Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding photographer & educator serving Charlottesville VA & DC. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!
Manali is a wedding photographer & educator based out of Charlottesville, VA. When she's not making couples laugh or teaching other photographers how to save time & grow their business, you can find her at a vineyard with wine & cheese in hand with her friends & fam!
This post could start in about a million ways but about a year ago, about a week before I walked down the Lawn for graduation we had our last team dinner for my dance team! Now this is an annual tradition so I knew it was coming, the underclassmen will gift their fourth years with something to remember their times as well as personal posters that everyone on the team signs! Now for those of you who are old timers reading this blog, you know me, I write A. LOT. I had written paragraphs on paragraphs for the fourth years that had been on the team before me when they had graduated because Bhangra brought me some of my closest friends and I owed my entire experience on that team to all the people that graduated before me. But the thing is, when the time came, I received my poster and glanced over it and then brought it home amongst all my other stuff but never, ever read everything had written. Which actually shocked a lot of people when I told them that this year!
BUT the thing is, that much like that poster, this is one of those blog posts that no matter the amount of words, the love, the experiences, the memories, the tears, the laughs, the joy, the endless nights out, the inside jokes, the sheer amount of time spent together, and how much these people mean to me. I could write for days and it would just never come close to capturing it.
I’ve known Sachi since before I was 2, we grew up together and did almost everything TOGETHER. Almost every weekend and so many weekdays were spent together with our little brothers Sohum & Dhruv as well. We would build forts, play on the playground, come up with games, do homework and study together, go to family dinners together, heck even go on trips with each other families! One of the highlights of my childhood was me freaking out as a kid because Sachi had been over for dinner the night before I was leaving to Florida with my family for vacation and her mom came over to our house with ANOTHER SUITCASE!!! As in, Sachi was going on this trip. WITH US!!! That was probably the best thing that happened to 5 year old Manali that year 🙂 There’s this among countless of other home videos, ones of us dancing together, rocking on a seesaw, gymnastics classes together, playing with stuffed animals and dolls, birthday candles blown out side by side! We started at middle school together and then before we knew it, we started at high school together!! And although we somehow almost always ended up in different classes together, almost every afternoon or weekend was spent with each other. We both started to learn how to drive together, were on the same dance company in high school, but arguable the best thing that we did together was start to choreograph our own dances.
But as we grew up, all these things were documented a little less! That is, until high school. My experimenting with taking pictures happened to coincide right with a big group of friends being created for a yearly dance. I was family friends with most of the other people but I really was only close with Sachi and a subset of the rest of the friends. But that quickly changed as we spent hours together at each other’s parents houses not just practicing for the dance but hanging out outside of the practices. Slowly but surely, everyone’s true selves started to come out and that’s right around the time I was trying to figure out how in the world Lori and I hadn’t been close already!
As I started taking pictures of everyone hanging out I would always notice that Lori was especially that one person within the group that was CONSTANTLY laughing and smiling!! And even snorting FROM laughter when someone got her to laugh hard enough, which was almost ALWAYS the goal hahahaha Lori was one of the few that got along just as easily with the guys as she did the girls and it’s simply because she’s so incredibly easygoing, fun and goofy 😀 But the thing I love most about Lori is her sense of humor. Someone will say something and we will just look at each other and start CRACKING up because we’re both on the same page!! I love that even now, the SAME thing happens and I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to spend long car rides with her traveling to Penn State & to VT because I feel like we’ve gotten even closer since. I can’t wait for all the more adventures to come in the future!!! <3
And the last thing I have to say is that if you’re not convinced at how amazing these two girls are, they had a GIANT group of friends travel from all over to come watch them graduate. It was INSANE. I had driven 4 hours and I think that was the LEAST amount of travel from the whole group! These girls are so incredibly loved and they have really made a family of friends during their time at VT. It was so touching to see <3
SO these are my favorite Hokies! Ok, done, done I will probably never ever use the words favorite & Hokie in a sentence again because my turkeys have GRADUATED!!!!
Also I was so shocked and HONORED when Sachi told me that Kunal also wanted a few pictures taken!!! So the thing is, Kunal is just like my brother, they both HATE having their pictures taken. He had been worried about it when I had asked Sachi if they would dress up to have their pictures taken at the Kennedy Center but I seem to have won him over 😀 Kunal, thank you for always being the calm to Sachi’s crazy! I’m so excited that you’re gonna be out in the real world and that we can hang out ALL the freaking time!! I promise I won’t get any weirder than I already seem and here’s to more Top Golf nights and traveling adventures!
Where there is a happy Kunal there is a happy Sachi 🙂
^GOALS, these two have been dating since their freshman year, FIVE YEARS AGO!!!
ANDDD of course I had to throw in some fun ones!
Thanks Kunal for the shot of all of us!
And here’s some fun ones from graduation day as well!
What a crew!!
Pictured below is my second family!!
Hehehe they’re fun 🙂
CREW PART TWO
They’re also weird it’s finee
LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!! I can’t wait for more and more travels, adventures, inside jokes and all around fun nights together 😀 Thank you for such an amazing weekend at graduation, you both are so so loved by everyone!!
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