Every year that I’m in business, I have the opportunity to assist/photograph with some talented photographers. It’s a nice change of pace and I look forward to assisting several other photographers a year. This past year, I had the privilege of assisting friend and photographer, Laura K. Allen, at the gorgeous wedding venue, Cheekwood Estates. Here are a few of my favorite photographs that I captured from Devin and Danielle’s day.
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Meadow Hill Farm is one of my all time favorite wedding venues. It has a rustic farmhouse feel. The venue is layered in floral beds and lush greenery which is always in full bloom spring through summer. I was beyond excited to learn that Emily + Nathan would be getting married at Meadow Hill.
Nathan and Emily both have a strong love for U.T. Football, Harry Potter and the great outdoors. When I met them for the first time, Emily told me they went fishing on their first date. I absolutely loved that! I cannot remember who Emily said caught the first fish, but it was probably her. =)
Their October day was perfection. The way Emily’s dress fit her body and draped down was heavenly. Her makeup and skin were perfection and she looked like a porcelain doll. My favorite part of the whole day was Nathan tearing up as his beautiful bride made her way down the aisle to him. The love Nathan has and shows for Emily is beyond beautiful. The celebration continued with first dances and toasts. Their day was blessed and I was honored to photograph their wedding.
Matthew + Chasity’s wedding was filled with so much love, honor, friends and family who adore them. Chasity and Matthew both have a down-home, southern, welcoming vibe. I felt like family soon after arriving at their venue, Autumn Crest Farm in Franklin, Tennessee. I would be assisting and photographing their wedding with photographer Darling Juliet. It wasn’t long before Chasity and I were talking about rescue dogs and her music crush, Kip Moore. =) Her dress, from Posh Bridal, fit her like a glove and was absolutely STUNNING! Matthew and Chasity planned their wedding to take place outside, but due to predicted rain, they moved it inside. Good thing too, because half way through their ceremony, the skies opened up and down came the rain. The ceremony vows were filled with so much love and tenderness. After the ceremony, Chasity asked me if I was doing okay because my eye makeup was smeared everywhere from my tears during their vows. Yes, that is how much I was moved by their vows.
After the ceremony and first dance, Matthew and the entire bridal party surprised Chasity with a flash mob dance. A lot of the guests were in on it too. It was AH-MAH-ZING! Chasity was beyond surprised. It was definitely a highlight to photograph and cherish for years to come.
Derek and Michelle. They are hilarious. They are goofy. They are sarcastic. They are kind. They love dogs. I laughed so hard during Derek + Michelle’s engagement session that I knew how much fun their wedding was going to be… and it was! They have become dear friends. I’m even more excited that Michelle and I are going to drink wine while Derek does some repairs at my house. Michelle and I should probably tell Derek about this idea. haha!
In all seriousness, Derek + Michelle’s day was beautiful. Michelle and her bridesmaids looked stunning and Bella, Michelle’s 13 year old beagle, was the star of the show. Derek and Michelle choose not to do a first look and I’m so glad they didn’t do one. When Derek saw Michelle it’s as if the sun came out, because the sun really did come out at that exact moment. Their first dance was off the charts with style. There would eventually be a dress change, a polka with Michelle’s grandmother and a sparkler exit. Here’s to Derek + Michelle.
Part of really getting to know a couple I’m going to photograph on their wedding is meeting up for some coffee and conversation. Note… I’m also up for a Margarita too. =) I ask my couples to tell me how they met, what they do for fun, when they knew their other half was ‘the one’ and the music they listen too. Knowing a couple more in-depth is important to me. No, I wouldn’t need to know anything about two people to capture their wedding or elopement, but for me it gives a glimpse inside their love story. It helps me build their day in photographs more than I would if I didn’t know anything about them. Plus, it’s fun to get to socialize and really know a couple.
Matthew and Melissa were in town from Washington, D.C. visiting family and meeting with wedding vendors. They met up with me at the very adorable and tiny Muletown Coffee in Columbia, Tennessee. It was absolutely freezing cold outside that day, but we focused on the warmth that would come during their wedding the following September. I connected with Melissa right away. She’s originally from Texas, she has those TX two-step moves you’ll see below and she’s just a down-to-earth sweetheart. Plus, I would find out later that her bohemian wedding style was right up my alley. They were both so genuine. I was shocked to find out that they both work for the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. Melissa has made quite a few trips to Africa for work. Hearing about her job was so interesting. Prior to their wedding, Melissa flew to Africa for work and when she returned to Tennessee, she gifted me some beautiful and bright, handmade African dinner napkins. A gift I will treasure for years to come.
Their wedding had so many handmade touches. Melissa sewed all the dinner napkins herself. She ordered and arranged all the florals too. She LOVES florals. The ceremony and reception took place on family land. The ceremony site had an old church that made for the perfect backdrop. Matthew and Melissa’s favorite band is Great Peacock, so they hired them to play at their wedding. How awesome is that?!?! The night was so full of joy as they surrounded themselves with great music, family, friends and lots of love.
Evins Mill is a privately owned resort property located in Smithville, Tennessee. It’s designated a Tennessee State Natural Area and nestled among the forested bluffs and meandering streams of Tennessee’s Highland Rim and Cumberland Plateau. It’s breathtaking and the perfect setting for an intimate wedding like Preston + Jaime’s.
The face you make when you realize your actually married.
I cannot think or talk about Derek + Michelle without smiling or laughing. When we first met at The Fainting Goat Coffee Shop in Spring Hill, I was smitten with how they banter and play off one another. We talked about how they met and how ironic it was that they lived within a couple miles of each other when they started dating. They are both runners and hadn’t crossed paths on their running routes. They also have three fur babies and that sealed the deal for me. =) I knew there wouldn’t be a dull moment photographing Derek + Michelle . Their engagement session had me in stitches. In my opinion, laughter and being able to laugh at life are very important traits to have in the person you’re going to marry. There’s no shortage of those things with these two and that’s what I absolutely love about them.
I feel incredibly blessed to have assisted my friend and talented photographer, Erin Turner Photo, for Chad + Alexandra's wedding at Briar Rose Hill. This is a beautiful wedding venue located in the hills of Bethpage, Tennessee.
In 2017, while visiting family in my home state of Wisconsin, I learned about a large barn that was completely renovated into a wedding venue named The Barn On Stoney Hill. The venue is located just over five miles from where I grew up. Angie and Scott, the owners, were kind enough to give me the full tour. I have been photographing weddings in and around Nashville for several years and I have never seen anything as grand and beautiful as The Barn On Stoney Hill. One of my favorite traits about the barn is the original hay elevator that runs along the ceiling of the venue. They did a good portion of the barn renovation themselves. The Amish from this area created beautiful wood work that is featured in the barn.
Once I returned home to Nashville, I couldn't stop thinking about The Barn On Stoney Hill. I had never put together a styled wedding shoot before, but I knew that it was the perfect place to photograph my first styled shoot. This venue needed to be featured and shared. In 2018, Angie and I started putting a plan in motion. In March, we would be online chatting about wedding details while it was a blizzard in Wisconsin and spring in Tennessee. Our collaboration came together in June when I went home to Wisconsin. We envisioned a bohemian theme with a splash of whimsical that incorporated some non-traditional elements. The tambourine bouquet and macrame backdrop were two of those bohemian concepts. Linyage would be our splash of whimsical. Linyage creates and hand sews the most beautiful two-piece wedding dresses. The Contemporary Knot was another vendor who blew me away with her macrame talents. Rustic Rhinestone Events brought floral and decor design ideas that added another dimension to the shoot. I am very proud of every vendor that took part and I cannot wait to photograph a wedding just down the road from where I grew up.
Venue & Design: The Barn On Stoney Hill
Wedding Dress: Linyage
Macrame: The Contemporary Knot
Florals & Design: Rustic Rhinestone Events
Stationary: Mint For Hue
Chairs: Briggs Tent & Party Rental
Pies: Cadott Bakery
Pie Stands and Signage: Otter Creek Antiques
Hair: Ashlee @ Visions Salon
Makeup: Dominque Wright
The weather predicted storms for the entire day. When I arrived at Arrington Vineyards in the early afternoon, not a drop had fallen yet. We all had our fingers crossed. As Benji + Ayn Marie walked hand in hand to the the ceremony site, the sky let go of a few rain drops. Benji + Ayn Marie's wedding was intimate and timeless. Family surrounded them as they said their vows under a huge, oak tree that provided much needed shade.
They met at their jobs. Benji teaches Wellness and Ayn Marie teaches kindergarten. They both attended the University of Tennessee, but they didn't know each other when they attended. Benji + Ayn Marie love bluegrass music. Of course, Rocky Top was played a few times. The barn was packed with friends and their students' families during their reception.
I had just started my photography business when I met Kylie in 2012. She started serving at the restaurant I was working at. I'd learn that she grew up in northern Illinois and before long a yankee bond was formed. =) We often joked that we come from 'hardy stock' since we both have a little meat on our bones. Kylie eventually left the restaurant, became a teacher for metro Nashville and met the man of her dreams, Levi. One night after work a few years later I found a note on my car from Kylie, that I still have. The note stated that she knew she'd marry Levi and how she wanted me to photograph their wedding. It meant everything to me and it still does.
Like many couples these days, they met online. Their first date would be at a restaurant called 'The Pharmacy' and then the dog park. It went so well that their second date lasted four days.... kinda. Kylie decided to attend Bonnaroo with Levi. Levi knew after Kylie camped and was without a shower for four days, with no complaint, that she was the woman of his dreams.
Levi said Kylie has genuine kindness to everyone she meets.
Kylie said Levi looks forward to spending together forever with her.
Side note: Kylie's Grandfather was the officiant during the wedding and when he said they attended 'Bone-a-roo' instead of Bonaroo, everyone erupted with unending laughter. Kylie's reaction was priceless!
During their wedding, Levi's best friend was deployed overseas. Kylie surprised Levi with a letter from his best friend and then a surprise FaceTime chat too. There was so much love that surrounded them on their gorgeous wedding day. I wish them a lifetime of happiness.
When I say 'tell her something funny'...
It's hard to fulfill your duty as a ring bearer when you gotta take a pit stop to potty.
The very moment Kylie's Grandpa mispronounced "Bonnaroo" and said "Bone-a-roo".
Venue: Private Residence found on AirBnB located in West Nashville, Tennessee
Dress: Barzel - www.instagram.com/barzelai
Florist: Abigail @ Cottonwood Floral email@example.com
Hair + Makeup: Codi Williams-Brown @ Hair Doo Nashville www.facebook.com/hair.doo.nashville
Invitations + Fans: www.roseypaperie.com
DJ-Nik with 3rd Coast Entertainment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food & Bartender: Jim & Nicks BBQ @ www.jimnnicks.com
Furniture and yard games: Two Vintage Monkeys @ www.twomonkeysvintage.com
The wedding arch was handmade by Levi from trees from their backyard.
Casey + Alissa are that 'rad' couple that everyone knows and loves. They know all the latest styles and can wear any thing and look trendy. It wasn't any different on their wedding day. Alissa's glow of anticipation as she walked up to Casey during their first look was almost more than my camera (and I) could handle. Casey was in pure awe of Alissa's beauty. Everything about their intimate Nashville wedding was beautiful.
I first met Nathan and Emily at George and Lauren's gorgeous wedding. We would eventually meet-up in Columbia at Muletown for coffee and for me to hear about their love story. Since their wedding is going to be at Meadow Hill Farm in October, we also did their engagement session there too. It was a bit chilly, but it warmed up quickly once the dancing started. Dancing? Yes! At some point during the session, I usually ask my couples for their best dance moves. If there's any tension, that flies out the window in moments. Haha. It's about being able to laugh one minute and be vulnerable the next. Emily's tears truly represent how blessed she feels to marry the man of her dreams in October. I am blessed to be capturing their day.
Don't let the leather jackets fool you. Casey + Alissa aren't two rebel bikers, but they are two souls madly in love with one another. Think Grease meets Marilyn Manson. They both have a love for music and coffee. Casey is the bassist in a local band and Alissa works for Gibson Guitars. It made sense that we meet at Frothy Monkey in downtown Franklin to start the engagement session. Alissa has the most amazingly, beautiful smile and the way Casey looks at her is as if she's the only woman in a million mile radius. I'm beyond excited for their wedding next month!
Damian + Lauree' are a mess. A beautiful, in love mess! Their interactions are 'no holds bar' and I love that about them. I love photographing couples that are "exactly what you see is what you get". They spill their love out for one another and they don't care who is looking. The way Damian whispers in Lauree's ear and makes her laugh is enough to make any hopeless romantic sigh. My favorite is the way Lauree' rolls her eyes at Damian when he says something corny. However, it's those corny moments that make her laugh more.
They met when Damian was Lauree's boss. She wasn't quite so sure about Damian at first. Lauree' worked for Damian for two years before moving on. However, I don't think Damian could get Lauree' out of his head. He called her up a few months after she left because he needed a 'work password' he couldn't remember. Right?!?! Damian popped the question this past August in Charleston, South Carolina. SHE SAID YES!
Thank you to Leigh Anna Thompson for asking me to collaborate on this wedding with her.
Childhood encompasses simplicity and a great wonder. Two things in life that everyone should never run out of. That could be why I enjoy capturing family sessions with little ones so much. Their curiosity is endless and the simplest of things amuse them. The McNeil Family was in town from CA for the weekend visiting all that Music City has to offer. Alan Jackson would say they "Gone Country" because they got little "J" his first pair of cowboy boots too.
This was my first time at Battle Mountain Farm and I loved everything about it! The antique farmhouse, the light streaming through the windows, separate houses for the bride and groom to get ready at, the old front porch and the cattle roaming the property were some of my favorite aspects of the venue. Here's a little secret for you... there's a little cabin tucked away about a mile behind the property. That's where Trey + Amber had their first look and spent their first night as Mr. and Mrs.
Amber is as sweet as pecan pie and her outside beauty is equally as stunning. Her hair is possibly the most beautiful color of natural red I have ever seen. Trey has such a great sense of humor and occasionally recites quotes from his favorite movie "Lonesome Dove" (one of my all time faves too). You can see the love that Trey professes for Amber in the way he looks at her. They've known each other for quite some time, as they attended high school together. Life would take hold and they would go their separate ways only to be reconnected again. God wrote them a beautiful love story.
Thank you to Jessica Hamilton for allowing me to collaborate with her on this gorgeous wedding.
I was planning a trip to Colorado about the same time I received an email from bride-to-be Vanessa. JP and Vanessa, now married, met and live in Colorado. Coincidence? Vanessa is from Nashville and they would be getting married at the Historic Stone Hall. It's a beautiful venue; especially for intimate weddings. Vanessa conveyed that their wedding would be small with only their dearest family and friends surrounding them. I loved the sound of everything they had planned and that she wanted a journalistic feel to the day. That's truly my favorite way to capture weddings.
My favorite part during the wedding may have been when Vanessa said 'vows' to JP's young daughter, Paley. After the wedding, guests were treated to one of the best hot chicken venues Nashville has to offer, Hattie B's. In fact, JP got so excited when Hattie B's arrived that he asked me to stop their portraits to take a photo of the Hattie B's airstream pulling up. =) That's dedication to a favorite restaurant. The celebration only got better when The John Tomlin & Company Band started playing. They were AH-MAH-ZING! If you love or even like Bluegrass then you gotta hear them! My favorite part of the night was when Vanessa laid old quilts on the ground for guests to sit on. The quilts were sewn by her grandmother. As a quilt maker (ok I've only made two) and lover of quilts, this made my heart swoon. I wish them a lifetime of happiness!
Hair and Makeup - Amy Lynn Larwig + Associates
Wedding Dress - J. Crew
Shoes - SJP Collection
Venue - Stone Hall, Hermitage TN
Ring - Ritani
Flowers - Bloom on Belmont Avenue
Bartender - Private Events Bartending
Band - John Tomlin & Company
I am as excited to deliver 'part 2' of my Colorado Wedding Venues travel to you as I was to deliver 'part 1'. If you haven't seen 'part 1', you can find it HERE. This portion of my trip took me up into the beautiful Rocky Mountains and then south to Colorado Springs. The views from these locations are beautiful which means that your wedding photographs would be too. To say it was an adventure is putting it mildly! A hint of advice... if you are thinking about traveling up into the mountains, a reliable rental car and a thick sleeping bag should be high on your priority list. I almost needed to implement my girl scout camping survival techniques. Honestly, there's never a dull moment wherever I go and every trip is an adventure. I wouldn't have it any other way. =)
Strawberry Creek Ranch
Grandby, Colorado was one of my favorite places in Colorado and that's probably why I really love this venue. The views at Strawberry Creek Ranch are absolutely breathtaking. The ranch sits on 300 acres right below the continental divide. It's a family-owned, working cattle and horse ranch. The pond's reflections during fall were incredible. I could visualize a beautiful bride's reflection in that pond. Plus, the bridge and waterfall on the side of the pond are perfect for those couple portraits. If you are getting married up in the mountains, then this venue is a must!
How adorable is the bridesmaids' cottage?!?!
The view is incredible!
Blackstone Rivers Ranch
Blackstone is new in the wedding venue scene and they are doing things right! This venue is located in Idaho Springs, just thirty-five minutes west from Denver. I would definitely say 'rustic elegance' defines the style at the Blackstone Rivers Ranch. The venue offers luxurious amenities while keeping its' feel of being surrounded in nature. One of my favorite features about the venue is the area along the stream for guests to congregate. There is a huge fire pit, lounge chairs, rocking chairs and outdoor heaters for chilly evenings. The highlight for a photographer is the wooden swing that hangs from the bridge. I would definitely want to capture some bridal portraits there.
The bride and bridesmaids' room
The groom and groomsmen' room
FLYING HORSE RANCH
One the second to last day of my trip, I headed south to Colorado Springs. This is where I would tour Flying Horse Ranch. The ranch sits on 1,400 acres of what is called 'The Front Range' of Colorado consisting of rolling grasslands. The venue has two different wedding location options. There's the ranch house ballroom and/or the Barn, which is my favorite. Personally, I'd utilize both spaces. The ranch has an amazing outdoor area for guests to congregate under the starry sky. The perfect photograph of the bride and groom will probably be at sunset out in the grassland.
The bride and bridesmaids' getting ready area
The barn has two levels allowing for an on-going reception upstairs while others dance the night away downstairs.
Deer Creek Valley Ranch
The fog was just starting to lift when I arrived at Deer Creek Valley Ranch in Bailey, Colorado. The temp was 36 degrees Fahrenheit and it was windy, but I was ready to tour this beautiful one of a kind wedding venue. I was greeted by some beautiful horses roaming the range. The barn was originally built in 1865 and it has been totally renovated. The biggest hidden secret to the barn can be found downstairs. It's the man cave and OMG it's AH-MAH-ZING! Once your man sees this space, he'll probably want to sign on the dotted line. haha! Most couples choose one of two locations for their wedding. There's the Lakeside Gazebo and the Bridge Meadow. The Bridge Meadow typically allows for amazing mountain views in the backdrop, but the fog was very thick during my visit, so the mountains could not be seen. Nonetheless, a gorgeous place to marry the love of your life. The Lakeside Gazebo holds my favorite feature and there is a canoe to row out to a little island in the middle of the lake. There's an antique swing in the middle where photos can be taken. Yes, please!
The upstairs loft is perfect for extra reception seating or your reception dance.
The Barn at Evergreen
After I left Bailey, I drove to The Barn at Evergreen. The closer I got to Evergreen, the denser the fog became. I literally could not see the venue from the road, but I'm so thankful I finally found it because this venue is a true gem. The Barn was assembled from five other barns and everything in the barn is up-cycled. The stained windows came from an old church that was going to be torn down. This venue is beyond unique. In addition, the venue is surrounded by wildlife because the barn sits within a park with lots of wild game. There are several antique artifacts throughout the property and ponds as well.
The Barn At Raccoon Creek
On my last day in Colorado, I toured an all encompassing wedding venue located in Littleton - just south of Denver. The Barn At Raccoon Creek sits on a golf course and the grounds are well kept and lush. This could be a big hit with your bridal party if you have a golf enthusiast or two. The string zip zag lights make the common lawn between the barn and bridal house feel inviting and party worthy. This is where'd I'd have my dance floor at with the band off to a side. I'm ready to get down and boogie when you are. =)