Hermitage Gardens Wedding Photographer | Brittany and Michael | Classic Garden Wedding

Meet Brittany and Michael

Brittany is an ER nurse and Michael is one of the owners of several Chico’s Pizza restaurants in the Hampton Roads Area.  I met them over a year ago when Michael messaged me about his and Brittany’s wedding.  Little did I know how small my world was going to get when it came to them.  Michael and I had many mutual friends (and clients)  and when I met them at one of his restaurants after many several emails with Brittany trying to nail down a date because of their busy schedules, it was like we had been friends for years!  I knew within seconds that not only were they gonna become my clients, but friends.  They are the sweetest, funniest, hardest-working people….and they have a bulldog!  Kindred hearts right??

Fast forward past their engagement session (which you can see a few of their photos here) to one scary Sunday afternoon….when I rushed my husband to the hospital because we thought he was having a heart attack…I was busy on my phone calling my daughter when Brittany walked in and asked my husband his name and when he told her his last name was Gillikin, she spun around and saw me…and said OH MY GOSH, and hugged my neck….you can’t imagine the relief I had in my spirit in that second, knowing she was one of my husbands nurses.  And our world got smaller…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Michael and Brittany, I am so honored to have been your wedding photographer, and I am even more honored to call you friends.  You have a WONDERFUL circle of friends and an even more wonderful family.  I really enjoyed getting to know them all!  You both certainly made my job very easy because you guys were gorgeous! Your genuine hearts shine through your smiles!

Here is your story told with my camera and with my heart!

©MelodyGillikinPhotography Contact me at 757-620-7952 to hire me for your wedding


Hampton Roads has some of the prettiest historical places and this is one of them. The Hermitage Gardens and Museum.  So beautiful, elegant and full of historical grace located in the heart of Norfolk, Va.

The museum often has different exhibits on display and we were lucky enough to have “The Burning Man” exhibit as part of the unique decor surrounding their wedding day.

The girls got ready at Brittany’s parent’s stately home, as I opened the front door I could hear the laughter and chatter that usually happens where all the girls are gathered and I knew it was going to be a fabulous day!  And when I saw her dress….and it was blush/ivory lace I seriously got all giddy inside!

Rose gold sparkly Kate Spade tennis shoes ya’ll,  I want them just to wear 🙂

And then I met her Nanny….such a sweet sweet lady…and she was Brittany’s Flower girl.  I melted.  You see Nanny had suffered a stroke awhile back and Brittany being the nurse and sweet granddaughter she is she nursed her back to health to the point that she could drive again.. I heard phrases like “she gave me my life back”  what a sweet bond these two have.

Besties and Bridesmaids and beautiful moms make for happy smiles.

I love this time….dress time, it’s always such a surreal moment for brides.  Brittany, your dress from Studio I Do was simply amazing and it was STUNNING on you.

And when one of your bridesmaids works as a consultant at the bridal shop you got your dress from, it’s placed right, every single time! 🙂  Leslie, on the job!

We had to take 5 minutes to capture all that gorgeousness at her parents home before heading to see Michael for their first look.

Such a classic beauty!

Meet Chauncey! Look at that bully face! <3  He was an honorary best man…but he slept on the job.

The real reaction to a sip of moonshine LOL. Looks like water, smells like apples…nope that’s moonshine.

The boys.

This girl on the left, Brittany P.  she is part of the amazing crew form Chic Unique Vintage Rentals and Events that helped Brittany S.  pull off an amazing day, with impeccable timelines and perfectly styled details.

I am sure Brittany S. was smiling because she knew she was in good hands. She was the most relaxed bride ever.

I love these moments when daddies see their little girls all grown up.

Then off to see her groom in a private first look in the coolest location.  A Stick house. 🙂

That moment when all is right with the world and the perfect light shines down on you as proof.

Man, I love first looks!

Then it was off to meet their possie….and all through the gardens, you could hear.. One yell “Marco”….and someone else “Polo” as they got closer to the location where we were to meet. She was letting them know “we were on the way”.  How cute.

When Brittany saw her bridal bouquet for the first time….she was all smiles!  It was everything she imagined and more.  And it was a jaw dropper for sure!  As were all the bouquets and flowers!

And then it happened…Leslie got a little freaked out at Brittany’s idea to jump off the wall since she had not walked down the aisle yet and fearing a fall and envisioning grass stains on that beautiful dress but it was too late, they jumped LOL.  I have to admit..I was a little worried too…I have had guys jump but never a bride, but I guess girls just wanna have fun too.

Off to get these two married.

Do you see what I see in the leaves and branches of that old oak tree….it added it’s own special touch to their day.

The light was just right to pick up a heart.

Brittany your expression is PRICELESS!

These parents should be very proud!  They both got lucky in their new children!  Rich marriage heritage right here!

It’s rare, a couple gets to enjoy any part of their cocktail hour, and we even ran 45 minutes late, because of a broken down limo that had the grooms family on it…and we STILL got finished with family photos in enough time for them to not only enjoy cocktail hour but sunset photos!

The clear tent top, the beautiful rose gold, and mint green, the rustic charm details all made this reception hall beautiful!

And a doughnut bar…A DOUGHNUT BAR!  Just look at those names, and try not to let your mouth start watering! I dare you.

The new Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson.

When you recommend a DJ to your bride and you tell her you need to book him ASAP because he gets booked far in advance and she listens…you get Roger. You know it’s gonna not only be a party but a show!  I love watching him in his element.  He kept the dance floor rockin all night long.

This had to be one of the FUNNIEST garter extractions this year!  This groomsman shaved his LEGS  put on Brittany’s shoes and a petticoat!!! to help pull this off and I don’t know who’s expression was better the groomsmen when Michael kissed the inside of his leg and growled…or Michaels when they pulled the blindfold off and realized what had just happened or the guests laughing but we were allllll dying!

Love…it’s what this day was filled with and what the night air whispered.  It was in the air.

We stole away for a couple more photos before their grand exit

Part of the burning man exibit was lit so we took full advantage of it.

And they lived Happily Ever After….and partied the night away at Chico’s with close family and friends.

Brittany and Micheal

It was an honor to be apart of your day, to be there to capture every moment.  Thank you for asking me to be your photographer, thank you for trusting me with your most precious memories.  May God richly bless you and Michael with many years together!


Here are the professionals who made this day so beautiful and amazing!


Wedding Venue: Hermitage Museum

Dress: Studio I Do ~ All the Rage  Designer: Allure

Photography: Melody Gillikin Photography, Heather Hartsell and Assistant Lisa Powell

Planner/rentals: Chic Unique Vintage Rentals – Sharon Royster. Lead Planner Brittany Peedle

Flowers: Kelly Gish Floral Designs

Makeup: The Makeup School by Sarah Rillon

Hair: Enchanted Styles: Jenny Darden

Catering: Montero’s

Doughnut Bar: Amazing Glazed

Cake: Brides Aunt

Event Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals

Entertainment: Astro Entertainment: to provide DJ, LIGHTING, AND PHOTOBOOTH. DJ Roger Cruz

Videography: Troy Gleason

Officiate: Roy “Cotton” Markert

Transportation: Coastal Limousines












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