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Heather and Justin contacted me for Engagement Portraits when they were planning a vacation to Savannah. When the session day finally arrived, we  had  to postpone their session  because of all the rainy days we’ve been experiencing here. Luckily, they were spending more than just a day or two vacationing in Savannah! We began the session in Forsyth Park, then moved North towards Monterey Square and took photos in front of The Mercer House. The charming home was featured in the Movie, Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil. I had a fantastic time photographing this couple and I hope they enjoyed their stay in Savannah.

 

How did you meet? Tell us about your Engagement… We currently live just outside of Radford, Virginia with our darling miniature Dachshund Roxy. I was born and raised in Fairfax, VA, just outside of Washington, D.C. and Justin was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Town of Tappahannock. Although we both studied undergrad at Radford University, we didn’t actually meet until two years after Justin had graduated.After studying Criminal Justice, Justin graduated and accepted a position with the City of Radford Police Department. I was a senior in college when we met and worked a part-time job at a bank on Main Street.  Justin would do bank security checks daily (which I have since learned are only required on occasion) and he would often stay to chat for a few minutes. After a few weeks of lighthearted conversation Justin asked me out to dinner and we’ve been inseparable ever since.  We both knew instantly that we had met our best friend and other half. Three months and three days later we were engaged. Justin asked me to marry him at the very place we met. I was working at the bank when he showed up at the drive-up window with a check made out to “Will You Marry Me?” and an engagement ring. Since graduation I have started a new position with our alma mater as an Admissions Counselor.

What made you decide on Savannah for you engagement session? I have always remembered Savannah as being the quintessential southern city. The natural beauty of the city and its historic squares was what really made us want to do our engagement session in Savannah.

What do you like most about Savannah? What are some of your favorite things to do and places to visit that you recommend to others? This was Justin’s first trip to Savannah and he loved everything about it! I visited Savannah about ten years ago with my family, and I found it just as charming and beautiful as I had remembered. Our favorite part of the city was the beautiful historic squares throughout. The stately trees, Spanish moss, and charming row homes make Savannah one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to.

What are your wedding Plans? The Wedding will take place next June at The Winery at Bull Run in my hometown of Centreville, Virginia.  The winery is set on the civil war battlefields of Northern Virginia and is gorgeous both inside and out. It will be an evening wedding with all of our close friends and family.

 

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It was was a beautiful Saturday morning when I met Jennifer and Jeff for their beach wedding near Tybee Island’s 19th Street Gazebo. They chose a secluded area within the sand dunes at the Southern end of the beach. It was a scenic setting for their small and private  family -oriented ceremony. It included just Jennifer and Jeff and their four children. It was really touching to witness their marriage and the beginning of their new family.  After the ceremony, we took photos near the shoreline and the newlyweds even had a first dance in the ocean which was so  romantic! We finished with photos of Jennifer and Jeff alone together.

 

What made you decide to have your wedding on Tybee Island? Jeff and I visited the Savannah and the Tybee Island area and absolutely loved it.  We wanted a destination wedding, but didn’t want to travel very far and felt this was the perfect place.

 

What do you like most about the Savannah and Tybee area? We love the history of Savannah.  It’s like going back in time. Tybee is just so natural not crowded like other beaches we’ve visited. What are some of your favorite places to visit while you are here?  We love staying at the 1790 Inn in historic Savannah.  The service is great and they always take care of us.  The food in the restaurant is amazing.  We also love the history, especially the stories of hauntings.

 

Where do you currently live? I live in Peachtree City, GA and Jeff lives in Alpharetta, GA. Where are your home cities? I am a Georgia native and grew up in Jonesboro, home of “Gone with the Wind.”  Jeff grew up in River Edge, New Jersey, a $1.50 bus ride from New York City back in the day. He moved to Atlanta in 1996.
Where did you get the inspiration and ideas for the sand ceremony and your wedding bouquet? We wanted the ceremony to represent the joining of our two families and wanted to make sure our children were an integral part of the ceremony also.  My bouquet was purchased in Charleston, SC just after Jeff proposed to me.  It is made of sweetgrass by local basket weavers in the open air market.  It is a beautiful reminder of a very special moment for Jeff and I.

 

What gave you the idea to have an intimate weddingand to include your children only? We wanted the ceremony to be about the merging of Jeff and I and our kids.  We wanted it to be small and intimate, something that represented Jeff and I and our personalities. We really wanted to focus on the marriage instead of the wedding itself.

 

 

Bride & Groom / Guest Accommodations:  1790 Inn & Restaurant – Savannah / Officiant: Jack  Boylston / Wedding Dress: White House Black Market  Hair & Makeup: Marigold Salon – Amy Bride’s Bouquet: Sweetgrass Bouquet from Charleston’s Open AirMarket

 

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I met with Brittany & Justin and their sons for portraits in Pulaski and Lafayette Square. The couple wanted to have family photos taken and also a few together portraits before Justin’s upcoming deployment in Afghanistan.  They personalized their session with a few creative items and Justin’s Military gear. I had a great time meeting this beautiful family and the historic squares of Savannah always provide an excellent backdrop for portraits.

 

 

How did you and Justin meet?

Justin and I have known each other since we were nine years old! We were in the same circle of friends all throughout middle and high school, but we didn’t start dating until our freshman year of college. We actually were very competitive and argued a lot in high school, so all of our friends were shocked when we got together! It must have been flirting all along!

Tell us a bit about your family and your support network while Justin is away.

Colson is our oldest, and he is 6 years old. Caven is our baby, and he is 9 months. Life can be crazy with two wild boys, but we love it!  Our support system is our family in Northeast Georgia. They are about five hours away, though, so that is hard. We just moved to this area, so hopefully in a few months we will have established some other relationships that will help.  I’m new to being a military wife, so I don’t have that much wisdom about it yet! We just take it one day at a time and are constantly praying for Jesus to be a shield around our soldier.

 

 

 

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We met Sarah and Jon at 17 West Park Avenue which is a charming historic rental property that overlooks Forsyth Park. We did their individual getting ready portraits at the home, then continued on with Sara’s bridal portraits in Chatham Square. While Sara was having her bridal portraits,  Jon went over to the Railroad Museum and took photos with friends and family. He then enjoyed some cordials in the vintage dining car which the couple had rented for the day. They then met for a first look in the Roundhouse building and had portraits taken. Their intimate wedding ceremony followed in the side courtyard of the railroad museum as the sun set.  Afterwards, immediate family remained in the courtyard for photos and the entire group enjoyed a cocktail hour into the twilight hours. The weather was perfect as guests sipped on mint juleps and basil gimlets while some enjoyed cigars from the Savannah Cigar Bar, all of which which were wonderful custom touches. Cocktail hour was followed by a catered reception at The Blacksmith’s Shop which was decorated with vintage lighting, books and natural plants (a tip: things to consider when hiring a wedding caterer). Dessert of wedding cake and Georgia Peach Cobbler with ice cream were served. Nine members of the group then toasted the couple.  Each guest spoke about the couple from very different perspectives and reminisced about various stages of their lives as individuals and then as a couple. The entire event was gracefully arranged by two wonderful people that we really enjoyed getting to know!  S&J

Accommodations: West Park Vacation Rentals /Approximate # of Guests: 46 /Officiant: Nathan Paxton, Ph.D / Wedding gown: J.Crew /Seamstress: Adrienne Cornberger of Stitch (Liberty and Bull St., Savannah) /Shoes: Nina (bride), Bostonian (groom) /Hair and makeup: Salon Aqua (Gaston St., Savannah) /Accessories: Clutch: Marjorie Bloom, from No. Four Eleven (Whitaker St., Savannah); hummingbird pin: family heirloom/Bride’s jewelry: Earrings from Folklorico (Bull St., Savannah) /Groom’s attire: J.Crew /Florist: Harvey DesignsCaterer: Creative Catering /Cake: Publix /Lighting and audio equipment: Stage Front / Invitations and menus: HelloLucky.com / Videography: Tim Arnold (bride’s brother and filmmaker)    

About Us: The short version is that I’m an editor originally from Massachusetts and Jon’s a scientist originally from California. Jon and I have lived outside Philadelphia for the past two years, though we have a history of cross-country moves. We spent the two years prior to that near Pasadena, in southern California, and before that, we were in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Jon was in grad school (that’s where we met; I had moved to Boston after college). Moving is part of being attached to an academic. Jon is currently a biology professor, but his background is in geology–if you want to get specific, he’s a paleobotanist, like Laura Dern’s character in Jurassic Park. We have fossil plants all over the apartment, he has a great collection of crazy near-death fieldwork stories, and he’s really fun to camp with. Fortunately, what I do is pretty portable. I’m an editor. My background is mainly in K–12 educational publishing, which is what I did in the Boston area, but I worked in university communications while we lived in California. When we moved to Pennsylvania, I decided to try freelance copyediting full-time, which has been working out well. It also means that my work schedule is very flexible, so I come down to Savannah as often as possible!

What made you decide to have your wedding in Historic Savannah? This was an easy choice: my parents live in Savannah now. They fell in love with the city when my brother started studying film at SCAD in 2005, visited as often as they could, and moved here full-time in 2011, so for the past eight years, this area has been the backdrop for many family memories. It made perfect sense for the wedding. Jon and I are originally from opposite coasts, our family members are scattered around the country, and we’ve moved as a couple several times during our six years together, so there was no other place that had the same clear draw–a place that had personal meaning to us, was fun and accessible for our guests, would keep the planning process simple, and would make for an unusual and memorable setting. We loved the idea of introducing so many of our guests to Savannah, too.

What do you like most about the Savannah area? What are some of your favorite places to visit while you are here? It’s remarkable how quickly Jon and I relax whenever we come to Savannah. That calm–a combination of the slower pace and the striking friendliness–is one of our favorite parts of the place. We also love its quirkiness and lushness and air of perpetual celebration. Over the years, we’ve accumulated some favorite spots to eat and hang out, but we’re always discovering new ones. We used AppyCouple, a new wedding website option that creates a corresponding smartphone app for guests, to make a simple website filled with recommendations for the weekend–especially for food. This helped us tell guests about our favorite places and keep that information accessible on the go. The list included the Distillery–where we had a casual and delightful rehearsal dinner followed by a sprawling “welcome gathering” the night before the wedding–as well as Rancho Alegre, Crystal Beer Parlor, B. Matthews, J. Christopher’s, Fire, Goose Feathers, Gallery Espresso, and Sentient Bean.

Where did you get the inspiration and ideas for your details such as the vintage items and accessories?We adore the railroad museum and wanted to play up its look, tone, and vintage feel while keeping things pretty natural, so we stuck with shades of green, white, and the muted colors in air plants and succulents to accent the beautiful whitewashed brick and wood surfaces and grassy spaces. Keeping the look plant-based rather than floral felt right to us. Our Florist did an incredible job with the ceremony centerpieces, table arrangements, bouquet, and boutonniere, incorporating quirky things like green trick and purple fiddleheads. Beyond that, we just loosely embraced the vintage travel theme of the museum and then we added things like the vintage suitcases and ink jars. I customized a HelloLucky design to print menus that mimicked the look of those you’d find on old rail lines. The vintage geology books were already decorating our apartment, so I had to incorporate those as a finishing touch. Much of the ambience came from gorgeous cafe lighting–Edison bulbs strung in rows along the rafters–in the blacksmith shop, which is a space that has a lot of rustic elegance to begin with.

What gave you the idea to have the mint juleps and the basil gimlets? It was a very nice touch!  We liked the idea of offering a specific cocktail or two, and the mint juleps were a nod to the Southern backdrop. The basil gimlets were more personal. There was a restaurant in Cambridge called Casablanca that had been a fixture in Harvard Square for generations, and Jon and I used to frequent its bar, a hidden, coolly romantic space with an old-world vibe where we had our epic first date–and, years later, where he proposed. The drink to get was the basil gimlet, fresh and bright and a little dangerous. It was the taste of our early days together, just as the jukebox’s nostalgic offerings were a large part of our soundtrack. Casablanca recently closed, which saddened us both, and some of our guests were also very attached to the place, so including that cocktail at the wedding was a given.  

How would you sum up your wedding experience? One of our priorities was to have a wedding that was guest-centric and intimate, where everyone felt included. We also wanted to avoid a stressful planning process, at least as much as possible, and to keep things simple. To that end, we dispensed with a bridal party, minimized the number of vendors we used and kept with local small businesses, managed music ourselves with playlists we created, wrote our short civil ceremony with our officiant (a close friend), and made use of the talent and generosity of friends and family members. We ended up with an amazing group of people whose joy just spilled over into every aspect of the wedding weekend. It was smooth and happy and full of love, start to finish–and to top things off, we couldn’t have dreamed up better weather!

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The most treasured things in life may not necessarily be things which are perfect. When a couple plans their wedding day I’m sure that most of them don’t hope for rain or terrible weather, but it happens. This Spring, the weather has been pretty unpredictable.  As a wedding photographer, I can tell you from experience that most weddings offer a few surprises and unexpected twists and turns along the way. Its a profession where you have to be willing to work with whatever obstacles come your way.

Amanda and Robert’s wedding day started off as being a normal day with a possibility of rain. Instead of meeting everyone at the beach, we met  Amanda and her Bridesmaids over at the Brass Rail Condos to commence getting ready photos and inside photos of the bridesmaids. Afterwards, we met the immediate family and groomsmen over at the Tybee Lighthouse Cottage for casual groom’s photos and additional wedding party photos.  The ceremony was initially planned to be at the beach but due to the weather it was moved to a tent on the Lighthouse grounds, then to the front porch area of The Lighthouse Cottage (almost  to the upper porch area) and finally to the lower level of the cottage. The weather continued to worsen with rain and high winds, but the most amazing thing about this couple and their entire network of family and friends were their positive attitudes. Everyone was focused on the couple, their love and  how it was a beautiful day for a wedding and it ended up being just that.

After the ceremony we decided to go inside of the historic Tybee Lighthouse. A special thanks to Vikki for venturing out into the rain and wind to let us inside! We were able to spend time enjoying the winding staircase and the architecture of something that was built hundreds of years ago.  Afterwards, we talked about the amazing opportunity we had to photograph inside of the lighthouse at night during a storm. Not many couples can say they spent their first moments alone together as husband an wife in such a neat place and it would not have happened had the weather been ideal. I’m sure that both Robert and Amanda will continue to visit Tybee and will have the most treasured memories of their wedding whenever they see the Lighthouse.

Amanda, how did you and Robert meet? We met at a local bar in 2009. We were introduced by a broken ATM machine….I had ordered a drink not realizing the bar was a cash only place. When I realized the ATM was not working, I told the bartender I’d have to send it back—that’s when Robert stepped in and bought the drink for me.  We currently live in Marietta, GA which is a suburb of Atlanta. I work in marketing for CBS Radio and Robert is self employed.

What made you decide to have your wedding on Tybee? We both love the beach, so when we got engaged we knew we wanted to get married on a beach somewhere. We considered the Bahamas (because we go to Freeport yearly)  but decide to go somewhere closer to make it easier on family and friends to attend. It was between Tybee and The Sea Islands. We visited Tybee and fell in love with its home town feel and the friendly residents. We like the historical beauty of Savannah and the beach town feel of Tybee. We enjoy meeting locals and the seafood is great. North beach Bar & Gril, Fannies on The Beach and Stingrays’s are three restaurants we always visit. We also enjoy Huc a Poos (also on tuybee) for late night drinks and pizza. We spend a lot of time just walking on the Northern part of Tybee Beach. 

 Where did you get the inspiration/ideas for the details and colors? I found everything online…I am the google queen! I used TheKnot.com a lot, along with WeddingWire and WeddingBee. The boards there were great for inspiration! I knew I wanted our wedding to be very intimate and to have a lot of personal touches, so when I came across an idea from a board/site that I liked, I bookmarked it. I found our color scheme online as well from another beach wedding inspiration board. I knew I wanted bright, beachy colors and loved the combination of aqua/orange. We knew right away that we didn’t want a formal black tie wedding. Since we were planning a beach wedding, linen suits were an obvious choice, but we wanted to make it fun. The bowties added that fun look to the gorrmsmen attire. The bridesmaids dresses were Dessy twist dresses. I knew that I did not want my girls in typical bridesmaid dresses, and I wanted them to be able to use the dress again after the wedding. I also had girls of all shapes and sizes, so I wanted a dress that would be flattering for all of them. Having the girls to wear the twist dress kept the color scheme flowing through the wedding, but allowed them freedom of how to wear it so they could be comfortable and show their own style. Another thing that we did differently was that we didn’t book a block of rooms for our guests, we allowed everyone to find accommodations that were comfortable for them and their budget. Many of our guests rented condos on Tybee for the weekend, and we stayed at the Brass Rail Condos with our wedding party

 Any planning obstacles with this being a destination weddingThe only planning obstacle was having to drive down multiple times to meet with all the vendors. I would definitely recommend anyone having a destination wedding hire a very experienced wedding planner that they can trust to handle hiring and coordinating with all the vendors.We spent an entire year planning our beautiful beach wedding down to every detail-I even picked the date based on lowest rainfall averages for the year-and it still rained the entire weekend of the wedding! The ceremony was going to be on the beach, and the reception was to be under a tent on the lighthouse lawn. I thought we had a solid backup plan with the tent-we could use it for the ceremony and then have it flipped for the reception, but with the high winds and rain it was suggested the tent would not be a good idea, so we had to quickly change to plan C-the lighthouse cottage. It was upsetting when I realized we wouldn’t be able to get married on the beach-I had so many handmade favors for my guests to use, a lot of decor that we couldn’t use, and it was simply our vision to get married with our toes in the sand! Thankfully, with all the commotion going on we really didn’t have time to dwell on that. We came to get married, and that’s what we were going to do! We had all our closest friends and family there to support us, and everyone just rolled with the punches. I had to make the decision that having a meltdown, or being burdened by things that were out of my control, on my wedding day would just taint the day-we wanted our wedding day to be full of laughs and love and good memories, so we just continued on like everything was going as it should. The cottage was too tight for a traditional setup with chairs and an aisle, so our guests had to stand around us while we were married. The most important thing was that I was marrying Robert and that we were surrounded by love.

Approximate planning time for wedding:  One year Approximate # of Guests: 50 / Officiant: Pastor Barbara Tarver (Robert’s Grandmother) / Ceremony Music: Complete Music Video / DJ: Complete Music Video / Wedding Gown: Bel Fiore Bridal in Marietta, GA / Bride’s Shoes: Anne Klein / Hair: Tammie Sellers (bridesmaid) Makeup– Schnelle Jefferson of Makeup by Schnelle Wedding Planner: Vikki from The Tybee Lighthouse provided day-of coordination services for the reception / Flower Bridal Hair Pin: Enchantedly Yours (on Etsy.com) / Accessories: Belt from Bel Fiore Briday in Marietta, GA / Bride’s Jewelry : Earrings and necklace Ebay / Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Dessy Twist Wrap dress purchased from Bel Fiore Bridal, Marietta, GA / Groom’s Attire: StudioSuits.com / Ties: Clericci Bow Ties from BoxedGifts/Groomsmen’s Attire: StudioSuits.com / Florist:Flowers purchased from AmazonFlowers.us and Fabulousflorals.com then arranged by the bride /Chairs/Chair Covers/Sashes: Chairs and tables from the Tent Factory  Chair Covers & Sashes: Hobby Lobby /Caterer & Cake: North Beach Bar and Grill 

 

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Amanda Johnson on Tybee Island - Bel Fiore Bridal

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