Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIOS ARE OPEN - Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View WPJA photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope | Choose love, not fear!

Maymont Italian Gardens - Richmond, VA Elopement Photo Story Award

Elopement wedding couple portraits at the Outdoor Italian Herb Garden at Maymont, Richmond, VA

Herb Garden at Maymont, Richmond, VA Wedding Portraits | Sunset portrait of the couple

Sunset portrait of the couple in Maymont's Italian gardens, in Richmond, Virginia.

With respect to their elders and to tradition, many of my Chinese couples include a tea ceremony on their wedding day. So they were excited to connect with a Chinese wedding photographer who was familiar with tea ceremonies. The simple tea ceremony they planned would include just 2 rounds of tea with each set of their parents, followed by a western ceremony at Maymont.

This sweet couple met at The College of William & Mary and started dating after graduation in 2016. On our initial call, Victor talked about how perfect Ziwei is for him – she can always predict what he’s doing, has an incredible sense of humor, and just gets him! They were together for 4 years before they got engaged in January of 2020. They didn’t want to wait to tie the knot, so to celebrate safely last year, the couple opted for an intimate celebration with just their families.

Ziwei and Victor started their day at Victor’s parents’ home, where they got ready and did a first look together before the day began. First looks are always a highlight for my couples. Getting to finally see each other, hold hands, and hug helps all the stress of the day just melt away! And you can see in the first look moments just how happy and relieved Ziwei and Victor are to see each other.

Next was the Chinese tea ceremony, which was in Victor’s parents' home. Victor’s brother, Peter, helped pour and serve the tea. The couple first served tea to Victor’s parents, who gifted them with jewelry and words of advice. Then Ziwei’s parents offered them lucky red envelopes and more words of wisdom. I love how this cultural tradition gives the couple a chance to talk with each set of their parents together!

Then, we traveled all together to Maymont for their western ceremony under the pergola at the Italian Gardens. An officiant oversaw their exchange of vows and rings, and then they were legally married! Sunset portraits around the gardens were the perfect way to end their fall Maymont wedding day. Keep scrolling to see the story of their day!

Chinese tea ceremony Wedding Photo from Richmond VA of the troubles getting the candles to light

Chinese tea ceremony Wedding Photo - Richmond VA | having trouble getting the candles to light

They were having trouble getting the candles to light, and we weren't expecting it to take so long, so Dad started working on multiple sticks of incense at once. Victor started helping as well.

BW Wedding elopement Picture from Richmond VA of dad reminiscing about his own wedding photos

BW Wedding Picture from Richmond Virginia | dad started reminiscing about his own wedding photos

Victor's dad started reminiscing about his own wedding photos. He brought one up on his phone to show everyone how handsome he was when he was younger. His wife is standing a little behind him. The women to the left and right of him are the bride and bride's mom. The bride's dad is to the left, also smiling at the photo, and Victor is on the left edge of the frame.

Elopement Photography in Richmond, VA of couple bowing to the ancestors before the incense 3 times

Wedding Photography for Richmond Virginia | The tea ceremony is beginning

The tea ceremony is beginning. Ziwei & Victor bow to the ancestors before the incense 3 times.

Richmond Virginia Wedding Photo of the couple and grooms parents during the tea ceremony

Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographers | This is the couple and grooms parents during the tea ceremony.

This is the couple and Victor's parents during the tea ceremony. The parents are giving the couple their blessings and sharing advice.

Richmond, VA Wedding Photography of Mom gifting the bride a gold necklace at tea ceremony

Richmond, VA Wedding Photography | Mom gifts the bride with a gold necklace

Mom gifts Ziwei with a gold necklace, a family heirloom, as part of the ceremony.

Maymont Park Virginia Wedding Photo of the couple Walking together into the gardens

Maymont Virginia Wedding Photographer | Walking together into Maymont

Walking together into Maymont for the Western wedding.

Virginia Italian Gardens Elopement Photo from an outdoor Richmond wedding ceremony

Richmond Photography of a Maymont Park Wedding | The couple and family gather under the pergola

The couple and family gather under the pergola in the Italian Gardens for the ceremony.