For most people, 2020 was a year of lowered expectations.
For Stephanie and Zach, 2020 became a year of singular expectations.
As a wedding photographer, Steph never expected to *just* have a wedding. She and Zach had made unique and highly personalized plans to tie the knot at a secluded summer campground in Maryland, with 150 of their best friends staying on-site for an epic weekend blowout. Disclosure: Steph is Poppy’s photographer — check out her gorgeous work. And we’re obsessed with her, Zach, their families, and Antoinette’s enthusiastic embrace of a last-minute pin-on corsage.
For a few weeks after the pandemic hit in March, the couple was holding out hope - and at the same time, Steph was managing, like all wedding pros this year, a never ending stream of her own clients’ changed wedding dates, shuffling venues, guest counts, and vendors. It’s already a lot of pressure and disappointment having to change your own wedding. Imagine changing all of your clients’ weddings on top of that. But through it all, Steph handled every shift in plans like the absolute pro she is, and rolled with the punches when it became clear she’d have to postpone her dream wedding to 2021.
But these lovebirds weren’t about to wait a year and a half to make it official, so Steph and Zach turned their sights toward a micro wedding in the Shenandoah region of Virginia.
Before we show you the epic styling, vendors, and, if we say so ourselves, bridal bouquet, we want to share a little about the couple first.
Stephanie and Zach met the old fashioned way — swiping right on Bumble. Their first date lasted more than seven hours, and they have been smitten ever since. They share a love of travel and adventure, often hiking and camping in national parks. They once got lost on a trail close to sunset and realized they had no idea how they would get to their camp site. Zach relied on GPS tracking, which was not picking up a signal, and Steph counted on following a nearby river to get to their destination. They may have panicked a little, but they eventually found their way. Steph found Zach to be a partner that she could rely on, as well as someone she enjoyed being with all the time. She also noted that if they could survive quarantine, they would definitely survive marriage.
Originally, Stephanie and Zach had meticulously planned an “adult sleep-away camp” to celebrate each other and their love of the great outdoors. With the onset of the pandemic, they had no choice but to postpone their original wedding plans to 2021. But, armed with their signature orange Chacos and surrounded by a small group of family and friends, Steph and Zach said “I do” in 2020 anyway.
The couple decided to say their vows at the very spot they were engaged to mark the start of their life together. To document their wedding, Steph and Zach tapped the extraordinary Jaime Smialek of Our Ampersand Photography. The forecast near Amityville, VA that Saturday called for rain and fog, forcing the couple to let go of the sweeping mountain vistas they had envisioned.
Their optimism that this “lucky” weather would all work out for the best was rewarded with some of the most ethereal, romantic, and, yes, “spooky” - as Steph puts it- images we’ve seen to date. Jaime beautifully captured the “blue light” playing in the background.
I mean, just feast your eyes on these first look photos. It’s the image we want to remember 2020 by: a man in love, doubled over in happiness and emotion as he sees his partner looking stunningly beautiful.
Thank you, Steph and Zach, for inviting us to be a part of your special day, and, in the darkest year, for bringing light and joy into the lives of everyone around you.
Photographer: Jaime Smialek of Our Ampersand Photography
Caterer: The Pantry Catering
Makeup Artist: KM Strange Artistry By Kristin
Venue: Shenandoah, Virginia
FOR THE BIG DAY