Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
As wedding photographers, one of the best parts of interacting with so many couples is hearing their stories. Each engaged couple has such a unique journey that’s brought them to where they are, and it’s one of the first questions we usually ask when we sit down to talk wedding photography with new couples. If you follow our blog, you know that we love to share stories as we show off images from our sessions – both our clients’ stories and stories from our time together.
However, it occurred to us this fall that the story that’s featured the least on our blog and social media is our own! Now that the cold weather is settling in and we won’t be shooting sessions three times a week, we finally have space on our blogging calendar to tell our own love story! As high school sweethearts, it’s a long one, but we hope you’ll join us each Saturday this winter as we share our story.
On our second dating anniversary, Hunter gave me a photobook filled with pictures, ticket stubs, and other trinkets that we had collected since we had begun dating. He called the album, “Remember that Time?” and it was filled with little reminders of fun dates and adventures we had had. Unbeknownst to me, just a few months into our relationship he had been making small notes on his phone anytime we went somewhere new or had a fun adventure with friends so that he could one day give me that book. When we sat down this fall to talk about this blog series, we couldn’t think of a title that was more true to us than “Remember that Time?”
Almost six years after the day we first met, I woke up and was genuinely surprised about how un-nervous I felt.
However, the more that I thought about it over breakfast with all my groomsmen, the more it made sense that I wasn’t all that nervous. After all, we had been through a lot since we first started dating in high school. We had survived the trials that plague all high school relationships, namely the homecoming football game and your senior prom. We stayed together when you went off to college and still persevered a year later when I left for Charlottesville.
Our lives radically and fundamentally changed during that first year away, yet God saw fit to keep us together through it all. Not long after, we began a fledgling photography business together, and rather than driving us apart, that somehow seemed to improve our relationship. We lasted through two more years of a long-distance relationship and after you graduated, you took a chance and moved to C’ville to be closer to me. Within two months, I finally asked you to marry me.
Now, after all that, here we were. The day had finally come: June the twenty-fourth.
It was our wedding day.
The day began just like many of the wedding days that we’ve photographed. Sarah and her girls got ready together in a bright hotel room just off the Downtown Mall. It was a true labor of love as some of her expert bridesmaids stepped in to do hair and makeup for the entire bridal party! Sarah’s Maid of Honor, Mary-Kate did her makeup for her while her sister and other MoH kept everyone sane while keeping us all to the timeline.
Meanwhile, in the Lake Monticello home of Legendary UVA Professor Ken Elzinga, me and all my groomsmen and ushers got ready for our big day. Just before my brother Tanner helped me into my jacket, I finished off my letter to Sarah. We read them aloud as part of our wedding video (HERE!)
Once we arrived at Panorama Farms, the guys congregated on what would later be the dance floor for a few photos, then they took the last few moments before the ceremony to lift Sarah and I up in prayer. Meanwhile, Sarah’s sisters and mom helped her into her dress, and all her girls fawned over how beautiful she looked!
During a few minutes of down-time, our incredible photographer Tonya (the same one we almost stood up for our engagement session) captured a shot of Sarah and I individually. We picked this up from her and now do the same for all of our brides and grooms!
If you recognize this venue at all, it’s probably because we blogged about Abi and Justin’s wedding there this past October! It was such a beautiful and surreal experience to photograph a wedding at the same place that we got married at!
At this time, we were strangers to the concept of a “First Look” (now we’re huge fans), so in an effort to not see Sarah before the ceremony, my other Best Man, Caleb, tied his tie around my head so Sarah and I could have one final moment of prayer together.
She totally peeked.
Before we knew it, the time had come. Sarah’s Dad was walking her down the aisle and I finally got to behold my stunning bride in the beauty of her wedding day! I was almost brought to tears of joy and excitement when I finally saw her walking towards me – in just a few minutes, she was going to be my wife!
My Chi Alpha campus pastor Pete was the one who married us. He had been instrumental in us finding our own faith during college, had been a Spiritual mentor for 2+ years, and he and his wife Amy graciously led us through pre-marital counseling. The ceremony went off without a hitch and we both said “I do”!
Immediately after the ceremony we grabbed a few family photos. Since losing my Grandpa Lenny last Spring, we’ve come to cherish these photos more than I ever possibly could have imagined on our wedding day. I get a little choked up every time I look at the photo of my family, and have a totally renewed appreciation for the family photos that we take on wedding days.
After that came the portrait hour, with and without our (absolutely massive) wedding party. Between Sarah and I, her bridesmaids, my groomsmen, her two bridesmen (you read that right), and our fully-grown-adult ring bearer and flower girl, the full party was 24 people strong. Bless Tonya for coordinating us all into such beautiful photos in almost 90-degree heat! She certainly earned our gratitude and respect that day several times over!
We have very few things we would change when we think back to our wedding day, and not a single one involved photography. As wedding photographers, we learned an incredibly valuable lesson on our own wedding day while we stood on the other side of the camera for one of the first times: wedding photography is (in our opinion) the most important investment you can make! We spent more on our photographer than we did our venue. We spent more on photography than on Sarah’s dress, my suit, all the florals, and all decorations combined. We fed 200 people a delicious barbeque feast for only about 15% more than what we spent on photography.
You see, photography was one of our highest priorities (not a surprise I’m sure), so even though we were “balling on a budget”, we spared no expense when it came to finding the right photographer. We used speakers from our church and a Spotify playlist instead of hiring a DJ, and Sarah and her bridesmaids assembled all of their bouquets from Costco flowers the night before the rehearsal dinner. But when it came to capturing photos that we’ll have for generations, we know that we made the right call.
The reception was a total whirlwind and a blur, but we had such a blast as we danced, ate, laughed, cried and hugged our way through the evening with all our dearest friends and family gathered around us.
And when the end of the night came, we exited the way every self-respecting millennial wedding couple did that year: through a fountain of sparklers. However, driving away in my roof-less and door-less Jeep – the same Jeep we were sitting in when I asked Sarah to be my girlfriend – was probably the most personal touch we could have added.
It certainly was a night we’ll never forget 🙂
Well, that’s it friends! Thank you SO much for following along over these last three months as we’ve told our own story. We hope you’ve enjoyed it, and we hope we get to hear your stories too one day!
Wedding Photography & Photography Education
Charlottesville, Virginia and Beyond