In the whirlwind of wedding planning, Stephanie and Brett-Michael reached out to me with just a month left until their big day. The rush of excitement hit me immediately, especially when I learned about their chosen venue: the enchanting Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach. Being both familiar and local to me, the prospect of capturing such a unique celebration had me hooked. Little did I know, the wedding would unfold as a magical journey under the sea.


The Virginia Aquarium, with its stunning marine backdrop, provided an unparalleled setting for the couple's nuptials. Stephanie and Brett-Michael's joy was contagious as they revealed that their ceremony would take place above the stingray tank—an unconventional and utterly delightful choice. Armed with my camera and fueled by ample caffeine, I embarked on a photographic adventure.


The day commenced with the bridal party preparations. Stephanie and her bridesmaids adorned themselves with grace and anticipation. A quick rendezvous with the planner and the accommodating aquarium staff led us to the stingray tank, where eager guests awaited the ceremony. The parties ascended the stairs of the tank's observation deck in pairs, paving the way for the couple to make their grand entrance together.


The officiant painted a vivid picture of Stephanie and Brett-Michael's love story—beginning with a fateful 16-hour road trip that solidified their inseparable bond. Against the mesmerizing backdrop of swimming stingrays, the couple exchanged handwritten vows, sealing their union with a heartfelt kiss. Applause echoed through the room as guest beamed towards the couple; even the aquatic residents were celebrating this union of hearts as they beat their fins against the sides of the tank.

Post-ceremony, the wedding party and I explored the aquarium's vibrant spaces. The shipwreck, observatory tanks, hall of mirrors, and the tunnel became our canvas, each shot capturing the lively essence of the evening. The aquatic inhabitants seemed to join the festivities, creating an atmosphere of pure joy.


The reception unfolded seamlessly, featuring delectable food, drinks, games, and the pièce de résistance—gluten-free cupcakes that left a lasting impression. The evening danced on with laughter and merriment, culminating in a private last dance for the couple. The lively soundtrack reflected their personalities, setting the tone for a night to remember.


As the night drew to a close, I led Stephanie and Brett-Michael through the aquarium for a whimsical send-off. Under a cloud of bubbles blown by their jubilant guests, the couple vanished into the night, leaving behind an indelible memory of a truly magical celebration beneath the waves.


Stephanie and Brett-Michael's wedding at the Virginia Aquarium was not just an event; it was a journey into a world where love, joy, and the wonders of the sea converged to create a night of enchantment. An evening etched in my memory, reminding me of the extraordinary stories that unfold through the lens of a wedding photographer.