “Enter Sandman.” One of the aforementioned burlesque dancers stripping down to their bra. It was a reception we wanted to keep photographing forever!
Special Thanks to an Awesome Couple!
Hesa and Alan, we can’t tell you how much we appreciate you inviting us into your wedding celebrations. It was an honor for us to be a part of it all and to get to know your family and friends better. We hope that the photos we took remind you of your beautiful day for years to come!
Getting ready venue: Hilton Downtown Richmond
Wedding venue: Dominion Energy Center
Planning: Magnolia Collective Events
Hair and Makeup: Society 1111
Officiant: Ego von Hubris
Florals: Green House Picker Sisters
Cake artist: WPA Bakery
Bridal gown: David’s Bridal
Reception gown: Coco Melody
Groom’s Fashion: Better Men’s Wear
Groom’s shoes: Converse
Photo booth: Shutterbooth
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