Virginia State Park Wedding : Samantha + Jason

Mary Dougherty

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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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It was a home away from home. Samantha spent much of her childhood at Douthat State Park, exploring the creeks, paddling on the lakes and sleeping under expansive sky. Her family made it a tradition to vacation there and so many memories were carried in that place. When Jason proposed and they began to plan their day, it made sense to celebrate in a place so meaningful. Their day was nothing short of magical and it was a pleasure to join them in Virginia and photograph the day.

Planning a wedding in a state park is no easy feat. It involves bringing everything in – and out – and starting with the minimum. The cabins at Douthat were the perfect location to get ready and host the wedding party so that everyone could stay close. Samantha and Jason got ready and met for the first time on the dock of the water for a first look. Jason wasn’t convinced it was the right choice, but I have to hand it to Samantha for convincing him since the photos we took were worth it. It was a relaxing time and they enjoyed the start of their wedding day together before the ceremony. Held below the lake and between the trees, a perfect burlap backdrop to set the stage for the ceremony. The guys walked in over the bridge while the girls came in down the path and they said their “I do’s.” Afterwards, guests enjoyed appetizers and drinks – some mixed in mason jars and cooled on ice in the bed of a canoe – amidst fall leaves and a setting sun. Under the tent dinner was served and the night was danced away.

I’m always grateful when couples invite me to join them in a location, typically one that I have not seen or know well. I love getting to know a place and seeing the day unfold, and now we can all take a look again here…

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