I feel so lucky! I have been asked to write a blog post that will be linked to posts by other veteran photographers to give brides a place to read about why we do what we do. This is such an honor.
My major in college was actually graphic design (although study in photography naturally comes along with that). That is where I learned how to use Photoshop, what makes an interesting composition, how to lay out an album, as well as many other odds and ends. I enjoyed the process of my own wedding so much that, after I graduated, I decided to parlay my talents into a career in the wedding industry (which is big in the Gatlinburg area). I started out by attending workshops and shooting weddings for free until I built up a portfolio that I was proud to show. Over the past five years, I’ve worked hard to build my business and reputation into something any bride would be excited to have on board, and I have been lucky to be involved with so many wonderful couples with such unique stories.
One of the experiences that stands out most in my mind is the engagement session I did over a year ago with Sarah and Joel. I had just recently started using some of the Beloved techniques I learned at a workshop, and the honest emotion I saw between the two of them was so beautiful.
Their story is one of love at first sight. They met at a tailgate party. You always hear of two people having an instant attraction towards each other and from then on being inseparable. That has become our story! We started talking and before we knew it, hours had elapsed. We were so absolutely absorbed with the physical attraction, as well as emotional and spiritual connection that existed. We both sat there on the cool grass, surrounding Tiger stadium, fans cheering, as we were celebrating our own victory of finally meeting the partner we had always fantasied about. We both look back at this day as a day of reckoning, a day that we feel led us to see that true love does exist and soul mates, when found, is an incredible event to behold. We shared our first kiss on that day, and ever since, we have completely lived in awestruck wonder of how completely in love we are with each other. We knew from that first day, this partnership was not like any other, and from now on, our future would hold all the dreams and aspirations that we could ever fathom. The greatest thing in this world is to love and be loved in return… The next day, she told her mother that she had met the man she would marry.
When they booked me for their wedding, I was ecstatic–I loved working with them the first time, and I was so excited for the chance to get to see them again. The story behind the wedding planning was poignant and made the details of their wedding even more lovely.
Before I had met Joel, my mom developed stage 4 brain cancer. While I was helping take care of her, we had a lot of free time and so we would watch TCL’s different wedding programs. She came up with the idea of helping me plan my dream wedding incase she would no longer be around to help me when that time came. Mom was able to meet Joel 3 months before she passed. Through the whole wedding process up to the “I Do” I felt her presence with me, helping me make decisions as only a mother should.
Joel and Sarah even designed the wedding ring together. The main diamond is from Sarah’s mother’s wedding ring. On the sides of the ring, they had little butterflies in the metal set with her mother’s birthstone. The butterfly is actually because of Dollywood. When Sarah was younger, they used to vacation in the Pigeon Forge area, and Dollywood became one of her favorite places. It holds so many wonderful memories that she wanted it incorporated in some way.
Getting to be involved in a story like this–even peripherally–makes my heart melt. This is why I continue to photograph weddings.
Every story is unique.
Every bride is gorgeous.
Love conquers all (at least for one day).
What could be better?