Kelsey & Paul are such joyful souls. I had a fantastic time exploring the city with them for their engagement session and was thrilled about visiting Tennessee for their bohemian wedding. That morning as Kelsey was in hair & make-up, she filled me in on the inspiration for her wedding day look: a combination of media giants Cher and Stevie Nicks! I was stoked to see the whole thing put together and girl did NOT disappoint. To say she was stunning would be an understatement. Paul looked slick as hell in his grey suit and details like suspenders and patterned bow tie.
These two brought such an eye for design and looked so damned dapper. They were laughing and smiling through the whole day, cool as cucumbers and having a hell of a fun time. They collaborated with me on a number of photo ideas, even the really weird ones I wanted to try. Couples who trust me like this are so special to me, and we make magic when it happens.
Most memorable moment from your wedding day?
Can we say… all of them? But we both felt that the moment we first saw each other and the anticipation leading up to that are memories we’ll cherish forever. Kelsey shared a private moment with her father before the barn door opened, and Paul was standing up at the altar with his father and the wedding party, bouncing up and down from excitement. Even from far away, when the big barn door rolled open we locked eyes and our faces lit up with huge smiles (and maybe some tears). It was the moment we had been waiting for for a long time, and it was even better and more memorable than we could have ever imagined beforehand.
Funniest moment on your wedding day?
There were a ton! From Paul jumping into Kelsey’s brother’s arms during “Time of My Life” (Dirty Dancing Style), to a cow jumping a fence behind us as we read our vows, there were so many moments throughout the day to laugh at. If we had to pick one, it actually occurred during one of the more earnest parts of our ceremony. We decided to do a “washing of the feet” ritual as a symbol of love and devotion to each other, and while we thought through most things ahead of time, we absolutely underestimated how hard it would be to take off Paul’s dress shoes in that moment. With our band playing a beautiful, solemn rendition of “Anchor Holds” in the background, Kelsey pulled and tugged on Paul’s shoes to no avail. Paul eventually got them off, but not before we gifted our guests with a few moments of comical exasperation. Kelsey’s father performed the ceremony, and had the perfect improvised one-liner to cap off the moment: “Now we know why the disciples wore sandals!”
What were you most anxious or nervous about regarding your wedding day and how did it turn out?
The first dance! Honestly, learning our dance together was one of our most cherished memories as we planned our wedding. We surprised our guests with an ambitious routine that included turns, spins, dips…. and a lift! We hadn’t had much time to practice in the week before the wedding, and didn’t have any idea how it would go with the dress or on our rug dance floor (we like to cut a rug, haha!). We also didn’t realize how nervous we’d be to do it in front of a huge audience. It was an exhilarating challenge, but we loved every minute of it! And although we made a few missteps- it turned out great, and it was so fun to see/hear everyone’s reactions as we danced together!
What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?
Remember to take time for yourselves during the planning process. Everyone in your life will have opinions about how you should do certain things, what proper etiquette is, etc. When stress inevitably comes, don’t forget the purpose of the day, and make sure there’s some aspect of planning or preparation that you and your partner can have fun doing together – it’ll help keep you centered on your relationship with each other and the commitment you’re both making on that special day. On the day of, some of the best advice we received was to stop at some point – to take a moment, close your eyes and breathe it all in. Look around at who has made sure to be there with you showering you with love and support. The day goes by like a blur, so it’s important to set an intentional goal for yourself to slow down for a moment, enjoy it and be grateful for everything about the day and everyone that helped you get there! Make sure to FEEL the feelings. 🙂
If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
There are definitely decisions we’d make differently, but in the end it was the perfect day and nothing we might’ve changed would have had any impact on how we felt on that day. We put a lot of ourselves into the ceremony and reception, and because it was so personal there were bound to be imperfections – but we learned to let the small things go. The biggest change we would make would have been finalizing some things sooner so we had more “buffer” time in the month before the wedding. Things are bound to pop up that take longer than expected, so if you can get it done earlier to be able to breathe easier the week of, we’d recommend it!
Any tips for future couples on how to prepare for their wedding photos?
Make a list and brainstorm beforehand! Make sure you and your partner talk through who you’d want to be included (or not included) in photos so that you aren’t deliberating in front of people on the day of. If they’re included, make sure family and friends are notified ahead of time so they know to stick around for photos. Block off dedicated time to take photos together – it’ll be tough to get away if it’s not planned ahead of time. You might feel like you’re neglecting your guests to go away for a bit, but it’ll be worth it – and it’s likely it’ll be one of the only moments you and your new life partner get to share “alone” together throughout that day.
- Florist: Cut Flower Wholesale (we bought the flowers here, but arrangements were done with love by family – and groomsmen!)
- Caterer: Double Portion Catering
- Cakes/Desserts: Say Cheese! Gourmet Cheesecake Company
- Getting Ready, Ceremony, & Reception Venues: Queen’s Chestnut Barn
- DJ/Band/Musicians: DJ/Emcee – Ben and Anna Smart; Band – Blackbird Revival
- Videographer: Ron Borden, Borden Media Inc.
- Hair Stylist & Make-Up: Michelle Borden (Make-up), Britiney Williams (Hair), Bailee Bussey (Make-up/Hair)
- Attire/Clothing: Groomsmen – Black Tux; Wedding Dress – Sweet Elegance Bridal
- Accessories/Jewelry: Bridal Earrings – Diadem Boutique; Tie Clips – TheBluePrint; Groomsmen Pins – KerrysWorksOfArt
- Rings: Shane Co
- Other: Frames – Toco Frame Company; Family Crest Design – Carolyn Rose
Raven is an Atlanta Wedding Photographer who captures real people on their totally unique and completely awesome wedding day. She travels throughout Georgia, including Athens, North Georgia, Dahlonega and beyond, documenting love.