Archive for August, 2012

August 07, 2012

All weddings are a date to remember. But some weddings just seem to go far beyond a simple date — the day ends up going down in history.

Brittany and Rodney married at Fort Boreman Park in Parkersburg, West Virginia on June 30th, 2012. For anyone residing in or having family in that region, the date would also signify the damaging derecho winds which left devastation in 53 of the state’s 55 counties.

As I drove up to West Virginia from South Carolina the morning of the 30th, I listened on the radio about West Virginia being in a State of Emergency and listeners were told to stay off the roads unless it’s an emergency. We really had no idea how bad the conditions were in West Virginia. ┬áThe majority of the state had a complete loss of power and water, which in some instances, lasted for nearly a month. But, this amazing couple wasn’t going to let the weather get them down….they confirmed the wedding would go on as planned.

I met Brittany and her bridal party at the historic Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg. This hotel is extremely beautiful and fascinating in so many ways; however, with no electricity, it can be slightly intimidating and ghostly. The staff put glow sticks along the staircases (you know, the ones you wear during Halloween) and led guests to their rooms by flashlight because you literally could not see your hand in front of your face. Armed with my flashlight app on my phone…it felt less haunted. I was nervous going in…not sure what spirits I’d find my bride in, given the circumstances. I opened the door to her room and was greeted with her wonderful and contagious smile that said, “this is my day and nothing is going to ruin it!”

The ceremony site overlooked the valley and was truly beautiful. Compared to the usual sounds of area, there was a comforting quiet that had settled over the valley. The storm had affected the power, water, and telephone service, so this couple really had to improvise on a moment’s notice. This was even harder than it sounds because with no power, most stores were also closed, which meant no gasoline or way to purchase anything for last minutes changes to a wedding.

I’ve decided that most people in West Virginia are basically self sufficient and inventive, as the couple and their families quickly adapted to the new situation without missing a beat. Amid a carpet of downed branches and leaves, and wedding music streaming from the car speakers, the bride made her entrance with her usual flair of style and all went according to plan.
The reception hall was filled with candles and natural lighting, and the conversations and laughter of family and friends took the place of music and entertainment. As I watched the couple and their guests having a wonderful day, I couldn’t help but think how this moment compared to the rainbow after the storm. Amid the chaos of a state in devastation and ruin, this couple not only weathered the storm, but did so amid of group of family and friends filled with love, togetherness and joy.

A very special thank you to Jennifer Smith of Jenn Smith Photography for Second Shooting. I know it wasn’t easy getting there or even making the decision to come, but please know I’m truly grateful and appreciate you more than you know!

Many Congratulations Brittany & Rodney!

Images may not be copied or used without permission. Please contact Julia at

Images may not be copied or used without permission. Please contact Julia at