If you’re reading this and think that this is just another blog about just another wedding, I can tell you just one thing: you’re just so wrong. Before we get started please, grab a snack, pour a drink and get comfortable because my first chance with these two came at the very moment of their proposal’s inception.
It arrived with the click of a mouse and a new note in my inbox. Upon opening, I will never forget reading the inquiry sent by one of the most charming and well announced young men I may have ever had the pleasure of working with. One thing was clear, he needed professional photography on the evening of February 18th, 2017 at the Capitol Dome to document the moment that their lives would change forever. So naturally, I was of course game for this big opportunity! I quickly learned that this project would be unique because of how much planning we took in scouting out the exact spot and then the very route which they would walk before getting down on one knee. Robert Moir is different than most. This Arlington, Virginia Police Officer was obviously not only in love but he also made every additional effort to do whatever he could to make this the most special thing for his girl. Ashley had no idea we were even texting leading up to their arrival so I knew exactly what they would be wearing and how close they were! There I sat as I watched the sun go down behind this spectacular structure on what had to have been the warmest day in February that I can remember. It was at the moment when the darkness cloaked the sky with the stars that I saw them walking forward through the courtyard. Blanketed with darkness, I ran all the way up and around to grab a quick shot of Rob reaching into his jacket to grab what had to have been the ring —SNAP! I sprinted back as fast as I could — I’m a distance runner when I’m not photographing so I managed to book it back to the flash (just in time) for the big shot. With the help of a hot burst of light, I caught every bit this event. And just like that, Rob not only got his wish but he also got his girl as she promised him her forever. We exchanged greetings, I congratulated them both and then we parted our ways —I couldn’t wait to reveal what I had locked in time for those two (and generations afterward).
Our story continues with a phone call from the bride herself, shedding many thanks and then granting me the opportunity to capture their next big step — their wedding. Over the course of the next several months, I learned just how much I loved working with Ashley as well. As the Booker for the Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News, it's in her role to be as organized and decisive as possible. Some photographers might feel pressured by this but she is literally the best client because she knows what she wants! I love that so much and working with her was a fantastic harmony.
The second time my lens met this staple couple, we were caught showcasing their recent engagement. It was raining but we had to commit to the date. I arrived early to get the best scope possible on what we could do given the unpredictable weather. It was early June and it was hot — but not as hot as what we were about to capture. This was the moment meant to preview their big day, which had just been secured for mid May 2018. I snapped them both at the reflecting pool and then we danced up on the Lincoln Memorial like:
“… I don't know if you were looking at me or not… You probably smile like that all the time… I don't mean to bother you but … I couldn't just walk by… And not say hi… I just wanna take your time.”
Ashley and Rob were doing so well that we didn’t even notice that the clouds had subsided and It was very quickly just perfect outside. We made our way through, shot to shot, being sure not to miss anything as our final snaps took us to the Tidal Basin. We rehearsed their soon to be famous dip-shots (which happen to now be requested by many of my couples for their own photo-shoots) and time rolled on as we finished our session. From the looks of the back of the camera, and then the final edits, I was over the moon with excitement for that day coming next May.
And then, it was time.
Starting at 2:00PM, Friday, May 11th, 2018.
I was finishing my gear list for the photography and cinematography team who were set to travel down and meet me the following morning. My project manager, Jessica, met me in the studio as we loaded up the car, jumped in and were off! The drive down to D.C. was easier than expected for a Friday afternoon and we happened to make it in record time. We arrived at the venue, the Fairmont Hotel in Georgetown, unloaded, checked-in and then sat down to have our pre-event meeting at the hotel room desk. The clock turned its hands and we were out of the room promptly. We traveled downstairs to the rehearsal ceremony in an area of the hotel called “The Colonnade.” Participants flowed in and the couple was in place when they both began to realize that tomorrow marked the very beginning of the rest of their forever. Ashley was very soon going be #koerbernomoir. We followed the couple and their family to their rehearsal dinner party by the waterside at Nick’s Riverside Grille. I even snapped a few sunset portraits of Rob and Ashley as the family ate, drank, laughed and cheered on for the coming moments we had all been waiting for. I couldn’t sleep that night so I stayed up on my email, running the plan through my mind, again and again… and then, I woke up.
It was 6:30AM Saturday, May 12th, 2018.
The sun was shining.
The day started abruptly with an endless search for a copy of the Washington Post - for a must-have ring detail, to be shot in the bridal suite. Jessica and I trekked tirelessly, for blocks, but they were all sold out everywhere. Upon our return, we were alerted that the concierge had spare copies. Thank God! But unfortunately, much to my dismay but certainly not a surprise, the front page was littered with despair and destruction… something I’d definitely avoid showing (at all costs) in a wedding image. Thankfully, there was a saving grace at the top line about the Washington Capitals’ recent play-off victory from the night before. That’ll work - I thought. Considering that this family bleeds red white and blue, especially for their D.C. sports teams! Need I mention it had been a while since the Caps had experienced such a string of play-off success! We ran into Ashley’s mother in the hallway as she claimed she could not sleep at all as well.
It was finally 11:30AM and my crew and I were headed off to our posts. Roll call. Houlton, Nick, Josh and Victor all headed over to the groom’s room first and then Chris and I were off to the Magnolia Suite—all to capture those very important ‘getting ready’ moments. Jessica remained in various areas for much of the ‘getting ready’ time as she was the vital brain and then nervous system to our production. We all had radios in ear emitting her voice and lists to our heads. We never missed a beat.
The groomsmen were ready first and then headed down with Houlton and Nick for some groom’s family portraits and a few final venue details. Chris and I hung back in the Magnolia Suite as the final makeup touches were made and almost everyone was ready. At the conclusion of the bridal hair-do efforts, Ashley got into her dress with her mother as her first witness. She opened the door and we walked into her private room as the wind was knocked out of us all. We were seeing her in that dress for the very first time. She looked back at us, over her shoulder, with the light of the balcony spilling around her. She was radiant. She was perfect. But most of all, she was SO happy. Her veil had been mounted and we began firing away with our shutters. All was concluded upstairs and it was time to head down, to above the Loggia, for bridal family portraits.
We had just moments before the ceremony began.
Our crew started hooking up the lavalier mics for Rob, Chris Stirewalt (the officiant), and the surrounding audio systems —all wired up and recording. Guests poured into the Colonnade and arrived at their seats both eager but patient for the start of the ceremony. The wedding party lined up and everyone was on their marks. The music cued and my team was at the ready. The processional began as the wedding party entered through the hall and took their spots above the center-stage altar. Rob entered, lead by both his mother and father at each arm. Once all the way down, he climbed up the steps stood waiting. The whole party was surrounded by large columns and then rows of seated guests - we were finally here and it was really happening. The music changed and Rob stretched a look around the corner. Violins broke through the silent pause and Ashley entered the room with our crowd on their feet. As she walked down, I could smell a waft of the flowers on the pedestal lining the aisle beside me. I smiled to myself because I knew Rob was now getting his wish and I could not have been happier for him. And for Ashley - she was receiving a fairy tale companion for which I couldn’t have been more proud for her! There were the loveliest of words exchanged —referencing the wisdom of Mr. Rodgers and Mark Twain’s historic letter to his wife, to name a few. Then at that moment, it actually happened. That moment where they professed their unconditional love and then sealed it with a kiss. Once dismissed, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Moir skipped merrily back down the aisle with the largest of grins on their faces. Words were not necessary for how truly happy they both were and hopefully will always be forever. My eye caught Ashley’s mother, paused in the aisle. She had her fists up in the air as if to say
“Yes! They did it!”
Our team rolled out after them like an army in full pursuit. It was cocktail hour with my newlyweds, which lead me to the balcony above the Loggia and then down to the Georgetown streets for a fast newly married session. Guests’ glasses were filled with the finest of beverages and all invited friends became as close as family. And then It was time to go down the the ballroom.
I had five minutes to direct the prep for this rather large reception area with all equipment needed to finish out this spectacular evening. The whole team came down together and labored to get it all just right for the big entry of the wedding party and the rest of the family… 3-2-1-0. It was time.
Guests were lead in and took their seats at their respective tables. And then, the double doors flew open to a room filled with the most stunning centerpieces and incredible draperies —all folding around blush uplighting with metallic details. The sweetheart table, geometric and contemporary in nature, had a clear glass top with a gold, criss-cross leg frame. Behind this structure was a beautiful white couch intended to hold the new Mr. and Mrs. higher than a throne. It was a high-class scene fit for the finest of friends and family to pour in and enjoy. Cue the DJ.
Our party rained in, parents first and then pair by pair, all with varying stunts for our crowd’s entertainment. They built a long assembly line across the front of the sweetheart table and along the far wall. And here we go —Mr. and Mrs. Robert Moir steamed in at a full but joyous speed. Ashley’s smiles made my cheeks hurt to look at… with how much happiness they were holding up, they must have been honestly sore! We all cheered out loud and then snapped quickly away for the next several hours. I wasn’t going to tolerate anyone missing a single moment. Our pair stopped dead in the center of the dance floor and then fell into their final Sam Hunt moment —except this time it was to actually take your time away girl because this time you were finally his.
Following the first dance, the mother’s dance began. Yes, I forgot to mention the next day was Mother’s Day and the bridal party wanted that to be honored on their biggest moment. Family first, people. As it always should be. My team and I witnessed some of the most passionate moments of what it means to be a mother —something I still have yet to personally know but can certainly hold very high respect for. At the signal, the crowd joined in and migrated right to the dance floor. All guests were very eagerly invited to experience all of the happy that was floating around —Lord knows that there was certainly an immense abundance! The reception carried on with fantastic toasts from some of the very highest party members and were then followed by a delectable dinner, which was served all around. Dancing began and didn’t stop at all —only for cake did we break! And then there was a surprise!!!
A lone chair was pulled to the front end of the dance floor where Ashley sat down, sipping her Tito’s and Pineapple Cocktail.
CUE THE FRICKIN’ DJ PEOPLE.
Rob swept around to the opposite end and started breaking out in a choreographed dance routine, all as a special surprise for his new wife. That’s right, like I said earlier, Rob is ‘different than most’ … I knew it would come back around. This performance was unlike anything I had ever witnessed at a wedding before. I knew it, I KNEW IT. Ashley you have a GREAT man, and I support everything about you both! Rob danced his pants off and entertained the actual crap out of ALL of us! At the very conclusion of his dance, everyone stood up in synchrony and cheered at the top of their lungs. All guests poured out to back to the dance floor with the utmost inspiration, and continued to dance the rest of this unbelievable night away.
I have photographed several couples over my time as a photographer but I really must say that the work that my team and I produced with Rob and Ashley really raised the bar. This whole family showed me what was possible when there’s just the right planning in place and just the right support from all involved. I owe many thanks not exclusively to them but also to probably the most important factor in the mix of this event — Ashley’s mother, Jeanne. I first met Jeanne when I began my full-time career as just a real estate photographer for Maryland Photography Inc…. since then my roll at this company has grown to encompass the title of Commercial Photography Director. I have no words for Jeanne other than the fact that she is certainly the oil behind the gears. Jeanne is a family-focused, highly compassionate mother who always tries her best to do and be the best for others. It is important to me that she always receives the recognition that she should have and the utmost respect that she truthfully deserves —for everything she does. You did this mamma and we all will never ever forget it. Man with the seat belt. Amen.