John Michael Photography

Julia and Jad met at VCU in 2016 where she was a freshman and he a sophomore through mutual friends. On their first date, he presented a bouquet of sunflowers to Julia, her favorite flower!

A few years later in October 2020, they spent the day apple picking in with friends. After they left and as Julia started suspecting something was up, Jad showed Julia a video. Julia recounts, “It was a compilation of our years together, some very heartfelt words, and even a video of him asking my dad permission to marry me. He pulled over onto Raven’s Roost Outlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway and proposed to me under the iconic Raven’s Roost tree at sunset. Our friends and family were there, too!”

The couple chose an outdoor venue for their guests where many came from out of state and other countries. Many parts of the wedding celebrated Julia’s family and Jad’s Middle Eastern upbringing.

The couple displayed Julia’s grandparents’ cake topper with their wedding day picture. She also had their photo in a charm around her bouquet as well as a cuff from her grandmother’s wedding dress and a necklace made from the diamond from her wedding ring.

During the ceremony they watered an olive tree together which represents peace, friendship and a new start and “was a nod to his family because his grandfather owned an olive tree farm.”

Jad and Julia cut the cake made by Jad’s mother who is a licensed baker with a sword, a tradition started with Jad’s parents at their wedding.

They also had an Arab drummer and performer at the reception that led everyone in the “Dabke”, a traditional Middle Eastern line dance done at joyous occasions. Julia says, “We think our guests really enjoyed this element of the wedding, and we believe it was a great way to incorporate and honor Jad and his family’s Middle Eastern roots.”

I'm John, a Los Angeles based wedding, business, lifestyle, and travel photographer. I'm crazy about what I do and love being creative on the daily. Whether I'm a third wheel on your wedding day, creating images for your new business, or just swapping travel stories, I'm doing it with passion and pouring my heart into our time together. I'm in my happy place when working with people who have a lust for life and don't take themselves too seriously. Let's do more than just take photos, let's create an experience and have some fun with it!

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