Virginia Backyard Wedding // Aija + Stafford // Chesapeake, VA

When Aija and Stafford asked me to photograph their Virginia backyard wedding, the answer was a resounding YES. After taking photos of Aija and her family for her graduation from the University of Virginia three years ago, I was so happy and honored to photograph them again…and now also got to photograph the Browns (Stafford’s family)!

COVID may have postponed their original wedding plans to 2022, but Aija and Stafford couldn’t wait that long to start their life together. They decided instead to have an intimate backyard ceremony in July, and honestly, it was perfect! The yard was beautiful and the decor was elegant, making the personal outdoor space look and feel just like a “real” venue, anyway. The space was just right for their intimate Virginia backyard wedding of just 12 of their closest family and friends. 

While the group may have been small, the energy of the day was not! Smaller weddings are really wonderful, because those few people really do feel such a connection with the bride and groom, and share every joyful moment. This was definitely the case for Aija and Stafford’s celebration! Their elegant backyard micro-wedding was filled with love and laughter throughout. 

As any UVA grad can attest, we Hoos know how to throw a great party! After the simple and elegant wedding ceremony, the couple stepped away for some beautiful sunset photos…and then finished with an evening of champagne toasts, laughter, and a few happy tears. Being able to be there for Aija and Stafford’s big day was such an honor, and so special. 

The day was filled with so much happiness, and the smiles that shine in their images really say it all. Scroll to see some of my favorite memories from the day!


Photography: Xiaoqi Li Photography

Caterer: Jean Lorestil

Make-up Artist: Bella Vita Artistry

Hair Stylist: Braids by Valerie

Musician (Saxophonist): Rick Elliot

Cake: Classic Confections by Julia

Event Coordinator: Graceful Designs

groom getting ready with groomsmen and family before wedding day

groom hugging mom on wedding day

Bride getting dress on before elegant backyard micro-wedding

woman helping bride get shoes on before ceremony

groom seeing bride for the first time on wedding day bride walking towards the aisle

man and woman holding hands at alter during backyard micro-wedding

mother of the bride sitting and watching the ceremony  mother and father of the groom watching ceremony

bride and groom pouring sand into one container during symbolic wedding ceremony

family smiling during wedding ceremony

bride and groom walking out of ceremony as husband and wife

family cheering after bride and groom are announced as husband and wife

groom hugging grandmother family drinking and celebrating recent marriage

backyard elegant micro-wedding dinner reception

sand that was used during wedding ceremony table setting of backyard micro-wedding

bride and groom dancing and kissing at dinner reception

bride and groom giving toasts and speeches during reception bride and groom listening to speeches during dinner reception

wedding bands and ring details shot

bride and groom walking together as husband and wife

bride and groom hugging and laughing

bride and groom foreheads together smiling husband holding wife during portraits after ceremony

bride and groom dancing together

bride smiling holding bouquet bridal bouquet and strapless wedding gown detail shot of bride

groom holding bridal bouquet

bride and groom cutting into cake

father giving speech at dinner ceremony

bride and groom laughing

speeches at dinner reception

man and woman celebrating recent elegant backyard micro-wedding

bride and groom hugging and laughing

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