Backyard Wedding in Downtown Charlottesville, VA | Rachel + Alex


June 21, 2021

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As a Charlottesville wedding photographer, I don’t think anything captures the essence of southern hospitality quite as well as hosting your wedding in your own home. Rachel and Alex tied the knot beside their own garden in front of 60 of their closest loved ones, and it was my honor to capture every show tune sung amongst friends and every tequila shot offered by family!

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Rachel and Alex had originally reached out to me with plans to tie the knot in a personality (and pie!) filled intimate ceremony at Old Metropolitan Hall in 2020, but like so many other couples were forced to reschedule when Virginia shut down in March. One year after rescheduling, we hopped onto a Zoom call to talk through the options and uncertainty around wedding planning during a pandemic.

March 2021 was still a tricky time! Vaccinations were rolling out, but no one really knew if guests could all be fully vaccinated before the wedding day itself. With the decision deadline looming, Rachel and Alex made the tough call to scrap their original venue plans and instead host a smaller wedding in their backyard to ensure that all of their nearest and dearest could attend and feel comfortable.

Being invited into their Charlottesville home made for such a unique and personal element to their wedding day – there is something so sweetly intimate about a champagne cheers with your best friend witnessed by your favorite childhood stuffed animals!

Getting a full wedding party ready in one home without the bride and groom seeing each other before the first look served up a unique challenge! Rachel and her bride crew staked out the top floor of the house in order to squeeze in their finishing touches while Alex and his groomsmen shared a toast with their signature whiskey in the basement.

With the anticipation building slowly for over a year, Rachel was so excited to reveal her dress to Alex during their first look! Her BHLDN gown had so many bridal elements that she loved, particularly the floral lace in the bodice and perfect twirl factor. Rachel said Yes to her dress at BHLDN by Anthropologie!

Charlottesville florist Fiori Floral Studio really elevated the space from an everyday yard into an intimate, summery space fit for a celebration with whimsical wreaths and Rachel’s bridal bouquet!

When choosing a florist, it is so important to work with someone that you feel truly understands the vision and style that you have for your wedding day. What they create for you will bring your wedding day vision together because they serve as your guide through choosing flowers and color schemes, navigating you through which florals will be in season or what colors and shapes compliment your venue’s style. Installation designs, centerpieces and bouquets can feel like the icing on the cake in the design of your day, so finding someone who understands the ambience and style that you’re going for is imperative!

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Thank you to these vendors for going above and beyond to bring Rachel and Alex’s house party turned wedding vision to life!

Coordination by Beth Ike, The Wedding Wrangler 

Charlottesville Wedding Photographer Kyra Gustwick

Dress is by BHLDN by Anthropologie

Florist is Fiori Floral Studio

Custom Wedding Pie by Proper Pie Co


If you love the idea of saying I do with a secret garden flair, check out a recent wedding at one of my favorite Charlottesville wedding venues: The Market at Grelen!

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