Alexandra and Christopher (Allie and Chris) were married on December 29th, with a ceremony and reception at Belle Mer – a Longwood Venue. Their winter wedding was what dreams are made of, their classic black tie attire and winter reception decor filled in the Island House with a romantic and timeless elegance.
Allie and Chris met through Allie’s brother when their friends all got together for a big trip to Canada. It was on this trip that Allie fell for the super tall guy with the awesome smile. When I first talked to Allie and Chris I learned that they were living in Virginia Beach, Virginia, so I didn’t have the opportunity to meet with them in person until the wedding day. I talked with Allie on the phone throughout the wedding planning process, and I could just tell their wedding was going to be special.
When I arrived at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina with my second shooter, Jessica Rich, and my assistant, Brandon Bebeau, my initial gut feeling was confirmed. This bride and groom were amazing! Chris was so friendly and relaxed and genuinely happy to be marrying his dream girl. And Allie was fearless and stunning in her Pnina Tornai dress from Kleinfeld; it looked like it was made just for her.
The ladies started out the day right, with a little fun as well as true emotion. All of the girls had on black monogrammed pajama jumpsuits as they got ready—perfect for the cold weather. And in a quieter moment, Allie’s mom helped her to put on her grandmother’s necklace.
Since this was a late December wedding, the winter weather had already started nipping at us when we went outside for the first look. Allie and Chris weren’t afraid to brave the weather, but Allie stayed warm in a fur blanket that she brought to stay warm. You can see in the pictures from the first look at the lighthouse their cheeks were rosy red and the wind was really whipping. But, despite the chilly weather, these two were able to recreate a picture from their engagement session where Chris held Allie in the air. It was all worth it!
Their puppy, a German Shephard, made an appearance during the first look as well. We took a couple of photos with him at a distance—he was so excited to see his mommy that he wanted to jump right on her!
Everyone headed to Belle Mer after that for some bridal party photos as well as some images of just the two of them at the place where they would be married. This was my favorite part of the whole day because I got so caught up in their chemistry together. The way Allie made Chris light up, and the way Chris made Allie so relaxed—it was amazing to watch.
Not to mention the gorgeous location, the Island House was a winter wonderland, with evergreen trees covered in twinkle lights… dark floors with white walls… a panoramic view of the ocean… The whole venue was a wedding photographer’s dream.
With this gorgeous backdrop, Allie and Chris held a beautiful, emotional ceremony. When Allie’s father handed her off after walking her down the aisle, it was plain to see he was proud. It was so sweet when he placed Allie’s hands into Chris’s. Chris couldn’t stop beaming. Then, Allie’s mom did a reading before the ring exchange. Allie and Chris poured a bottle of red and white wine into one carafe. They sipped the wine together to symbolize their lives mixing and joining together.
That emotion continued into the reception in the Island House, where Allie’s parents brought tears to the eyes of the guests. Allie cried during her father’s thoughtful speech, and then her mother cried as she held onto Allie’s brother during the father/daughter dance. On the other hand, the best man’s speech had everyone laughing as he looked back on years of good times with Chris.
But my favorite images of the whole day weren’t until sunset when Allie and Chris braved the cold once more. The colors were breathtaking, and so were Allie and Chris, with the Newport Bridge in the background. I’m so proud of them—and of that picture.
Allie & Chris, thank you for being so amazing and trusting me even though you hadn’t met me until the most important day of your life! You guys nailed it! Congratulations and warmest wishes!!
Venue: Belle Mer
Photographer: Shannon Matos Photography
Wedding coordinator –Stephanie Donofrio
Flowers: Sayles Livingston Design
Cake: Belle Mer
Hair: Lynn Daponte
Dress designer: Pnina Tornai
Dress boutique: Kleinfeld Bridal
Brides Maid dresses: Davids Bridal
Mens tuxes: Mens Wearhouse
Rentals: PEAK Event rentals