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Virginia Bride features weddings weekly here on the blog. Being featured in the blog does not necessarily mean they are featured in the print magazine.

BRIDE: Leah Schwartz, 25, 4th Grade Teacher

GROOM: Stephen Russell26, Market Research Analyst

DATE: May 21, 2023

VENUE: Quirk Richmond Hotel and Byrd Park, Richmond, Virginia


Stephen and Leah met 15 years ago at Moody Middle School in Richmond, Virginia, in 2009. During a physical education class, they became friends in 6th grade and remained close friends despite attending different high schools. They attended Leah’s freshman year homecoming at Hermitage High School in Richmond, Virginia, together as “friends” and started dating shortly after their junior year homecoming.

Stephen and Leah had their first official date on November 9, 2014. They watched the movie “22 Jump Street” at The Byrd Theater in Carytown, Richmond, Virginia. They officially became a couple on November 29, 2014, after having dinner and watching the movie “The Hunger Games” at Regal Cinemas in Short Pump, Virginia. This past November, their 9th dating anniversary was celebrated by watching “The Hunger Games” at the CinéBistro movie theater in Stony Point, Virginia. On June 18, 2022, after six months of dating, Stephen was the first to say “I love you” to Leah, and she immediately reciprocated.

Cell photo photo.

He surprised her with a marriage proposal on the rooftop of the Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, by renting out the entire rooftop and setting up a beautifully decorated table with candles, flowers, and champagne glasses.

Cell photo photo.

After her acceptance, they enjoyed the rooftop views and took photos of the engagement ring before heading to the hotel’s lobby for a private brunch. Stephen proposed with a simple, platinum Tiffany-style engagement ring featuring a prominent diamond from Tiffany & Co. Little did Leah know, their families were waiting for them back at their apartment to celebrate their engagement. 

Cell photo photo.

The electrifying photography session for Stephen and Leah began outside the Quirk Richmond Hotel, the very place where Stephen proposed. Then, they headed to Byrd Park in Richmond, Virginia, a place that held a special meaning for them from the early days of their courtship. It was such a picturesque setting for their special day! Leah’s outfit for the Quirk Richmond Hotel session was a pink midi dress from Target paired with Steve Madden sandals, while Stephen wore a button-up from J. Crew. Her outfit at Byrd Park was a Pink Lily white mini dress with pink shoes from Nordstrom, and Stephen changed into a white Polo Ralph Lauren button-up.


Stephen and Leah’s hearts were filled with love and laughter as they celebrated their engagement at the vibrant and lively Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – West Creek in Richmond, Virginia. Surrounded by their cherished friends and family, they embraced the moment’s joy with a relaxed, casual get-together that echoed with happiness and excitement.


Stephen’s bachelor party was held at an Airbnb in Afton, Virginia. The weekend started with a round of golf at Hunting Hawk Golf Club in Glen Allen, Virginia, followed by lunch at ZZQ in Scott’s Addition, Richmond, Virginia. The group then traveled to Afton and explored several nearby breweries in Nellysford, Virginia. The weekend’s highlight was skydiving on Sunday at Skydive Orange in Orange, Virginia. Stephen and two of his groomsmen experienced their first-ever skydive!

Leah’s bachelorette party took place at an Airbnb in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, over the 2024 Martin Luther King weekend. The Airbnb was adorable and located by the water, and Leah’s bridesmaids had decorated it beautifully. The weekend theme was “Hey Stephen (Leah’s Version),” as a nod to Leah’s admiration for Taylor Swift and Stephen. They relaxed at the beach and pool and dined at enjoyable restaurants. One of the themed nights was “Bejeweled,” where everyone wore something sparkly and listened to lots of Taylor Swift music.


Stephen and Leah advise, “It’s cliché, but cherish and savor the day. It goes by quickly!”


Stephen and Leah married on May 4, 2024, at Seven Springs in Manquin, Virginia. One hundred and twenty-five guests attended. They went to Europe for their honeymoon. 

Be on the lookout for an exciting blog post with all the details about their wedding!

BRIDE: @_leahrosee

GROOM: @stephenr25


PHOTOGRAPHY: Kristen Cranham – @kristencranham


ENGAGEMENT VENUE: Quirk Richmond Hotel – @quirkhotelrva @quirk_rooftop_rva


BREWERY: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – @hardywood

RING: Tiffany & Co – @tiffanyandco 


ATTIRE: Pink Lily – @PinkLily

SHOES: Steve Madden – @stevemadden 

Nordstrom – @nordstrom

MAKEUP: Sephora – @sephora

ATTIRE: J. Crew @jcew

Polo Ralph Lauren @poloralphlauren

WEDDING VENUE & DAY OF PLANNER: Seven Springs @sevenspringsva


If you are planning a wedding in Roanoke Virginia, Richmond Virginia, Fredericksburg/Northern Virginia, The Shenandoah Valley, Coastal Virginia or in Charlottesville/ Lynchburg Va. we can help with your wedding planning and ideas.

The author: Debra Shepperson

Debra is a native of Virginia, having lived in both Roanoke and Richmond. She is the co-owner of Relish – Say I Do!! Officiant & Photographer. She is an artist who aims to create ceremony scripts and capture photos that evoke positive emotional responses, inspire others, and deliver nostalgia. Debra holds a graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth and an undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University, Florida. Before gaining more than ten years of wedding-related experience, Debra was a human resource executive. She has been happily married to the co-owner of Relish for more than 20 years.