Life truly is a journey, and we all have our own paths to walk and stories to tell. When a young refugee child was pulled out of the water off the coast of Florida, there was no way to know for sure where his life would take him. But, if there is one thing that can be said about Orlando, it’s that he has always been determined. Judah Avenue is so honored to be a part of their love story and wedding at The Villa in Beltsville, MD
After graduating high school, he remembered being rescued by the Coast Guard so many years before, and dedicated himself to the same cause. By the age 24, he was patrolling the coast of Haiti, looking for anyone who may be in need of some help. Though it was a fulfilling life, Orlando knew that something was missing. And in September of 2015, he knew exactly what that was. After getting a second chance at meeting a beautiful young woman who worked in the same building as himself, Orlando worked up the courage to ask her out – and it was practically love at first sight.
Orlando and Shameeka hired us for their first photo shoot – an engagement photo session – in April of 2016. Shameeka had made plans to tour the White House with a friend of hers, but it fell through. Determined to make his girlfriend happy, Orlando stepped in and offered to take her instead. The unsuspecting Shameeka agreed, completely unaware of what his true intentions were. During the tour, Orlando got down on one knee in the blue room of the White House and asked her to be his bride.
On June 10, we caught up with the couple once more at the Sheraton College Park North Hotel in Maryland and The Villa, where we found Shameeka surrounded by her friends and family as they all helped her get ready for her special day. Laughter and happy chatter filled the air as her bridesmaids helped her step into her dress and slip on her jewelry. By the time she was ready, she looked fit to stand on the cover of a bridal magazine.
In another room, Orlando also prepared for the big event surrounded by his friends and family members as well. With polished shoes and perfectly placed bowties, the men posed for a few shots surrounding the elegantly dressed groom.
Then, it was off to the ceremony. A limo picked up the bride and her party, whisking them away to The Villa. Friends and family members had already poured into the building, filling the room from wall to wall. We wedding photographers took the opportunity to snap photos of all the joyful faces – it was clear that this young couple is very much adored by everyone.
It was beautiful watching the flower girl walk into the ceremony. She took her job very seriously and started sprinkling flowers on the aisle until in an unprecedented twist she decided she loved the petals better in her basket and started picking them up again lol. The ceremony tent erupted in laughter which helped to relieve a bit of the anticipation of waiting on the bride.
They exchanged their vows and slipped on the rings, and for the first time emerged as husband and wife. There were quite a few misty eyes in the room by then.They also added a little twist to their ceremony in their cord tying ceremony. This was done to honor the bible verse that says a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Outside The Villa, both the bridal party and the groom’s party gathered around the newlyweds, posing for some perfect photos. Of course, we were sure to snap a few shots of just the bride and groom, and they carried themselves with such elegance they looked entirely regal.
It was now time to celebrate! With a fanfare parade, the couple was escorted to the reception hall, which had been elaborately decorated for the joyous event. The wedding cake stood elegantly in the corner, and each of the tables had been set perfectly in place. It wasn’t long before dancing ensued, and both friends and family gave their blessings and congratulations to the new couple.
Speeches were made, and many toasts were given as laughter and conversation filled the air. The dancing lasted long into the night, with even the youngest guest getting in on the action.
Life is an unpredictable journey, but Shameeka and Orlando have finally found each other – thank you for letting us be a part of your special day, and everyone here at Judah Avenue wishes you all the best!
Judah Avenue is a wedding photographer in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for a wedding photographer for your wedding at The Villa