{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

Johnathan + Tessa = Daisy K. ~ Montgomery, Alabama Newborn Photographer

If you visit my blogsite with any regularity, you’ll notice Johnathan & Tessa, my brother and his wife, have shown up quite a few times.  It’s no secret that I do so love photographing them, and I suppose there’s no point in going into the list of reasons why, because I’ve said it all before.

But today, this post is not really about them, in particular.

Because this past Tuesday, their new little bundle of joy arrived and within a matter of minutes, completely stole the heart of her entire family.   Her name is Daisy and she is perfect.  And even though I’ll still enjoy photographing her parents (who wouldn’t?!), I’m glad they want me to photograph her for now.

These photos are not really “standard” newborn photos, because we live a good distance from Johnathan and Tessa, now, and I’m not sure if the opportunity is going to arise for me to be able to make it to them for those photos.  But while they are not “standard” newborn photos, they are definitely brand-newborn photos.  She’s still in the hospital and is about 15 hours old in these photos.  And, my hope was to give Johnathan and Tessa a gift that was a little more personal than the usual hospital photo.

So now I’m sharing them here.  Because I can’t help it.

Go ahead, see for yourself!

Babies are amazing to me.  The whole idea that she spent 9 months packaged up and growing inside her mom’s belly…and then she just came out and could survive – just like that.  She’s a tiny version of her future self and she’s going to change almost daily for the next several months.

Did you know that newborns can only see sharply about 12-15(ish) inches in front of them?  Think about how you usually hold a newborn – in the crook of your arm.  That’s the perfect distance for her to focus on your face.  Daisy had some great quiet-alert moments, when she wasn’t sleeping. 

I fully expected her to come out with curly red hair – I’m not sure why, I guess because that’s what Johnathan has.  But, when I think about it, he didn’t come out with a full head of hair…so I guess time will tell about her hair.  For now, it’s the most perfect covering of peach fuzz.

Newborns also LOVE to look at contrasts.  This is why you often see them gazing so intently at a human face – our hairlines, eyes, and all the other contrasting patterns on our faces make for such an interesting thing to focus on.  I think my camera may’ve been an interesting contrast for her, too.  Or maybe I just got lucky that she focused so well for me for a couple seconds.

Her little feet were so precious and wrinkly.  My 6 year old was very concerned about Daisy’s feet, but I explained that she’d been in her own personal swimming pool for 9 months, so her feet and hands would be a little “pruney” for a while.  He accepted that explanation fairly well.  Daisy, on the other hand, wasn’t too thrilled with my having uncovered her for a brief second.

Johnathan is a dad.  Seems like just yesterday, he was being born, himself. 

I wasn’t allowed to take any hospital photos of Tessa 🙂 – but I thought this one would be okay, since she’s in the background and you can’t really see her. Daisy is now the focal point, anyway.

Everyone that saw her was in pretty unanimous agreement – Daisy has “our” nose.  Me and my sister and 2 brothers all have the same nose, and now, so does Daisy.  At least, as far as we can tell for now.


This next photo?  My favorite. 

Absolute favorite.

And I almost can’t get enough of baby hands.  Over on my family blog, you can see more photos of Daisy’s hands.  I can’t get over her fingers and toes.

Tessa is also going to be a great mom.  She & Johnathan will be a good team together.

And to wrap up, how about one more profile shot?

And…back to sleep we go. Congratulations, Johnathan and Tessa!  I love all 3 of you!

Aunt Kristy (in law :) - What a little darling 🙂December 2, 2011 – 2:54 pm

John John and Tess Tess - We LOOOOOVE these pictures! Thank you for capturing some of her earliest moments. I’m glad you guys got to be there!December 2, 2011 – 3:50 pm

Nova Adams - Thank you for taking and sharing such beautiful pictures of such a beautiful and perfect little girl. Daisy is my 2nd cousin. Her mommy is my 1st cousin. Our mother’s are sister’s. I live in Memphis, TN and I cannot wait to be home for the holidays to meet my sweet little cousin, Daisy K.
~NovaDecember 2, 2011 – 4:22 pm

April - I seriously teared up looking at these. I hate I haven’t been able to go see them yet. J has been sick, and I don’t want to carry his germs. These are so good!December 14, 2011 – 10:55 am

{I Do} Scott + Jessica = Married! ~ Montgomery, Alabama Wedding Photographer

You know what I love about photographing weddings? I love getting to spend the day with a couple who is about to start the rest of their life together. As the photographer responsible for documenting the day, I feel like I get a really intimate look into the relationship between the bride and groom….and that is such a fun thing for me. I’m pretty sure I’ve never photographed a wedding without tearing up at least several times.

So when I got the opportunity to photograph Scott and Jessica’s wedding, I was really excited. I was not able to meet them before the wedding day, but spoke quite a bit to Scott’s mom, Amy, during the planning process. The wedding was to be held at her brother’s lake house (a wedding on the lake in the middle of fall? Yes, please!) and she explained that Jessica really wanted a Bohemian feel to her wedding day. I was thoroughly looking forward to seeing the beautiful location, all the great details I knew were going to be put together, and best of all, the reason for all the fuss — Scott and Jessica, themselves.

I was not disappointed in the least! And words can’t really do the day justice, so I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I had a hard time narrowing down my selection, so we’ll just go with a photo-heavy post.

So let’s start, shall we?

The location for the wedding couldn’t have been more perfect.  Seriously.  A lake house in the fall – the lake was beautiful, and the leaves had changed so we were treated to a huge array of colors.  The weather was beautiful – sunny (a little overcast at times) and cool.  I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a prettier day all year for a wedding!

Jessica’s  dress was beautiful – just like her!

I hung out with the girls while they got ready.  All of Jessica’s bridesmaids were such sweet girls.  I really enjoyed getting to know them.

Jessica has a dog named Blue.  And Blue wore a tuxedo and ran around like he owned the place.  It was fun having him around – he’s a sweet pup.

More photos of getting ready.  Jessica wanted her hair just right…

…and they did a great job of it!

Here’s a shot of Jessica’s engagement ring.  I love it – so non-traditional…it suits her perfectly.

And here are her flowers.

Jessica’s “something old” was her great-grandmother’s cameo brooch tied to her bouquet.  It was an exquisite detail…so lovely!

Lovely…just like the bride that carried it.

And the day wasn’t all about Jessica…now you get to meet her handsome groom, Scott!

Scott’s mama loves him…you can just tell it.  Here, she’s pinning on his boutonniere for a finishing touch to his outfit.

A few details…

Scott’s groomsmen were a hoot.  It seemed like they were constantly laughing and goofing off.  But I was able to get a few shots with them cooperating nicely. 🙂

By contrast, Jessica’s bridesmaids were always on their best behavior. 🙂 

I love working with real people who are comfortable being themselves.

And the girls went barefoot!

Scott and Jessica decided to see each other and have a private few moments together before the wedding began.  I didn’t do that at my own wedding – you know, superstition – but I’m wishing that we had.  Private moments are such a nice way to calm the nerves so that a couple can better enjoy the day without so much stress. 

Scott gave Jessica a beautiful amethyst ring as her wedding gift.

Sit back and relax while you view a some photos of the lovely couple.  (I know it won’t be too hard for you)

Here are some more of the wedding party. 

And the kiddos that were in the wedding were so pretty (ahem, and handsome)…and a little embarrassed of the kiss!

The day had become a little overcast just before the ceremony started.  And the sun took its cue to come out when Jessica walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.  It was a truly magical moment.

In a tearful moment, her dad gave his only daughter away in marriage.

The ceremony was short and emotional.

And at last, the moment came…”you may kiss your bride!”

And of course, All You Need is Love!

The reception was held in the main room of the lake house.  The details were immaculate – nothing was left unthought of!


From candy boxes…

…to wildflower seeds that guests could go home and plant to remind them of the special day.

Jessica’s cake was beautiful.

And the groom cake was so delicious, too!  I think the chocolate covered strawberry tuxes were an awesome (and of course, yummy) addition.

There’s Blue again!

The caterer, Scott’s precious grandmother, and her kitchen help! 🙂  The reception was full of delicious soups and “fixin’s” – on a cool fall day, I’m pretty sure there is no better reception fare.Scott and Jessica danced together…

…and then Jessica danced with her father – and Scott with his mother.

We stole off to the dock for just a few more photos.

Scott and Jessica wanted a special photo of her standing on his feet.  This has special meaning to them, since there was a time when Scott had gotten hurt and Jessica was there to help him recover…

…and now, her standing on her feet is symbolic to them.  He will now carry her along and be her strong foundation.

I loved it.

Finally, it was time for them to leave.

And leave in style, they did!

In a super awesome vintage Chris Craft boat, complete with the owner as their captain.

Congratulations, Scott and Jessica!  Thank you SO much for letting me be part of your very special day!  I wish you many, many happy years together!!

jean thompson mom of bride - HI, MELISSA

JEAN THOMPSONDecember 5, 2011 – 8:34 pm

Johnathan & Tessa: Expecting! ~ Montgomery, Alabama Maternity Photographer

I have been photographing my youngest brother and his wife for – it seems – forever.  From their engagement photos to their wedding, I’ve been fortunate to document some of their big moments and I love it.  You’ve probably gotten the picture in times past, but I really do love these guys…of course, I love them for more than their lovely faces, but I do jump on the opportunity to photograph them whenever I can.  Afterall, they’re so easygoing in front of the camera and are almost always up for anything.

So, when they found out they were expecting, of course, I couldn’t wait to take their maternity photos!

And now, I will hush and just let their photos speak for themselves.

(Eek! yes, this image that used to be here is going to be published in a magazine!! once it’s published, the image will be back :))

And, in less than a month, their precious daughter will make her appearance…in the world and, hopefully, right here on this very blog!

April - Love them!!!November 6, 2011 – 9:17 am

brittany vanzandt - oh my word tessa!! these pics are so, so precious! my eyes stared watering as i was looking at them! 🙂 i’m super excited for you guys and I know you will be amazing parents. Love you!November 8, 2011 – 11:16 am

Two Buns in the Oven…and, well, Out of the Oven ~ Montgomery, Alabama Maternity & Newborn Photographer

There is little in the world more fascinating than pregnancy, so when I get the opportunity to take maternity portraits, I am always so delighted!

Kim and Shaun are 2 really neat people – Shaun is a navy pilot and he and Kim were in Montgomery so that he could attend a year-long course here. Kim contacted me when she was pregnant and asked if I could come to their house to take some maternity photos for her.

Her doctor had put her on bedrest, so we couldn’t go very far.  But the couch and their backyard proved plenty of space for some good photos.

I really could tell, the moment I walked in the door that these were some special people – they were so friendly, open, and really, very sweet with each other.  I knew, in a nanosecond, that they were going to be great parents.


They already had one “kiddo” who was about to have his life totally turned upside down!

Kim truly glowed.  She is a beautiful person – both inside and out.

And Shaun was a doting husband and soon-to-be father.  

You can imagine how excited I was to learn that she was expecting…



And then, just a few months later, their precious little girl and boy were born.  All those weeks (and weeks and weeks) of waiting and taking it easy totally paid off.  See?


I think I mentioned what great parents I had thought Kim and Shaun would be.  And then I got to see it with my own 2 eyes.  

They were happy, calm, easy-going…new parents with TWO newborns, and right in the middle of a move to their next duty station.

These kiddos are very blessed babies, indeed.  

And they are loved, from the top of their heads….

…to the bottom of their feet.

Congratulations, Kim & Shaun, on such precious additions to your family.  I am so glad I got to meet you and work with you during your short stay in the Montgomery area.  Godspeed to you all!