Madeline + Thomas’ Lovely Natchez Engagement Session: Mississippi Wedding Photography

Have you ever visited Natchez? Its history stretches as far and wide as the amazing river that has kept the city alive for just over 300 years. The oldest part of the city near the river features street after shady, narrow street of historical churches, homes, and businesses. Tiny, colorful houses perch on the lip of the Bluff, watching the barges go by; imposing antebellum mansions peek between the low branches of live oaks; and taverns older than the town advertise cold drinks and ghost stories to give you cold shivers. If I sound like I love the place – well, my family history runs deep here. My people traveled here on foot and horseback when this place was the wild frontier of our nation, and the Natchez Trace was only a dangerous path through the endless forest. I have happy memories of sticky, hot summers spent with my sweet Mamaw Ruth in her tiny red house on Mt. Carmel Drive. So when Madeline and Thomas floated the idea of traveling to Natchez for their engagement session, they didn’t have to ask twice!IMG_2726IMG_0878IMG_0955I loved how Madeline and Thomas made a romantic getaway of their engagement session. They spent the weekend at Monmouth Inn, and we began their session in the garden of this beautiful antebellum home. The new green of spring and the first blush of the redbuds were just beginning to color the woods. It was truly a perfect day.IMG_1070IMG_2826IMG_2933IMG_1279IMG_2908

The Spanish came to the new world looking for gold. The French gave them Natchez after the Seven Years’ War, but they didn’t find gold here. However, they gave their name to the beautiful “moss” that grows from the branches of the live oaks. If they only knew how their namesake moss turns gold in the afternoon sun. I’ll take this kind of gold any day!IMG_1329

After visiting Monmouth’s romantic gardens, we walked the funky, historic streets of Natchez near the Bluff. I fell in love with Smoot’s Grocery and Madeline’s blue eyes.  Jonathan fell in love with Steampunk Coffee Roasters. Engagement sessions that incorporate coffee breaks? Yes please!IMG_3039IMG_3059IMG_3090IMG_1356IMG_3087After coffee, we went exploring below the Bluff, and found a lovely, quiet lane shaded by live oaks. Madeline and Thomas make each other laugh easily, and when they look at each other, their eyes light up! We had so much fun down there under the trees – it was as if we had our own little corner of the River. We could have hung out there chatting and photographing all day, but we had an appointment to keep with the sunset.IMG_1436IMG_1437IMG_1439IMG_3187IMG_3234As the sun crept toward the horizon, we made our way back up the Bluff to watch the sun turn the River to gold and the lights begin to sparkle on the River Bridge. IMG_1467IMG_1508IMG_1521The sun set so, so slowly over Natchez, the oldest city on the River, and so, so gently over these two sweethearts.

Madeline and Thomas, spending time with you in this beautiful city refreshed us in so many ways. We loved seeing its historic homes and gardens through your eyes. It was a wonderful way to spend a spring weekend! And we are SO excited to see you two say “I do” in just a few short days! Happy Wedding Week!

For more information about visiting Natchez, begin here.

Katy-Whitten & Brandon’s Joyful Backyard Boho Wedding: Mississippi Wedding Photography

I love at-home weddings. 3U7A61153U7A61453U7A61663U7A6184I love rooms that are full of memories of little girls growing up.3U7A62543U7A6265I love tiny flower girl dresses that match the bride’s gown.3U7A63283U7A6344IMG_7505IMG_7490I love pups and laid-back grooms and ties that go missing, but are found just in time.DSCF7239-2DSCF7330-23U7A64283U7A64543U7A6463I love Mississippi woods in a Mississippi spring.IMG_7531

000047140001I love catching a First Look like this one on film.3U7A65143U7A6516IMG_7557IMG_7624.jpg3U7A66143U7A66313U7A6656I also LOVE a dress you can twirl in!3U7A66873U7A6667I love little boys who adore their mommies but prefer not to have everyone looking at them just now.3U7A67513U7A6766IMG_7779IMG_78023U7A6803IMG_7866And I absolutely positively LOVE tiny flower girls with bouquets as big as they are!3U7A75083U7A6871

3U7A68993U7A74923U7A6963.jpgI love bridesmaids in the afternoon sun.3U7A6907DSCF74673U7A7124I love parties in shady backyards.IMG_79913U7A7192IMG_7420IMG_7709IMG_77383U7A7195IMG_7693I love weddings under the trees.3U7A7232I love shy ring bearers.3U7A7273IMG_8125I love flower girls that run RUN run down the aisle, petals flying everywhere!

3U7A7282IMG_81363U7A73313U7A73443U7A7348IMG_82173U7A7357I love THIS.3U7A73813U7A75683U7A76213U7A76863U7A75943U7A76453U7A79053U7A7705I love the moment when the evening sky turns deep blue and the lights begin to shine warm in the night.IMG_84353U7A7717IMG_84673U7A78483U7A78933U7A7900I love when bright, fragile paper carries hope, love, and joy into the dark night sky.IMG_85673U7A79633U7A7987

3U7A7999.jpg3U7A8016I love endings that are really beginnings.IMG_86113U7A8038Y’all, I know this post was a little different, but I realized if I tried to write down everything I felt about Katy-Whitten and Brandon’s wedding day, I would drown the beautiful photographs with too many words! So I went with as few words as possible. But here at the end, I have to use a few more words to say that this day was pure joy for us. We’ve known KW and little Zooey and her precious family for several years, and they have become like family to us. The Davidsons have walked with us through the valleys and rejoiced with us on the mountaintops, and we love them dearly. And when we met Brandon, we immediately felt he was a kindred spirit, and we are so grateful that he and KW & Zooey found each other! These three have wonderful adventures ahead of them, and we are so happy we were there to celebrate with them on their wedding day. Congratulations, KW, Brandon, and Zooey! Never stop dancing!

Wedding Team Love

Wedding Coordinator: Terrie Lynn Brown

Videographer: Randy May (209) 756-1337

Floral Design: Loretta Shelton, The Flower Girl Wedding and Florist

Reception Lighting By: Doug Hutcherson

Reception DJ: Tony Vernon (662) 329-2277

Antiques, Furniture & Decor from: Magnolia Antique Mall, Columbus (662) 328-4750

Cake Artist: Rachel Pitman, The Sweeter Side, LLC  (662) 368-6225

Catering by: Bridget Harding, Harding Catering

Bride’s Gown: Blush by Hayley Paige, The Bride and Groom Bridal Boutique

Bride’s Hair Artist: Kristen Stephens

Bridesmaids’ Gowns: Show Me Your MuMu

Groom and Groomsmen’s Attire: J. Crew

*and many, many thanks to the team of family and friends who helped set up, decorate, and celebrate with KW, Brandon, and Zooey!*

 

 

#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♥