Michelle & Chris | Stevenson Ridge Wedding Ceremony

So I’m completely biased this week and I’m just going to say this is my favorite bride EVER!!!  Even though she told me to get my butt into the office and get her photos up ;)!  This bride is my best friend and the first call I make whenever I have news.  I still remember holding her for the first time and as we got older fighting like cats and dogs!  Finally we both grew up and became super close just like sisters are supposed to be.  Now my baby sister Michelle is married and not so much a baby anymore :)!

I was so happy for her when she called and let me know that her boyfriend Chris had taken her out to their favorite winery and proposed!  Yes let the wedding planning begin!  Michelle and Chris had a beautiful Stevenson Ridge wedding ceremony and thank the Lord the rain held off.  All day on Friday Chris and I were both checking the weather and it was not looking good, like 80% chance of precipitation during their ceremony time.  I decided not to say anything to Michelle and instead just prayed a lot that day that the weather would hold off for them!!  Sure enough on my way to the rehearsal I heard an updated forecast that called for rain in the late afternoon which meant we were clear for their morning ceremony outside!!

Michelle and Chris did something that I think is totally sweet on the morning of their wedding, they went to IHOP together for breakfast!  I’m not saying IHOP is romantic or anything I just think it is adorable that they spent the morning of their wedding together enjoying breakfast because they were too excited to sleep.  They also decided to do a First Look to ease Chris’s nerves and keep Michelle from crying during the ceremony ;)!  It must have worked because there were no nerves or tears as they gazed at each other and said their vows.  All I could see was happiness and love!

After the ceremony we wandered around Stevenson Ridge for some photos, there is never a shortage of beautiful spots for this!  Michelle and Chris were troopers dealing with the heat and letting us get so many beautiful photos of them.  I expect to see many of them hanging in their house soon ;)  No pressure!  Once photos were over we headed off to the reception at The Bavarian Chef in Downtown Fredericksburg.  The food was delicious and there was sooooo much of it!  I didn’t even try any of the sides because I was so stuffed by my main course!  As we got into the dances my heart swelled watching Michelle and Chris take their first dance as husband and wife to “God Gave Me You”, they were just beaming at each other!  When Michelle and my Dad started their dance  to “I Loved Her First” the floodgates of tears opened on my end.  In my defense I am hormonal and when she played the song for me the night before I started crying in Cracker Barrel so we both knew it was coming.  I think that dance with our Dad had special meaning for us both because as you can see from the photos he is in a neck brace after having an accident just a couple weeks ago.  For him to be there and be able to walk her down the aisle and dance with her is a miracle my family cherishes.  As we moved onto Chris’s dance with his mom I thought it was so sweet how they laughed together!  I know she is thrilled for him and Michelle :).

Michelle you will always be my baby sister and I’m so proud of the woman you have become, your strength inspires me.  I am so happy that you have found the man of your dreams and can now call him your husband!  Chris you seem like an alright guy ;)  Just kidding, I know you are a good guy and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you over the years and over wine.  I no longer think you hate me and it’s cool we are FB friends ;)!  I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and I’m so excited to be there to witness what life has in store for you!  I love you guys!

Before we get to the photos I have to say that these images would not have been possible without the help of a very special friend and local photographer Rachel May!!  I realized pretty quickly that by shooting my sister’s wedding I would not be in the photos and that made me sad.  So I messaged Rachel to see if she was free for a couple hours on Saturday to help me out.  By having Rachel there I was able to participate in my sister’s wedding and do things like help her into her dress, you know big sister stuff!  Also while I was setting up the ceremony area Rachel was able to do a First Look for Michelle and Chris to ease their nerves.  As I went through the photos I found myself crying because I was so happy she was there to capture these images of my beautiful sister that I would not have been able to get.  So Rachel I cannot thank you enough for helping me out and I’m so relieved that as I get into the final weeks of my pregnancy Rachel will be with me for those last weddings too!

 Now let’s get on with some beautiful photos!

 

To see more of  Chris & Michelle’s wedding at Stevenson Ridge in Fredericksburg, Virginia, check out the slideshow below! (Click here if you don’t see the slideshow below)

View more weddings and receptions at Stevenson Ridge here!

The following wedding vendors contributed to Chris & Michelle’s wedding:

Ceremony Venue: Stevenson Ridge
Photography: Melissa Arlena Photography
Florist: Anthomanic
Reception Venue : The Bavarian Chef
Cake: Karen Karynrebeck
Dress: Ava Laurenne Bride

 

Melissa Arlena Photography is an award winning wedding, newborn, maternity, anniversary, engagement, lifestyle and family photographer in Fredericksburg, Virginia and surrounding areas. Ready to book your session?  Contact me now for more information!

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