Elizabeth & Ben: An Elegant Southern Affair in the Virginia Mountains

The wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Ben Adams is simply one of my finest documentations to date – I have been shooting weddings and celebrations for over a decade now, and this one is at the very “top of the heap!”  I feel as if this blog entry has been under construction forever because it was nearly impossible to narrow down the visual fodder!  The ending result is my biggest blog post yet and I am thrilled to show off this couple, their beautiful surroundings, and their fantastic friends and family!

Elizabeth and Ben reside in Charleston, WV and envisioned their wedding weekend to be a classic Southern affair – elegantly understated and timeless.  The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA was the ultimate venue for this type of wedding – tucked into the mountains in one of the most scenic (and friendliest!) little villages that I have yet to visit, The Homestead is lovely and refined, yet warm and welcoming.  Elizabeth and Ben dated for 4.5 years prior to the wedding, with 3 of those years being long distance while Ben attended law school.  The couple visited The Homestead on their 3rd “dating anniversary” and after that visit, knew that the resort was their dream wedding location. “We really wanted people to have fun and relax in the beautiful setting in the mountains and The Homestead could not have been a more perfect location.  We really wanted to be involved in our wedding weekend and to get to see and enjoy our guests over the weekend and The Homestead definitely provided us with that opportunity,” said Elizabeth, who originally hails from South Carolina.  Elizabeth and Ben are unending in their gratitude to Elizabeth’s parents for hosting the wedding at The Homestead!   It is impossible for me to praise the wedding coordinators, Tricia Fry and Lori Hicks, enough!  These ladies are highly organized, efficient, and incredibly attentive to the needs of their clients!  Ben and Elizabeth’s wedding was my first commission at The Homestead and I quickly felt right at home and very welcome because of these ladies as well as all of the other wonderful staff members.  I would love to send compliments to my fellow vendors:  Megan Dailey of Unblinking-I Photography with whom it was a pleasure and joy to co-shoot.  Country Garden Florist & Gifts – amazing flowers, loved shooting your beautiful blooms!!  The hair and makeup staff at The Homestead Salon – Elizabeth is a stunning woman and you accented her natural beauty just perfectly!  DJ JB Bostic from Choice Entertainment – great personality and loved dancing to your tunes as I documented the lively reception!  

The weekend kicked off with a phenomenal rehearsal dinner at The Garth Newel Music Center, a renovated horse barn that I would love to magically move to my own property – it is beautiful and I recommend that all visitors to Hot Springs stop and enjoy this amazing spot!!  Ben’s parents generously hosted the rehearsal festivites which included invites to all wedding guests – thank you from myself and Megan as well for having us, too!   Compliments to the string quartet who performed on the wedding day, as they came from the Garth Newel…..

Hot Springs Presbyterian Church was the site of the ceremony – it is the classic, vintage “little white chapel” – I drive past them often and have always, always wanted to shoot a wedding in one!  This church is simple and lovely – Elizabeth and Ben were very grateful to the church’s congregation for allowing them to use the church for their ceremony.  The couple was extremely honored that the Reverend Dr. Bill McCoy, their minister at Charleston’s First Presbyterian Church, was able to travel to Hot Springs to perform the ceremony – it meant a great deal to Elizabeth and Ben that he brought a “bit of home” to their destination wedding!

The Empire and Crystal Rooms at The Homestead served as absolutely stunning dinner and reception areas.  Elizabeth appreciated the “already there” beauty of The Homestead and wished to subtly accent it, not overshadow it.  I personally feel that this is a brilliant decision of savvy brides, as it allows the area/areas to stand on their own to some degree and it guarantees a classic backdrop.  Elizabeth LOVES toile fabric and utilized it in both rooms, a lovely Southern accent, yet not too overpowering.  Elizabeth originally wished for an outdoor  garden party reception, but mountain weather is at best a bit unpredictable, so she chose to infuse flowers and garden party elements into her indoor affair.  Quite successfully, I must add!  Decorative grass shoots, lemons in Fenton bowls, a moss “A”, and a birdcage for cards breathed Spring into The Homestead.  The resulting look is light, airy, fresh, and totally classic!

Elizabeth included many sentimental elements into her day, including her mother’s childhood handkerchief, a sixpence from 1950 (the year of her grandparents’ wedding date), and the buttons of her grandmother’s wedding dress (also worn by her mother in 1975!) sewn onto her own wedding gown.  Elizabeth discovered a love for Etsy during her wedding planning – brides seeking handmade and unique items, head straight to Etsy!  Elizabeth is also incredibly grateful to her sister for all of her help in making her wedding vision come to life!

I would love to send a HUGE thank you to Elizabeth, Ben, friends, family, and fellow vendors – I love how we all worked together to create an amazingly magical Southern wedding weekend!  Congrats to these happy newlyweds and please know that I wish you every possible happiness in the present and future!  Happy Mother’s Day, too, to the special mothers – you were lovely!!



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