Way back in April I took Brittany Moore out to La Grange for her bridal session. I found this location during the winter and had been saving it for a warm spring day. It was quite a hike to get there, especially for Brittany since she was traveling all the way from Horn Lake, MS. This location isn’t for the faint of heart either, there’s all kinds of wildlife in the area so if you are afraid of snakes or creepy crawlers this isn’t the location for you. I took my husband out to the shoot with us as added insurance against any snakes. He’s brave and grew up in Louisiana around cotton mouths and copperheads. I on the other hand…..am not brave. (Really though, have you seen the movie “The Parent Trap” and I’m not talking about the LiLo remake. I’m talking about the original movie. There’s a scene in it where the evil step mom to be is out on the camping trip and she takes these two sticks and starts banging them together to keep snakes away. That’s totally me. I am a stick banging, jumping 5 feet in the air, keep those snakes away from me screaming woman.)
We made our way through the woods and down the boardwalk and used every little last ray of sunlight until we decided to quit. We battled mosquitos (I had gone prepared with mosquito repel bracelets that we put around Brittany’s ankles) and bugs, humidity, the fear of alligators and snakes, and some pretty ugly spiders. But we also had this amazingly quiet, peaceful, secluded, and beautiful area surrounding us that simply took our breath away. It was by far the perfect day. I got to see her completely done up before the wedding, and I have been holding onto these photos waiting to share them with you since then. I had to keep all previews on lock down until her big day because her (now) husband couldn’t see them.
Take a look at the gallery to see some of my favorite shots from the day!
Last weekend I got to photograph the wedding of Justus Anderson and Brittany Moore. You may remember them from a post back in the fall. I met them back then and shot their engagement session. Since then I’ve done Brittany’s bridal session (more on that in another post) and just recently I shot their wedding. Let me start off with two things- 1) Thank you to Justus and all of his groomsmen/guests who serve in the military and law enforcement. I can’t tell you how much both myself and my family appreciate your service. You are one of the many reasons our nation is so great and you are so appreciated! 2) These two could quite possibly be two of the sweetest people that I have ever met. They are both so down to earth, so polite, and so in love. For most of the day I felt like I was hanging around family instead of clients.
We started off the day at a nearby hotel where the ladies got their hair and makeup done. I have to brag on how insane they looked when they were finished. TeAnna Shantese did the makeup (you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-304-4090) and Shayla Collins did the hair (you can reach her at 901-359-8857 or email@example.com) both of these ladies did an amazing job- I wish I could stick them in my pocket and take them with me everywhere I go. We spent a lot of time joking around, spying on Justus from the window as he picked something up from his truck outside, (yes, we totally creeped on you and saw you but it’s ok because you didn’t see us) I got to sing the Little Einsteins song with the couple’s daughter, and we passed around a seriously adorable and chunky little baby.
From there we headed to the venue First Choice Catering in Horn Lake, MS where the ceremony and wedding reception were held. I think what I’ll forever remember about that day were the vows that both Justus and Brittany wrote for each other. Can you believe that he remembered the outfit Brittany was wearing the very first time that he met her? Right down to her shoes! Watching the two of them glow and radiate happiness during the ceremony was so beautiful and such a joy to witness. I had joked around with him that he needed to remember to smile for me during the day (something he told me that I would have a hard time accomplishing during our engagement session) but once his beautiful bride entered the room he never stopped smiling. After the ceremony I asked Justus what his favorite part of the day had been so far. His response? When I got to kiss her!
Their ceremony was directly followed by the reception where there was nonstop dancing, a tiny bit of cake smashing, and a whole lot of bouquet tossing. The night was finished with a sparkler sendoff by their loved ones, a lot of hugs being exchanged, and the feeling of walking on air. I wish them both eternal happiness, joy, and laughter wherever they go. However, I don’t think they will have to look very far to find it. Congrats and good luck to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. Something tells me their story will end with “and they lived happily ever after….”
Here are just a few previews from the day. Make sure you check my Facebook page in the near future for a link to the official album.
“It don’t matter where we go, we’ll never be alone. Anywhere beside you is a place that I’ll call home.”
I met Vanessa and Blaine last April when I did their engagement photos at the Botanic Gardens. We hit it off and actually became fast friends, but they had already put their deposit down on a wedding photographer by the time I met them, and it was out of state in Kentucky. Fast forward to November 1st of 2014 and they got married in a sweet little chapel in Lexington, KY with their reception at a vineyard not far away. The locations were absolutely beautiful, the weather was not. It had actually snowed the night before, and the day of the wedding was cold, wet, dreary, and did I say cold? They didn’t have time for a ton of formal photos, and with the weather circumstances they were limited on what they could get. Vanessa had this amazing gown for the wedding ceremony and then she changed into a fun ball gown for the reception. Shortly after her photos were delivered she contacted me and asked if I would do a trash the dress session for her along with some formal photos of her, Blaine, and their daughter Kaylyn. Of course I jumped at the chance! We planned the session for about 3 months, we went over exactly what she was looking for location wise and what type of feel she wanted for her photos. I ended up choosing Shelby Forest in Millington for the session. We ventured out on the trails for some photos, we were able to use the dock at the lake, and we went down to the might Mississippi to trash her dress. The results were amazing, and I know we got those glamour magazine pictures she was looking for.
Bottom line: when one of your best friends calls you and asks you to do some post wedding formal photos and a trash the dress, you set aside a good 3 hours of time, you take her to the middle of the woods, and you rock the shot. I am in love with the idea of post wedding formal photos….you don’t have a time crunch, and you aren’t super worried about getting some dirt on your dress because there’s no reception to hurry to. It turned out so amazing that I’m thinking of building the option into my wedding packages. Check of the gallery below to see their amazing shots.
Why is it important to hire a photographer for your wedding? Because you want beautiful pictures that document one of the best days of your life, right? So this particular question has been nagging at me for some time and I decided it’s time to blog about it. Why, if you spend so much money on a photographer, do you try to rush through your formal photos? Many of the weddings I did last year were on a time crunch. We had a very short amount of time to take the post ceremony formal wedding photos because the bride and groom were afraid that people would get agitated at having to wait on them and leave. Too many times I have heard people in attendance complain that it’s taking too long, that they are hungry, or bored, or have somewhere to be. This is what I don’t understand- it’s your day right? The bride and groom are the ones who are getting married, the bride and groom are the ones who are being celebrated, and the bride and groom (or their parents) are the ones shelling out thousands of dollars on a wedding photographer….so why do the attendants feel the need to rush them? Weddings are a celebration. They’re a time when families and friends get together and celebrate two people starting on a journey that will last a lifetime, so sit back, relax, have a drink, mingle with family, share some laughs and chill out. If nothing else pull out your cell phone and cruise Facebook or Instagram while you’re waiting.
Too often I hear about brides who unsatisfied with their wedding photos because they don’t get the dream pictures they envisioned, but if you rush your photographer and only give them 15-20 minutes to take your pictures you aren’t going to have those photos. A post ceremony formal photo session should last you a minimum of 40 minutes. Think about it, you have both sides of the family to photograph (we’re talking grandparents, parents, any step parents, sibling, and any children that the bride or groom have…and this is for both the bride AND groom) and setting those photos up is no easy task. We have to survey what everyone is wearing, how tall everyone is, if there’s anybody who needs assistance walking/standing for the photos, and we need to arrange everyone. Then we need to make sure we get the shot (if your photographer is anything like me I will take 2 or 3 pictures because I’m always counting on somebody blinking or sneezing or making some awkward face) and then do it all over again. We have the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the best man, the maid of honor, the flower girl and/or ring bearer pictures that need to be snapped, and then we have the lovely and intimate pictures reserved for the bride and groom. Those alone should take at least 20 minutes at a minimum.
So this is my advice to you when planning a wedding- plan for a cocktail hour. It’s called a cocktail hour for a reason, because it should last at least an hour. Your invitation should clearly state a starting time for your ceremony and a starting time for your reception, especially if they are being held at different places. So if your wedding is starting at 5:00pm and will last 30 minutes, you should plan for your reception to being at 6:30 or 7:00pm. I would say 7 if you have to incorporate travel time. If you’re having the reception at the same place as the ceremony than an announcement should be made prior to everyone leaving the ceremony area. Whoever is marrying you should say something along the lines of “Mr. and Mrs. So and So invite you to join them in celebration at such and such a place. They will be arriving at such and such a time so please make sure you are there in time for their grand entrance, which will be after their formal photos are finished.”
I always get the age old question of- what do we do if we aren’t serving alcohol at the reception. I understand some places do not allow alcohol in their facility, and that some people do not drink. You should have some type of refreshment there and lots of little Hors d’oeurves for people to munch on. If you’re not serving alcohol that should leave some room in your budget for other things- perhaps a fun photo booth station, some Polaroid cameras around the tables for guests to snap silly pictures and then place in a specific location, perhaps a game where they guess how you two met, and music should absolutely be playing. As long as they have something to keep them busy they will forget about how long it is taking until your arrival. I never really understood why people rushed to be the first ones at the reception anyway!
If you need ideas for cocktail hours check out these links:
Bottom line: be firm with your guests about the need for formal photos. If they’re rude enough to try and make you feel guilty about lavishing in your special day they don’t belong at your reception anyway. Party poopers not needed! Enjoy yourself, get your dream photos, and throw back some champagne. You only get married once!!!
Have you even been out somewhere and noticed a couple on their third date? The date where you realize that you really really like the person you’re on the date with. You actually more than like that person, you love that person. The date where the whole world fades away and there’s just the two of you. You go home and you’re walking on air, smile permanetly plastered across your face, you’ve got the good kind of nervous jitters, and you realize that you want all of your days to feel that way, and if you’re lucky enough they do. Well, over the weekend I got to photograph Todd and Blair’s wedding and I swear the entire day felt like third date material to me. The loving looks, the stolen kisses, the happy smiles. I don’t think that I have ever seen two people more at ease and so love with each other on their wedding day. To witness such a thing was truly nothing short of amazing.
They got married at their home in Oakland and everything was just perfect. The entire week I feverishly watched the weather forecast for Saturday, hoping and praying that the rain that plagued us all week long would stay away for one day. We all hoped for a mildly warm day with sunshine and perfectly clear skies. And we got it! The backyard was decorated simply, elegantly, and wonderfully. The inside was the perfect mix of cozy and rustic, and the guests were incredibly happy and nice. I think the love that just radiated off of Todd and Blair was a tad bit contagious and we all couldn’t help but be relaxed and laugh throughout the day. The ceremony was short and sweet, it flowed perfectly right down to a baby starting to babble when the Minister asked if anyone objected. (I think we all had a loud laugh at that point) The bridal party speeches were touching and heartfelt, the cakes were amazing (he had a FedEx airplane! Holy cow it was neat), and the guest book was the letter “B” that people wrote well wishes on and would later be displayed in their home.
They also had another reason to celebrate, and it arrives in 26 weeks. (We’re thinking pink, everyone. So when you send your blessings send pink wishes as well!)
As I got into my car to drive home I plugged in my iPhone. The first song to play from my playlist was Brad Paisley’s “Toothbrush” and I thought it couldn’t be more fitting. Congrats guys, you really are a match made in heaven and I wish nothing but the best for you!
Here are a few previews from the wedding. Enjoy!
And just in case you are wondering…here are the lyrics
Love starts with a toothbrush,
A big razor and a Dixie cup
A little splash of aftershave,
Before you leave for that first date
See stars in both your eyes
After that long kiss goodnight
Forever starts with a suitcase,
Sneaking out the window to get away
To the car parked by the curb,
Gassed up for Gatlinburg
A little chapel and a couple of rings
Will get you two toothbrushes by the bathroom sink
And everything that’s anything
Starts out as a little thing
Just needs a little time and room to grow
Step by step, day by day
It all adds up along the way
And the next thing that you know
Life starts with a little house,
A corner lot on the edge of town
A weed eater and a picket fence
You think it’s good as the getting gets
Then she wakes up feeling bad
You both wonder what’s up with that
Everything that’s anything
Starts out as a little thing
Just needs a little time and room to grow
Step by step, day by day
It all adds up along the way
And the next thing that you know
One night around eight o’clock
You scrub him down then you dry him off
You pick him up and put his little feet
On the stool by the bathroom sink
You grab the crest and the Dixie cup
It all hits you as he opens up…
Love starts with a toothbrush