Life isn’t perfect. But I truly believe that what matters most is how we deal with unexpected events. We can brave the mud puddles of a rainy day with a smile on our face and love in our heart…if we only choose to. And that’s exactly what Jennifer and Dean did on the day of their mountain wedding! Even when hurricane Joaquim decided to round out the guest list, this couple’s positivity never waivered. It was so moving to see them beaming beneath their umbrellas, joining their lives under the sky and in sight of loved ones. Their guests came from far and wide…and no one seemed to mind a bit that Nature decided to get a little crazy! It was an emotional day, a joyous day…and I’m so grateful that I was there to witness it!
The wedding took place at Lake Eden Events, a beautiful outdoor venue with lush greenery and picturesque mountain views (even when a tropical storm’s a-brewing!). I love it that Dean proposed to Jennifer on a run with their sweet boxer Piper splashing in a creek nearby…that they spend most of their weekends traveling to see family and friends…and that they support and encourage each other through everything…including wedding-day hurricanes! Below is a sneak peek of their wonderful rainy wedding!
Jennifer and Dean home-brewed a selection of beer to be served at their wedding! The bottles were displayed with personalized tags. Wonderful touch, right?! And to top it off, Jacin Fitzgerald Events included fresh hops blossoms in the florals! This tied perfectly into the motif. The bouquets were absolutely exquisite…and having the hops in there definitely sparked Dean’s interest in the flowers!
An old Southern tradition says that if you bury a bottle of bourbon at the site where the bride and groom are to be married a month before the wedding, it won’t rain on their wedding day. Jennifer and Dean went for it…but I guess sometimes Tradition is fickle! Hehehe
This couple made everyone feel special and loved. Jennifer gave a frame with a sweet text to her grandmother, and then took the time to read it in Korean! While reading, she stopped several times, looked at her mom, and asked “Am I doing good?” So sweet! Pil Sun, the bride’s mother, is the nicest person ever. She came to me in the middle of the reception to make sure I had eaten! Ohmygosh, so thoughtful!
Jennifer wore her sister’s wedding dress!!! She added her own touches, though…like the lace sleeves.
And that moment… The moment he saw the love of his life, his best friend, his favorite person in the world, his rock and support during bad times, and his partner in crime! Umbrellas in hand, hiding from the rain under the trees…it was a perfect first look!
She looks up to see if the sky is clearing…nope! Let’s just embrace the rain!
When the rain started coming down harder, we got the umbrellas and kept going.
Guys, you are supposed to cover the groom!
There were lots of portraits to be done, and very little time. The only way was to find a tiny overhang and press on! Ohhh, and this is Piper, Jenn and Dean’s fur-baby, and the best cuddler ever! Piper, I wish I had snuggled with you more (you are adorable!) but I know you were a bit unsure of my big rain poncho. One day I will cuddle with you a bunch, that’s a promise! (P.S. I think you would be the perfect girlfriend for my pup Ronon!)
Never mind the rain, the mud and the time crunch! Dean said “I want to pick up my little brother, I haven’t in years!” Yes!!!! There’s always time for bromance…
Jennifer’s sister Cyn is an amazing photographer! When I received Jenn’s email saying that Cyn had referred me, I got butterflies in my stomach! I felt so honored! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Right before the ceremony, Dean opened his gift from Jennifer…
….and the tears were right there. He knew that in just a few moments he would marry this beautiful, kind, genuine (and wonderfully goofy) girl!
Wait! He forgot something! No, not the rings…
He forgot precious Piper! They couldn’t get married without her at their side!
These two walked down the aisle wearing rain boots, holding hands, with huge smiles on their faces! We were all delighted!
Here comes Jennifer, with her father carefully holding her dress above the wet ground. Jenn still calls him ‘Daddy’, so sweet! As he said in his toast, it was not easy to give his little girl away, but he was thrilled that it was to Dean.
In the middle of all the excitement, they took the time to thank a friend who held Piper during the ceremony. You guys are so nice!
Jenn held her damp and muddy dress high as she walked down the aisle with her husband and Piper. They lovingly acknowledged their guests, who were all so happy to see this kind-hearted couple tie the knot!
Someone just couldn’t contain herself! Piper congratulated her mom and dad in the best way…with wet kisses!
After the ceremony, the rain stopped for a little bit. I knew I had a small window to do the family formals while it was dry. We did 31 group set-ups in less than 30 minutes… and still had fun! Jennifer’s dad gave me a big hug and thanks at the end of the reception, joking “We have a Drill Sergeant here!” HA! Of course, I had to mention that to my Army husband later. =) I’m all about helping my couples get to their reception faster!
Jennifer’s father had everyone crying with his toast and a slideshow he’d prepared. He said that ‘Jennifer has a heart the size of Texas…but after knowing Dean for awhile, he realized that his son-in-law’s heart was double the size of Texas! When I first started working with this couple, those big hearts of theirs were immediately evident.
And Dean’s dad cried…
And kissed his wife…proud, knowing that they raised their kids to be good people with kind hearts. The most important thing, in my opinion.
Let the family style dinner begin!
Let kids be kids…
Let toasts be awesome…
Let dances be memorable…
Like any good Brazilian, I can’t resist a wild party and crazy dance photos! Let the revels begin!
High heels? Who needs them! These ladies made rain boots and hiking shoes look elegant! Everyone was in such good spirits!
And in the middle of the swirling happiness…Jennifer’s sleeve got ripped off! Jacin (their coordinator, event, and floral designer) was right there, going above and beyond to make her clients happy, going above and beyond for their family and friends, going above and beyond for her art. Jacin, after working with you, I can clearly see why you are so successful. You have all the qualities a truly brilliant planner should have…killer taste, talent, professionalism, organization and a real gift for inspired collaboration. Most of all, and this is not easy to find, you are level-headed. You bounce back from problems with a smile on your face (usually before anyone even realized there was a problem to begin with!). I’m sure you went through all the back-up plans possible on this day. And in the end, you made it perfect for them. I’m so grateful I got to work with you!
The dancing continued…but eventually the dress just couldn’t handle any more! There was no time for another fix because it was time for the grand exit!
A happy swirl of sparklers, wind, laughter, guests enjoying home-brewed beer…a new husband and wife take off into this crazy, worthy adventure called Marriage!
Because of the rain, this was the most challenging wedding I have photographed. The week before, I kept checking the weather, hoping that the storm would change course…but it didn’t. On Thursday night, I started an endless search for clear umbrellas, which are harder to find that you’d think! Luckily I have a ‘one-track mind’ (or so my husband says) and it paid off. I found the umbrellas online, ordered them, and then made three stops on my way to Black Mountain to pick them up! What an adventure! When I arrived at the venue, sister of the bride (and talented photographer) Cyn looked at me sympathetically. She apologized about the weather, saying that she’d never shot an outdoor wedding in such conditions. I just looked at her and said “Me neither…but we are going to make this work!” And we did. I left this celebration with my heart full. And I know that everyone else (guests and vendors alike) did too. The emotion of the day is still with me now…a true testament to the love and generosity that Jennifer and Dean share with each other and the world around them. Thank you for trusting me!
Thanks Katherine Miles Jones for shooting this incredible wedding with me and for being so truly wonderful to work with!
Wedding Planner/Designer/Florals: Jacin Fitzgerald Events / Venue: Lake Eden Events / Caterer & Bar: Black Eye Susan / Paper Goods: Tie That Binds / Ceremony music: John Colvin and Hayley Evans Atwell / Reception music: Groove Collection / Hair and makeup: Jennifer Ericksen / Rental company: Classic Event Rental / Generator: Rental Me This / Linens: La Tavola / Shuttle: The Trolley Company /Booth: Speech Booth