{I Do} Shelley & Royce ~ Montgomery, Alabama Wedding Photographer

My sister went through college with a very close-knit group of girls.  Since we lived in the same town, my husband, Nathan, and I got the privilege of meeting and spending some time with them occasionally.  One of the girls was Shelley, and probably of all my sister’s friends, we saw her the most.  She has this cute little pug, Lola, that would come to our house and play with our dogs…and several years ago, Shelley went with a group of our friends on Nathan’s & my “last evening [in the US] as people without kids” evening.

So, I was not only a little bit excited when Shelley got engaged last year and asked me about photographing her wedding.

In fact, if “yes, please!” was not in my reply email to her, it should’ve been, because that’s what I thought!  She and her fiance, Royce, had set their big date for December 31, 2011 and planned to have a late wedding and a reception party to ring in the new year {what better day for a new beginning?!}.

So.  Yes, please.  I couldn’t wait!

And then the day came around.  I knew Shelley pretty well but since Royce lived in another state,  I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him until the day of the wedding.  We’ll meet him, here, in a little bit.

For now, I started out the day hanging out with the girls while they got their hair and makeup done.  Shelley had chosen a timeless side bun for her hair style.

And her makeup was flawless.

In some of the downtime, I went around and snapped photographs of some of the details.

…and Shelley’s dress.  Lovely.

The church was still decorated with their Christmas tree.  Here it is by day and by night.

But back to Shelley…

She says she had been nervous, leading up to the day, but when it finally arrived, the nerves began wearing off and she was (or at least seemed!) cool as a cucumber.

Only good things come in blue boxes.

In this case, the blue box held Shelley and Royce’s wedding rings.

Here’s a close up of the detail on Shelley’s dress.

And her shoes!  Every bride deserves comfortable, sparkly shoes, and Shelley found her perfect shoes in this sparkly pair of Toms.

Shelley’s mom came in to help Shelley put her dress on…

…and discovered that one of the hooks on the back of the dress had mysteriously disappeared.  Out came a sewing kit and she did what seems to come second nature to moms:  she sewed her daughter right into her dress!  {okay, maybe it’s not second nature to sew your daughter into a dress…but moms are just extra talented at figuring out a plan when something goes wrong}

No one freaked out about the mishap, and after a quick smile, hug, and a kiss, Shelley’s mom was off to get ready.

The days in December are so short, and I was incredibly thankful that Shelley and Royce were up for going to a nearby garden to get some portraits.  There’s nothing like natural light for portraits, and thankfully, we had just enough daylight to get some good ones in!

Here are a few of Shelley in her lovely gown,

Her fantastic smile,

and beautiful flowers.

Back in the 1970’s, Shelley’s grandmother purchased a beautiful veil in Brussels.  And now, it was worn by Shelley more than 30 years later.  You’ll see more of it soon.

And…you know that January 9th is the college football National Championship Game, right?  So, who do you think Shelley will be rooting for?!  {Roll Tide, of course!}

Up until now, this post has been about our beautiful bride.  But it’s now time for her handsome groom to make his appearance.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet Royce.

I was super excited that Shelley and Royce decided to see each other before the ceremony.  First, I would be able to get some great, natural light portraits of them…second, I’ve found that couples tend to be much less nervous whenever they see each other privately before the wedding ceremony.  Of course, it’s always up to the couple, but this part is often my favorite, when they do decide to see each other beforehand.

We found a private nook in the garden for them to see each other for the first time.  With the help of a couple bridesmaids and groomsmen, we backed them up to each other and then the “extra folks” left to give them some privacy.

I think this photo may be one of my favorites.

After a couple minutes of conversation, we moved on to take some portraits.

Shelley and Royce make such a lovely couple…

…wouldn’t you agree?

We took some wedding party portraits while we were in the gardens.  First, the girls…

…then the guys.

…and then, everyone together.

After our last wedding party portrait, everyone headed back to the church building with the exception of Shelley and Royce.  We got a few more portraits in before we ran out of daylight.

Finally, we headed back to the church building to take family portraits and to relax before the wedding started.  I don’t typically post more “traditional” photos in my preview posts, but I had to this time.  I wanted you to see Shelley’s beautiful veil of Brussels lace and the contrast on the red carpet was perfect.

And now, time for the ceremony.  This was the latest wedding I’ve ever photographed – it was at 8PM – really, the perfect time for a New Year’s Eve wedding.

Husband and wife!

After the ceremony, the wedding party and guests headed straight to the country club, where the reception was held.  It was decorated beautifully.  Despite the warm weather outside, on the inside, with all the trees and white lights, it was like a winter wonderland.

The food was simply delicious.

What a great idea!  They had set up a kids’ activity table to keep the kids (who didn’t fall asleep on their parents) busy until Midnight.  It was very well used all night!

What is a Southern occasion without grits?

…complete with anything you could think of to go in them – sausage, cheese, sour cream, chiles, among other things.

At last, the couple made their grand entrance.

And they went straight away to the dance floor.

After their dance, they both danced with their parents – Royce with his mom and Shelley with her dad – at the same time.

The cake Shelley decide on was simple and elegant.

And instead of a groom’s cake, Royce’s grandmother made her famous pecan bars. They were like delectable tiny pecan pies. Doesn’t get more Southern or perfect than that!


After cutting the cake, the party started and there was lots of dancing and socializing going on.  They had a lot of fun!

Shelley, her sister, and brother spent some time showing other guests how to do a particular dance.  It was quite fun to watch!

Finally, it was time to head out!

At the stroke of midnight, Royce and Shelley left to the noise of year-end noisemakers and a shower of confetti.

Finally, they were off to their Happily Ever After!

Shelley and Royce, and all your family & friends, thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to capture your most special day and evening!  I wish you all the happiness in the world and look forward to seeing where life takes you!

And…Happy New Year!!

Royal Canvas - WHat a beautiful wedding!March 5, 2012 – 2:49 pm

Mamie Scott Putman - Great photos Shells!June 22, 2012 – 1:29 pm

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