A couple years ago, I met the sweet and talented Heather Ann Thomas at the A Bryan Photo workshop in Birmingham, and today I finally get to feature her beautiful work. She takes utterly frame-worthy photos that I imagine any couple would be pleased to have as wedding keepsakes. But I’ll let the images speak for themselves…

Some details from the bride and groom:

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Ben and I had a weekend getaway to Blackberry Farm two years prior and absolutely fell in love with its charm and tranquil setting.

What was your favorite moment of the day?  Ben and I planned all photography to take place before the ceremony so we could maximize our time with guests who traveled to be with us on our special day. We wanted out “first look” to be a lasting memory, so I stood in the Blackberry Farm garden in my wedding dress and Ben saw me for the first time and brought me my bridal bouquet. We had a very intimate moment before everything started that afternoon.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Of course, enjoy every moment! It goes by so quickly and what details may seem significant during the planning period won’t be in the end. You will remember your happy moments and all of your friends and family sharing in your wedding day.

Photography: Heather Ann Thomas of Beall + Thomas Photography / Venue: Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee / Bride’s dress: Priscilla of Boston / Groom’s attire: Brioni / Bridesmaid dresses: J.Crew 
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Sponsored Post

 

There are so many styles of wedding photography, and photojournalism is one of my favorites. And today I get to introduce you to one of our newest sponsors, Beck Diefenbach, who approaches wedding photography with a storyteller’s eye…

Beck understands and appreciates his role in documenting such an important day. As he says: “Your wedding day is so much more than a day. It’s the beginning of the story of the rest of your life. The latest chapter in your personal journey of life and love, it’s a day you will never forget.”

Beck Diefenbach is based in San Francisco, but he’s available to travel, so no matter where you’re getting married, Beck can be your photographer! Want more? Check out Beck’s website for even more of his wedding work!

 

This post sponsored by Beck Diefenbach.

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Beth and Jay live in Australia, and had always wanted to visit San Francisco, so they decided on an intimate destination wedding there. Laurel at Esla Events and Emily from Em The Gem helped to create a memorable day for the couple and their guests.

Sunnyside Conservatory was the perfect venue for the ceremony: small enough for an intimate group, but open and full of light.

After the ceremony, everyone enjoyed some sandwiches and donuts, then hopped on a trolley for a tour of the city. Says Beth, “We wanted the day to be about everybody having fun, especially since they had all traveled from Australia. So the trolley tour of San Francisco was our way of making sure we got to spend time with everybody as well as enjoying the sights and tastes of San Francisco.”

Hot chocolate at Ghirardelli Square was a highlight, says the bride.

From Beth:

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  The entire day was fun, so it’s hard to narrow down. The ceremony was very special. So was getting to relax with our guests on a tour of San Francisco. The dinner reception was also fantastic, and when we returned to our room, the hotel had provided us with a bottle of champagne and chocolate coated strawberries, which was such a sweet and thoughtful surprise.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue was probably the only wedding tradition that we followed. My grandmother gave me a locket that my grandfather gave her in 1937, and the neighbor I grew up with gave me the lace horseshoe she had at her wedding 50 years ago. The something blue was the plastic blue “engagement ring” that Jay proposed with, and something new was really everything else.

What advice do you have for other brides?  The best advice is just to relax and enjoy the day, and remember what it is about, which is you and your partner – the rest is just icing. Don’t take anything, including yourself too seriously. Making sure you get great vendors who you trust and who understand what you want makes life a lot easier. Planning the wedding from Australia, it was great to be able to rely on Laurel and Emily for advice and direction, and they did a great job.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  We got married in the middle of the week and outside of peak wedding season, which helped. I purchased a lot of items off Etsy and found that sellers were always very helpful in getting me what I needed on time, and for a reasonable price. Potted lemon trees at the ceremony (as opposed to full floral arrangements) saved some money, but still gave a great effect.

 

Vendors

Photography: Gem Photo / Ceremony venue: Sunnyside Conservatory in San Francisco, California / Dinner venue: Twenty Five Lusk / Planner, designer: Esla Events / Officiant: Rick Kaplowitz / Bride’s dress: White by Vera Wang / Veil: Bella Bridal Veils / Pearl jewelry: Pearl Accessory / Bride’s custom mittens: Crafty Little Critters / Hair, makeup: Eliza Desch / Groom’s suit: Lan’s Formal Wear, (415) 921-2615 / Flowers: Crimson Horticulture Rarities / Vintage rentals: One True Love / Post-ceremony snacks: Dynamo Donuts, La Boulange / Cable car rental: EventsWest / Fabric garlands: Two Green Olive Trees / Just Married banner: Victorian Station /

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Today’s wedding took place in the bride’s home town in Poland, and these photos capture it’s elegant simplicity perfectly…

The bride and groom share a Polish tradition with us:  “On the morning of the wedding, Wayne and his parents arrived at Karolina’s home to receive blessings from both parents. This is when the bride’s family ‘gives their daughter’ to be married. As a result, we arrived at the church together and walked hand-in-hand down the aisle, which is actually in keeping with the original ritual of marriage.”

In keeping with Polish tradition, all the guests gathered for a toast given by the father of the bride before proceeding into the dining room for the meal. After the toast, the bride and groom threw their champagne glasses behind them, shattering them, symbolizing good luck for the years ahead.

Says the couple:  “We have danced tango together for a few years, and have always enjoyed it as a pastime we can do together. Wanting to share this with our guests, we decided to perform two songs for them, unannounced and with a lot of dramatic flair. We’d never performed for anyone, and although it was some pressure to put upon ourselves, it made for a great memory.”

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  In keeping with Polish tradition, we decided to hold the wedding in the bride’s hometown, the city of Poznan. Our goal was simply to have our families and closest friends come together in a place which was festive and relaxed, yet still elegant. Like many Polish weddings, the reception was held in a large villa. Racot Palace was a pleasant surprise with its understated yet elegant interior. We loved the large dining room, and the adjacent ballroom was perfect for dancing (very important at Polish weddings!). There was also a lovely terrace where guests could step out for fresh air and enjoy the grounds. As it was, the celebration lasted well into morning, and all the guests (eventually) enjoyed breakfast together the next morning.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  From the beginning, it was very important that the entire wedding feel personal and intimate. We designed our own invitations. Our wonderful photographers were friends of a friend from Berlin. The flowers were picked by us the morning before the wedding, and with the help of the mothers, arranged in simple glass vases. The Austrian wines came personally recommended from our close friend. We were wed in the church Karolina attended as a student, with the marriage rites read in both Polish and English.

The various backgrounds of our guests were very inspirational for us. These are special people who have known us in different places and times of our lives and we wanted to show our gratitude that they’d traveled so far to share this occasion with us. We printed a facebook with a photograph of each guest, where they came from, and something special about how we knew them. These booklets were spread along the table and within minutes of seating all the guests were not only acquainting themselves with each other, but seeing themselves in a special context as well.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Wayne’s Korean grandmother traveled all the way from Seoul to attend the wedding. As we greeted our guests outside the church, she appeared wearing her hanbok, the traditional Korean attire reserved for special occasions. Having her travel to Poland to offer us her blessings was very special for us.

 

Vendors

Photography: Iconoclash Photography / Venue: Racot Palace near Poznan, Poland / Bride’s dress: Phaedra Elizabeth / Groom’s tie: C. Chauchat

 

This wedding was submitted via Two Bright Lights.

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It’s always wonderful to see how a couple combines their individual cultures and traditions in their wedding choices, so I know you’ll enjoy these shots from Christina and Sunil’s wedding last month…

After a week full of rain, the sun came out for Christina and Sunil’s outdoor ceremony!

The traditional Hindu wedding ceremony was followed by an evening of dinner and dancing in the Sequoyah Country Club’s Spanish style clubhouse. Built in 1913, the beautiful building satisfied Christina’s love for Spanish culture.

Miniature hand-carved wood elephants from India paraded around each centerpiece, and guests were invited to take them home as favors at the end of the night.

The cake echoed mehndi patterns like those on Christina’s feet and ankles. Below, guests were treated to a Bollywood dance performance.

Christina shares a bit about her experience planning a traditional Indian wedding as a non-Indian American bride:

I had to educate myself on a lot of the rituals and traditions of a traditional Indian wedding, because Sunil, who is second-generation, didn’t know a lot the specifics himself. Some of my local Indian girlfriends were a wealth of information about stores, traditions, and cultural norms (and no-no’s). When shopping for a dress with 3 non-Indian friends and family, I was completely overwhelmed, and the Western-style dress that I chose ultimately seemed like the best choice. I chose a Western-style dress that had an Indian feel to it and could work with Indian jewelry. Otherwise, the wedding was almost entirely traditionally Indian, with the exception of our fusion music and the groomsman and bridesmaid attire. Also, we decided at the last minute not to wear the hats that are traditionally worn by the bride and groom in Bengali weddings.

 

Vendors

Photography: Melanie Duerkopp / Venue: Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland, California / Event Planner: Flor Amor / Bride’s dress: Martina Liana / Groom’s attire: Sari Palace, (510) 841-7274 / Stationery: IndianWeddingCard.com / Cake: Ginger Elizabeth / Classical sitar: Joanna Mack / DJ: Toofan Sounds / Bollywood dancers: Namita Kapoor & Troop

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