So we’re picking up our BEST OF 2017 weddings where we left off from Part 1! Last year’s weddings had some great ideas from creating new wedding traditions to amazing DIY inspiration. I wanted to start with some creative ways that brides personalized their wedding day!
BEST CEREMONY IDEAS OF 2017
I love the concept of planting a tree together for your wedding day. It’s so symbolic of tending to the simple needs of your relationship and watching it grow. Here’s the tree ceremony from Hannah & James’ Farm at Ridgeway wedding.
A custom ring box is a very simple way to create a beautiful memento from your wedding day and it’s really pretty for pictures too! Here’s Rachel and Brent‘s custom ring box!
The receiving line is more of a Northern tradition so if you’re not familiar with it, let me explain. After the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom stand outside the church (or in Kaitlyn and Alan’s case, right where they entered the ceremony) and the guests line up to all greet the bride and groom one by one. It takes a lot of time, but the guests tend to really enjoy getting some face time, at least for a few moments, to congratulate the bride and groom. It’s not a tradition for everybody for but Kaitlyn and Alan’s wedding, I thought it added some really spontaneous, candid moments to round out their wedding story.
BEST RECEPTION IDEAS
There’s lots of ways to add an extra special touch to your wedding reception. Emily & Jon decided to have a friend who is a caricature artist come and do portraits of the wedding guests. Man, was this a hit! There were people lined up all night to get a one of a kind gift from the bride and groom and even watching the process was entertaining. Here’s the newlyweds getting their portrait made.
Jenna & Alex were really excited to present their Northern family with a really neat Southern invention- the bacon bar! She said, “Our Northern friends are going to think we’ve gone crazy!” Crazy delicious! The chefs at Southern Way Southern Way Catering cooked up 3 varieties of bacon- sweet, spicy and chocolate. I can’t lie, I had to try each option myself. Food is the perfect way to make a memorable impression and indulge in some gourmet-made personal favorites!
Speaking of food, Rachel and Steven had cute little jars of apple butter made up for their guest gift, but it wasn’t just yumminess that they were sharing- the apple butter was a nod to Steven’s apple orchard proposal, so not only was a thoughtful and delicious gift, but it helped tell their unique love story.
I love DYI wedding ideas because it’s always a good idea to save money and DYI projects are a great way to share even more of your personality and talents with your guests.
Amanda & BJ had lots of out-of-town guests coming to their wedding, so they wanted to give them a little piece of South Carolina to take home. Amanda’s mom is skilled at stained glass so she handmade a SC state shaped stained glass ornament for every family that attended. What a cool guest gift!
Bri was stationed in Japan and traveled all the way around the world with her and William’s wedding broom that she handmade. You can see the time and effort and love that went into creating this beautiful part of their wedding ceremony.
Maddie wanted to show off her family tartan (a beautiful black and blue plaid fabric) so she incorporated it in elements of their ceremony, such as the ropes to braid and the wrap around the flowers. I thought it was such a fun way to honor family tradition.
There’s lot of neat ways to leave your wedding in style and this year we had lots of cool cars and fun ideas. Here’s a few of my favorites.
Melissa & Ryan had a few hours break between their wedding and reception, so they had this amazing classic car drive them from the church to our next photo destination at the SC State House.
Kelly & Dan also wanted to travel in style so they had this gorgeous red, classy car take them from their ceremony to reception. (I know the couple who owns both cars, so drop me a message if you’d like more information about getting either car for your wedding.)
Corina & David had their wedding reception at the Capital City Club and chose to exit the BB&T building out to Main Street under an arch of glow sticks. Then, we were able to walk a few more steps and take some epic night-time photos in front of SC State House.
I love learning about new wedding locations, and of course, visiting my favorite classic ones too! I wanted to take a moment to highlight a few fun destination locations, new-to-me locations and my most visited in 2017 locations!
I traveled to rural Wisconsin for Emily & Jon’s vineyard wedding at Cottage Winery and Vineyard. The stunning scenery included rustic vineyard cottages, endless rows of grapevines and those rolling Wisconsin hills.
One new venue that I was so excited to photograph at was the O’Donnell House in Sumter. Kristin & Chris found this gem while searching for a unique venue for their outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. Looking at the photos online, I imagined this historic home and gardens to be situated in the countryside among farms and back roads, and I was surprised to find it nestled conveniently in the heart of downtown Sumter! What a gem! I loved the quiet ceremony spot by the big oak tree, the columns, the beautiful interior of the home- this is one amazing wedding venue and I can’t wait to go back!
While I’ve photographed several weddings at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, Stacey and Ryan’s reception at the Ndoki Lodge was new to me! The scenery around the venue was so lush and green, it gave us the opportunity for some amazing portraits! And who wouldn’t want an elephant dropping in on your wedding reception guests?! The night photos by the tiki torches were some of my favorites of the day!
MOST VISITED VENUE
A great wedding venue has variety no matter how many times I visit it and the most visited venue of 2017 is…(drumroll)
The SC State Museum
And talk about variety! You have so many locations for fun photos at the museum– the grand staircase, the epic front lobby area, the planetarium (one of my personal favorite spots), the exhibits, the mirrored front of the building- the lists goes on and on. Even visiting the museum for several weddings in 2017, I was always inspired for new and fun photos! It’s a great venue to consider for your wedding day!
Other venues that we visited for 3 weddings or more! in 2017 include Senate’s End, Farm at Ridgeway and Springdale House. We also got lots of love in 2017 from 701 Whaley, the Corley Mill House and the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens!
Don’t worry- this mega blog post isn’t over yet. Part 3 will highlight some of our best bridal parties, sweetest first looks and other wonderful moments from 2017 so stay tuned!
Are you getting married soon? We’d love to hear more about your big day! To set up a meeting or request a price sheet, just use the contact form below and we’ll be in touch with you soon!
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