Elegant Wilton House Wedding with A Reception Dress Change & Timeline Pivots | Richmond Wedding Photographer


You wouldn’t tell from these photos, but this was one of those weddings where I felt like the parkour athlete of navigating timeline pivots. From an hour and a half late start to unexpected surprises, our team was nimble on our feet and captured some of the most beautiful moments for Kurt & Casey’s Wilton House wedding. This is one you future brides won’t want to miss… lots to learn but also so much inspiration to glean from this classically elegant wedding day!

Arriving at Wilton House with Barely Any Bridal Details

The bride and groom got ready in a different location from their venue, but my second shooter and I were slated to start at Wilton House and catch up with them when they arrived. This isn’t unusual. I typically advise brides to send their details on to the venue ahead of them, either via their planner or a trusted family member or friend. But when I arrived, the only details waiting for me were the bride’s bouquet and bridesmaids’ bouquets. No dress, no rings, no invitation suite, and no bride to bring them all. So we got creative!

I took out my trusty styling kit and began photographing close-ups and flat-lays of the bouquets. And that bouquet got all its best angles captured! I even tried some fun tricks with a mirror tray I had in my bag. The results were actually really stunning and fun!

But you can only photograph one bouquet so many times before you worry about bogging down memory card space. And the couple was late in arriving with their other details. I got busy photographing the venue, and whatever decor was already set up (there wasn’t much at this point). By the time the couple began to arrive with their bridal party, the timeline was over an hour behind.

How to Pivot When the Timeline Gets Thrown Off

One thing I make clear to all my brides – the timeline moves with HER! Everyone waits for her. So she is never late, we all work around her needs. Also, I stress to my couples that timelines are merely guideliens to help avoid stress and give people direction on where to go and when. That doesn’t mean things won’t change as needs change on the day of! Understanding this can help brides and grooms breathe easier and trust their vendor team to handle pivots as necessary.

So I got busy serving her the best I could in a short amount of time. I took the dress, veil and shoes to the Wilton House to be photographed, then quickly called for her to come put it all on. The room inside the house museum provided such angelic light behind her! I don’t think I ever photographed getting ready photos like this so fast, but the result was magic.

We had no time to gather close-ups of her rings and other details, so I gathered whatever details were not being worn (mostly her invitation suite) and had her put on the rest of her jewelry and heirlooms. The plan was to gather details from her again and photograph them during dinner… something I’ve never done before, but I hoped the sun would stay high enough to do it in good light.

Moving right into the Daddy-Daughter First Look, the day felt like it was officially back on track. We had plenty of margin before the ceremony to allow for these precious memories to unfold naturally. That’s all I ever want for my couples in their timeline – margin. Room for moments. Space for the natural emotion to flow. That’s what every bride and groom deserves… what their families deserve.

Fun Surprises, Gorgeous Portrait Light, & Parking Lot Details

The rest of the day went perfectly. Kurt & Casey’s ceremony was so special. They were married by Casey’s grandfather, and escorted out of their ceremony by a colonial fife & drum line! It was such a fun surprise enjoyed by guests.

After a short break to hug family and friends, we moved into bridal party photos and then portraits of the newlyweds. The light by this time was better than I could have asked for. Their portraits have become some of my favorites from 2023.

Fast forward through the formal dances and everyone preparing for dinner. I reminded Casey I still needed to get photos of her details. I borrowed her jewelry, the couple’s rings, and picked up her veil from under the table where they were storing away extra decor. But I still needed one more thing: flowers! Luckily the head table had a scattering of loose blooms, so I got Casey’s permission to borrow a few for their flat lays.

I hiked back up the hill to the parking lot. I had stowed away her invitation suite into my car trunk for safe keeping. But as I went to grab it, I realized that the best lighting was actually right there in the parking lot! A first time for me, I rolled out my styling mat right behind my car and got busy styling details on the pavement. I must have been such a funny sight, but hey. Anything for that light!

As you scroll their photos, you should hardly be able to tell that the few detail images shared here were taken at a completely different time as the dress & getting ready shots! Or that they were taken in a parking lot.

More ‘Can’t Miss’ Details from this Wilton House Wedding

As you scroll through the highlights from Casey & Kurt’s special day, you won’t want to miss these moments and details:

  • Casey’s bridal portraits. This girl is just stunning!!
  • Casey’s dad’s sweet reaction at his first look. I was definitely shooting through tears of my own.
  • The amazing sunset during toasts!! A personal note… this wedding was not long after losing our baby to miscarriage. Sunsets were a huge source of comfort for my husband and I during this time (still are). It’s like a reminder that our baby is up in heaven painting skies for us while we miss him. So seeing one this day was really special for me, privately.
  • Casey’s reception dress!! This girl couldn’t get any cuter. And then she comes running out in a feather-hemmed halter neck dress to finish the night dancing! Very pro-reception dress change.

Thank you for viewing this Wilton House wedding!! I was so proud to lead shoot it as a Willow Britt Studios associate photographer. If you love my work, and you’re planning your own special wedding day at Wilton House or elsewhere in Virginia, D.C. or along the East Coast, I’d love to chat with you! Inquire with me today.

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