Intimate and Elegant Wedding in Middleburg, Virginia

A wonderful and timeless group of memories created by Middleburg Photo.  Christie and Brendan are now happily married and living in Middleburg, VA, and we were thrilled to be part of their big day.  The timeless beauty of one of Middleburg’s most prestigious country inns creates a gorgeous setting for any wedding.  Enjoy Christie’s narrative of their intimate wedding and let us know how we can help make the most important day of your life even more memorable. Shop local!…   Joan S.

Brendan and I met as high school freshmen on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where we both grew up. Though we didn’t date for years, we stayed in touch (and interested!).


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In 2007, after a romantic declaration of love, Brendan came to join me in Middleburg, Virginia, where I had been teaching middle school for the last year. He finally proposed in August 2014, and we knew that we didn’t want to wait through a long engagement to commit to each other officially!

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We didn’t spend time looking at venues, because the Goodstone Inn had become incredibly special to us since moving to the area, and we knew that we wanted to spend the most important day of our lives there.

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The gorgeous scenery, decadent food and wine, and amazingly personalized service make the Goodstone a truly special destination – even though we only live 5 minutes away!


We invited only our closest family members and friends and were able to celebrate an emotional and elegant weekend with our 35 guests, nearly all of whom traveled hundreds of miles to join us. The ceremony was especially moving – we wrote our own vows and included our siblings as groomsmen and readers and our nieces as flower girls. We were married by a close friend and colleague, and my cousin even traveled all the way from Australia to be a bridesmaid!

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We were privileged to work with a few vendors that inspired many of the aesthetic details of our day. Our stationer, Rachel Merkle of Miss Merkle Design’s, eye for color and pattern helped determine the shades that we incorporated throughout the weekend.


Her day of signage also created a connection between the bar, the dinner tables, and the other tables set up throughout the Manor House.


Holly Heider Chapple’s floral designs were soft and classic and tied together our color scheme with our love of all things culinary by incorporating a variety of herbs alongside the blooms.

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My dress, hair, and makeup and Brendan’s custom shawl collar tuxedo felt perfect in the timeless atmosphere of the Goodstone, and our violette wedding cake with blueberry puree and blueberry buttercream was the perfect end to an exceptional meal.

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Goodstone’s Executive Chef, Johnathan Leonard, even prepared a selection of personal sized pies to surprise our guests with later in the night (the wedding was March 14, 2015 – 03.14.15 – Pi Day).

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Throughout the evening, our photographers, Karen and Doug from Middleburg Photo captured the mood beautifully and looking through their work still takes our breath away!



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Here’s to another beautiful set of timeless memories from Middleburg Photo.  We are wishing Brendan and Christie all the best in their new life.  Looking forward to hearing from you… Joan S

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Vendors –

Venue & Catering: Goodstone Inn
Flowers: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers
Bride’s Dress: Oleg Cassini
Engagement and Wedding Rings: DeScenza Diamonds
Hair and Makeup: Jacquelyn Rodriguez of Enlightened Styles
Groom’s Attire: Puritan Clothing (Tuxedo by Samuelsohn)
Paper: Miss Merkle Design
Music: Piemonte Strings and Olivera Music
Cake: Le Gateau de Leveque
Photography: Middleburg Photo []


Sunrise Yoga

Recently Middleburg Photo and I had the pleasure of attending Sunrise Yoga at the Salamander Resort Stable in Middleburg, Virginia. A die hard Pilates (and horse) fanatic, I have always found yoga to be a bit intimidating.  Luckily, yoga doesn’t require a flexible body, just a willing mind.


What could be better than an early morning sunrise, a beautiful vista and a few other folks to start the day with?  Somehow this setting made practicing chaturanga easy!

yoga-14-EditThe true essence of Salamander Resort and Spa can be appreciated by watching the sun beginning to rise.  The combination of the early morning cloud bank framing the verdent paddocks, board fencing and horses grazing was breath taking.  Gazing at the dairy barn and silos, one could envision Middleburg in an earlier time, when the milkman made his rounds with his horse and buggy.


The stable is lovely.  I cannot wait to practice here again.. or ride!


‘Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, “you owe me”  Look what happens with a love like that.  It lights the whole sky.’ ~Hafiz

Spend time today.  Look up.  Look at the sky, the clouds, the sun.  Be thankful.



~ Namaste ~

Joan Strahler  for Middleburg Photo.  Thank you to Yogaletics Wear for the lovely and comfortable leggings. Thank you Salamander Resort and Spa and Horse Yoga Girl for the opportunity to practice and for Middleburg Photo to capture these images. Continue reading

Virginia Hound Show

 When the opportunity arises to attend the Virginia Foxhound Show, be sure to say yes.

This show is a great honor for any amateur, professional or observer. Put on by the Virginia Foxhound Club, and is held at Morven Park.  The magnificent venue under the old oak trees, the opportunity to make new friends and re-acquaint with old ones and the display of the best foxhounds from hunts across the United States and Canada make this an event not to be missed.

Looking around during the show, a feeling of being transported in time comes upon you. Bloodlines that reach back hundreds of years, white coats, judges in shirts and ties (and dresses). It’s a very quiet event, no loudspeakers or music. Just a large group of people, and lots and lots of foxhounds. The peacefulness is broken only by the cheers of the crowd when their favorite is pinned, or by a ruckus back at the kennels, which can either be the baying or the singing of the hounds. I always amuse myself when I can hear the hounds that they are calling out to their huntsman… PLEASE TAKE ME TO THE RING I’M READY!!

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There is a keen sense of competition underlying the friendships all hunts make with one another. There are always the prestigious packs that place well, but the whoop that arises from the crowd when a lesser known entrant wins is amazing.

Participating in the show is a great honor for both amateurs and professionals. It’s also an opportunity for masters and huntsmen to see hounds they might like to breed to for a certain missing link in their current pack. Whether bloodlines, confirmation, bidability, additional gene pools or any other areas where their pack needs reinforcement, that type of hound will be at the Virginia Hound Show. Not only can a huntsman actually see the hound, they have the chance to speak to the person that actually bred the hound, discuss why they bred to the line in the first place and, by far the most important criteria, how the hound actually hunts.

Standing 'em up

Standing ’em up

One of the most significant highlights of the day are the Junior Handler Classes. Looking down the oak lined lane watching the young handlers prepare to enter reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting ?

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

The two classes are arranged by age and are some of the most competitive and highly attended classes of the day.

Showing style

Showing style

In the ring

In the ring









The weekend also features an evening dinner which gives everyone a chance to socialize before the show. The cocktail party and dinner are held on the lawn of the “Davis Mansion”, a 22 room Greek revival home whose last residents were the Honorable Mr. and Mrs. Westmoreland Davis, the 55th Governor of Virginia. The highlight of the evening is the horn blowing championship, in which most huntsmen participate. It’s wonderful to hear the different horns and styles of each competitor, and I’m always happy that I don’t have to be the judge.


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Horn Blowing Contestants


After the show there is yet another party to discuss results and congratulate the winners. Then, sadly, it’s time for everyone to pack up, load up and trailer on back home to begin planning for the next season. After all there are new (and old) entry to walk, trails to clear, coops to build, breedings to plan and many other tasks too numerous to mention.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing you at the show in 2016. It will be here before we know it.

  • Joan – (on behalf of Middleburg Photo)

Joan Strahler is a blogger, social media, public relations, website and IT consultant based in Leesburg, VA. An avid equestrian, hunter and dog lover, she spends as much time as possible at the kennels.