Virginia Unveiled: How Charlottesville Weds

Waiting on a Day for the Ages

Waiting to wed through a global pandemic, missing loved ones, life and plans on hold, an engaged couple can find their faith strengthened as well as rewarded.

A lot can change in two people’s worlds, while the world changes. Amy and Xavier find time in a busy Summer to capture who they are, on the road to becoming a new creation. Posing for engagement portraits at Lydia Mountain Lodge, they savor a quiet moment at the scene of their September celebration.

The lodge perched atop a verdant Virginia valley teems with excited couples and their friends and family most every weekend, from Spring’s early greening to snow falling on orange oaks. Merriment is always around the corner.

We have photographed and entertained weddings in Lydia’s four uniquely rustic spaces and the traditional rock chhapel on the road up to Skyline Drive. The Lydia Mountain Lodge, The Pavilion, Lydia’s Barn and Teenie’s Sawmill Barn at the Lily Pad Cottage all echo with the sights and sounds of couples celebrating long-awaited days.

Amy and Xavier pose first by their future altar, working at bringing their natural coziness around one another into the picture. We move to other spots around the grounds, bringing out different backdrops, trees, the mountain skyline and the homey vibe of the wedding cabin.

The Summer-green oaks rustle with expectations, for a couple of runners slow-walking to the altar.

Joining the ranks of Hoos Married in Charlottesville, the two met in school, back home in Maryland. Running track for the Frostburg State University Bobcats, a division three school west of Hagerstown in the Alleghanies, near the Pennsylvania border, somehow sent the lovebirds down to Charlottesville.

Amy’s father, a kinesiologist, told his daughter following in his footsteps to seek her Masters in Physical Therapy at UVA. Xavier’s engineering degree landed him a job just up the road from Grounds, at Northrop Grumman. All was in readiness for a Loving Virginia wedding. Then the pandemic hit, and the waiting began.

Waiting on a Day for the Ages

These Marylanders are the kind of romantics who thrive in a town where engaged couples enter a lottery every year to win two hours of wedding time in the UVA chapel, committed to their community, and wedding plans, as fervently as any two Hoos.

Last of their circle of friends to get married, determined to honor Cupid and outwit Covid, Xavier and Amy ride up Lydia mountain on a warm, breezy August afternoon to fill our lenses with love, and look ahead.

Of course their black Lab will be the ring dog, and a Bobcat sits by their wedding cake. After feeding one another, and their guests, they find time to talk for hours to the people they love, from all walks of their lives, while the soundtracks to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars and Harry Potter play.

In a time of postponed celebrations, a Dee Jay must wait along with everyone else celebrating Amy and Xavier’s wedding day. Deep draughts of conversation connect and reconnect a select group, indeed, agonizingly chosen, celebrated with time well spent.

Hours later, after seemingly endless wait to hit the dance floor, hip-hop and Latin pop bursts forth, and fills the dance floor for hours.

Love and an ecumenical music mix never fails. With engagement portraits and lively wedding pictures on their walls, a couple from Maryland has a chance to paint their children’s rooms orange and blue.