Smith Mountain Lake Birthday Trip Recap!!! Personal

Let me just start off this post by saying that I have the GREATEST friends in the WHOLE entire world. I turned 20 years old last week on June 30th (woohoo!!) and my mom and best friends worked together to plan a surprise birthday getaway for me and I just love them all so much!! I was told that I had a surprise on Monday morning (I had NO idea what it was) but I had to be dressed and ready to go by noon. So, noon rolled around and my best friend Natalie stormed into my room with balloons and a dozen sprinkled donuts. It took everything in me to hold back tears just because of that!! But then, my mom pulled out a pre-packed suitcase and told me that I had a 3 hour road trip ahead of me. WHAT!? I was so clueless and had no idea where we were going! But, we packed up the car and headed out with Natalie driving to the secret destination. After three hours (and a lot of snacks) Natalie blindfolded me and got me out of the car. I opened my eyes and my two other best friends (who traveled from HOURS away!!!) were standing in front of me at a LAKE HOUSE on Smith Mountain Lake!!! WHAT!?!?!

Kristen, Jess and Natalie had apparently been planning this trip for MONTHS and Kristen’s parents let us use their lake house for the week for my birthday!! I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for these girls. My birthday week was the tail end of one of my busiest seasons in business so they knew I needed a break away…and it could NOT have been more amazing. We spent three days on the dock, swimming in the lake, paddle boarding, snuggling on the couch watching the Bachelorette, riding around on the golf cart, driving the jet ski and soaking up as much time together as we possibly could. We almost never get to all spend time together and I just can’t even tell you all how much of a blessing these girls are in my life!!!

Natalie, Jess, Kris & momma: thank you all, so SO much for planning this incredible getaway for me. I have so many new memories that I will never, ever forget and I am so grateful. I love each of you to pieces and I miss my girls already!!!

I’ve been so excited to share the picture recap of this trip so, here goes nothing!!! Here are the iPhone recap photos to start!

HopeTaylorPhotography_8510 HopeTaylorPhotography_8511 HopeTaylorPhotography_8512

Right after we got there and Jess and Kris surprised me, too!!!


My momma packed us each a matching bathrobe…SO CUTE!


Just wait until you see what it took to get these pictures…

HopeTaylorPhotography_8515 HopeTaylorPhotography_8516 HopeTaylorPhotography_8517

Thank you so, so much to Kris for keeping her professional camera out for the entire trip! I like to keep my camera put away when I’m traveling to get a little bit of a relaxation break…but Kris shot the entire trip so we could have these memories and I am so thankful!

View More: View More:

Those two iPhone photos up there? We laid the iPhone on self-timer on that surf board to get those photos. This is embarrassing.

View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More:

HAHAHA, I successfully photo-bombed this one.

View More: View More: View More:

Then, one night on the way to dinner, we decided to stop at a gorgeous field on the side of the road for some portraits! The girls all took photos of me so that I could have new portraits for my birthday…SO sweet!!! My favorite part is seeing all of their different, gorgeous styles. These ones are thanks to Kristen!!

View More: View More: View More: View More:

These are thanks to Natalie!!

View More: View More: View More: View More: these are thanks to Jess!!!

View More:

I love all of you girls SO MUCH!!!

View More: View More: View More: View More:  View More:

If you enjoyed this post, you may also love:

Last Year’s Birthday Surprise

It’s Launch Day!!! 

Creative at Heart Round 4


July 5, 2016


hi, y'all!

I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!





For access to free, exclusive educational content not found anywhere else, priority access to workshop registration and occasional discussion of chicken nuggets.



Follow Along