Every once in a while in my 20 years experience as a wedding photographer I’ve run into a wedding that is so unique or different that makes me say wow, all weddings should be this way. Not in an over the top way but in the way it felt to be there.

Stephanie and David’s wedding was just like that… their ceremony was at Brookside Gardens in Maryland https://montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/brookside-gardens/venue-rentals-photo-permits/ among beautiful flowers incredible species that were so varied and unique just like them and their beautiful wedding that the moment that you stepped in it felt like that you were in another world.

There were beautiful, brilliant yellow house finches hopping between the branches and butterflies everywhere. So many varieties of flowers and species of plants I simply could not count them all.

It is a place where you could spend a lot of time and linger. Water features and art nestled quietly and unobtrusively here and there.

As the bride finished up getting ready with her mom the groom arrived handsome as can be complete with suspenders. Wowza!

When the bride arrived, he saw her for the first time alone mom peeked at a distance.

It was just the two of them and it was beautiful.

After they spent some special time alone together they greeted their guests as they arrived to the ceremony site and welcomed them saying how happy they were there.

It was almost like a pre-ceremony garden party.

We created photographs with each guest printed a copy to each of them at the afternoon reception where they also created an album for Stephanie and David which they brought home that day to enjoy.

Such a great idea the bride had and it was a big hit.

Stephanie shared later how much her guests love this and it is definitely something we would do again.

It was a nice size event around 100 guests but it felt so intimate tucked in the flower garden as the bride walked under the elephant vine and to her groom under an elephant vine arch. A string quartet played and it literally felt like a modern-day fairy tale.

Their reception I would describe as modern day at this incredible place called Fogo de Chao. If you haven’t been there, you have to go. It’s totally on our date night radar now. The staff at this restaurant was so incredibly professional.   Both Jay and I (and the bride and groom) felt like we were being welcomed into their homes. https://fogodechao.com/location/bethesda/

They have a lovely outdoor courtyard with a little closed in area with vines growing on the side of the building and chairs where people can hang out and wait it was a perfect place for just a quiet very casual cocktail hour while they were waiting for the tables and dinner to be ready as guests walked into the reception was decorated with a modern flair just loved it um let’s talk about the food now I don’t even know where to begin I think they might be famous for their salad bar there is no way in one sitting that you could try every single thing it was incredible fun neat I don’t have enough adjectives or action verbs to describe it they had salami and every type of olive and cheese it just it was salad heaven next to that there was a waffle bar of where they made homemade waffles in front of you as you sat down at the tables you had a little token that as you sat there gentlemen would come by and ladies with various types of cheese and shark cart charcuterie boards and then meat that they carved right at the table you could have as much as you wanted people talked people laughed people enjoyed each other ‘s company and it was really lovely because there wasn’t a timeline where anyone was being hurried from this to to that but yet there were speeches that were very meaningful and beautiful um both from the bride and groom’s friends and family that were lovely and touching that I’ll never forget there was a cake cutting and then there was the most incredible presentation of several different types of fabulous scrumptious incredible desserts can you tell I loved it so guys um I want to encourage you to as you’re thinking about your wedding to not always feel that you have to do everything traditionally you don’t if you’re if you’re quieter and you don’t want to do a lot of dancing and you don’t want to throw because you don’t want to feel like you know are doing lots of activities and just want to spend time with your friends and family you might want to consider a modern day hybrid afternoon wedding where you just hang out with your friends and family and the people you love yes spoil them to death and you just have a great wonderful time.