Many of you may not know this about me but I love to marry people! Now don't get ahead of yourself- I have only been married once and it was to my college sweetheart Miguel. (We will be celebrating 7 years of marriage in about a month). CRAZY!
So when I say I love to marry people, I mean I love to officiate weddings. I am a Commissioner of Marriage for the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is such a special honor. Being from a large military area, officiating takes on many different looks. I have officiated very large and lavish weddings with huge budgets, and large bridal parties, and I have also met with a couple who is about to deploy and needing to quickly marry to that their family can join them. Whatever the circumstance, I work hard to make each and every marriage ceremony special and unique.
I had the absolute honor of officiating the wedding of Zach and Kate. I feel like I can call them by their "nick names" because we are basically BFFs now! (more on that later).
She described her wedding to be small with just a few family members on a Saturday afternoon at the York River State Park. We spoke briefly on the phone and she said they will be having a large wedding later. She was very kind and the days to follow we both were very enthusiastic about the upcoming event via text.
Saturday afternoon arrives and I meet her fiancé Zach and their family at the park. Reserved yet polite (and very handsome dressed in this Navy dress uniform) he lead us down towards the water to a very steep and rocky path. I knew that were were about to walk up to a very special location. I tried, along with Kate's grandmothers (who were dressed to the nines) to not trip and fall as we made our decent. We ended up in a secluded section of the beach where driftwood scattered the shoreline and all you could see was water.
I immediately started taking photos. (I convinced Kate that she needed some beautiful photos of her special day and she happily obliged). Not long after I started - she emerged from the path escorted by her father.
She was stunning in her white dress and beautiful flower crown. As soon as she hit the sand she kicked off her shoes and I knew this would be fun!
The ceremony was intimate as they were both surrounded by their families. We laughed as they fumbled words from being so entranced with each other, and we enjoyed watching them embrace at they were pronounced husband and wife.
Portraits started immediately after and boy that is when the fun started! Everyone was in such a joyous mood that they pulled out a bottle of champagne and the new husband and wife shook it up and POPPED it open!
As they passed the bottle from family member to family I made sure to capture the fun and excitement. At one point someone yelled- "I guess you can't save that cork"- as they pointed out past the marshy shoreline to where to cork had landed. Kate had other thoughts. She dropped her bouquet and walked straight out in the muck to get that cork and it was both hilarious and terrifying because at any moment she could slip and fall right into all of that muck with her beautiful dress.
She made it out with only dirty feet and everyone cheered and continues to pass the champagne.
Im not sure just how long they hung out by the water but I know for sure that they carried the celebration through the rest of the day.
Here are some more highlights of their special day!