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.
Last month, Hunter and I posted two blogs that looked back on our business in 2018. First, we posted a Behind-the-Scenes look at 2018, which had us laughing out loud while we prepared it! A couple weeks later, we posted Our 18 Favorite Photos of 2018, which had us reflecting on how much our photography has grown in 2018.
Now, we’re completing our trio of Year-in-Review posts with something a bit more personal! Believe it or not, we do have lives outside our photography business (hard to believe, we know). As we looked back on 2018, we wanted to celebrate the top 10 moments of the year (in chronological order). Also, we apologize in advance that there aren’t a ton of photos of each event. For photographers, we’re really bad at getting photos of ourselves!
For those who have never been a part of a church small group, our “Community Group” is a group of other adults in roughly the same stage of life as us. We meet together weekly to grow in our faith together by encouraging and challenging each other as we study the Bible or other Christian books together. We meet frequently together outside of our weekly meeting to share meals and to share life together. I was really worried about making new friends when I first moved to Charlottesville, and Hunter was just as concerned when all his friends moved away after graduation. Our Community Group (whom we wrote about at Thanksgiving) really was an answer to prayer, and in January we spent a weekend together by the oceanfront, away from the distractions of everyday life just spending quality time together and continuing to get to know each other.
Anyone who knows Hunter and I knows how much we love the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and specifically Carolla — which we jokingly refer to as our second home. Between vacations with family and our own personal trips, we’ve racked up a lot of time and memories in Corolla over the years. But in May, we hopped in Hunter’s Jeep and visited the ADORABLE town of Manteo. We could easily have walked from one end to the other, and after spending our days at the oceanfront, we spent the evenings walking from shop to restaurant and from historical building to 19th century lighthouse *swoon*.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen our post from this Sunday in Washington, D.C. We were visiting Ryan and Clara, two of our best friends in the whole world. When Hunter and I got married, Ryan stood by his side and Clara by mine. Exactly 364 days later (yes, we’ll share an anniversary weekend forever!), we got to stand by their sides as they exchanged their vows! We couldn’t think of a better way to spend our first wedding anniversary than in affirming their life-long love and commitment to each other!
Each year since Hunter was a kid, his family has spent a week in Corolla for their annual beach week. For more than a decade, he and his brother have been bringing along the same group of friends too! This was Sheldon Family Beach Week number 7 for me, and 9 for a couple of the other guys! We always have an incredible time – relaxing by the beach, eating tons of great food, playing lots of games, and watching the sunset over the sound together every night.
Like I mentioned before, we spend a lot of time at the beach for people who live in the mountains! It really is our “happy place”, so when we realized that we would have an unbooked weekend in the middle of peak fall wedding season, instead of being upset or looking at all our photographer friends and getting serious FOMO about the money and experiences we weren’t getting, we hopped in the car and hit the oceanfront for a weekend of relaxing and letting our business take the back-burner. (Okay, except for the two meetings with potential wedding clients we had while in Hampton Roads, but those don’t really feel like work!)
Without a doubt, the hardest part of 2018 was losing Hunter’s Grandpa Lenny in April. He had had various health problems for years, but it still came as a sudden and shocking surprise when he passed away early in the morning on April 18th. Hunter was out doing an early-morning graduation photoshoot, and a text came up on his watch that made him realize what had happened. I told him it was a good thing I hadn’t been on the shoot with him, because I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together and finish like he had. This October, we traveled to Lenny’s family home in upstate New York to celebrate his life and remember the man he had been. It was a weekend-long celebration with lots of extended family. At one point, we found ourselves sharing a six-pack of cheap beer from the 1980s with about 40 other people… as part of his memorial service. If you knew Lenny, that would make a lot of sense. It was also a great opportunity to reconnect with family in the midst of our craziest Fall season ever.
On a much happier note, my older sister Katie got married on December first! My entire family was beyond excited to welcome Clay into our family, and we were able to bless Katie with a multi-thousand dollar wedding gift, and photograph their Augusta, Georgia wedding for them for free. It was my first time doing double-duty (bridesmaid and photographer), but with as many young and unmarried friends as we have, we don’t expect it’ll be the last!
After traveling down to see my family for Katie’s wedding, we spent the Christmas holiday with Hunter’s family in his parents’ new home in Richmond. There were lots of presents, but even more meals and drinks shared with laughter and love. His brother and girlfriend were in town, visiting from Phoenix, which made the few days even more special.
In the few days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we snuck back down to the beach one final time for a few days “unplugged”, just the two of us. We kept emails and texts to just an hour or so in the morning and spent the days sleeping in, going on long walks and drives on the beach, playing board games, and otherwise discussing the year we had just had, and how our first 18 months of marriage had been (spoiler alert: awesome). We capped off the weekend with a very special dinner together at the Blue Point!
In the final hours of 2018, we returned to Charlottesville for Hunter and all his college roommates to reunite for the first time since our wedding. They somehow scored 8 free tickets to a UVA basketball game, then we all got together afterwards for (you guessed it) more dinner and board games. Although it was a short-lived reunion, it was a great way to bring in the New Year!
We hope that 2019 is filled with even more fantastic memories!