Our Wedding & First Anniversary | Leesburg, Virginia | Andrea Rodway Photography

Murray Hill Wedding Photography


You have stolen my heart


Matthew and I chose Murray Hill because it provided the best of both worlds in our eyes. The stunning view of the Potomac River, the beautiful stone house, the luscious garden and trees provided the most beautiful and romantic backdrop. So here we go!

I absolutely have no idea where this last year has gone. Story of our lives right? There are so many things that I want to say in this post and bear with me, because this is a long one. Mostly because I couldn't pick and choose my favorite shots from our wedding, because truth be told ... I love them all. I love seeing the emotions on people's faces. I love remembering how I felt that day in anticipation of seeing Matthew and finally marrying him. These are the feelings I hope and want for my couples as well. 

One thing I know for certain is that not everything goes as planned. And to be quite honest, it really shouldn't. We all live in reality and sometimes we just can't control the outcome of every single detail no matter how hard we try. You would think that someone that's been working in the wedding industry would have it all figured out to the very second of her wedding day or the very smallest detail ... and I completely did not.

Months prior to the wedding I had found a beautiful dress, ordered it and couldn't wait for it to come in. I found it on a random day during the week over my lunch break. I went by myself to the salon and fell head over heels in love. I had been telling everyone about this dress. My absolute worst nightmare came true when I invited all of my girlfriends and Matthew's mom to the fitting. I figured I'd have my big "Say Yes to the Dress" moment since I'd found the dress by myself and then we'd all laugh and cry and drink mimosas! Well part of this happened...

I put the dress on and immediately my heart sank. The chest of my dress was at my waist. Ummm HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM! I told the attendant that this was not the size that we ordered. The dress was absolutely huge. Falling off me in all directions, like literally three sizes too big huge. You'd think I'd be happy about this, but I had maybe lost 5 pounds. I have curves and I like them and have grown to like them. And being a woman that has struggled with weight issues my entire life I knew this was all sorts of wrong. We took the dress to a seamstress and she told me that it would cost a small fortune to rip apart the dress and make it look "normal". I was absolutely devastated. It's a couple of months before our wedding and I have no dress! 

Immediately I went online, to bridal shops, anything I could think of. By then I was giving up. I just didn't care anymore and my dreams of the perfect dress were down the tube. One day I was driving past the store I usually go to to get my camera gear and film and I saw there was a bridal shop near by. I popped in, told the woman my nightmare and she too looked at the dress and said it would be very expensive to fix it. I looked around her store and I tried on a few dresses. I put my now dress on and absolutely loved it. It was totally different than what I had been previously thinking. The bad news? She wouldn't sell her sample. Can I please get some sort of miracle that isn't going to cost me 9 bazillion dollars?! So, I got the designer and name of the dress and hit up my best friend Google as soon as I got home. I found the dress on BHLDN's site and there was one left ... and in my size. That's a sign right? I didn't even blink. I ordered it and it was in my hands a few days later. Now ordering a dress online is very scary, I will totally admit to that. But here's the thing, when you don't actually have a dress to wear you kinda just have to go for it and pray to baby Jesus that it will work out. 

Why am I telling this story? Because when you're scrolling through someone's Facebook or Instagram feed everything looks perfect. Folks. Things are definitely not perfect and I'm sure there are quite a few brides out there that have similar stories. But the point is, I would've run down that aisle with my hair and makeup done, in a regular dress, and still married Matthew. I probably would've been upset ... but I would've still gotten married. You just make things work, no matter what the situation.

So I finally had a dress and with that out of the way I could focus on the important stuff. Ya know, like marrying my best friend.

During the wedding day things get a little crazy. Especially for the ladies. We're up at dawn to get our hair and makeup done, get into those spanks, then the dress, shoes, and we're out the door. I tried my best to freeze time as much as I could. I'd just sit and smile and look around at those that were with me that day, because I so wanted to remember every single minute. I can remember standing in front of everyone after I walked down the aisle and I almost turned to my Pastor to say, "hold on a minute ... I need to remember this". 

The air was crisp and cool on October 22, 2016 and I remember being upset because it was windy and we were getting swindled out of the amazing weather that was the last few days. But as you know, you just can't control these things. So I did what any bride would do. I sucked it up, had a couple mimosas, and went on about my day. Things could be worse I kept telling myself, and it's 100% true. We switched the ceremony site from overlooking the Potomac River to right in front of the house, it was a little bit warmer and honestly ... with the beautiful trees it turned out perfectly. Murray Hill has quite a few options for ceremony, so we were lucky.

Matthew and I chose Murray Hill because it provided the best of both worlds in our eyes. The stunning view of the Potomac River, the beautiful stone house, the luscious garden and trees provided the most beautiful and romantic backdrop. I fell even more in love with my dress when I paired it with my cathedral length veil and extra long blusher from Twigs & Honey. They matched perfectly and it gave me that timeless romantic look I wanted. I am all about movement in fabric, especially for wedding gowns. Having just a little bit of a train with gorgeous tulle that provided movement was the icing on the cake. Matthew had an absolute blast looking for his tux. We knew we wanted to have something custom made and honestly, you'd be surprised that it really doesn't break the bank to do this. We went with Michael Thomas Custom Clothiers in D.C. and they did a fantastic job. We were able to choose every single detail of his tux and my man looked SO GOOD and the navy blue brought out his beautiful blue eyes! Guys, you look so much better in a suit or a tux that is made specifically for you!

The bridesmaids dresses came from Lulus and I loved the texture that they provided, plus the color was beautiful for fall and my ladies looked gorgeous! I found Karri of Karri Lee Designs on Instagram and we created a stunning invitation suite that captured everything I had hoped for. She was absolutely amazing, I think we talked on the phone for at least an hour.  I ended up DIY-ing my table numbers and seating chart and stayed up way too late the night before our wedding finishing up! Finally let's talk flowers. I wanted everything to tie in to our beautiful venue, our love of the outdoors, and ooooooodles of romance. I met Lisa a few years ago working the same wedding and absolutely fell in love with her work. We met up, had a glass of wine and planned out all aspects of our reception space. From the candles, to the garland, to our bouquets, everything was just perfect. 

To first look or not first look. We chose a first look and I highly recommend it! Walking up to him with my heart beating out of my chest was the best feeling in the world. We were able to share this oh so personal moment with just the two of us and we didn't even notice our photographers. We didn't have to share our first moments looking at each other with all of our guests, it was just us. Just writing about it brings tears to my eyes. It's so hard to explain the feelings that rush through your mind when you see each other for the first time. The only way to put it ... it's simply pure joy. The other upside. You can get so many photos out of the way and of course your photographers will thank you for it! :)

So here we are one year and a day later from our beautiful wedding day. We've had one hell of a year; the loss of our baby at 5 months, my dad having a triple bypass a week after our wedding, traveling to Norway for a 10 year vow renewal (more on that later), adopting a new puppy, and now we'll be heading off to our honeymoon in a few short weeks! There are so many twists and turns in life and not all of them are wonderful. But there are so many things that are. If I can provide any advice to couples it would be to plan your wedding together, just as how you're going to plan your life together. Figure out what's the most important thing to each person and set your budget and priorities. For us it was amazing photography, music, and food. While you want your guests to have the most amazing time, the day is really about the two of you and your celebration of love. Surround yourself with nothing but the best of family and best of friends. Cuddle up and look at your engagement and wedding photos, share a million and one kisses, and tell each other you love each other every day no matter what.

Oh, and sneak in a dance or two to your wedding song in the kitchen.

Here's our wedding day feature on my all time favorite wedding blog Wedding Sparrow!


Photography: Michael and Carina Photography | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: Murray Hill | Dress: Watters via BHLDN | Wedding Planner: Kat – Dear Sweetheart Events | Tuxes: Groom’s Tux: Michael Thomas Custom Clothiers | Catering: Purple Onion | Pie: Pie Sisters Georgetown | Music/DJ: Laura Lea and Tripp Fabulous | Flowers: Flowers by Lisa | Tables & Chairs: Barns Farm Tables | Vintage Rentals: Faccia Fresca Vintage | Hair and Makeup: SAS Studio & Salon | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Veil & Hairpiece: Twigs & Honey | Jewelry: Engagement Ring, Beverly K via Ketterman's Jewelers Leesburg, VA | Vintage, Something Old (Ring – Grandmother’s Engagement Ring) | Groom: Watch - Movado | Invitations/Paper Goods: Karri Lee Designs | Signs: Letterfolk | Wax Seal: Stamptitude| Table Numbers & Seating Chart: DIY | Bouquet Ribbon: Silk &Willow | Accessories on Bridesmaids: Kate Spade | Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus