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Married // Brad + Kristen’s Riverside on the Potomac Wedding

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Riverside on the Potomac wedding, Beauty and the Beast, Brad and Kristen's wedding day, Burgundy fall wedding, October wedding, Elegant farmhouse wedding

Have I ever told the story about the time I photographed a Disney princess’ wedding? No? Well it happened just last weekend. And while Kristen may not be Belle from Beauty and the Beast, she was the kind of “Beauty” on her wedding day that would make the real Belle green with envy. I’m so excited to share the fairytale that was Brad & Kristen’s Riverside on the Potomac wedding.

When I met Brad & Kristen over Zoom after they inquired, my first impression was, “I HAVE to shoot their wedding.” Within the first few minutes of our conversation, I knew they were a natural ENP Couple. Both of them were friendly, creative, and sentimental. I could tell they were in love… and in love with being in love. I became all the more convinced after I learned Brad and I come from the same alma mater โ€“โ€“ Liberty University!

They enjoy adventuring together: hiking, road trips, and visiting historic sites. They appreciate the stories behind the places they go or the things they see. Kristen has a soft, kind spirit and a talent for seamless details. Brad is a servant at his church with a relatable, easy-going personality and acute sense of humor. Both were excited to celebrate God’s faithfulness in bringing them together… through e-harmony! Yup… just like me and Kevin, these two met ONLINE! Jesus is a hip, modern matchmaker with a Riverside on the Potomac wedding on his mind for 10/10/2020 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meeting up in person for their engagement session felt like reuniting with old friends. We clicked instantly, as if I knew them before. I LOVE that feeling with my couples. I haven’t blogged their engagement session yet, but I’m going to have to… it was a beautiful day at Manassas National Battlefield Park.

The historic, rustic feel of their engagement session came rushing back when I arrived at their wedding venue. Riverside on the Potomac is a beautiful farm that eloquently weaves historic charm and elegance with quaint countryside comfort. In other words โ€“ it was the perfect setting for Brad & Kristen’s Beauty and the Beast inspired wedding day.

The morning started off rushed with a tight timeline. I began photographing details, but could feel everyone bustling around to get final arrangements set for the day. I know Kristen was feeling the pressure. But then something special happened.

In lieu of a first look, Brad & Kristen opted to pray together hold hands around the corner of the main house (without seeing each other). And here’s how perfect for each other these two are… The moment they held hands I witnessed all that stress of the morning melt away. Maybe not Disney magic, but it was enchanting to see.

The rest of the day moved along beautifully. All the planning and hard work these two put into their day came into fruition. Every last detail was beautifully intentional. Don’t even get me started on the flowers… would you believe by looking at these images that they are made of WOOD?! And they were arranged by Kristen’s mom, too! Seriously, the creativity this family had is so awe inspiring.

But my all time favorite moment of their entire day was their first dance. I pulled them away after dinner to grab some last-minute sunset portraits. And as I whisked them away behind the barn for a few poses, they began fitting in some final practice for their first dance. They tried out different twists and twirls and dips. I could tell they’ve been working on their routine for a little while. I couldn’t wait to see the performance.

When we came inside, the dances were set up to begin. Brad escorted his beautiful new wife onto the dance floor, where they waltzed to “A Million Dreams” from the movie The Greatest Showman. Here’s something I didn’t tell them โ€“ this movie was a huge obsession of mine during the months I began my business. In fact, something I haven’t shared with many people before, it was this same song that convinced me to go for it and start planning to be a wedding photographer.

With no prior wedding experience, and very little idea how to make it happen, I replayed “A Million Dreams” over and over believing big things for Emily Nicole Photography. And here I was… not even two years later, photographing ENP’s third official wedding (not even counting all the weddings I photographed as a second shooter).

Watching Brad and Kristen twirl (with her stunning ballgown filling the dance floor), reminded me that this dream of mine is alive and real and unfolding in front of me… right now. I get to serve beautiful, inspiring couples like Brad and Kristen Beals as they make one of the most important decisions of their lives. And I get to witness the celebrations of one of the best gifts the Lord gifted His children with: Marriage.

Congratulations, Brad and Kristen!! May you have a beautiful future ahead of you, filled with joy, memories, and increasing connection to one another and Jesus. And thank you for granting me the honor of being your wedding photographer.

A special shoutout to the DREAM TEAM of vendors that helped make Brad & Kristen’s fairytale come true:

I mean come ON… are we sure Kristen isn’t the real Belle???



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Xx Emily


Wedding days can be stressful, but they don't have to be. One of the number one causes of wedding day stress is a disorganized, tight timeline. In this guide, I'm sharing a sample wedding day timeline I use to craft all my brides' wedding day timelines, as well as diving into some pro tips only a photographer might know.


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