Sally and Brian's wedding day was a dream. This evening outdoors at Vulcan was simple, laid-back, fun, and just plain nice. The bride and groom put together a day that reflected exactly what they wanted: a short and sweet outdoor ceremony where they were wed by one of their good friends, yummy food for dinner, and then a dance party under the stars. This wedding was a perfect example of being unembellished in the best way: Sally and Brian just wanted to hang with their friends and family to celebrate their new marriage.
Koby and Kristen's Shelby County Courthouse wedding in Columbiana pushed the envelope of "courthouse wedding." The Shelby County Courthouse has a cute little gazebo out back, and Kristen planned every little detail of this intimate wedding. The couple arrived at the courthouse with enough time to fill out their paperwork, then had a super sweet ceremony at the gazebo (with several employees watching from the windows and commenting on how this was the prettiest wedding they'd seen there!). Afterwards, Kristen and Koby filed their marriage license and cheered as they exited the front door. Dinner followed at Seasons 52.
I am always so thankful when small parties like this invite me to capture their wedding day. Big, boisterous affairs are so fun, and intimate weddings are exciting in very different ways. There's usually a softer, quieter energy and that shows through in the photographs. Kristen and Koby's wedding was soft, quiet, and so, so sweet.
Jordan and Chris were married during a magical ceremony in the woods at Aldridge Gardens. The day began calmly with comfortable chatter, and by the end of the night that milieu hadn't changed much. The couple, their family, and their guests seemed dedicated to visiting and getting personal. Sweet moments abounded. This charming, laid-back wedding was sweet as can be!
If you haven't guessed it yet, Callie and Mike's wedding was seriously fun. They are quite the pair, and Callie's incredible dress and red lipstick (plus her contagious smile), set the mood of the day straightaway. The ceremony was held at Independent Presbyterian Church in downtown Birmingham. The stained glass and somber atmosphere of the church gave this wedding day its serious side, which unfurled into a slew of bright colors as soon as you walked in to the reception at BridgeStreet Gallery and Loft. Guests broke it down on the dance floor, the bride shotgunned a beer with the groom and groomsmen (Good People Pale Ales... a serious shotgun experience, y'all), and the whole evening ended in a swirl of colors and sparklers.
Sometimes when people find out I'm a wedding photographer, they'll make a remark similar to "Oh, I bet that gets old--weddings are all the same." And you know what? They are all the same. Two people (who are in love) planned an event to bring (their favorite) people together (for one day) to celebrate their (passionate) love and the joining of their lives (forever). In that way, yep. Weddings are pretty much all the same. But that sameness is exactly what makes every. wedding. so. different. Every love looks and acts differently. Each couple chooses to celebrate in their own way. No group of guests expresses themselves like another.
A wedding day is one of the most emotional, high-energy, and thought-out days of a bride or groom's life. Living in the midst of that energy and potential never gets old. Searching for the similarities and differences among people, couples, weddings, events, etc etc etc (the list is endless for me), keeps it new. I am always navigating, forever seeking that piece of a moment that will last forever and show: this is us.
When you're looking through my very favorite wedding images from last year, I hope you see the similarities and the vast differences among these couples. I hope you feel their anxious energy, laugh and cry with them, allow their joy to propel you, and imagine yourself in their shoes.
There are so many emotions I'd like to express to the couples who have let me into their lives to experience their intimate moments. The best way I know how is to simply say "thank you," and let the photographs below show you.
When they planned their January wedding at the Sonnet House, I'm pretty sure Shanti and Kelley didn't anticipate the weather feeling like a perfect Alabama spring day. But, to our good fortune, James Spann sent the sun and gave us 75 glorious degrees. And the weather couldn't have better reflected the cheery delight that shined from the couple's faces all day long. From a laid-back morning of preparation to their outdoor ceremony and reception, to the lavender toss exit, Kelley and Shanti's energy was infectious and the whole wedding was full of giggle boxes and smiling faces.
Lisa and Paulo live near Boston, but flew down to Alabama to get married where Lisa grew up. The ceremony and reception were both held at Wills Creek Vineyard & Winery in Attalla, where the muscadines were ready to harvest. The smell of ripe muscadines hugged the bride and groom throughout the ceremony, and let me tell you. It was divine.
Kelsey and Brian's wedding at Sonnet House, just outside of Birmingham, was full of such pure joy! Their friends and family were so amazingly sweet, animated, genuinely happy, and full of life. Watching as the crowd transitioned from the first dance and into the house so the couple could cut the cake, to moving and chattering throughout the night, I couldn't help but notice that the space was alive with folks totally living in the moment.
Rebecca and Jason's wedding at The Nest in downtown Birmingham had all the accoutrements of a fantastic house party, which was exactly the ambiance they sought. They wanted guests to feel like they'd been welcomed into their home for a special night. Jason poured champagne as guests arrived, and he and Rebecca greeted friends and family with big hugs. The evening was full of laughter and warm embraces, and was such a fitting celebration for such a welcoming, friendly couple.
I'm admittedly late to the game here, but if I make a post about 2015 before my first wedding of 2016 (which is this weekend) it still kind of counts as 2015, right?
Last year was full of big life changes for me: I relocated from New Orleans to Birmingham right after Mardi Gras. Commuted back to NOLA to work for a good six months after the move, while I made connections and booked clients in Birmingham for weddings and corporate jobs. (I still commute to NOLA on the regular—ain't nothin' gonna keep me away for too long.) Stopped relying on second shooting and odd freelance jobs to pay the bills. Got used to eating my parents' cooking (and taking leftovers home) at least once a week. Re-integrated into the everyday lives of some of my best friends in the whole world. Made connections with some of the most amazing clients ever. The list goes on and on, and it would be a complete lie if I told you that last year was easy. 2015 was the best year yet, and it was also soul-crushingly difficult. I'm glad it's over.