Morgan + Mike's Highland Brewing Wedding
Catering and Pies: My Food Experience
Ceremonial Guitarist: Gary Lutton (friend)
Dress: BHLDN (Atlanta)
Make-up: A friend
Officiant: Joel West (family friend)
Rentals: Classic Event Rental
Wedding Planner: Party Envy Event Planning and Floral Design
2017's wedding season began quite a bit earlier than I'd anticipated as I got to shoot my first winter wedding since my very first wedding 4 years previous. One afternoon I was taking a nap when I heard my phone buzzing and - after pulling myself out of a cozy slumber - booked a last minute wedding on the spot. You see, Morgan and Mike met in Ireland while she was studying abroad and with so many unknowns surrounding the visa process, they had to plan their wedding rather last minute as they had 90 days to get married once Mike's visa request was approved. Luckily, they had the wedding wizard, Michelle of Party Envy, to help and on a balmy January evening they said their "I do's" amidst friends and family.
Winter weddings can be tricky because we run out of light so much sooner, but Morgan and Mike wanted to do a first look to ensure that we got beautiful portraits of the two of them so we didn't have to worry about it. While a brewery may not sound like the most picturesque spot, Highland's rooftop provided not only a beautiful sunset overlook, but a playful industrial background as well. I love first looks because they not only calm the couple's nerves, but they give me the chance to capture wholly emotional moments when the bride and groom first see each other that they may not otherwise display when in front of a crowd of people. These two were no exception as they grinned and giggled with happiness.
After their first look portraits, we took refuge from the cold and had some fun taking portraits on the bar with their maid of honor and best man. I shoot a lot of outdoor weddings (which I LOVE) so it was especially fun to get to work with a more architectural backdrop with the lines and textures of the bar, windows and string lights. As Morgan and Mike wanted to have a laid-back, fun wedding (pretty obvious by the choice of setting!) we goofed around with our extra portrait time taking couples photos with the taps.
Michelle had created a beautiful flower-and-twinkle-light-lined arbor as a backdrop for the ceremony so while we waited for guests to arrive, we grabbed a few extra family photos. One of my all-time favorite bridal portraits is this one of Morgan gazing down at her bouquet, taking one last calming breath before preparing for the ceremony.
Once the sun had set, it was time to begin. I cannot express how happy I was to have those extra twinkle lights to add ambient fill to balance my flashes as they created a pleasant, warm glow. Mike's best friend strummed a beautiful melody as the wedding party entered and even though Mike had seen his bride only minutes before, he still had that awestruck look of wonderment at his good fortune. Neither Morgan nor Mike (nor the rest of us) made it through the vows without tears in their eyes and a quotation from Mike's speech illustrates why: "The difficulties made us thrive, they were not something to simply live through." I loved his emphasis on creating happiness together no matter the circumstances.
I've had the pleasure of working with so many couples who want to add unique personal touches to their day to make it their own and Morgan and Mike's idea (appropriately) was to do a unity beer pour; like a mixing of sand except with two different beers. Their favors and decorations reflected their shared interests as well as nodded to his home country and this beer pour was no exception.
After the "I do's" we grabbed a few more family portraits and then enjoyed a fantastic dinner. As much as I love shooting weddings, the perk of getting to eat a fancy meal only makes me love them more. As we waited for people to finish eating, I played around with ring photos ending up with one of my favorite ring shots with the taps. For every couple I like to make ring photos unique to their personalities and ceremony and this artistic beer-related shot seemed to fit them perfectly.
As an added bonus, Highland let us into their packaging room to get a few last fun portraits in front of their merchandise. Somehow the beer can colors coordinated perfectly with her dress and wedding colors!
We finished the night off with lots of dancing - from their sweet first dance to the entire family joining in on the line dances. From start to finish, Morgan and Mike's wedding was totally personal to them, very enjoyable to photography (both from an artistic and a subject standpoint) and focused on celebrating their epic love. Check back in a couple days to see their storybook wedding album!