Erica & Derek | Valley Forge Military Academy Wedding

A post four years in the making:

The thought ran through Erica’s mind before she’d ever met Derek. Maybe this was him. He was a friend of a friend and in a few weeks they’d travel to New Orleans together as part of a college ministry mission trip. Her family laughed as she (only somewhat jokingly) told him she’d met the boy she was going to marry. Well, at least she’d stalked him on Facebook. But eventually, the stalking changed to real-life talking and there really was something there. Erica waited patiently as acquaintances turned to friends and friends into something a little more. All the while with that thought in the back of her head: maybe this was him.

Derek stood at the front of the church and watched Erica walk towards him. This was definitely her. The faces of friends and family that represented so much of their relationship—family who had prayed for this day since before either of them were born, sisters who welcomed in a new brother with open arms, friends who they had travelled with to watch football games, roommates that became brothers and sisters and cried with them when things were sometimes just hard. And then there was her: the girl who challenged and stretched and complemented and loved him for the past four years. He watched Erica  walk down the aisle with one arm wrapped around her dad’s and one clenching her purple bouquet, all the while that thought in the back of his head: this was definitely her.

Dereka, I love you both tremendously. I am so thankful for both of you as individuals, but even more so for you together as a couple. Together you are a hilariously fun, ever-entertaining, and always looking out for others. You already know how thankful I am to have been such a part of your day, but let me say it again: thank you. It was such an honor getting to be there and serve you as your friend, and I just hope that I’ve managed to capture the love and excitement and joy that you both were radiating on your wedding day. Love you two!

Introducing: Mr and Mrs Benedict.


As her Something Old, Erica wore her grandmother’s purple and gold ring. Perfect. SO many thanks to Alison of Alison Dunn Photography for second shooting Erica and Derek’s day and capturing these images of Derek getting ready.

Love love loved Erica’s gorgeous, classic dress.

Erica, my friend. You are such a BEAUTIFUL bride!
Erica and Derek opted for a first look, and I LOVED Derek’s reaction to seeing his wife for the first time!
A little bit of awe ;)
Oooo, you two!!

Erica DIY’d this amazing teal bench and I still can’t get over how much I love it!!

Five. Star. Favorite. Could have photographed Erica’s bouquet all day!
Looking good, Der!

Love this shot that Alison snagged!

There was a wall, so of course the boys had to climb it!

New favorite bridal party shot!

Work ladies!

A few selfies with the bride :)

MARRIED!! So much joy!

Valley Forge Military Academy was the perfect reception venue.

Perfect purple details! The reception hall reminded me so much of Beauty and the Beast, I was eating it up!

Even got to sneak away for a few minutes for sunset portraits. Yes!!

True love.

Congratulations, D&E!! Want to leave the newlyweds some love? Write a comment below!

Big thank you’s to all of the amazing vendors that made the day perfect!:

Ceremony » Great Valley Presbyterian Church, Malvern, PA
Reception » Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, PA
Invitation Design » Aly Young
Invitation Printing » Main Line Printing, Wayne, PA
Bridesmaids Dress » David’s Bridal
Mens’ Tuxes » Men’s Warehouse
Makeup » Tori DiRico (sister of the bride), Bare Escentuals
Hair » Prestige Salon, Devon, PA
Florals » Kim McNabb of Flowers by Paulette, Lancaster, PA
Caterer » Christina’s Catering, West Chester, PA
Bakery » The Master’s Baker, West Chester, PA
DJ » Trey Werely

  • July 5, 2013 - 2:54 pm

    Christine - Love the cake smashing picture! Nice detail!! Great pictures Stephanie!ReplyCancel

  • July 5, 2013 - 6:29 pm

    Heather - Oh my gosh, I adore the first look! So sweet! Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • July 5, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    Isa - I’m obsessed with all of these! Wonderful photos Steph! You know the photographer is talented when you’re looking at the pictures thinking, “Oh, I’d love to get a print of that one. . . Wait. These are someone else’s wedding pictures.” #awkward. Ha.ReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2013 - 10:01 am

    Kim McNabb - Our absolute pleasure to do the flowers!
    Wow! stunning pictures some of the best I’ve ever seen!
    All our best to the new couple and to your families.
    Kim McNabb and Flowers by Paulette’s Entire StaffReplyCancel

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