#Friday Introductions: My “Why”

It’s not a bad way to spend a summer, traveling to weddings, photographing weddings, editing weddings.  Every day I sit down at my computer with my big mug of English Breakfast tea, turn on my Spotify playlist, and open up another treasure box of beautiful memories.

It’s kind of wonderful, y’all. Not only do Jonathan and I have the amazing privilege of celebrating with our couples on their wedding day, but I also have the blessing of reliving those sweet moments over and over through the editing process. The quiet hours of clicking away have given me plenty of time to reflect on the moments that make my heart say “YES!” So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and pondering and writing random notes on scrap paper to myself. This summer, more than ever, I’ve gotten very close to distilling my “why.” 3U7A1647So this is my “Friday Introduction” for July, my “why.” But first, here’s what I look like at the very end of a beautiful wedding day, when everyone else is packing to go home, but we’re still running on all the happy energy of the day (plus more than a little sugar from wedding cake,) so we decide to keep playing with our lights. Because backlighting is FUN, y’all!

3U7A1651I love weddings where I can wear my pink Chucks all day. (Thank you, Tori and Justin!)

Why do I love wedding photography?

Because it matters.

When I was an art student at MUW, I spent the first three years majoring in Graphic Design. (Side note: I can’t believe my class is about to have its twenty-year reunion!) I enjoyed the craft of designing packaging and advertisements, but towards the end of my third year I began to feel dissatisfied. I realized that the kind of art I was creating was designed to be thrown away. There’s a word for advertising and packaging: ephemera. Ephemera: noun: things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time. I began to wonder – was this what I wanted to create? My answer was no, and it was a strong “no:” strong enough to make me add another year to my undergrad career!

Also, I took my first photography class that year, and the photography bug bit me, big time. This was just before the age of digital cameras, when drugstores still carried film and even developer and photographic paper. Taking photographs with my little secondhand Pentax K1000 and then developing the film and enlarging images in the old darkroom on at the W was alchemy, it was craft, it was magic.

So, while I was editing another beautiful wedding gallery the other day, I remembered the year I changed my major. And it hit me: I am doing the OPPOSITE of creating ephemera. When we photograph a wedding, we are taking ephemeral moments and making them permanent. Eudora Welty said, “A good snapshot stops a moment from running away,” and I think that’s what I love about what we do.

I imagine the photographs we take being passed down for years and years. I imagine grandchildren and great grandchildren looking at these wedding moments – seeing the love in young faces that look so much like their own. I hope that one day our photographs will sit on mantels, fill bookshelves, and decorate the guestbook tables at children and grandchildren’s weddings.  When loved ones have to say goodbye, I hope that our photographs will bring happy memories to those left behind. We watch, we witness, and we gather what we see, so that others can be delighted, be touched, be reminded, be comforted.

And I think that’s my “why.”

Katy-Whitten + Brandon’s Beautiful Winter Engagement Session: Mississippi Wedding Photography

In Mississippi, sometimes we get a spring day in midwinter. You wake up expecting another chilly, grim, gray day, and instead you get blue skies, birds singing, and fuzzy little buds on the dogwood trees. In the middle of your post-holiday gloom, you remember: I live in the Deep South. Spring comes early here. We may get snow in April, but hey, we’ll be wearing flip flops in February.  I was so grateful that our winter weather performed one of its miracles for Katy-Whitten and Brandon’s engagement session.IMG_1624IMG_1650IMG_1713IMG_9247These two are thoughtful, romantic, and brave. Can I just share a little of their story? The night of their brief first meeting in Tuscaloosa in 2010, Brandon tells: “He wrote about her in his journal that night saying ‘Never forget…that girl.'” IMG_9265They courted for a few happy weeks, but it was the season of college, of classes, of beginnings and endings. They connected over her record collection and their love of Kerouac and Hemingway. He wrote her letters. Eventually, though, circumstances separated them for over a year. In December of 2011 they reconnected – she met his new puppy, they told each other their adventures. They said goodbye on the shores of Hurricane Creek. Again, life happened, and they lost touch… for two years.IMG_9302IMG_9309They were separated by distance and the call of life, old dreams, dashed hopes, and new dreams, but they never forgot each other. She became a writer, a poet, a momma. He became a geologist and a traveller. But in spite of everything, these two found each other again.

Brandon tells their story so well: “Who contacted whom at this point is up for debate, and both KW and B claim credit for reigniting the old flame. Whatever happened, it changed the course of their lives indefinitely. They began writing letters to one another, perhaps remembering and longing for the sweet times they shared in the past. He sent her pictures of his adventures. She showed him her walking son. He wrote to her about his dreams of homesteading in the mountains. She sent him her poems to read. He told her she was beautiful. She longed for true love. He got fired. He came to see her on Valentines day in 2014. They met at the Lincoln Home Bed and Breakfast in Columbus, MS. He met her family and friends. He fell in love with her son. He wanted to stay. She wanted to come. He left for Montana to go work on a farm. She said she would come that spring.”

IMG_9360She said she would come that spring.

IMG_1789IMG_1791He wrote her every day til she arrived.IMG_1797They had adventures, and adventures, and adventures. She met his family. They camped and hiked, they gardened and farmed. He moved. She moved. They moved together. (You can read the whole beautiful story, in their own words, here.) And one day, after hiking to the top of a glacial arête in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of New Mexico, Brandon asked her to be his wife. And she said yes.IMG_9399IMG_1845IMG_9436And tomorrow, TOMORROW, at the home where she grew up, under trees filled with lights, flowers, and music, the three of them will become one family.IMG_1887IMG_1902IMG_9596This love story was written in patience and letters, adventures and waiting and more letters. Oh, how Jonathan and I have loved hearing their story! And how happy are we that the waiting will be over for these two and Zooey James! We can’t wait to see them say “I do!”IMG_1930IMG_9624IMG_9661Katy-Whitten and Brandon, thank you for trusting us with this window into the story of your lives together. We are so happy and excited for you and your families, and we can’t wait to see where life takes you three. Whatever happens, keep writing those letters. ❤

♥Engagement Session Locations♥

The Lincoln Home, Columbus MS

The Davidson Home

Ethelsville, Alabama

 

Tori + Justin’s First Look on a Sweet Rainy Day at Southwind: Mississippi Wedding Photography

I’m on a roll with precious First Look moments lately! And since I am STILL trying to practice the discipline of using fewer words (hah!) I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  (Right brain: “but I LOOOOVE adjectives!” Left brain: “No one wants to read all these words! They just want to see the pictures!”) 🙂 Here you go…

  1. His name is Justin, her name is Tori, and they love each other soooo much.
  2. They were married on a rainy March afternoon at Southwind.
  3. They had a very sweet First Look moment witnessed by just a few precious loved ones.
  4. First Looks in the rain (well, almost in the rain!) are so, so lovely.

IMG_52113U7A06533U7A06603U7A0668IMG_52583U7A0683IMG_52663U7A0695More words! I can’t help it! Do you see how Justin couldn’t stop smiling??IMG_52733U7A07163U7A0745IMG_52903U7A08103U7A1217And I had to throw in just ONE MORE photo to show the glorious sunset that crowned their lovely day! Everyone at the wedding was in awe of this beautiful sunset!3U7A1489

Tori + Justin

March 25, 2017

Southwind

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Bride’s Gown by Allure from Faulkenbery’s Bridal, Philadelphia, MS

Bride’s Veil: her mother’s veil

Bride’s Hair and Makeup Artist: Charlene Cooke, 662-386-5346

Bride’s Bouquet & Floral Designs: Holly Payne of Holly’s Petals and Presents, Nettleton, MS  662-963-0010

Mary Kathryn + Tyler’s First Look on a Gorgeous April Morning at the Hewlett Barn: Mississippi Wedding Photography

Okay, I’m usually pretty wordy when it comes to these little sneak peek blog posts. The joke around my house is that I love to use 100 words when 10 will do! BUT this little sneak peek will do AAALLLL the talking for me. Let me see if I can give you the basics of what is happening, quickly:

  1. His name is Tyler, her name is Mary Kathryn, and they are sweethearts.
  2. They got married Saturday.
  3. They had a very special First Look moment all by themselves.
  4. It was beautiful.

IMG_6281IMG_6291IMG_62943U7A19023U7A19063U7A19073U7A1911(Mary Kathryn said she wasn’t going to cry, and she really, really tried not to. So that may or may not be a little tear on her cheek…)IMG_63083U7A1917IMG_6302IMG_6344IMG_6331IMG_6483IMG_6358IMG_6408IMG_6454This last moment was actually right after they exited the ceremony, but I had to put it here BECAUSE LOVE.IMG_6704

Mary Kathryn & Tyler

April 1, 2017

The Hewlett Barn and Stables

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Bride’s Dress: The Bride and Groom Bridal Boutique

Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Bridal Bouquet created by the Bride and her friends

Bride’s Hair and Makeup Artist: Autumn Hardy  autumnhardy93@gmail.com

Wedding coordinator: Allyson Leitner 662-456-6406 weddingeventplanningbyallyson@gmail.com

Mary Kathryn + Tyler’s Sunny Winter Engagement Session at the Lake: Mississippi Wedding Photography

“Moon river, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style some day…
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way.
Two drifters, off to see the world…
There’s such a lot of world to see!
We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the bend…
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me…”
Lyrics from “Moon River” are the perfect way to introduce you to Mary Kathryn and Tyler. Music runs all through their lives together.  They’re fun and playful and kind and faithful, and in just two short days, these precious dreamers will be saying “I do.”  We are so, so happy for them, and Jonathan and I feel so blessed, for many reasons, to be part of their day.

IMG_2128IMG_2097Every engagement and wedding we photograph is dear & beautiful to us, but we have a special place in our hearts for Mary Kathryn and Tyler. Since we began attending Vibrant Church in Columbus several years ago, we’ve come to know and cherish these two. They’re part of our church family, and their kind and generous hearts have blessed us and so many others. Mary Kathryn is the beloved Early Childhood Director at Vibrant, and Tyler, a mechanical engineer, can often be seen on stage with his guitar, backing up our amazing team of vocalists for our worship services.IMG_2137We celebrated their engagement with a sweet, laid-back photography session at Tyler’s grandparents’ lake, which is also one of their happy places AND last but not least, the place where Tyler proposed! Note: Mary Kathryn and Tyler have been sweethearts for quite a while, and all their friends and family, including us, just KNEW that Tyler was going to propose soon. My personal bet was that it would be last Christmas. But Tyler’s a super smart guy and no surprise, he fooled us all! He even managed to surprise Mary Kathryn! After Christmas, Tyler invited Mary Kathryn out to the lake one lovely winter evening at the end of the old year to stargaze – he even brought along his telescope. But instead of looking at the stars, he sang her a song by the fire, and gave her a ring. ❤ IMG_2107IMG_2172Precious and pretty Joules, their Australian Shepherd, came along too. Isn’t her name adorable? You can tell she belongs to an engineer! She was perfectly sweet and loving, and she made the session extra fun! Now I want my own pretty little Aussie. I’m sure Jocko (my Belgian Malinois) wouldn’t mind a bit! IMG_9813IMG_2033IMG_9849IMG_2025IMG_2056IMG_2065As we finished up the afternoon with Mary Kathryn and Tyler, our unseasonably warm temperatures began to drop and it started acting like winter again! So it was a perfect time for lots of cuddles.  And Tyler was super sweet & patient and let me talk him into taking the classic & ultra romantic “my hero” photo as a finale. I think it suits him, don’t you?IMG_0061IMG_2204IMG_0124I can hardly believe that Saturday is almost here, and that we’ll have the honor of witnessing these two sweethearts say their vows to each other. I already know it will be a sweet, lovely, and holy moment. I can already feel the love that will surround them from their families and friends. I already know I will probably cry more than once! Mary Kathryn and Tyler, knowing you and your families has made our lives so much richer. Thank you for inviting us into your lives and into this beautiful day.

Tori + Justin Said “I Do:” A Sparkling, Flower-Filled Wedding at Southwind: Mississippi Wedding Photography

Y’all, I know I’ve said this before, but every time I open up a wedding gallery for the first time, it’s like I’m opening up a treasure box. I know there will be so many beautiful moments in there, but I really don’t know everything I will find! Jonathan and I both catch SO MANY lovely memories! So I’m doing something a little different for this “sneak peek” wedding post, something that I haven’t done in a while.  Here’s my personal pick of a few images that just leapt out of Lightroom & into my heart this morning! I fell in LOVE with the pretty, pretty colors and rustic details of Tori & Justin’s beautiful day, but since her sweet family are the proprietors of a wonderful local business, Magnolia Antique Mall, I wasn’t surprised that it was a wedding full of darling details! I have so many more images that I’d love to share, but those will have to wait just a bit longer (here’s a hint – did you see that SUNSET we had Saturday? Well, we did too, and I have some amazing bride and groom portraits I can’t wait to share soon!) But until then, here’s a little joy for your Monday!3U7A1064

Congratulations, Tori & Justin! Our March weather may have brought some rain clouds across your day, but you two knew exactly what to do with those raindrops – DANCE in them! We absolutely love love LOVED how you two chose to celebrate the beginning of your new life as Mr. and Mrs. Bridgman.  It was a perfectly joyful start to this new chapter of your life together!

Tori & Justin’s Wedding Team:

Venue: Southwind, Shannon, Mississippi

Bride’s Dress Designed by: Allure

Bride’s Dress Purchased From: Faulkenbery’s Bridal, Philadelphia, Mississippi

Bride’s Hair and Makeup: Charlene Cook, 662-386-5346

Bridesmaids’ Gowns: Christina Wu, purchased at Faulkenbery’s Bridal, Philadelphia, MS

Floral Designer: Holly Payne of Holly’s Petals and Presents, (662)-963-0010

Cake Artist: Taylor Massey of Taylor Made Cake, (662) 251-2773

Videographer: Erica English

Special Decor & Details by: Magnolia Antique Mall, Columbus, Mississippi and Southern Dust Restoration  Instagram: @magnolia_treasures, @southern.dust and @mytreaurenest

♥Special thanks and love from the Bride to: her mother, Abby Fitzgerald, her sister, Ninna Knight, and also to Victoria Burton & Dana Mordecai♥

Lane & Wesley said “I Do:” A Lovely Delta Wedding on a Rainy Day: Mississippi Wedding Photography

You never know what March weather in Mississippi will be like. We’ve had so many weeks of sunny spring weather and BAM! just in time for Lane and Wesley’s wedding day, winter came roaring back! But you know what? It really didn’t matter, because this precious wedding took place in one of the more beautiful church sanctuaries we’ve ever seen, and their reception was at the wonderful, historic Heathman Plantation Commissary. Even better, Lane and Wesley were surrounded by the love of their friends and family, so all the cold rain in the world couldn’t put a damper on their day! Here’s a little peek at some of our favorite moments and images of their lovely day.IMG_4001Inside the quiet sanctuary of Indianola First Baptist Church, the stained glass windows glowed softly with light. Outside, raindrops spangled the roses.IMG_4077IMG_1629IMG_4027IMG_1616As the storm clouds gathered outside, Lane and her sweet maids spent the morning safe, happy, and warm being pampered at Merle Norman.IMG_1651IMG_1701IMG_4080IMG_1715These next two photos are dear to my heart because they’re REAL, y’all. To be a bridesmaid is a high calling, and on the wedding day, you’re a very busy person! You’re an emotional support system, you keep track of the groom so he doesn’t accidentally get a peek at his bride, you carry stuff, you pack stuff, you find stuff….in short, you help carry your sweet friend to the altar.  I loved how Lane’s bridesmaids surrounded her with support and love.IMG_4173IMG_4199-2And her little flower girls made sure she got plenty of hugs!IMG_4210-2Lane had a PRECIOUS First Look with her sweet daddy. Oh my goodness, there were happy tears everywhere! IMG_1835IMG_4251IMG_4257Meanwhile, the handsome groom was upstairs helping his groomsmen figure out their ties. Wesley’s best man (who just happened to be his daddy) helped them get it all sorted out.IMG_1776IMG_1757Lane and Wesley had a very sweet moment together before the ceremony. I loved this idea! What a fun and special way to have a moment together without seeing each other!IMG_4440IMG_1936IMG_4433IMG_4439-3And then it was time to say “I do!” Here are a few precious moments from their ceremony.IMG_4607IMG_1987IMG_2020One of the little ring bearers wasn’t sure about the acting required for this picture, but when he saw how much fun his friends were having, he came around!IMG_2065And now, I present the happy Mr. and Mrs. Weeks! Wesley couldn’t take his eyes off his beautiful bride, and can you blame him?IMG_2163IMG_2204If you saw Lane and Wesley’s engagement story (you can check it out here) you’ll recognize their reception venue! They celebrated with their friends and family at the historic Heathman Plantation Commissary. Every inch was decorated beautifully… I wish I had enough room in this blog post to show you every single corner! (Check out the top right hand window in this next photo… Jonathan caught me at work!)IMG_2294IMG_2438It was SUCH a fun night! That beautiful old building was filled with music and laughter and so, so much love. And when you’re in the Delta, you have BARBECUE for your reception meal! Oh my goodness, it was soooo good! IMG_2256Y’all, I have so many more precious moments I want to share! I am really trying to keep this post short and sweet, because I am definitely guilty of oversharing!  When it comes to a beautiful wedding, I always have a hard time limiting myself to just a few photos. I’ll end with these sweet moments from Lane and Wesley’s First Dance…IMG_4824IMG_4815IMG_4839

This photographer cried, y’all. Lane and Wesley’s wedding hashtag, #beenwaitingforweeks, perfectly described the joy these two shared as they danced the night away. I’m so thankful that Jonathan and I were able to be a part of this day! Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Weeks!

Vendor Love

Day-Of Wedding Coordinator: Debbie Esplin, Wedding Days Exclusively

Lane’s Bridal Gown: Alfred Angelo

Bridesmaids’ Gowns: Azazie

Groom and Groomsmen’s Attire: Abraham’s, Cleveland, MS
(662) 843-4541

Reception Venue: Heathman Plantation Commissary

Reception Catering: Leslie Roark Scott, The Barbecue Princess, of Ubon’s Restaurant, Yazoo City, MS  601-906-4844

Bridal Hair Artist: Kelsey Pate, 662-207-4037

Bridal Party Hair & Makeup: Merle Norman of Indianola, MS
304 Highway 82 E
Indianola, MS 38778
(662) 452-5115

Cake Artist: Kristi Smith, 662-207-7040

Floral Artist: Felecia Love, 662-347-1207