Kennedy and Tyler - The Dwell Hotel - Chattanooga, TN

"They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops. And that is true." - Big Fish 

The scene opens under a big top, a circus is in full swing when the lead male figure in the movie "Big Fish" sees the love of his life for the first time. He is so enamored by this woman that the hustle and bustle of the circus freezes while the popcorn that she is holding... well, it floats. (See scene here.) 

Tyler has hung on to that scene and jokingly shared with friends that until the "popcorn floats" he would wait on getting married. "Lofty standards", some may say.

Then Kennedy walked in, time stopped - the popcorn floated. 

Their story is a whirlwind romance, unconventional and a bit wild, and their wedding at the "Dwell Hotel" in Chattanooga, TN couldn't have been a better backdrop. 

Their day started in the woods - just the two of them. (Not even the photographer was invited to this party!) They both have dreamed of marrying in the woods, and though there was no "formal" exchange of vows... two beautiful souls stood behind a giant oak tree, vows in hand, tears on cheeks and committed themselves to one another. It wasn't about the charades and the production, it was about a mutual promise, about one another.

After a while, they emerged together and we took a few quick portraits before heading off to their wedding together.  (Our ride back over consisted of a quick practice session of a song they would conclude their ceremony with. It was the most fun I have ever had being a third wheel! ;) 

An intimate ceremony of 50 people gathered around tables with fine food and laughter. Minutes later, Kennedy and Tyler appeared at the top of a large staircase. After a beautiful speech by Kennedy's dad, they commenced the evening by sharing their story. For many, this was the first time hearing their journey. By the end of them sharing, there was hardly a dry eye. My eye cups on my cameras had puddles of their very own! 

As dinner was served, one after another, influential people in the couple's life got up to speak wisdom, share in HYSTERICAL stories, and encourage the couple. We took a brief break to squeeze the last few minutes of sunlight and grab a group shot of ... well, you guessed it. "Floating popcorn!" (Swooooon)

We came back in, finished speeches and after everyone was full, there came time to officially commit their lives to one another. Promises were made, and then communion and worship ensued. It was unlike anything I have yet to see in this lifetime. The spirit of God fell on the room and people began speaking prophetic words over the lives of these two. There was joy-filled weeping and laughter. A subtle peace blanketed the room. 

Finally, a blessing was spoken over the couple and the two sealed the deal in a steamy kiss. Then, to everyone's surprise (though not mine!) they grabbed mics and sang a song which perfectly described their love to one another. Everyone couldn't stop clapping and cheering. 

Oh, and the parting gift? TATOOS. You read that right. Guests had the option of getting the word "Dwell" tattooed pretty much anywhere! Whaaaaaaat?!

In full Kennedy and Tyler fashion, the wedding was perfectly imperfect. No formal aisles, throwing of the bouquet, first dances or cake smashes but yet - perfect. It was a highlight in my career for many reasons and I couldn't be happier for the two leading roles.

They reinstate hope to anyone out there waiting, holding out and keeping lofty standards that this God we serve is fully capable and willing to give us beyond what we could ever ask for, think of or imagine.

He can even make the popcorn float.

 

Criselis and Joshua - Cornelia Community House

Cris and Josh have a story for the books. They met attending the same church, and after 7 years of friendship they realized what they had was something much more than camaraderie. It was a quick progression! After just a few months of dating she donned a ring on that pretty little finger!

Recently, Josh got a new job on the West Coast and their newly-formed relationship dove headlong into a long-distance one - right before their September wedding. They said heartfelt goodbyes as he headed west, leaving her behind to tie up loose ends for her eventual move. 

Well, he came back in town - the night before the wedding, and they decided that the first time they would see each other would be at the end of the aisle. What a tear-jerker!!! (They even almost accidentally kissed the first moment they saw each other!) 

They had a beautiful ceremony at the Cornelia Community House in Cornelia, Ga. After vowing forever to one another, they skipped out of the church - only to find the nearest coat closet to smooch some more. Their passion is truly beautiful. 

Towards the end of their intimate, coffee and dessert reception - Cris changed into a STUNNING black gown. This was an utter surprise to Josh! (And I think from the pictures you can tell he liked it!) 

Cris and Josh are now serving at Free Chapel in Irvine, California. They are some of the kindest people I have been honored to call friends. Enjoy just a little bit of their most amazing wedding!  

Brittany and Edozie - Atlanta, Georgia

When I first met Brittany and Edozie I was taken by their sincere kindness. They were the first (albeit, only) couple to ask to pray for ME at the conclusion of our first consultation. There story is one marked with the hand of God. Their wedding was a FANTASTIC change of scenery! Though it started as a traditional American ceremony, it turned halfway through to the most beautiful Nigerian celebration! I was introduced to the "dollar dance" and had to put my camera down for a brief moment to get in on the action. Me and my second shooter, Anna Moran, couldn't help but laugh as we found ourselves in the middle of a literal money shower. (Of course, we left the dolla bills undisturbed.) I consistently asked myself, "Why in the world did we not do this?!" It was a wedding to remember, and I was grateful to be a part! 

Amandah and Spencer - Copey Creek - Clarksville, Georgia

Amandah and Spencer got married on August 12, 2017 at Copey Creek in Clarksville, Georgia. The day was filled with on and off showers, but miraculously the skies cleared for their gorgeous ceremony. When Amandah sought out a venue, her vision was to be married underneath a large tree in the middle of a beautiful field. She got it!! It could not have been more picturesque. The staff at Copey Creek are amazing, and were out drying off the chairs the moment the rain stopped. One of the most beautiful moments of the day was when Amandah had just gotten in her dress, I had put on worship music, and was taking a brief moment to pose her by the beautiful windows in her bridal suite. It was the first moment of the day she found herself alone, in a quiet, peaceful room, staring out the window, and it hit her. She would be married that day. She teared up and I ushered in mom to give her a hug. I couldn't help but tear up as well. These moments are why I do what I do! I pray Amandah will be able to look at these photos for the rest of her life and reminsce on all those beautiful emotions!  Congrats, Amandah and Spencer!! (Also, a huge shoutout to my second shooter for this day, Amanda Hamlin. Go check out her work!) 

Kelly and Dillon - Copey Creek Farms - Clarksville, GA

Kelly and Dillon contacted me two weeks before their wedding. You read that right, TWO WEEKS! Yet - you would have had no clues on her big day that it was put together so fast. In fact, I would beg to say there were more thought-out details to this big day than I have yet to see! Kelly’s mom handcrafted many of the decorations. One of my favorite details of the day was the ring-bearer pillow. Sewn together from pieces of fabric of loved ones, even a piece from their dog’s toy! We all rejoiced when the weather greeted us with a cool breeze on July 29th! Copey Creek never looked more beautiful as Kelly and Dillon danced the night away amongst close family and friends. Everyone was in belly laughs as they played the infamous "Wedding Shoe Game"!  Cheers to a beautiful future Kelly and Dillon! I was so honored to have been a part of your day! (Also, thank you to Sam Panysuk for second shooting this wedding!) 

A Figueira Fairy Tale - Little River Farms - Alpharetta, Ga

The day was July 23rd 2017. Jeremy posted early in the morning on his instagram account: "This (our wedding) is a story of God persistence, God’s faithfulness and God’s Love. For my God loves me so. I have found what is good. Today this same guy has been given more mercy and more grace. Today this same guy is privileged to marry the woman that exceeds all his dreams. I love you, Dusty. You are part of God’s long story in this broken mans life and I’ll forever be thankful." God's persistence, faithfulness and love. Try as I may to write a blog post on these two - I couldn't find better words than those he, himself, penned. A story filled with the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ. From loss and heartbreak, to wholeness and forever love. 

And that love is certainly reciprocated. Just notice the way Dusty looks at Jeremy.  Such admiration and respect. One particularly special moment of the day was when Jeremy's family surprised Dusty with a beautiful necklace. The pendant it donned was made from the wedding ring of Jeremy's mom, who had passed away. Both me and my second shooter, Anna Moran, had to hold back tears as we documented such a sacred moment. A powerful gesture of opening up their family to her. Another truly beautiful moment was when Dusty's dad saw her. She is a self-proclaimed "Daddy's girl", and its not hard to see why. (Get your tissues ready!).

Little River Farms in Alpharetta, Georgia was the perfect backdrop for their celebration, and as always - was super hospitable and accommodating. If you know these two, you love them - and I was truly honored to get to capture a bit of their forever story. 

Victory Lap - Shay Arthur

This girl is Uh-mazing. In the last year and a half she has lost 80 lbs. EIGHTY! When I asked what was the biggest contributor to her weight loss, she quickly responded "a journey of deep inner healing and a breakup with self-hate." She works out daily and eats nutritious food, but her biggest secret - "being proud of the little victories" - and verbally affirming those wins! Shay is an inner healing minister, a speaker, conference planner and missionary. She is venturing to Africa next month, and heading home only to hop in a car and lead a week-long revival in Illinois. She is a rarity and it was a deep honor to get to capture this "victory lap" for her. Emotional even! Also, nothing like making the most of where we live! Love getting to shoot on the Gainesville Square here in Gainesville, GA! 

Espinera Ever After!

May 6th, 2017 will forever go down as the most memorable wedding I have shot. Ryan and Jessica fervently watched the weather as the looming reports came in. Rain. Lots of it. Unavoidable. The beautiful venue was at Jessica's parent's house and it was BREATHTAKING. For months, Jessica's family built out her dream wedding spot. Pews built out of trees, a stage, and the most awe inspiring reception location I have seen! Fresh florals greeted you at every turn and the twinkle lights were not in shortage! Because Ryan and Jessica chose to do a first look, we were able to capture all of the formals for the day. As the last family photo was snapped, dark clouds rolled in over head. We immediately retreated inside where Jessica's bridesmaids surrounded her and prayed. Boy, did they pray. After about 15 minutes of speaking life and truth over Jessica, a sweet peace entered the room - laughter broke out! Was it ideal? Maybe not - but no rainstorm was going to stop them! They made an announcement that it was understandable if anyone did not want to venture out into the rainy ceremony site, and not a SINGLE PERSON left. Bundled up with umbrellas, the most beautiful ceremony took place. The beautiful planned reception was ushered inside Jessica's parents house, where more than 200 guests flooded every room. You could hardly hear over the belly laughter. Everyone had the best time communing with one another. At one point I realized there was a group praying over each other - it was truly beautiful to see. To top it all off, Ryan and Jessica sent off lanterns - and somehow, even in the rain - they majestically made there way heavenwards. The rain wasn't "in the plans", but man, what an honor it was to be in that house that rainy May night with people who were so ALIVE. So full of love. Enjoy their story...