When I moved to Charlottesville back in 2015 after living in a small town for my entire life, I remember feeling so nervous finally being on my own! I remember praying so many times that God would place amazing Christian women in my life and it was absolutely crazy how fast I began meeting people who were chasing after the Lord once I moved here. One of the very first nights my roommate Monika and I spent the night at our new place, Monika had her friend Kate over, who is now one of my really great friends! And Kate is how I met Jenna! Kate and Jenna were roommates for quite a few years so I would hear about how amazing Jenna was through Kate and when I finally met her, it was easy to see what a gem she really was!
As time went on, I got to know Jenna a little bit better. I remember a couple times having conversations with Kate and Jenna about dating and I actually clearly remember Kate and I stopping to have a sandwich at Taste in Virginia Beach with Jenna on the way back from a retreat. I remember sitting outside and Jenna was talking about being single and the challenges that went along with that. We were all single at that time and we all had a desire to find that person to spend our lives with but we just had to patiently wait and trust God’s timing, which wasn’t always easy. I had a prayer wall in my closet at my old townhouse with a lot of prayers and after that lunch, I added Jenna onto my wall. I wrote down a prayer that she would find contentment in singleness but that God would provide her with an incredible man in VA Beach. I don’t know exactly how long after that she met Steven but it wasn’t more than a couple years.
Since Jenna lived in Virginia Beach, I didn’t get to hear the play by play of everything when it happened but every now and then I would see her at church when she would visit Charlottesville and I remember first hearing her say she was dating someone! Steven was deployed with the Navy for the majority of their time dating so I never got to meet him on those days I saw her at church but it definitely sounded like it was a relationship to hold onto.
Jenna was forced to rely on God in really hard but beautiful ways while Steven was deployed but when he came back at the beginning of 2020, he got down on one knee and asked Jenna to marry him! She obviously said yes and the wedding planning began! Jenna reached out to me about wedding photography and what’s actually so crazy is that they had picked May 9th (this upcoming weekend) as their date and I was booked already. I was SO bummed but I offered to have one of my associate photographers shoot it and that way I could still do their engagement session and edit their photos! I couldn’t imagine completely passing up the opportunity to be a part of it. Jenna agreed and so while I was sad that I wasn’t going to be there, I was just so happy to be working with her.
Well, it’s insane how you can go from thinking your entire season is planned out to BAM, everything is cancelled because of a virus… We had their engagement session scheduled for sometime in April but then coronavirus happened and plans changed fast. Jenna ended up having to reschedule her entire wedding from May to October but the amazing news was it was to a date I was available!! So now I actually do get to shoot her full wedding day this fall and I couldn’t be happier. But all of the craziness with the virus has been so heartbreaking and stressful for my spring and summer couples. It has definitely been one of the most challenging things I’ve had to go through as a wedding photographer but we are making it work! The really sweet thing is that I’ve been able to be a part of a lot more elopements than usual and as someone who eloped (you can view my elopement here), I love intimate weddings more than anything and that’s exactly what Jenna and Steven had a couple weeks ago at First Landing State Park. They switched their engagement session out to be an elopement and I truly couldn’t have imagined anything more beautiful. There were definitely some emotional moments because Jenna was sad her sweet bridesmaids couldn’t be in the room with her but we had them on Zoom the whole time as she got ready and that definitely made it feel at least a little more normal.
Their day was truly one of the most memorable and special days I’ve been a part of in my career. Everything was completely turned upside down because of covid but Jenna and Steven are simply the most generous, flexible, positive, and kind-hearted people you’ll ever meet. Imagine an already sweet elopement day with their precious souls and you just end up with the most beautiful day ever. I could go on for hours about all of the moments I loved about this day but I feel like the photos will speak for themselves! See a peek at their day below!