Virginia Unveiled: How Charlottesville Weds

A Pandemic Prom Uplifts Us All

Ah, youth.

The prom dresses and tuxedos and smiling eyes still sparkle, celebrating a night we all remember – Prom Night, that just had to happen during a global pandemic.

Adults worked all year at the Miller School to keep these young people safe from a contagious virus, gathering in the classroom, where students learn best.  In the Spring, adults decided the rite of passage that is Prom would go on.

Cars full of elegantly-attired high school students wearing masks that can’t hide smiles pull up to a barn lit with chandeliers.  The adults in their lives bought or loaned them those cars.  Adults helped most all of us get where we needed to go.

The young people promised they’d drive safely, driving to the Prom, and the adults promised they’d be safe when they got there.

We are honored to be entertaining and photographing such promising young people, trusting they will find their place in a world full of uncertainty because the adults said so.  We are often entrusted to play the music and capture the memories that define a wedding day, for all the days and progeny that makes up a marriage.  Spinning tunes and photographing the students of the Miller School feels like a larger responsibility, connecting us to a world where the people in charge have given their all to countermand a threat to our health, our community and our ability to just be.

The photo arch and the dance floor and the soda cans open, and the Midnight Masquerade is in full swing.  All the ways these students see each other in class get spun around, in time to the latest tunes, along with all the ways they will remember their senior year at the Miller School.

The big moment of the evening arrives.  Sofiya Batyrshina is crowned Prom Queen.  Lucas Adam is crowned King.  They dance, in a circle of applauding peers.  The enduring romance of Prom gives way to the After Party.

The King and Queen will likely find other royalty to court, and marry, like most of their classmates coupled at the Midnight Masquerade.  Memories of the 2021 Miller School Prom will begin to blend with the experience of meeting friends and making career choices at college, given the cars and academic expertise bestowed upon these students by trustworthy adults.

What is a night at Prom worth, in the lives of young people wearing designer masks?

Worth the risk of holding a dance party during a pandemic?  

We have all been pushed past our limits, this past year, needing to keep people we love safe from a pervasive virus, wanting to celebrate marrying people we love with people we love.  We have all cowered from the evils out there – and decided to give love, and trust, a chance to prevail.

Whatever else the young adults at the Miller School have learned during a season of challenges, culminating in the communal celebration at Midnight Masquerade, count on them to weigh the odds, go to the wall, and send their kids to the Prom, when they are the adults in charge.

Ah, youth.

Ran and Linda Henry entertain and photograph cosmic days and consequential nights as Blue Mountain Weddings, through 20 South Productions