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Shelley and David | Northern Virginia wedding

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David and Shelley celebrated both their first date and their engagement at Vintage Ridge Winery.

“They pair their tastings with food, which altered David’s plan of surprising me with an afternoon picnic,” Shelley says.  “So we had an evening picnic instead.  David pulled out a massive blue cooler — I thought he must not have a smaller one.  But nope, he packed enough food for a family of 10 because he wasn’t sure what I like to eat!”

Turns out, Shelley enjoys all food as long as it doesn’t involve coconut.  She remembers the yummy cheese stuffed peppers and the two kinds of dessert: pumpkin cake and brownies.  David doesn’t care much for chocolate, so the brownies were definitely packed with Shelley in mind.

The fabulous day, wonderful food and David’s genuine thoughtfulness distracted Shelley from “the most unfortunate haircut.”  David describes it as the worst haircut of his life, right before his first date with the woman he would later marry.  David says he spent the whole date turning his neck with his shoulders, as if strapped into a rigid back brace to keep her from getting a glimpse of the back of his head.  🙂

On their third date, David and Shelley saw Loretta Lynn — such a legend, they felt obligated to go — at the 930 Club in DC.

“She wore a purple dress that was very … well, she looked like she was dressed for the Lawrence Welk show,” Shelley says.  “It was a bit surreal and highly theatrical. She forgot the lyrics to ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ but whenever she stumbled, the crowd supported her with, ‘We love you Loretta!'”

On a beautiful October afternoon in 2009, they revisited Vintage Ridge Winery to celebrate Shelley’s birthday at the location of their first date — and David proposed!

They were married the day before David’s birthday at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Chantilly with a reception following at Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge (and, because it’s worth mentioning, I requested a vegetarian meal and the wait staff presented me with the most amazing plate of pan seared tofu I’ve ever eaten!)

They ordered invitations from Wedding Paper Divas. Shelley loved how modern and clean the original invitation looked, but David thought the graphics looked like exploding germs.  Shelley tried to convince him that they were reminiscent of celebratory fireworks, but he held firm. 🙂  “Ah, the lovely art of compromise,” Shelley says, smiling. “The invitations we ultimately sent were comprised of two fonts, one known as ‘Gatsby’ … I love this as Fitzgerald is one of my favorite American authors and because I happen to teach The Great Gatsby!”

Rocio Diaz (love the name!) at A Piece of Cake spent time talking with David & Shelley about their tastes, and as they were talking, she was freehand sketching what was to become their wedding cake.

They opted for bright, full, happy hydrangea blooms as their flowers and ended up building their wedding colors around the flowers.

Shelley is certain she qualifies as record holder, as finding a bridal gown took a mere 45 minutes!  The hard part was finding shoes.  She scored a pair of Martina Satin Peep Toes on sale from J. Crew (free shipping, to boot!)

Bob Artman was the DJ for the evening, he planned and orchestrated the timeline of events flawlessly.

David and Shelley have a running joke about Shelley’s inability to follow my simple request that they touch their foreheads together during their engagement session — Shelley kept wanting to rub noses!

Turns out, some of the Eskimo kiss pictures were her favs, and we used them in the guest book album that we created with images from that day.

Many, many thanks to my lovely, talented and awesome second shooter, Laurie Bracewell, who joins me in wishing David and Shelley a lifetime of love and happiness!



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  • Nick Mangus - Dave & Shelley, Congratulations to you both on your wonderful day. I wish you the best that life has to offer.

    May the road rise to meet you and the wind
    Be always at your back.
    May the sunshine warm upon your face
    The rains fall soft upon your fields
    May the light of friendship guide your paths
    May the laughter of children grace your home
    May the joy of living for one another trip a smile
    On your lips a twinkle in your eye and when eternity beckons at the end of idle a heaped high with love.
    May the good lord embrace you with the arms that have nurtured you the whole length of you joy filled days.
    May the gracious God hold you both in the palm of his hands.
    And today may the spirit love find a dwelling place in your hearts.ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Diaz - David & I are so thrilled with these gorgeous photographs!!! We are indeed “swooning”. We truly appreciate all of the work you’ve done/are doing on our behalf. A huge THANK YOU to you and Laurie; you are both wonderful people and amazingly talented, artistic photographers!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Artz - So beautiful, Christine! You have such a great style, both in your writing and photos! Hope all is well and we can connect sometime now that I am on your coast.ReplyCancel

  • Jim C. - Great pics! Congrats, David and Shelley!!!ReplyCancel

  • christine - thank you, Kate! they are such a special couple; as they were cutting the cake, Laurie and I got chills, we were falling in love with them! as we were shooting the one where they were pointing, I overheard Laurie telling them, “You guys are like professional married people!” and that was a brand, spankin’ new iPhone 4; he wanted to hold my camera and take a picture and I told him only if I could hold his iPhone (I wanted to see the camera work backwards) and after about 15 seconds, he snatched it back! Wildly interesting guests. Great couple. Very. Fun. Wedding.ReplyCancel

  • kate gardiner photography - You and Laurie rocked this wedding! Great job! LOVE the last photo with the iphone! and the one with them pointing at each other is super sweet. i’m sure your bride and groom must be swooning!ReplyCancel

  • paul - congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie Bracewell - What a beautiful wedding, and, more importantly, what a beautiful couple! Shelley and David, you were a dream to work with – I love you both dearly!!ReplyCancel