About photo of Virginia Wedding photographer Melissa Arlena and her family

Hey there I’m Melissa Arlena! Most days you can find me wearing something navy, according to my closet I love it more than teal! I’m mostly known for being the photographer with a sailboat hence the sailboat in my logo. I’m a military wife, Marine Corp to be exact and mom to two little boys, Will and Rob! I live in Fredericksburg, Virginia but am frequently in Charleston, SC visiting family. My family and close friends call me Mel but never my husband, let’s just say his version of what a Mel should look like is not how he wants to picture me!


I photograph people who desire to have Classic, Romantic & Joyful photographs documenting their life.


I’m lucky to capture them as their love story unfolds from engagement session to starting a family and beyond. Over the last 7 years of photographing weddings and portraits I have learned that my favorite part of my job is developing lasting relationships with my couples. So on their wedding day I’m photographing friends!

As a photographer I’ve been featured in magazines and many online wedding blogs and I love seeing my clients hard work and amazing weddings recognized by industry professionals. You can see a full list of places I’ve been published below!

When I’m not busy working on beautiful weddings you can catch me sailing the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay on our 40′ sailboat Apogee with my handsome husband David, and our crazy boys. They have been sailing all their lives and are getting old enough to start helping out a bit and they love it! Sailing was something we just kind of fell into and here we are 8 years and 3 boats later spending our summer vacations cruising the Bay for weeks on end.


If you’re dying to hear more, here are seven things you might not know about me.


1. My JCrew cardigan collection rivals that of Mr. Rodgers, seriously I’ve lost count
2. I hate coffee. (I know some of you are closing my website right now because that is a no go!)
3. I’m obsessed with anything nautical and if it has an anchor on it it’s mine
4. I love my fur baby Sam like he is our third child, he is my perfect golden retriever that I’ve wanted since I was 7
5. I LOVE decorating and design and could watch HGTV 24/7 if David would let me
6. Golden Girls is my all time favorite tv show and now it’s back on Hulu so you know where to find me
7. I discovered true crime podcasts this year and I am a Murderino, I think it weirds my hubby out
8. I LOVE hard cider but hate beer, thank you gluten free people for making cider readily available!

Still here? Let’s connect!

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Featured Work


Style Me Pretty
Elizabeth Anne Designs
Charlottesville Wedding Planner Magazine
Wedding Wire Blog
Tidewater & Tulle
The Well Groomed Groom
How He Asked
United with Love
Borrowed & Blue
Charlottesville Wedding Blog
Fab You Bliss
The Knot
Professional Photographers of America
Rustic Wedding Chic
Love Olio
Green Wedding Shoes
The Lovely Find
Bayside Bride
Capitol Romance
Two Bright Lights Editor Award 2015
Style Me Pretty Little Black Book Vendor 2013
Wedding Wire Brides Choice Winner 2013 & 2014

lineHear from Editors


"I adore all of the beautiful images from Melissa Arlena Photography!"
Elizabeth Anne Designs
"Melissa Arlena Photography's photos of the day are truly breathtaking, and a treat to look through."
"We are so blessed to be sharing work by the incredible Melissa Arlena Photography."
Bayside Bride


Let’s Get Personal

To learn more about me CLICK on the photos below to get a peek into my life!  

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