Crying while smiling. Being so happy that the emotion overwhelms you and tears start running down your cheeks. Nothing encapsulates the feelings that brides, grooms, the wedding party, the parents and other relatives, and the rest of the wedding guests experience during a marriage celebration better than a photograph of someone so overjoyed that they begin to cry.
That is why wedding photos like this one resonate so much with the brides- and grooms-to-be who hire us to capture their nuptials on film. This picture shows a bride going through the full gamut of wedding-day emotions in just a single moment. Being able to narrate the entire emotional journey that a couple goes through in their wedding in just one shot is something we strive to do every time we pick up our cameras. When we succeed, it reminds us of why we decided to become wedding photographers in the first place.
We took this particular picture during an outdoor wedding ceremony at Wolftrap Farm, a beautiful rustic venue near Charlottesville, Virginia. Though it might be a stretch to say that Wolftrap Farm is in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, it is still easily reachable from downtown Washington. Brides, grooms, their families, their friends and the rest of their guests can get to the venue from the Nation’s Capital in less than two hours. Out-of-town attendees who arrive in the Washington, DC area at Dulles International Airport have an even shorter journey to get to Wolftrap Farm.
If they are willing to make the trip from the Washington, DC area to Gordonsville, Virginia, future spouses and their wedding invitees will be rewarded with an absolute gem of a rural wedding venue. Wolftrap Farm’s elegant Manor House can accommodate nearly 60 guests; its front lawn, with its unparalleled view of the rolling foothills of the Southwest Mountains, makes a great site for tying the knot amid the beauty of nature; and the Pavilion, a former equipment barn, comes outfitted with a stage, a dance floor, lights and ceiling fans — everything needed for a rollicking post-ceremony reception.
We particularly enjoyed taking pictures of the ceremony portion of this marriage celebration. The bride emerged from the Manor House, where she had gotten her hair and makeup done and where she had donned her beautiful wedding dress, walked between the rows of chairs arranged for the wedding guests and met her future husband at the altar. They stood facing one another, with the beautiful green mountains in the background, and took a few moments to just enjoy being in one another’s presence.
It was during this lovely bride’s exchanging of vows with her husband-to-be on Wolftrap Farm’s front lawn that we captured this unforgettable image. The groom had just finished reading his vows, and his future wife was so moved by his words that she started grinning from ear to ear. Then a single, solitary tear welled up in her eye and slowly ran down her cheek.