Wedding

Why you should do an unplugged wedding!

Due to the crazy amount of rain we have been experiencing for the past couple of months, I have been left stuck inside. Being inside for so long stinks but it also gives us time to think on things. One thing I really want to bring up is I feel like more brides should do unplugged weddings. I know you are thinking, “Cody what in the world are you talking about? Do you mean like nothing is plugged into the walls or something?” Not many people have heard of the term “Unplugged Wedding”, so let me tell you what it is and why you should have one. After you read then you can decide for yourself if it’s something that would make your wedding day more special and intimate.

An unplugged wedding basically means your friends and family have their phones & other electronic devices put away or even turned off during the wedding. If you think about it, having your phone out immediately takes you away from what is going on in front of you. Maybe someone sends you a message and as your replying the bride and groom have a cute moment. You just missed a very special moment all because you decided to reply to a message. Or even worse, the bride and groom are having a very intimate moment but your phone goes off and ruins it. These are things that happen very often and is sad to see. I understand we all like to take pictures with our phones but most bride and groom’s hire photographers to capture their wedding and if not they will let you know.

*Photo submitted by claireharrisphoto.com

As long as the bride and groom trust their photographer to get the shots it isn’t worth the risk of missing a special moment or even ruining a moment. Also believe it or not there has been many great wedding photos taken by photographers that have been ruined by someone either taking photos or just messing on their phones. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a bride and groom looking into each other’s eyes but seeing the bridesmaids or groomsmen all on their phones. That image screams this is boring and not personal at all. Feel free to also google wedding photos ruined by cell phones and take a look at those as well. Thankfully I haven’t seen many photos ruined yet by cell phones but I have had a few ruined and its frustrating. Sometimes it’s an easy fix but often it ruins the picture as a whole.

*Photo submitted by Jessica Duenas Photography

*Photo submitted by Jessica Duenas Photography

Is this making you think a little? How about you consider the pros and cons. The more people with phones technically does mean more photos. However, that may mean less professional photos from your photographer who you are paying. If you do not have a photographer booked then by all means have everyone snap pictures. If you did hire one though, then trust them to do their job and allow your guests to sit back and enjoy your special day with you with no distractions or interruptions. Maybe this is too hard to decide. How about a compromise? What if you have an unplugged ceremony but an electronic friendly reception? During receptions there are many things happening at once so it is very common for a photographer to miss the quick moments. Having family and friends taking pictures or videos during the reception could add more memories for you.

Now that you know what an unplugged wedding is, I just ask that you think about it. Don’t let this be an issue that you don’t consider addressing. Take some information and advice but ultimately make your own decisions. There are definitely good and bad that could come from having electronics present during your wedding day. I’m sure you spent a very long time preparing for your special day and spent so much money so don’t let a pesky cell phone ruin your special day. Also a key point is if a friend or family member has a problem being away from their devices then maybe they value their device more than your day. Even so I wouldn’t let that stop you if you do decide to have an unplugged wedding. If you end up having questions or concerns then feel free to just talk to your photographer about it. Ask them if they have had any experiences of a cell phone ruining a photo they took or disrupting a wedding. Regardless I wish for all the brides or grooms reading this to have an amazing wedding day!

April and Adam Wedding (Warehouse 817)

On September 5th, I came across a post for someone needing a wedding photographer. I saw that I was free for the date so I reached out to see whether we would be a perfect fit or not. After a few messages back and forth we decided it was a good fit and decided to set up a time to eat and introduce ourselves. She warned me that her husband was a bit of a “jokester”, so I knew it was going to be a blast! Reminds me of what I think my wife probably tells people about me lol. I stuck to my tradition of picking Cracker Barrel for our dinner location.

During our dinner I learned so much about April and Adam. Adam is a Kingsport City fireman. My mind was blown when I heard he worked three days on and four days off 24 hour shifts. The longest I’ve ever worked is 16 hours so I couldn’t imagine a full day. April works for Bell Helicopter, which has her traveling all over the U.S and sometimes the UK. Their jobs often have them apart but they don’t let that interfere with anything. I heard about their incredible group of kids who connected right away when they met and how athletic the whole family is. When I first heard six kids, I figured I was going to have trouble with remembering names but I was wrong.

It was the big day so I headed down to Bristol Va to Warehouse 817. They were having their ceremony and reception there. Thankfully the rain from the previous day had cleared up and made it to be a beautiful Friday. It was my first wedding ceremony outside and I was excited! I met their children and instantly felt like I had made a connection with them. They were all very nice and welcoming. It was very entertaining spending the day with the whole family, something I’m going to miss. I got a few detail shots and got to know them a little better before the ceremony. We then headed to the rooftop where the ceremony would be held.

During the ceremony I was excited to hear that the Fire Dept. Honor Guard bagpipe player would be playing while April walked down the aisle. It was the first time I had ever heard a bagpipe and it was pretty cool. The ceremony was very sweet and that’s one of the closest families I’ve seen to this date. Everyone was so giddy and happy. After the ceremony we did some Bride and Groom portraits followed by family portraits. Adam and April’s kids had many funny pictures! I had the bride and groom kiss in front of them and told them to act over the top about it, and boy did they! A couple of the kids grabbed chairs and some of them made weird faces. It was definitely hilarious to watch! Everyone looked on point and knocked it out of the park.

Afterwards, we went downstairs for the reception. I got a few shots of everyone and did some ring shots while Adam and April ate. After that we did the cutting of the cake and first dance. It was an honor to meet their whole family and be a part of their special day. I really enjoyed hanging around the whole group all day and even talking Fortnite with Adam and Andrew, their two youngest children.

I’ll definitely be keeping Adam and April in my prayers when they are traveling and especially Adam as he fights fires and faces the other dangers involved. I’m excited for everyone to see these pictures and I pray our paths cross sooner than later. Also Warehouse 817 was a very lovely venue. I loved the rooftop ceremony location and the reception room was very spacious. I definitely recommend them if you need a small to medium sized venue in the Bristol area.

Address:

817 State Street
Bristol, Virginia 24201

Website:

http://warehouse817.com/

Kyla and Luis Wedding (Hungry Mother State Park)

Kyla and Luis had their wedding at the Hemlock Haven Conference Center in Marion Va. The conference center is located inside of Hungry Mother Park. It was very beautiful and perfect for a small and intimate wedding. Hurricane Florence was on its way but you couldn’t even tell Saturday. The weather was cloudy but so peaceful and it felt great. It wasn’t too hot or cold and the wind also wasn’t too bad at all.

I was on my computer Friday evening when I noticed Kyla needed a last minute photographer for her wedding. I then noticed the wedding venue was only a minute away from my house. I didn’t have any major plans for the day so I wanted to help them out. After talking I realized that everything happened for a reason and that things would soon fall into place. I’ve always been a firm believer that “All things work together for good to those who love God.” Romans 8:28. This was no exception.

The bridal party was full of energy and a pleasure to be around. Everyone was friendly and easy going. I was shocked when I heard how many of the bridal party worked at Food City. Kyla was a cashier and Luis was a bagger. I thought it was very cool that a cashier married her bagger. Kristen, one of her bridesmaids, was telling me that she and Luis often fought to be Kyla’s bagger when she worked at Food City. Apparently she met Kyla when she worked there and they quickly became best friends. We finished the Bridal Party pictures with a cool bubble exit photo. That was the first time I tried an exit shot and it was so magical to see.

Overall the day went so smooth and everything went according to plan. I was so humbled to be a part of the day. It’s crazy how blessings can come at any time. I also highly recommend The Hemlock Haven Conference Center inside of Hungry Mother for anyone wanting a small but very intimate wedding. I want to thank Kyla and Luis for allowing me to capture memories for them. Also thanks to their friends and family for kicking back and making this an enjoyable experience.

Venue:

Hemlock Haven Conference Center

Address:

380 Hemlock Haven Lane

Marion, VA 24354

Website:

www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/hemlock-haven

Anna and Ethan Wedding (Lebanon Va)

I was tagged in a post a few months back regarding a couple needing a photographer for their wedding. I will be forever grateful that I was tagged in it. It has been an amazing journey with the two of them. After the first few messages we decided to go to Cracker Barrel to eat some good food and discuss all the details. It turned out to be a very fun double date as well!

Ethan and I thought the chicken and dumplings were amazing as usual. Anna unsure of what to order took a leap of faith and got the Lemon Pepper Chicken. I asked them a few questions to get to know them as a couple better. When I asked who made the first move Anna quickly said that Ethan did. However, she would quickly change her story lol. They agreed that it was Anna that made the first move and they told me about their amazing first date. Ethan said he knew right away she was the one after he saw how much she loved animals. While on their first date, at around 2am, they came across an injured deer in the backwoods. Anna wanted to stay with it until they called someone to come help. Ethan and I agreed that a woman who loves animals is often wife material. As the date was ending and we were parting ways, I knew I had just met a couple who I would enjoy working with.

The wedding day started off very hot and I hardly saw any clouds in the sky. I met Ethan's father Jeff at the reception while taking some detail shots. Let me tell you he is a character! He was also very charismatic. I knew right then and there that I was going to have a blast all day. After some detail shots of the reception I went to take some shots of Ethan and Anna. I caught an amazing moment between Anna and her mother. They had a personal moment as I was getting ready to take some pictures. It was very beautiful and reminded me of the great connection me and my mother have. It took everything I had to not cry with them.

The ceremony went very smooth and was so sweet. This was the first time I've seen a unity sand ceremony and I loved it. I loved what it represented and the beautiful colors. After the ceremony we stepped outside to do the Bride and Groom pictures. Ethan and Anna looked so adorable together and were radiating happiness. We got so many beautiful shots and Anna had a few funny ideas. After we finished getting all of the photos we wanted we rounded up the bridal party and the families for their formal photos. Let me tell you this Bridal Party was one of the best I've ever seen. No one dreaded the photos and everyone was so full of energy. We all had a blast. However, I was upset when I found out most of them haven't seen the show Friends! How can you not watch Friends lol! We all cut up with each other and got some really good photos, it was a win-win for everyone.

It was time for the reception so we headed that way to get some food and do a little dancing. This father and daughter dance was one of the most emotional moments I've seen in a while. David (Anna's Father) and Anna both cried. It was so sweet to witness this moment between father and daughter. It's really awesome to see that there are still fathers out there who really care and are not afraid to cry. After the dance they did a few speeches and Anna gave a very sweet speech to Ethan. She talked about how he was there for her and showed her what love truly was. Her speech was enough for Ethan to cry and she was ecstatic to finally see him cry lol.

This wedding and ceremony was one of a kind. I really enjoyed spending the day with Anna and Ethan along with their family. Their family was very kind and exciting to be around. The decorations were so beautiful and really matched the beach theme they were going for. I'm so blessed to have gained more friends and to have spent my time with such a loving family. Thanks for making this one of my most enjoyable weddings that I have took pictures of thus far. I pray that you both keep loving each other as Jesus loves us. Be quick to forgive and quick to love.

 

Tonya and Grady Wedding (Saltville Va)

I was blessed to have been a part of Tonya and Grady's wedding! They had a one of a kind family and group of friends. The reception was one crazy party but I better save that for later in this blog. The day started out cloudy and very humid. The weather was calling for rain but I prayed it would wait until after the wedding.

I started my day off by walking around the reception venue & ceremony venue taking detail shots. I really loved the Beauty and the Beast theme! Obviously, the fact that my favorite color is blue added to the appeal. They had many themed arrangements around the tables and down the aisle of the church. I could tell Tonya spent many days preparing all of the decorations. Everything seemed right out of the movie!

After I captured many of the detail shots the bride was ready, so I went to do a few shots with her. I captured so many touching interactions with her and her family. The flower girl and all of the bridesmaids looked great! The ceremony was about to start as everyone was slowly filling the church. Everyone was seated and the anticipation was finally over after many months of planning.

The ceremony was very intimate and focused on Christ. A few technical problems with the music couldn't stop this from being an emotional wedding. After the wedding I did some family portraits and then I took the bride and groom to do a few shots of just them. The kids and Grady love batman so they made sure to bring some batman masks. Everyone was laughing and having a good time. They even talked Tonya into wearing the mask for one picture lol. It started to get real dark as we were leaving and packing everything up to head to the reception.

As the bride and groom arrived to the reception everyone was cheering and excited to party! The reception started with dancing and Tonya and her father shared a very sweet dance. I then saw Tonya's mother and her son dancing, in which was a very beautiful moment. Everyone got their food and then they cut the cake. The DJ decided to change the flow of the reception and let me tell you it got wild lol!

Grady was asked if he would do anything for Tonya to which he replied yes; so he was asked to prove it. Tonya was seated in front of him so we all knew it was about to get wild! He did a little lap dance and everyone had a blast. It was very funny but also sweet. I could barely take photos because I was laughing so hard. I will have to post some in this blog so you can see! After that everyone did the cha cha slide in which I joined in. It isn't bad for a photographer to join in the fun is it? 😉

Near the end of the reception they played their worship song that the technical difficulties prevented at the ceremony. They played the song "So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong Worship. Let me tell you that there was not a dry eye in the room. I took a few photos and just joined in worship. Everyone got in a circle and just sang together. It was a very beautiful moment that I will remember for a long time. It was now time to pack up and leave. I noticed it had started pouring rain. I was very excited it waited for them but I also dreaded getting wet on my way to the car, but it was worth it.

Overall I want to say that I had an amazing day with them. I may have been there to do a service for them but I feel that a service was done for me. There was so many kind and loving people around me that it felt like my family. The kids were so kind and a joy to be silly with. The family and friends allowed me to join in and have fun with them. I will hold this wedding close to my heart and will be forever grateful to everyone I met.

Message to Everyone!

I wanted to take some time and thank everyone for their support because it really means a lot! I'm no where near being the best photographer. My goal is to gain relationships with my clients that last a life time. I don't want to be that photographer that you cant remember who took pictures for you. I want to be that guy that you tell your family and friends about. I refuse to let my business be a "transaction" business. I don't want people to come and just say, do this for "X" amount and I'll see you then. I actually want my clients to walk away with a life changing experience. If I provide amazing photos but don't provide an amazing experience, than to me, I have wasted your time. At the end of the day I want my clients to look back and say wow he really changed everything or I'll never forget this experience for the rest of my life. Sadly I'm not for you if you just want a quick process or the best deal in town. However I'm your guy if you're wanting to experience more than just a photoshoot! Thanks for reading and I hope to meet more amazing clients!

 

Thank you

Bridal Show Vista View Venue

Vista View in Limestone Tennessee was a very beautiful place. The whole venue was breathtaking. Being surrounded by buildings for so long can change the way you see things. When I first got to the venue everything changed. The sights were so beautiful and full of life. There was a huge pond, wildlife, and amazing flowers all around. The warm day was much needed after weeks of rain. Everyone was so nice and helpful toward each other. Taylored Venue & Events did great as the Event Decorator along with the organizer Simple Elegance Bridal Show. Every detail, small and big was covered and they worked together perfectly. Also to top everything off we had amazing floral arrangements for the event provided by Filomena's Florals.

The couple whose picture I took was Jennie & Chase. They were a very charismatic duo that had so much love for each other. They were very pleasant to work with and I enjoyed getting to know them. Annie's Room provided an amazing gown that fit Jennie perfectly and Style Sisters finished off the look with the elegant hair and makeup. The day went smoothly and everyone was nice to each other and helpful. I'm sure the couple will remember this day as they look back on these photos down the road. With the horse carriage and other props it looked and felt so magical to be a part of.

I just want to thank everyone who made the event happen and for the loving couple blessing me with amazing photos. I couldn't have taken such beautiful pictures without everyone's help and generosity. I'm going to leave one of my favorite photos of the event; along with the full credit list to make sure everyone gets recognized for their contributions and help. Thanks for reading and I recommend Vista View to any couples who want to escape the city scene and get back to nature.

Venue: Vista View Venue
Organizer: Simple Elegance Bridal Show
Event Decorator: Taylored Venue & Events
Designer/Rental: Shabby Allie's Boutique & Catering at The Vintage Market
Makeup & Hair: Style Sisters
Flowers: Filomena's Florals
Gown: Annie's Room
Bridal cowgirl hats: Mad Hatters & More
Couple: Jennie Rose & Chase Haney