dana & michael {the question}


Spring is FINALLY here and with that comes a wedding I have been SO super excited about! I will be traveling back to TN this coming weekend for Dana & Michael's Big Day at Dara's Garden and I couldn't more excited!!

I've known Dana for a few years through one of my best friends. She is such a sweet person, has a heart of GOLD and is just so tender and caring...and so funny! When I saw that Dana was engaged I couldn't have been happier for her. Skip forward to a couple of days and I received an email from Dana! Squee!!!! When I met Michael, everything just clicked. I knew from the moment I said "Hi" and gave him a hug that he and Dana were PERFECT for each other! We sat and chatted and they booked me on the spot! Lets just say, it was Heaven! :D

We immediately started planning their engagement session at Dara's Garden. Dana absolutely fell in love with the house and knew for a while that was where she wanted to have her wedding. I'd never been to Dara's before, but when I pulled up I saw why Dana loved it so much! It has so much charm and is so Southern you'd expect Sweet Tea to be in the creek! :) The weather was crazy East TN weather...there was a huge threat of a thunderstorm lurking in the distance so it was nice and hot, but we had a blast!

This weekend is going to be magical and I can't wait to share the yumminess I know is in store! :D

Kayla F

Molly and Zach {first look}


The last wedding of 2013. Wow. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about this wedding as I STILL haven't shared the actual wedding post (I'm horrible...I know). But Molly and Zach's writings below sum it up completely. I'm not going to lie...Zach's account is my favorite in this series. Once you read it, you'll totally see why!

I also want to take a minute and thank my second shooter Brandi of Brandi Major Photography.  She blew me away, especially during the First Look.

"Our wedding day was jam-packed and we had worked out the photography timing with Kayla down to the minute but I'm so glad we included a first look. I had always wanted one as a special moment for Zach and I before all the craziness of the day. To be honest, I was nervous before it and felt a little pressure to have this big reveal with tears and all sorts of emotions flying around (Pinterest really sets the bar high!). 

Kayla found the perfect spot for it on the dock at the Tellico Yacht Club amongst the weeping willow trees. Walking up to Zach, I had butterflies but the moment he turned around, they melted away. 

The first look brought the whole day back to reality for me. The day was about us...not the flowers or the decorations or who was seated where...but about us joining our lives and our families together. It provided us a unique moment together and produced some of my favorite pictures of our entire wedding day! Zach standing in his Vera Wang suit while the weeping willows blows around him...I mean, come on!"

"So to understand how I felt for the first look you have to understand a little about me. I'm a shy quite guy from a small town in the Midwest, with a massive social anxiety problem. I'm the kid in school that would sweat all day in class praying the teacher wouldn't call on me. Not because I didnt know the answer, because the thought of me talking in front of 12 kids freaked me out. So this whole wedding thing? I'm a hot mess.

I think it all hit me the night before at the wedding rehearsal at the church. This is real. Panic attack, immense. Outside I was cool and calm, even though father said I looked ill. Inside, I was a pinball machine of emotions. To say I didn't sleep well that night and almost OD'd on pepto bismol would be an understatement.

So today's the day, picture time, yay! And by yay, I mean boo 100 times. I'm as photogenic as Mona Lisa. But Kayla and her energy were amazing. She almost, almost made me forget I was about to stand up in front of 100 people and get married.

After a bunch of solos and a bad Tom Hanks reference later it's time for the first look. I turn around and there she is. She looks beautiful. Stunning. Amazing. I think some guys will tell you when getting married there life flashes before there eyes, usually in a light hearted joking manner but mine did. Flashbacks of seeing her the first time when we were 15, movie dates, concerts, ball games, Chicago, Austin, everything ran through my head. I turned around to the love of my life, my best friend, and for the first time in days, I felt a sense of calm, relief. Now my wife was disappointed(she wanted me to cry) but I couldn't. I was to calm and happy. I felt home and knew that for the rest of my life, this feeling will never go away."

I can't wait to share their entire day and to give a back story. Their wedding was unique (for me) and it taught me SO much!!! Not only was it a stunning day, but when I can grow and learn from my couples...that is pretty awesome!

There's one last post for this series (a late/surprise submission) and I can't wait to share it! You might be seeing one of these faces again! :)

Kayla F

Callie & Matt {first look}


I love when couples trust in me and make the decision to have the First Look be a part of their day! Let it be known, a first look isn't for everyone. I 100% understand this and never push it on my clients. However, there are many reasons why I will express my "sincere hope" that they really think about it.

In East TN especially, the Fall is one of the most beautiful times to get married and definitely the most popular time! The leaves are beautiful, there's less likely the chance for rain and, man, the weather is perfect and crisp! But the sun also tends to make a disappearance a little (or a LOT) earlier in the fall than in the earlier seasons of the year. If a couple of mine is getting married in the later parts of September - December, I usually will talk to them about the First Look and see if its even a thought to them! Many times, my couples haven't heard of a First Look or they have, but they are still unsure of what it all entails. I've even heard HORROR stories about first looks and how they are handled. Eeek. With me, first looks are private, quiet and as natural as possible. I love for the bride and groom to still feel the effects of seeing each other as the bride "walks down the aisle", which is normally how I set up the First Look. I also love to give the bride and groom time before the ceremony to be separate from each other; allow them time by themselves and to get excited and have those butterflies resurface again.

 Here is Callie and Matt's super sweet and pretty awesome First Look!

"Well, I must say I was apprehensive at first. I thought I wanted the more traditional option...him seeing me for the first time as I am walking down the aisle! I decided to go with the First Look because it worked with our wedding day timeline better and we did really want to see each other before the ceremony. The morning of the big day I felt super excited and relaxed! I knew we had made the right decision to do the First Look! Leading up to it, I had butterflies! I was so excited, I couldn't stand it! All of these months of hiding the dress and keeping it a secret had finally come to this moment! It was so wonderful and intimate to have those moments just the 2 of us before the ceremony. It was a feeling I will never ever forget, and to think I could have never had it...is crazy!

We both agree that the First Look was perfect for us! It is such an intimate, special moment. It releases any nerves and tension for the rest of the day and it also helps your wedding timeline :) " Callie

Jackie & Justin {first look}


You've seen them recently, but when I read Jackie and Justin's responses to the First Look, I knew I wanted to share them in a separate post. These two had me from the beginning. I just fell in love with them! When we met a few days before their Big Day, I loved Justin's outlook on everything. He said to me many times, "Its about me and her. That's all that matters." I hope his thoughts tell people that, yes, your wedding day (and the days leading up to it) will be nuts. Even for the most organized person EVER (uh hmmm, Jackie). But when the day comes, if you keep what is most important to you in mind, whether its having a great party, spending time with your family and taking tons of family photos, or really taking those 5 minutes with your soon-to-be and milking them for all their worth, you won't walk away from your big day regretting one thing! :) 

I'll let Justin start! 

"The first look is an untraditional idea. Traditionally, the first time you see your bride is when she is walking down the aisle. Honestly, I was originally a little sad at the thought of ruining that moment by having a first look beforehand. However, I think we definitely made the right decision. The wedding day was pandemonium. I had an idea that week would be crazy, and that day even more crazy, but it was worse than I originally thought. Everybody I know and am related to was in town and all were vying for time with the bride and groom. Since the wedding day was the last day that they would be able to see us, there was an even bigger push by all the guests to spend a little time with us. Dividing my time amongst them, while accomplishing all the tasks that were necessary the day of the wedding was very stressful. I did not want to be rude, and really wanted to see everybody and spend some time with them. Some came from thousands of miles away just to spend one day with us.
I liked the first look for just that reason. It was our intimate moment. I did not have to share the emotions of that minute with anybody but my bride. It was our time. I was even more excited by the fact after our first look, while I was standing at the altar, seeing her walk down the aisle was no less special. It was just as wonderful as it would have been if that was the first time seeing her that day, but it was even better because I got to experience that twice, once during the first look, and once watching her walk to me. I got to enjoy that moment with just my bride, and later I got to share that moment with everybody that I loved who was in attendance. I would recommend it for anybody. Also, we got some wonderful pictures of the first look, because we were able to make it happen in the most photogenic place of the whole venue. – Justin"

Here are my absolute favorite images from the First Look, followed by Jackie's thoughts!

"I knew without a doubt I wanted to do a first look.  I think both of us wanted to make sure that we had time that was just ours that day. With as many weddings as I have been part of in my last job, I watched too many couples get swept away in the reception and never having that moment that was just theirs.  Our wedding was about us and our first look was our moment, just the two of us (and some crazy girl taking pictures). :) Justin and I made it clear to our wedding party that we didn't want any spectators during our first look as well. I did get some resistance on that, but in the end, everyone left us alone.

One of the other reasons I wanted to do a first look was so I could see Justin during a point in the day when I knew my anxiety levels were going to be up! Our wedding was at 7 p.m. and that makes for a long day of hair, makeup, getting ready, and everything else in between. While I spent the whole day completely giddy, I was definitely growing tired.  Seeing Justin in that moment revitalized me and calmed me at the same time. Your other half becomes what you need in the moment you need it, and after our first look I definitely felt ready for the rest of the day. (Until all of my family showed up late for photos, but that's a whole other blog...)

And one of my silly reasons was so I wouldn't cry when I walked down the aisle!  I figured it would help if I had already seen him, which it did.  The emotional stuff was out of the way and I could concentrate on the excitement!

By the time we got to the venue, I was beyond ready to see Justin! I was probably overly excited and the down pour that caused him to be late made me even more anxious!  I just wanted to sneak away and steal a minute with him. I was excited to see him and for him to see me.  I had gone to great lengths hiding my dress from him and was so excited to finally get to show him.  When he finally arrived and was in place I remember riding down the elevator just wanting to run out of it and find him.  He was getting directions on where to look and I knew if I stepped off the elevator he would see me.  I almost shouted to him where to look so we could do this and see each other.  I just wanted to see him!

When the moment finally happened, it was perfect.  He turned, walked up to me, and we just talked and laughed for a minute.  I have no idea what we said to each other, but I remember feeling so happy and so calm.  We just got to hangout for a minute, just us.  We weren't being asked questions or told where to go or what to do, we were just there with one another.  Well except for one interruption by my spying nieces. :) lucky for them, they were super cute!

I think the best part of the first look though was being able to kiss Justin  right before he went down the aisle for our last non married kiss. I'm really happy that I remember the last time I kissed my fiancée and the first time I kissed my husband.

Our first look was awesome and I wouldn't change a thing.  I'm so happy that we did this and had the chance to spend some time with one another before the wedding and reception started.  It was our little perfect piece of the day!

I would also add that for brides hesitant on doing a first look because they don't want to take away from that walking down the aisle moment, do it!  I felt so calm walking down the aisle and wasn't thinking about him seeing me for the first time.  I got to make eye contact with our friends and family that were there, I got to joke with my dad, and was able to take in every detail from the ceremony.  I still got to see Justin's expression when he saw me the first time and was able to hear him say that I looked beautiful.  I was able to stand there with him and tell him about my dress and hear his thoughts on how he wasn't surprised because he knew I would end up with a big, fluffy dress. :). And then when we met during the ceremony, we just relaxed and enjoyed it.  Seriously, it was perfect!" - Jackie
Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |