This wedding is just a tiny bit more special than most, because it took place at my favorite place on this planet: Smith Mountain Lake! I was so honored to be an associate second shooter for this Willow Britt Studios couple, Melissa and Evan. (For those of you that don’t yet know, I shoot weddings as a Willow Britt associate in addition to serving my own ENP couples!) When Stacie commissioned me to shoot with my colleague Jeanine for this, I couldn’t say no!
Melissa and Evan held an intimate micro-wedding at an Air-BnB lake house facing the main mountain on the lake. Both are from Florida, and found SML when searching for the perfect place to say “I do” for their destination event. Lucky them that they stumbled across what I believe to be the most beautiful spot in Virginia (but I’m biased)!
Though I live in DC and mostly serve Richmond, Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, and the DMV, I love traveling down to my parents lake house at SML to visit AND work. This is my first wedding on Smith Mountain Lake, and I will also say “I do” not far from where Melissa and Evan did!
That said, I can’t wait to share their images. But I thought I’d also share my wealth of local knowledge for anyone thinking about planning their own wedding at SML!
In my opinion, there are very few “ugly” sides of the lake. SML offers gorgeous sunsets on the west side, and peaceful sunrises on the east. But if you’re looking for a specific backdrop in your photos, this tip should help you time your wedding day accordingly.
If you want the famous mountain range in your photos (like Melissa and Evan have), then you will get the best light in the morning! If your venue has a lake shore that allows for mountainous views, later weddings might put the sun right in your face which isn’t ideal for pictures. Melissa and Evan had a morning wedding, which helped them avoid dark under-eye shadows and kept their faces more evenly lit when shooting with the mountain behind them. However, they also had an overcast day which made those blues and greens pop all the more.
But if you’re looking for stunning sunset skies (and I mean breathtaking!) then you’ll want to check out venues whose shores face away from the mountain! I’ll share some of my suggestions on SML wedding venues next.
Smith Mountain Lake has so many great options for hosting your special day. Our wedding day is going to be at Waters Edge Golf and Country Club! We’ll mostly have views at sunset, but I’m getting ready at my parent’s lake house which has more mountain views in the morning. Here are some other options to consider:
Other venues that are not on the water but within a drivable distance include:
Lastly, if you need vendors for making your SML wedding perfect, here are all the vendors I am using for my big day!!
Of course there are lots of other great vendors around, but these are the folks I trusted to handle my special day so I felt this was the best vouching I could do.
But if you need more convincing to hold a wedding at SML, I’ll let Melissa and Evan’s images do their magic!
If you’re sold on a Smith Mountain Lake wedding, but want photos like this, let’s talk! I would LOVE to work with you, and because SML is a home away from home for me, I won’t even need to charge for lodging. Let’s make your special day here even more perfect, together! Contact me.
For more of my work with Willow Britt Studios, check out this engagement session with another WB couple, Rylie and Don! Or if you’d like to see work with my ENP Couples, check out some recent sessions/weddings below:
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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.