January 2016, I got the opportunity to meet Monica and Seth. Someone Monica worked with gave her my name when Monica was planning her wedding in Clarksville, Tennessee. When I met them they seemed so in love and so excited to be getting married. They were in love and planning the wedding but Seth was still planning the official engagement. When he did give her the ring and ask her, it was a total surprise to Monica. They videoed the whole thing and posted it on Facebook. I cried when I saw it!! It was so sweet!
They planned on using a friend to capture their engagement photos but their friend had to leave town suddenly so they asked if they could do that rather last minute with me. I agreed and was so excited to meet them in downtown Clarksville . I think they were a little nervous, especially Seth, so I really wanted them to see how easy working with me could be, so that wedding day, we would have a really nice laid back day. Well within minutes of the engagement, shoot Seth was laughing and smiling and almost forgot we were shooting pictures!
This was about the time Seth began to trust that this would be a relaxing day. Plus he could go home and watch the Super Bowl later. lol!
We walked around Downtown Clarksville and then we went to the the Clarksville Marina. I laughed and so did they the whole time!!! I was so grateful for that shoot because I knew working with them would be so fun and they trusted me so completely. Plus I knew how to make them laugh!! lol!
Their Wedding day was April 23, 2016. The day was overcast a little bit chilly. The grass was super green from spring rains and the dew. My assistant, Nicole and I arrived at Bible Baptist Church early that day so we could look around and decide where to shoot. We walked around the entire building. We loved the long tree lined drive, the little red barn, and the green grass. While we were looking, we found one solitary tree. Upon closer inspection the tree was budding purple flowers. This was significant to me because I knew their colors were shades of purple. I filed this away in my brain for later.
When we walked in to the building we were greeted by Monica's bridesmaids who were leisurely getting ready for the day. Sara, Rebecca and Katie, plus Monica and her Mom (Tamara) were all at a long table getting makeup on. The room was rather quiet and subdued I guess everyone was still sleepy because as the day went on there were so many jokes and so much laughter! I fell in love with the bridesmaids dresses! They were almost an eggplant color and perfect for every single body type. I think they are some of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen. The wedding dress and the bridesmaids dresses were from David's Bridal.
The bridal gown for Monica was a cool shade of white with lovely embellishments. I remember wondering how she would style her short hair but it was so beautiful. I thought she looked sort of old school glamourous. She just looked like she KNEW she was doing the best thing in her life that day. Her bridesmaids and mom were there to do whatever it was she asked all day. Everyone got along and laughed. When you shoot weddings you don't always get to see that perfect love with the bridal party but Seth and Monica chose so well. We began the day shooting on the drive but quickly decided that the flowering purple tree made the perfect decoration for photos. It complimented the dresses and flowers so perfectly. I know it was chilly and damp at first but NO ONE complained about where I asked them to go!!
The groomsmen and Seth came in about an hour before time for pictures to begin. I loved their grey suits from the Men's Warehouse. I thought they really complimented the simple old school glamour theme I really had in my head. Monica really isn't a trendy sort of bride, to me. To me, she and Seth are very traditional. I think her dress will look gorgeous years from now too.
As you can see from some of the photos, the bridal party were all funny and got along with one another! Seth's groomsmen were Bobby, Zack and Chris. Zack is Monica's brother and Rebecca's husband. They have the cutest little guy!!! I did try to steal him away or photograph him all day long!! lol!
Monica and Seth wanted beautiful images but they were way more about the emotion of the day. In fact when we were making the shot list, Monica wanted me to know and understand she wanted the day to be about the two of them -- not just about her. I LOVED that sentiment! They did not do a first look so we split up our time and images.
One thing they both wanted to do was exchanged letters and pray together before the wedding. I think the anticipation of the day was pretty magnificent during the time they were inches from each other in the hall and holding hands. I cried like a baby during this time but apparently Seth's letter to Monica had some funny things in it to ease her nervousness because she got tickled and was laughing which made him laugh too. I think this was my second favorite part of the day.
My first favorite part of the day was definitely who Monica chose to be her flower girl. The beautiful NANA!! There was nothing that could have been sweeter, to me. This shows how much they love their family. This is perfect Monica and Seth.
Monica and Seth had lanterns decorating the sanctuary and flowers decorating their cake and Monica ordered special shoes for the day. I tried to capture pieces of these details to show you all. The flowers were from Adam and Tiffany Moore and the baker was Sara Pendergrass at Cakes By Sara.
Soon it was almost time for the wedding to begin and everyone was nervous. Heck I was nervous and it wasn't even my wedding!! I want to say this before I go farther. Monica's mom and dad won me over. I love them. They were kind and loved to joke and laugh. At one point after the wedding was over they met me in town and gifted me homemade applesauce and strawberry preserves. They are the best people. Seriously, they NEVER made me feel any less than a member of the family. They were so perfect and must be powerful mentors in their church family.
When it was time for the wedding to start I looked at Seth and could see every emotion on his face. Later he said that his favorite part of the wedding was that moment right before the doors opened, when the anticipation was killing him because he couldn't see her and didn't know what she looked like. Next his favorite thing was when the doors first opened. He said to Monica of the moment, "First when the doors first opened and you had that glow when you had the dress on and you were all beautifully decorated with make up and your hair done!" When she walked in he was moved to tears and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room!
Their ceremony was so full of love and the celebration of what they were doing. I especially loved how serious Pastor Bryan Baggett took this ceremony. He made it about them and their covenant with God and each other. Nothing was theatrical but beautiful interwoven with scripture. It was a perfect ceremony for them.
After the wedding, guests were treated to snacks in the reception hall and I took the new husband and wife and bridal party outside for portraits. I advised them to spend extra time with me so their first moments as a team could be captured. They built this into their timeline and actually when I asked them their favorite wedding day memories Monica said, "I am so glad I listened to you about taking the time for pictures because those are memories I will never lose."
Monica also said she loved remembering Seth's reaction to seeing her for the first time. About the pictures she said, " Lastly, honestly, one of my favorite things about the wedding were the pictures between me and him after the ceremony. I love those pictures and I loved the closeness of taking them." I think doing the engagement session helped prepare them for the way we could work together and help flow their day. They gave me their trust and I hope their wedding day wishes came true.
Today Monica and Seth are still deliriously happy and are currently buying their first home together. They are a blessing to know and I am so happy I played a small part in their day. With one of their anniversary gifts to them from me, I hope to capture them at home in their new house, where we can continue documenting their love story. Thank you Monica and Seth for choosing me.