I was so excited that Bethany and John Michael chose me to be their wedding photographer. Bethany is such a special person to me, and it's been wonderful to watch her fall in love with John Michael. I didn't meet John Michael until the day of the wedding, but I could immediately tell that he loves Bethany, and loves her two babies. I think their new life together will be filled with love.
Bethany's dress was so beautiful! I love seeing the different personalities that wedding dresses reflect.
Little River, being just like mommy and putting on make up in front of the mirror before photos. Luckily, she just played with the brushes and didn't actually try to apply any.
Bethany and John Michael didn't want to see each other before the wedding, but they wanted an opportunity to pray together. I love that these two took a moment to just be together with God before everything got hectic.
She's so pretty!
Journey did an excellent job walking his mom down the aisle.
Marry someone who looks at you like this.
After making vows to Bethany, John Michael knelt down and spoke to Journey and River. It was a private moment, and we didn't hear what was said, but this moment got me right in the feeler. If this doesn't get you, you can't get got.
The kids are suddenly disinterested. Haha!
The brand new family!
I am going to freak out in adoration about everything in this blog post. I will use the phrase "I LOVE..." about a hundred times and I'm not going to apologize. Just know that I'm not over exaggerating at all. I've been known to do that, but I'm not doing that here - I promise. I legitimately love basically everything about this wedding. Can't help it. It was an awesome wedding - you'll see. Here we go.
I was OBSESSED with Carmen's florals. I feel like no one is going to take me seriously here because I always say that I love the flowers at every single wedding. Every time I'm over here like I LOVE THE FLOWERS. This time I really mean it though. I LOVED her flowers.
Also her wedding band reminds me of mine and it made me smile.
Paul's gifts to his groomsmen were so awesome. Also, PAUL set it all up like this - not me. He's so skilled, right?
CARMEN'S DRESS. It was so beautiful and so perfectly Carmen.
I really love first looks, but some especially great. They were both so crazy happy to see each other. You might notice the wind was going a little nuts, but I feel like it adds to the moment. Being swept up in each other's love! Is that cheesy? That's cheesy. I don't care. Going with it.
Honestly, this photo isn't my typical style at all. There were several photos of Carmen and Paul's wedding that had me thinking that's not really how I usually do things, but I took this incredible wedding as an opportunity to try to expand my horizons. This image is essentially just an accident. I was testing my light and they were just waiting on me, but I really like it. They are being blown around and yet it looks really calm and peaceful. Thoughts?
The last time I took photos of Carmen and Paul we were all sweating through our clothes in the Tennessee summer humidity. This time they were snuggled up keeping each other warm. You can't tell, but it was pretty chilly outside. I love cuddly pictures though, and I don't think they cared.
Again, the wind was in full force that day, but doesn't she have the PERFECT dress for wind?
I LOVE mismatched bridesmaids dresses. I want everyone to do this for forever. Carmen gave all of the girls these shawls as gifts and we decided to use them for photos since it was cold outside. I love the look of it.
Carmen potted succulents to line the aisle with and I thought they looked so cool. First, this was something I hadn't seen before which always gets me pumped up. I see a lot of the same stuff going to as many weddings as I do. These were so unique and again - so Carmen.
This moment GOT me, you guys. I was just snapping photos and sobbing into the back of my camera. Don't mind me.
Every wedding I've shot has included a prayer. It's a super common thing. What's significantly less common is praying with vulnerability and intimacy. Prayer is something we tend to do so casually that we forget the connection that comes with it. I think prayer is supposed to be raw and real and emotional. I think scripture talks about prayer in this way with imagery of people kneeling, tearing their clothes, raising their hands to the sky, being anointed with oil, etc. In the modern church world we tend to just bow our heads and get it done, but we miss an essential piece of prayer by doing that. Prayer becomes (in my mind) more meaningful when you do it with another person and acknowledge that by touching them. It's vulnerable and intimate to "lay hands" on someone. I thought it was so special that the people closest to Carmen and Paul physically acknowledged the blessing on their marriage. More people should do this.
As their unity ceremony Carmen and Paul planted a plant together with soils collected from all of the different significant locations in their relationship. SO COOL.
Another one that's not really "my style" that I ended up loving.
We'll end on this note: these two being adorable and in love.
Venue, Catering, Lodging, Reception Floral
The Olde Farm (Lori Boggs and Marc Eubanks)
Genesis Media Solutions (Chris & Kenda Germain)
Sound Extreme Entertainment (Steven Harris)
Ceremony Music/Cocktail Hour Music
Bouquets & Floral Crown
Terrariums - DIY Carmen's sister, Naomi Huffman
Homemade Pies/Caramels - DIY Carmen's Family
Hair + Makeup
Lashes & Lace (Haley Cason)
Homegrown Silver and Stone
It was such an honor to work with Stephanie and Zach on their wedding day! The day was all about love, fun, and creating a new family with Stephanie, Zach, and Zach's sweet daughter. Everyone was so sweet and relaxed all day and it couldn't have gone better!
Doesn't Stephanie look so "old Hollywood" here? I love it.
Rental company - Liberty Party Rental
Coordinator - Amanda Kelly
Floral Design - Cottonwood Floral by Abbigail Curtis
Catering - Chuy's
Cake - Short Cakes Cakery
Venue - Ruby
Bartending - Details Nashville
DJ - Jeff Tunks
Bridal dress- Glitz Bridal
Suits - Menswarehouse
Hair - Kaylan Bodewig
Makeup - Salon West, Chelsea Coker
Photography - Stephanie Benge Photography
I mentioned in my preview post a little bit about my trip to Cincinnati. I ate some awesome food and had my first experience at an airbnb. All of that was great, but let's talk about the real reason I was there - THIS WEDDING!
I remember seeing Kerry at a wedding I photographed last year. At that wedding reception I remember thinking that girl is so pretty, and she looks like she is having so much fun. I wanted to be her friend. Only a a little while later I received an email from her that she'd gotten engaged and was looking for a wedding photographer! I first met Jose when I traveled to Louisville, KY for their engagement session last fall. You can see that session HERE. What I learned at their engagement session is that these two are so kind and sweet... and they are awesome dancers.
On the day of their wedding the forecast predicted rain for all day. I obsessively refreshed my weather app to see if anything had changed. It was amazing. Right as I arrived at the hotel (in the rain) the weather app said that the chance of rain was greatly reduced during the two times of day we would need to be outside. AMAZING.
This wedding was my first ever Catholic mass! Like lots of people, I was raised in an certain religious group and I'm still practicing that faith today. I think it's so interesting (and so important) to see how people of different faiths and different denominations go about worshiping God. There's so much we can learn from our differences. It was a great experience.
The way these two look at each other!
Perfect rainless sky. Perfect time of day. Perfect newlyweds. Perfect.
Doesn't she look great?
I loved the toasts at this wedding. Jose's brother delivered his speech in English and Spanish, so that everyone could understand. It occurred to me how amazing it is that people can be family and be celebrating the same moment with the same amount of joy and enthusiasm and not even speak the same language.