Regency at Dominion Valley Wedding with Arielle & Daniel | Virginia Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

Arielle and Daniel are just the sweetest, so sharing in their wedding day was more than an honor it was a privilege. The rain was kind to us that day and stayed to a drizzle, it even stopped for portraits, but the overcast skies created the perfect light and gorgeous backdrops on the golf course of the Regency. It was such a stunning venue, all her details paired perfectly with the room and the spice favors were seriously adorable!! They even bought in a photo booth from Amy's Bridal Boutique (where Arielle purchased her gorgeous Justin Alexander!). I knew it was going to be a blast when I met their bridal party, they were full of spunk and definitely knew how to dance...Black Tie Entertainment had them going alllll night long, even with some Michael Jackson moves! Oh & the Best Man speech? that one is officially going down as THE BEST one I've heard in seven years....

Here are some highlights from their gorgeous wedding, I hope you enjoy!

Vendors: 

Second Shooter: Arli Quinn Vangorder

Hair/Makeup: Salon Emage 

Florist: Shelley’s Floral Enterprise (Shelley Campbell)

Videography: Clear Vision Videography- Mark Jung 

Limo: PRIME TIME LIMO- Rachel Gravett

Bakery: Victoria Cakes by happy eatery

DJ: black tie entertainment- Derek Entrekin

Venue: Regency at Dominion Valley- Day of Coordinator- Jason Meringolo 

Photo booth & Dress: Amy’s Bridal Booth

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Spring Engagement Shoot in Alexandria Virginia with Courtney & Jeff | Alexandria Virginia Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

I always have stories from my engagement sessions. This one is no exception. I headed for Alexandria like I have several times before....the drive is always the same and I breeze on through no issues, well until this Friday eve. The traffic was horrendous! Courtney & Jeff were so sweet and understanding though and their session was full of gorgeous photos, because from the start they were so relaxed and easy going-making my job a breeze and also creating a few of my favorite photos!! I mean really...her dress was AMAZING. The little traffic hiccup wasn't going to damped this shoot and I've included some of my favorite highlights, I hope you enjoy!

 

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Memphis, Tennessee Engagement with Kristina & Kurtis | Tennessee Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

When Kristina & Kurtis asked me if I'd be willing to travel to Tennessee for their engagement shoot, I was pretty darn excited y'all! I had been to Tennessee quite a few times as a kid, while my friends headed to the beach for summer vacay...we headed to the mountains. I didn't realize how BIG Tennessee was however, until I drove 12 hours (which really turned into 16 because I have a outlet mall problem...) Needless to say when I arrived at The Guesthouse at Graceland I was beyond exhausted and ready to collapse in the comfy bed that awaited me. I do want to talk just a little bit about how flipping amazing this hotel is...I know a little about Elvis y'all, but I am no super fan, but holy moly-the decor, the staff, the entire experience was incredible. I have never experienced the luxury and hospitality I did there, it's true about us southerners...we KNOW how to extend hospitality! 

...now back to this amazing engagement shoot!

Not only are Kristina & Kurtis the sweetest couple, they are the cutest too! Gosh darn it! I cannot thank them enough for allowing me to photograph them in their gorgeous new hometown. From photographing them at the Mississippi River, to ending at a lovely park in Memphis (as well as photographing downtown!) it was such a blast! I got to see some really iconic things and we ate the best darn BBQ in Tennessee y'all!

Here are a few highlights of their Tennesssee engagement shoot, enjoy! 

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When life gives you a reminder....| Personal Post | Charlottesville Virginia Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

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There's always something that prompts a personal blog post, whether it be a situation or a thought that crosses my mind. This time it happened to be an incident, one of those lifetime movie types that make you REALLY think about your life...

Tuesday morning I woke up with an insane stabbing pain in my abdomen and lower back. I had to take my daughter to school, so I pushed through and drove her, on the way back I ended up getting sick in the car and had to pull over...the pain was becoming so unbearable at this point I started to panic. I made it home dizzy and feeling like I was going to black out, I stumbled into the bedroom where my husband was sleeping and started crying. He woke up and tried to help me lay down...all the while I want my mom, I'm 29 y'all...but my Momma makes everything better! at this point it literally feels like I am in labor, except I am in no way pregnant, Jon gets my mom and together they beg that I go to the emergency room.

The emergency is the.last.place. I want to ever be. I have a really bad phobia of them, doctors, needles...blood. *Shivers* So this was literally becoming the worse nightmare. I honestly can tell you though, the pain was soooooo bad I didn't even care about those things (at the time). They checked me in quickly (I do apologize for the screaming and crying....I looked like a mad woman). Then that is when all the fun really started, tests and poking and prodding. I hated every moment of it. The last one was an ultrasound to see if it was something to do with my ovaries. My grandmother had passed away because of Cancer, so all I could think of was Ovarian Cancer.

As I laid there on that bed, I thought of my daughter. I prayed that I could continue to hold her, hug her, paint her nails and teach her about boys. I wanted to watch her grow up and become a beautiful lady, I wanted to see her graduate and get married....I prayed for more days, more time. I had spent so much of my time behind a computer, behind a camera, running here, running there...and not enough time creating memories with her. I watched my husband as he silently panicked (he hates hospitals just as much as me) I thought of all the moments I wasted and didn't spend on loving him, appreciating him...was this it? would I be counting the days because Cancer was going to take the rest away?

It seemed like HOURS (well two to be exact) had passed before the doctor reappeared. I held my breath. He gave me the greatest news (well for me anyway) not cancer, just Ovarian Cysts. I instantly sighed and felt like a weight was lifted. I can't even begin to imagine the feeling of those who don't receive the news they want...

That day was one of those eye opening days that I will hold unto, remember that I need to cherish the moments and not let them pass me by. Close calls do that you know...How many of us are just going through the motions and not really cherishing them? We really need to have those wake up calls every once in a while to be reminded that life is short, that it's a gift and you really need to make the moments last before they are gone. Hug your little ones tighter, read them one more story, Love your husband so fierce that you can't breathe...

I pray that it never comes down to counting the minutes, or days....but I know that from now on I need to live my life & not let it pass me by.

xoxo

Sarah

Edinburg Virginia Engagement shoot with Mackenzie & Brian | Charlottesville Virginia Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I drove out to Edinburg, Virginia for Mackenzie and Brian's engagement shoot. I drove the winding backroads and saw the prettiest views of the mountains, which made me feel at ease since I had never been out that way! When I arrived at Brian's Family's house, my jaw dropped. It was a stunning White Manor House with the remnants of an old iron forge mill on the property. There were views for days and all the little nooks and crannies a photographer could dream of!! Not to mention Bessie their adorable adopted pup was there waiting for her cameo. I wanted to share a few highlights from their intimate (& Historic) engagement shoot, I hope you enjoy!

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10 Best Wedding Venues In & Around Charlottesville, Virginia | Charlottesville, Virginia Wedding Photographer Sarah Houston Photography

I've had the honor of photographing some really incredible weddings over these past seven years, my couples have allowed me to witness some really amazing memories made for them and the locations were breathtaking. I've decided to compile a little list of my favorite venues in and around Charlottesville, Virginia! These are ones I have photographed or they are on my dream list for future weddings (in no particular order!!)  I hope you enjoy!!

1. Trump Winery.  Hands down this is probably one of my biggest dream venues...not only are the views breathtaking but the wine is incredibly delicious and a MUST for your wedding day!! I feel in love with the location while meeting with a colleague for lunch, being a foodie I had to try their menu. Needless to say I was not disappointed! I am also all about the customer experience and they are on their A-Game when it comes to treating their guests to a great time at their winery. Friendly, Attentive and knowledgeable makes Trump Winery a dream venue for me and I'm hoping to photograph a wedding here very soon!!

2. Mt. Ida-The Lodge.  I've had the pleasure of photographing a wedding here and it was AMAZING (I also will be back here again in 2018 with another wonderful couple!!!). If you want views of the mountains for your ceremony, a GORGEOUS barn reception and an amazing team to take care of you...then look no further-Mount Ida is just for you! It's steeped in History, has incredible views of the mountains and is nestled right in the heart of Charlottesville. There's options for lodging and you can dance the night away in their lovely barn with all your friends and family! I love as a photographer just how many options there are for portraits, endless places to create that special moment between you and your love:) If you haven't visited...you are missing out! Make a trip out there if you're looking for a great outdoor/indoor wedding space!

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3. Pippin Hill.  Probably one of the "Prettiest" Barns you'll find in the area, besides Mount Ida's- The Lodge. Another location with gorgeous mountainous views, yummy wine and impeccable service. Quietly nestled in Charlottesville as well, this is another dream wedding venue for me! It's classically gorgeous and really speaks to the high end bride who has a refined sense of style, match made in heaven!

4. The Market at Grelen. I've been here a few times and each time it made me fall in love with it more. The Green House is an amazing space for a wedding reception and the views are lovely too! It's tucked away in the hills with rolling fields and trees of all different kinds! It's a blank canvas waiting to be created into a masterpiece just for your wedding. 

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5. Rixey Manor. I've photographed numerous weddings here over the years and it's honestly like a home away from home for me. Isadora & Ben really make the venue, they are the most gracious of hosts and really make the experience! It's tucked away in the hills with lovely views of the mountains in the backdrop & since it's out in the country, you can party almost allll night long with no problem! You get the entire house for the weekend which makes it a top wedding destination in my book!

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6. Morais Vineyards. This venue is a true hidden gem. It feels like you've stepped into an Italian Villa, it has a real European feel-making it an excellent choice for the elegant soiree. The open reception space and balcony overlooking the dance floor makes this a top spot for the elegant party with lots of portrait opportunities around the grounds!

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7. Castle Hill.  Charlottesville is THE PLACE for gorgeous, elegant barn weddings. So gorgeous I would call it a "Glarn"-Glammed up Barn. (yep I just made that up) Castle Hill is set in the rolling hills and is a lovely large White "Glarn" Barn. Looking for a country view but want a elegant feel? Look no further, they've got ya covered!

8. Keswick Vineyards. This Vineyard has it all, from the gorgeous venue space to the lovely grounds, it's a dream come true. Did I mention they have a pool? Any place that has everything you need in one place is perfection!! 

9. Historic Whitehall Estate. Gosh I love this venue!! Not only do they cater (delicious food!!) but everything is so so pretty here. From the ceremony site, to the lovely Estate House, there's no shortage to pretty pictures. The staff are so sweet! Another historic venue with a gorgeous view, this is another must on your list of wedding venues!

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10. Airlie. This is another hidden gem, a lot of people don't even know this gorgeous exists!! Tucked away in the outskirts of Warrenton, Virginia sits this gorgeous property and Manor House. It's lovely gardens and manicured lawns are the perfect place to say "I Do". It's elegant ballroom and historic property boost some pretty incredible backdrops for portraits. Everything is under one roof-Catering, Chairs, Tables....what else could you ask for in this one stop wedding venue!