I'm Rachel, a formally trained fine art wedding, portrait, and senior photographer based in Virginia and throughout the East Coast.
I serve clients wanting timeless and joy-filled images to cherish and pass down for generations to come.
A fine art Wedding & Portrait Photographer
I recently had the chance to talk to the amazing wedding planner, Amber Justine Events! We talked about everything from what services she offers, to what she does in her free time. If you are still looking for a wedding planner and you are in the Virginia area, you need to hire Amber and her team, asap!
I started in the wedding industry in 2019 and will hit my four year anniversary in early 2023. Technically, we have the ability to do roughly 100 weddings in one year since we have four lead planners. That being said, we cap the number of weddings we take in a weekend. We will take two on any Friday- Sunday (for now). We like the security in knowing that if one lead planner has an emergency, there are at least two other experienced planners that can take over the day itself. We’ve never had to do that (knock on wood), but I feel more comfortable that the option exists. Plus, we value quality over quantity!
Our two most popular packages these days are Wedding Management and Partial Planning. Wedding Management fulfills the “day-of coordinator” requirement for all venues, but is also SO much more than just day-of services. Partial Planning is a bit more involved and includes design collaboration!
Rehearsal dinner coordination is included with our full service planning package. Outside of that, we offer rehearsal dinner, welcome party, and next-day brunch planning! We don’t offer planning for any events outside of the wedding weekend. We believe there is value in specializing in one party niche (weddings!) versus stretching ourselves across many different party niches. (birthdays, showers, holiday parties, etc.).
As far as travel goes, we will go with you anywhere! In fact, we do a few weddings each year in Northern Virginia and Charlottesville.
While we find unique charm in all venues around the Hampton Roads and Williamsburg areas, the bulk of our couples tend to get married in historic sites, museums, country clubs, gardens, and estates. It would be challenging to pinpoint just a few that we love because we know we’d leave some out!
I’m an Old Dominion University graduate that married my college sweetheart and had two kids! You can catch me at the beach, in a restaurant, or just hanging outside during my free time. I like a hot latte, neat bourbon, and cheese board any time of year. My most recent fascination is interior design, but I’ve always had a soft spot for fashion and art. Witnessing the end product of someone that loves their craft (painting, clothing design, etc.) is such a special joy in life!
During the off season, I hang out with my kids! Sounds boring, but every second not spent wedding planning is a second that I spend with my family.
I love the wedding day itself when we see those months and months of planning come together. Other than that, we love joining our couples at rental design meetings!
We pack out your items at the end of the night. It’s interesting, but couples are always shocked when we say things like “who should we give your bouquet to at the end of the night” or “which car should we place your decor after the wedding?”. The last thing you and your family want to do at the end of the event is rapidly pack up your decor. Especially if you need to be out in an hour. Most people think about the party itself, but not what happens once it ends! Many venues will charge you if you don’t have everything out in a short window of time. So leave the breakdown to the professionals that do it every weekend.
It’s important to have three “pillars” of planning decided before you even begin thinking about vendors! Initial budget, estimated guest list, and overall expectations. Without going into a lengthy description, you’ll need to pinpoint 2-3 budget priorities and then investigate how your budget breakdown will work out. Your food and beverage will almost always be your biggest expense. A good caterer is critical to the flow of the reception, so don’t go all in on booking a specific venue to find yourself venue poor! We think it’s wise to get those big number quotes (venue, food & beverage, and rentals if you need a tent) before diving into the rest of your vendors. Obviously, a planner can help you with all of that budgeting!
We think of all the little details so that you don’t have to. Why would you need to worry about the perfect time to dim the light or to check that forks are on the cake table for cake cutting? It’s hard to list out the thousands of ways we think about tiny things so that you don’t need to think about them, but know that we do it! At the end of the day, it’s those tiny details that are overwhelming, so hire a planner that you trust to think about them for you.
You’ve likely spent a decent amount of money on this day and there is only one chance to make it all happen. The nuances of the planning process – double checking rental quantities, coordinating lapel microphones for ceremony amplification, and knowing the exact adhesive to order so that your candles stay in their holders – are not things your aunt that loves party planning will naturally know how to do. Plus, who is going to know five different rental companies to have on speed dial for an XL generator when the power goes out in the entire neighborhood 30 minutes before the reception begins?
The answer: your wedding planner. We are the glue that holds all the other vendors you hired together. Your photographer is there to take photos, not deal with the 47th crisis of the day. Your guests are there to enjoy; after all, this is the only time other than a funeral where everyone you love will be in the room. We could go on forever, but a consultation with us is more than enough to show you all we do!
Amber and her team are seriously pros at what they do. For that reason do not hesitate to reach out to Amber Justine Events as soon as you know your wedding date so that they can work their magic for your wedding! Of course, you’ll be looking for a wedding photographer too, so reach out to me to ensure you have the most dreamy photos to cherish for a lifetime.
Cover photo by Carrie Michelle Photography
Before you go make sure to read about these great, Virginia venues!
Charlottesville Wedding & senior photographer
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East Coast and beyond