Best of 2016 Real Weddings

It’s that time again…time to reflect on a year of Weddings. And what a fabulous year it was! I’m so grateful for my sweet and wonderful brides who have chosen and trusted me to capture their blissful moments, and for the vendors who have helped to make their dream day come true! I’m not focusing on the styled portraits in this post, because well I have way too many favorites and that just really needs to be a separate post for another time. This post is more about the moments and the details. A glimpse into the wedding day itself and what made each one so special. I loved pulling this post together and reliving every single one of your weddings! So here it goes…(drum roll, please) my BEST OF 2016 LIST! Cheers and bring on 2017!

Best Invitation Suite: Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
Invitation Design: Empress Stationary
Perfect…The muted tones, the custom initials and the calligraphy. Empress Stationary earned a feather in her cap for this one!

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Best Getting Ready Robe or Gown: Angel & Jared
She ordered it from London and it was stunning on her! So sophisticated.
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Best Getting Ready Venue: Amanda & Jacob
Venue: The Oaks, Centreville AL
The light was perfect, soft and dreamy, streaming in all of the windows. And bonus! The decor perfectly fit the style of this beautiful, classic wedding! I always choose my favorite getting ready venues by their quality of flattering natural light.
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Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
A bride’s prayer before walking down the aisle. I think I heard angel’s singing.
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Angel & Jared
I love a good shot of the bride putting on her shoes. Especially when you have this many windows and dreamy light.
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Best Wedding Gown: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Gown: Augusta Jones
Bridal Shop: Carriage House Weddings
Floral Design: Lillie’s
It fit her to a T. And that lace! Swoon! Pure elegance.
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I adored that it was Eric’s request for her to have a cathedral length veil. He wanted it long and mysterious. He got his wish, and it was handmade.
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Best Bouquets: Cat & Chris
Planner: M. Elizabeth Events
Floral Design: Laurel Green
I loved the gorgeous merlot color in the gathered mix of florals for this December wedding. And, the florals just seemed to perfectly complement her ginger locks!
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Best Ceremony Venue: Angel & Jared
Venue: Private Estate, Mountain Brook AL
Tent Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited
An amazing pool and magnificent pool house, with expansive views of Birmingham and Vulcan for your nuptials? Yes, please!

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Best Reception Venue: Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
Venue: Swann Lake Stables, Birmingham AL
This venue feels as if you are at a destination wedding, not in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama. It’s dreamy, with so much room to roam!  My favorite time of night has always been twilight. That cobalt blue sky gets me grabbing my tripod every time.

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Best Reception Design: Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
Venue: Vestavia Country Club, Birmingham AL
Floral Design: Lagniappe Designs
Cake: The Cakerie Birmingham
A hanging cake?! I mean that just takes the cake!

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Best Hair & Makeup: Amanda & Jacob
MUAH: Emily Summerville
Loved the updo, relaxed curls and natural makeup Emily created for Amanda and her bridesmaids. So soft and feminine.
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Best Use of Something Old: Cat & Chris
Planner: M. Elizabeth Events
Cat’s family jewels and Mother’s Veil
I loved the estate jewels Cat chose for her day. Just enough sparkle, with a touch of color against her creamy fair skin.
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Best Father of the Bride Moment: Niki & David
Planner: Two Hearts Weddings
Venue: Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort
From his first look with her, to their first dance with twirls and spins, then tears of joy. It was touching. Everyone knew they have a special relationship.
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Best Mother of the Bride Moment: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Caroline’s Mom seeing her in her gown and beaming with joy and pride for her only daughter. There was so much love in that room.

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Best Mother of the Groom Moment: Niki & David
Planner: Two Hearts Weddings
Such a tender moment between mother and son.
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Best Bridesmaids Dresses: Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
Carefully curated dresses in shades of merlot  were absolutely stunning for this December wedding. Not one was the same and each style suited its  bridesmaid’s personality and personal style so well. Hands down my favorite look! These bridesmaids dresses will definitely be worn again for a night on the town.
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Best Moment with Bridesmaids: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Caroline’s bridesmaids seeing her in dress for the first time was the sweetest, most endearing moment between a bride and her bridesmaids that I’ve ever seen. Pure excitement and adoration for their BFF.
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Best Moment with Groomsmen or the Guys: Katie & Matt
Planner:
Handley Breaux Designs
He’s got his girl and it’s time to celebrate!
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Best Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Caroline & Daniel
Planner:
Invision Events
Tuxes: Mr. Burch Formal Wear
I’ve always loved a white dinner jacket. Maybe it’s because my Dad wore one for my parents’ wedding. It’s a timeless look and a little bit Frank Sinatra. Winning.
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hdp-mcdurmont-w-577Best First Look: Sarah & Bubba
Planner:
Invision Events
 Just add water. First look along the bank of the Cahaba River, standing on a huge boulder. Romantic? Incredibly so!
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Best Ceremony Exit: Amanda and Jacob
Pure joy! The only way to describe it.hdp-beardenblake-833hdp-beardenblake-838-2

Best Funny Moment: These are a tie! Couldn’t decide! Too hard!

Angel & Jared
The jewish tradition of breaking the glass happened a little too soon! Oops! It was such a cute moment and a perfect part of the wedding day story for this fun couple.
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Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
A random turkey decoy was lying around on property at Swann Lake Stables. The groom, an avid turkey hunter, decided to have a little fun with it.
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Melissa & Paulk
Planner: Invision Events
Rebellious little southern girls in their heirloom dresses. This made me giggle…and hurry over there with my camera.
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Best Reception Entrance: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
If that’s not a proud groom, I don’t know what is…beaming with his girl on his arm walking to take their first dance as husband and wife.
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Best Bride’s Cake: Melissa & Paulk
Planner: Invision Events
Venue: Moore’s Mill Club, Auburn AL
I love simple cakes with simple florals. This one was so pretty and tasted so good.
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Best Groom’s Cake: Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
Completely edible…every single feather.
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Best Reception Dancing: Katie & Matt
Planner:
Handley Breaux Designs
When the bride is a former University of Alabama Crimsonette, you have to step up your reception dancing game! Okay, hang on. I know this is a lot of images, but you really have to see this! (And Roll Tide!)
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Best Reception Entertainment: Jared & Angel
Michael Jackson & Prince Impersonators
I mean, it was fun, y’all! Super entertaining. A real thriller!

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Best Sendoff: Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow! December wedding and honeymoon in Banff. Oh! And the snow was biodegradable. Way to be environmentally friendly Handley Breaux Designs!

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Best Transportation Moment: This one is a total tie. I love all of these so so much that there’s no way I could just decide on just one!

Leah & Eric
Private classic car collection
Timeless. Romantic.
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Melissa & Paulk
Planner: Invision Events
Private classic car collection
I love a convertible, with the veil blowing in the breeze and all of the town smiling and waving to the bride and groom as they drive by.
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Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
This crowd was ready to have a good time at the reception! And they did!
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Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Rare Transportation Trolley & Coats Classic Cars
The dip and the getaway wave goodbye.

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And that’s a wrap of 2016 Weddings! See you next year 2017 Brides, with camera in hand and a big smile on my face! I love my job!

Hunting Lodge Inspired Wedding [Published Styled Shoot]

I’m so excited to finally share the Hunting Lodge Inspired Wedding Shoot I photographed last November at Sawtooth Plantation near Auburn, Alabama. The inspiration for this styled shoot begin one year prior, when I photographed Sawtooth for Birmingham Magazine’s November 2013 issue. The moment I drove through the plantation’s grand gates, I saw a bride and groom strolling throughout the property. The vision for this shoot begins with the groom, a southern gentleman and an avid outdoorsman, who has expressed to his bride that he wants to be married in the great outdoors, surrounded by the peaceful beauty of nature he so enjoys. She happily agrees.

The long country road that led me to Sawtooth, revealed sprawling land, trees full of fall color and glimpses of deer and turkey peaking through the hardwoods. I immediately had ideas for a refined woodland wedding theme, guest tables by the lake, deer antlers and pheasant feathers mixed in with the floral design, and a nod to southern cuisine, with a dinner menu including wild game. When I contacted the owner, John Cassimus, he graciously agreed to host our shoot at Sawtooth.

Over the next several months, the vision continued to unfold as the most amazing team of creatives was gathered to make my dream become a reality…and even better than I could have ever imagined. The team included the talents of Invision Events, Lisa Thorne of Thorne and Thistles for floral design, Laura McCarty of Marked for the paper suite, and Robby Melvin (Southern Living Test Kitchens Director) for the menu creation, among others. I hope you enjoy the images as much as we enjoyed creating them, and maybe you will be inspired for your upcoming wedding or gathering.

You can also see this shoot featured on Weddings Unveiled and Who What Wear.

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And, we were beyond thrilled to find out we had inspired the fabulously stylish Who What Wear

WhoWhatWear

See the Behind the Scenes Video here.

See Invision Events Blog Post here.

Photographer: Heather Durham Photography | Planning:  Invision Events | Styling: Heather Durham and Lisa Smith Thorne | Floral Design: Thorne and Thistle, Lisa Smith Thorne | Venue: Sawtooth Plantation | Invitation Suite and Menu Design: Marked, Laura McCarty | Menu Creation: Southern Living Test Kitchens Director, Chef Robby Melvin | Wardrobe Styling: Tracey Richey | MUA: Celine Russell | Hair: Courtney White | BTS Video: Main Street Productions, John Deaver | Bridal Gown: Lela Rose “The Cove” from Ivory & White Boutique | Bride’s Earrings: Maria Elena Pettie Crystal Drops in silver from Ivory & White Boutique | Bridesmaids Dresses: Joanna August “Ceremony” from Bella Bridesmaids | Groom’s Suit: Billy Reid “Dorsy” suit, “Holt” shirt and “Heirloom” tie all from Saks Fifth Avenue | Groom’s Watch: Armani | Groom’s Shoes: Broletto Mondello from Nordstrom | Table Settings: Bromberg’s and Williams Sonoma | Rentals: Event Group Auburn and Prophouse Birmingham | Cashmere Throws: Restoration Hardware | Custom Pheasant Cuff Links: Perch Jewelry Studio, Barbara Birdsong | Sweetheart Table and Wishbone Chairs: World Market | Cowhides: Wakefield Design Group, Auburn AL | Vintage oushak rugs  from Thorne and Thistle designs | Other Items from personal collections