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36° 9' 46'' N 82° 5' 42'' W

Kayla and Michael’s wedding day at Roan Mountain State Park was like no-other and truly embraced the word, ‘adventure.’ When I first met Kayla and Michael, we talked about wedding day plans and what they envisioned for their day. Usually, my Roan couples will have their ceremony on Roan’s iconic balds (or at least have portraits taken there on their wedding day), but Kayla and Michael decided that they wanted to keep everything inside the state park and wanted to have their engagement photos taken on the balds instead. I was TOTALLY down for this plan and loved how unique it was! Hindsight is 20/20, because looking back, it was the best plan!

I arrived at the state park cabins with Jeff, their videographer (check out his amazing video below), and greeted Kayla and her family. Jeff and I had been watching the weather radar all week and knew that there was a huge chance of rain and storms- some being potentially severe. Thankfully, Kayla, Michael, and their families, had planned for the potentially bad weather! Kayla’s family had bought walkie-talkies to communicate with one another throughout the day, because there isn’t any cell service in the state park. I thought this was a GENIUS idea and I’m going to recommend it to all of my Roan Mountain couples from now on. Kayla and Michael also rented the conference center for the reception, so if it did storm, we would move the ceremony into the conference center. I was so ecstatic to hear that they had a backup plan because the skies were not looking promising.

After the first look, Michael, Kayla, Jeff and I started exploring parts of the state park for couple’s portraits. I absolutely loved having new surroundings and places to shoot for their wedding! We took Kayla and Michael up to a field close to their original ceremony spot and I’ll never forget hearing the wind roar through the trees as were trying to take portraits in the field. The rain started POURING (yay for clear umbrellas) and I yelled at Kayla and Michael to get in our car! Sadly, we had to make the call to move the ceremony indoors for fear that another severe thunderstorm would roll in on the guests on the mountain. The weather up on Roan is NO JOKE, folks. After portraits, we headed to their indoor ceremony at the conference center’s stone fireplace that made for a truly beautiful and romantic altar. Kayla and Michael finally became husband and wife, after a roller coaster weather day, and celebrated all night with family and friends! Kayla’s cousin is a professional fire performer and even performed for all of the guests outside the reception- an amazing way to end the evening!

Kayla and Michael - I am SO incredibly happy for you two! Your day was absolutely beautiful, despite the crazy weather, and is a day for the record books. Wishing you both many years of adventuring together and of love and happiness!

Also- special shout out to Kayla’s brother who was their wedding coordinator and helped to coordinate the WHOLE day and was such an essential part to making everything a success. If you’re a bride or groom planning a wedding, I highly suggest having a coordinator to help give structure to the day- but that’s another topic for another blog!

Check out this beautiful wedding video created by Jeff Payne (Jeff Payne Photography) ! Jeff, it was so great to work with you on Kayla and Michael’s amazing day!

 

Huge thanks to all vendors who came together to make Kayla and Michael’s day amazing!














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35° 57' 5'' N 83° 52' 3'' W

These two are such an extraordinary couple! Ben is an evolutionary genetics professor at the University of Tennessee and Hillary is an emergency/wilderness medicine physician, also on the faculty at UT medical center! How freakin’ awesome is that?! They love hiking, climbing, anything outdoors, and have the cutest little pup named Sequoia!

Ben and Hillary are getting married here in the mountains of Tennessee, so we decided to change up the scenery and have their engagement session in Knoxville! I had been wanting to shoot at Mead’s Quarry and Ijams Nature Center for quite some time, so I was excited to hear that it was one of Ben and Hillary’s favorite places to take Sequoia and that it was close by to their home!

We met up the day before the fourth of July and found the quarry to be pretty dang busy! I had no clue that not only is it a gorgeous place to hike, but also an available swimming hole with kayak and canoe rentals! As soon as I arrived, I started location scouting and soon found that the humidity felt like it was at 100%. I was sweaty as could be and hadn’t even started shooting yet (just a little slice of the sometimes un-glamorous life of a photographer)! Ben and Hillary soon arrived after and started walking around the quarry with Sequoia. We ended the session at the Forks of the River Wilderness Management Area where there is currently a huge field of sunflowers! I have never shot in a sunflower field before and thought it was such a neat experience! If you are ever in Knoxville at the right time- I highly suggest visiting the sunflower field! Its awesome!

Hillary and Ben — I had such a great time getting to know you guys and meeting Sequoia! I love Hillary’s smile and laughter that Ben really brings out. I cannot wait for your upcoming wedding!
















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36° 16' 19'' N 82° 8' 0'' W

Mendy and Nick are such a sweet couple and I cannot believe that their wedding is just around the corner!

I first met with Mendy months and months back in a little coffee shop in Erwin, Tennessee. We talked about how she and Nick met, how he proposed (in New York, of all places!) and what she wanted for her wedding day. We talked and sipped on coffee for hours and chatted about everything! It was almost like Mendy and I had been friends for years!

Mendy told me that one of the first places that Nick had taken her as they were dating was the local waterfall, so I knew that we had to go there for their engagement session! It’s one of my favorite hikes in our area because it’s a bit shorter (easy for a day hike) and has so much to offer. The only downfall (slight pun intended) is the steep downhill into the gorge to see the falls- those steps down have made me succumb to using trekking poles and a knee brace on this hike to prevent knee pain, haha! We met up on a balmy late spring/summer evening and started our hike to the falls. It was great to finally meet Nick and to get to know him and Mendy even more. That’s what I love about engagement sessions- there is no pressure and we get to just relax, enjoy the hike and get to know each other better! Nick and Mendy endured the “staircase of doom,” as I call it, and we all had a blast visiting the falls!

Mendy and Nick — you two are seriously as sweet as they come! I had a great time hiking with you guys and can’t wait for more hikes together! Thanks for braving the heat and the crazy up/downhill! I cannot wait for your wedding day!

Makeup: Mindy Correll, Beauty By MC

















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Northeast Tennessee is not only home to beautiful mountains and breathtaking lakes, but also to some of the most gorgeous and unique wedding venues that are perfect for adventurous couples and outdoors lovers!

I’ve compiled a list of my top favorite wedding venues (in no particular order) here in northeast Tennessee that are great for adventurous brides and grooms who are looking for a place to say their vows. These venues have lovely accommodations for getting ready, luscious outdoor spaces perfect for a ceremony, along with great reception options. I just love their unique and rustic outdoor features that lend to some amazing scenery and, of course, photographs!

***Please keep in mind that the venues listed below are based on my own personal opinion and experiences with the venues and their owners/grounds.***

The Millstone - Limestone, Tennessee

The Millstone is an old mill house (built in 1811) located in Limestone, Tennessee (just outside of Jonesborough, Tennessee)! The mill was powered by the huge water wheel and was used to ground up flour. The owners also once told me that a room in the getting ready area was used to house a very small post office!

They have a wonderful getting ready area in the second story of the mill house, along with a “man cave” in the basement with a penny resin floor. You can actually see the gears of the water wheel turning in the basement! They also have a beautiful tiny cabin that is often used for the bride to get ready and is a place for the newlyweds to stay the night, if they choose!

A branch arbor with lawn creates a great ceremony space close to a quiet pond and flowing stream. There is an open air pavilion attached to the mill house with extra brick patio space and bistro lights for cozy, romantic, receptions! They also just added a fire pit- great for making some late night s’mores!

website: http://www.themillstonetn.com/

The Camp at Buffalo Mountain - Jonesborough, Tennessee

The Camp at Buffalo Mountain is an old camp turned venue nestled in the mountains of Jonesborough, Tennessee, and has SO much to offer! The Camp’s versatility, ability to house multiple families, and nature make this venue a fantastic place to get married. They have multiple ceremony and reception options, making for an easy rain plan and caters to your desired feel for the ceremony. Alison Lodge can be, “flipped,” from ceremony to reception to give you that cozy lodge feeling! They also have an outdoor pavilion and field that are perfect for outdoor occasions.

The Camp has another building called, “The Retreat Center,” that has a large, open, living room that is a great space for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready. This building also has 17 bedrooms- perfect for housing a large bridal party or family! Across the drive, they have another 5 bedroom home that works great to keep the groom separated from the bride. The Camp has packages to rent out the entire camp for the weekend so that you and your families and friends don’t have to worry about leaving right after the wedding! Their view of the mountains and pond really make it a great getaway to the mountains!

website: https://www.thecampatbuffalo.com/

The Waterstone Venue - Johnson City, Tennessee

This venue is seriously one of a kind and I still have to pinch myself that it’s in my backyard in Johnson City, Tennessee! The Waterstone Venue is a nature lover’s dream created from an old quarry that once served as a junkyard (although you’d never guess it). The same people who own and run the Millstone actually built and created the Waterstone venue, and I can tell you— they have literally thought of every little detail and designed almost every inch of this beautiful location!

The bride and bridesmaids get ready at an amazing hobbit house covered in grass and moss, while the groom and groomsmen get ready in an ACTUAL treehouse. Hard to believe, right? The hobbit house overlooks the lake, ceremony site, and gives an incredible view of the reception tent and flowing waterfall. It really is a dream!

I haven’t had the opportunity to photograph a wedding here just yet, but can’t wait to do so this coming Fall!

website: https://www.facebook.com/Waterstonetn/

Storybrook Farm - Jonesborough, Tennessee

I haven’t had the pleasure of photographing a wedding at Storybrook Farm just yet, but I have been able to visit the grounds, and let me tell you- it is all types of magical! It feels like you’re in an actual fairytale! The tree-lined driveway leads up to a farmhouse and stunning cabin with gardens and blooms galore! Storybrook specializes in micro weddings and elopements - perfect for adventurous couples looking to have a more intimate setting! Because of this, they have multiple ceremony sites: the rose garden, a garden terrace, a woodland/forest setting, and a spot by their tranquility pond. Receptions and dinners are held at their secret garden- a beautiful patio located next to the cabin. The owners and staff are extremely kind and caring, making the experience all the better!

Website: https://storybrookfarmweddings.com/

Chateau Selah - Blountville, Tennessee

Photo taken while second shooting for Jeremy Gouge.

Chateau Selah is a gorgeous and unique wedding venue perfectly perched on top of a hill in Blountville, Tennessee (minutes from Johnson City). It’s great location gives you sweeping views of the surrounding mountains— whether you’re getting ready for the big day in their gorgeous rooms, saying your vows in the courtyard, or whether you’re dancing the night away in their spacious reception pavilion! The stone architecture and wrought iron details really sets the Chateau apart! The reception pavilion has sliding glass doors that you can open for those amazing summer breezes and also has fans and heating. I love that this venue also offers accommodations for brides and grooms (or family and bridal party) to stay. If you’re also looking for a little getaway for you and your partner, you can book a stay at one of their rooms through VRBO as well!

Website: https://chateauselah.com/

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36° 10' 13'' N 82° 5' 51'' W

Hilary and Casey drove all of the way from Madison, Wisconsin to Tennessee to get married in our beautiful Appalachian mountains— perfect for these avid bird watchers and photographers!

Our eyes were glued to the forecast when we woke up in the morning, but a chance of rain turned into just cloudy skies (totally fine by me). Hilary and Casey both got ready at the Roan Mountain State Park conference center, with their families by their side. After a super sweet first look with Hilary’s dad, we all headed down to the amphitheater for their intimate ceremony! Casey and Hilary had a wine box included in their ceremony, in which they wrote letters to each other and plan to open the box, drink the wine, and read the letters on their first anniversary. I just love this special tradition that they’ve added to their years together!

After the rings were exchanged, vows read, and the first kiss as husband and wife, we drove up to Carver’s Gap to explore the mountain for portraits. The weather on top of the mountain was completely different than the state park (thanks elevation). When we arrived it was about 10 degrees cooler and the wind was whipping in all directions! The threat of rain (and the fact that it was a Thursday) kept hikers astray and we ended up having the mountain to ourselves! The skies and mountains were the perfect pastel shades that complimented the dusty rose and blue colors of Hilary’s bouquet.

Hilary and Casey— thank you so much for driving all of the way to Tennessee to become husband and wife! Congratulations and wishing you two many more years of adventures and bird watching together!

Huge thanks to all vendors who came together to make Hilary and Casey’s day amazing!















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36° 5' 10'' N 81° 49' 43'' W

Hello, 2019 wedding season!

I kicked off the year with Ashley and Logan’s engagement session, and let me say- we started with a bang! I’ve wanted to shoot on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few years now, and when I first pitched a list of locations to Ashley, I was silently hoping they’d pick the parkway. Needless to say, they made my parkway dreams come true!

Ashley is a nurse, so it was a bit tough to work with our schedules and the crazy weather to meet up for their engagement! We ended up re-scheduling once due to rain, and ALMOST a second time due to snow the night before. Thank goodness that these two are troopers and rocked the crazy weather. A front was moving through and ended up giving us 30º temperatures and what felt like 50mph wind gusts (or MORE). We were almost, quite literally, blown off the mountain. When you look through these photos though, you cannot tell even for a second how cold and windblown they were (well, except for Ashley’s windswept hair). At least we had SUNSHINE!

We had a blast laughing and hiking up to the view! I just love how these two make each other smile and laugh constantly. They are absolutely perfect for each other and it’s so easy to see just how much they care one another. The way Logan looks at Ashley just warms my heart. Also, I’m pretty obsessed with Ashley’s ring- that teardrop is DROP dead gorgeous! I absolutely cannot wait for their wedding at the brand new Waterstone venue in Johnson City this Fall!

Ashley and Logan— I can’t thank you guys enough for braving the weather and adventuring with me on that frigid evening. You two are amazing together and I can’t wait for September!
























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With all of this amazing sunshine and blooming flowers and trees, I can’t help but get incredibly excited for this coming Summer! I just love the warmth, soft grass and abundance of sun. It’s truly my favorite season!

This past Summer, I had the honor to photograph a styled wedding shoot alongside some of my favorite photographers and vendors here in northeast Tennessee! Melissa Baskette, of Piney Rose Designs, hosted all of us on her beautiful farm, Cave Springs Farm, and styled the whole session! She designed everything around the theme, “vintage summer garden,” and included so many unique, vintage inspired, furniture and decorations— which I absolutely love! Annie’s Room, a bridal boutique here in the Tri-Cities, so graciously allowed us to borrow a stunning gown for our model. Eva Psimer (Hello Beautiful) and Shonda Westbrook did a fabulous job with makeup and hair! The earrings and hair comb completed the bride’s vintage look!

I loved all of the colors and vintage aspects of the day! Filomena, of Filomena’s Florals, knocked it out of the park with her stunning bouquet and boutonniere with sunflowers and dahlias. Chimney Top Blooms provided beautiful, fresh floral arrangements for the reception table, cake table, and around the farm! The colors were so saturated and gorgeous! Of course, we can’t have a wedding without cake- huge thanks to Petite Sweets for a beautiful (and delicious) cake! We all had a piece at the end of the day as we enjoyed some air conditioning, ha!

Thank you, Melissa, for inviting me to be a part of such a beautiful day! It was great to work with everyone and create these photographs! Another thanks to our wonderful models, Abbey and Seth, who were troopers and great team players! I can only imagine what it was like to have a group of photographers asking to pose all types of ways! Thank you all, again!

Big thanks to all vendors who contributed and made this shoot fun and beautiful!

Venue: Cave Springs Farm, private century farm, Fall Branch, TN
Host & Styling: Melissa Baskette, Piney Rose Designs
Dress: Annie's Room
Models: Abbey Conkin; Seth Jones
Invitation/Calligraphy: Jessica Burke
Makeup: Eva Brooke Psimer, Hello Beautiful
Hair: Shonda Westbrook
Bouquet & Boutonniere: Filomena Moran, Filomena's Florals
Fresh Floral Arrangements: Chimney Top Blooms
Cake: Rachael Holmes, Petite Sweets
Earrings: Crowned by Grace
Hair comb: Alicia's Oddities

Here are some fun behind-the-scenes photos taken by Pam Burke (Pam Burke Photography)! Thanks Pam!





















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Wedding season is just around the corner and is about to be in full swing— and I couldn’t be more excited! Something that I offer with all of my brides and grooms is help creating a day-of timeline for their wedding day! With that often comes the decision of whether the couple wants to have a more traditional timeline or to have a first look timeline.

You may have already heard of a first look, or even seen photos of them on my blog or around the internet, but in case you haven’t it’s when a bride and groom decide to see each other before the ceremony. In traditional timelines, the groom usually first sees the bride when she’s walking down the aisle and it’s been said to be, “bad luck,” if they see each other before then.

Sometimes it’s a difficult decision as to whether or not to have a first look. From a photographer’s perspective, and having been a bride myself, I am personally a huge fan of first looks! My husband and I decided to do a first look for our own wedding and it was the best decision. Definitely have never regretted it! With wedding season around the corner, I thought I’d share my top 5 reasons to why you should consider having a first look on your wedding day!

Reason #1: It’s a sweet, intimate, moment just between the two of you, and documented by your photographer.

It is absolutely true when people say that your wedding day will fly by in the blink of an eye! With all of the planning, last minute preparations, people running around the venue, and rushing to get ready, it’s really nice to have a moment for just the two of you to be together to just breathe. This gives you guys a private moment before the ceremony to hug, give each other a kiss, maybe share some private vows and to allow the emotions to really develop.

I’ve always heard brides say that they feel that a first look will ruin the emotional moment of the groom seeing them for the first time. In my experience, when my husband and I had our first look, we were giddy and excited! When I walked down the aisle, however, I ended up crying my eyes out seeing Andrew at the end of the aisle waiting for me and was even more emotional, even though we had already seen each other.

Photo taken while second shooting for Amanda and Chad Photography.

Reason #2: It’s less pressure on you two at the front of the aisle in front of everyone.

Kind of going along with Reason #1, if you do a first look on you wedding day it can often decrease the pressure or nerves that you may have at the altar on your wedding day. Being in front of all of your friends and family can often seem scary or nerve wracking if you’re someone who is not usually comfortable being in front of large groups of people. Having all of those eyes on the two of you can get a little crazy! First looks allow you guys to relax and share your emotions together in privacy, so that whenever you’re in front of the crowd, it’s smooth sailing!

Reason #3: Makes the logistics easier for your wedding day.

There have been a handful of wedding days where venues are either super tight in space (for example, in a house where the groom gets ready in one room and the bride gets ready in another) or their features don’t allow to hide the bride and groom easily (for example, having an adventurous wedding on a mountaintop). In this case, a lot of a photographer’s time is spent making sure that either the bride or groom are tucked away where they are supposed to be while we get photographs of the other before the ceremony. If you decide to do a first look, it makes it easier for everyone to help out and for the photographers to get the shots they need without worrying about the groom accidentally seeing the bride. I’ve also been to a few weddings where the bride is helping with decorations or answering questions for family and it makes it a bit easier for the bride to walk around the venue if need be to help out (not recommended, but it happens)!

Reason #4: You get to spend more time together on your wedding day!

If you choose to have a first look, it usually happens before all of the rest of your photography and before the ceremony. Since you’ll have already seen each other, you get to go straight from the first look to couple’s portraits and then portraits with your bridal party and even some family. Usually these photographs are saved for after the ceremony, during the cocktail hour. Since you’re not worrying about seeing each other accidentally, you get to spend more time and do more things on the wedding day together. One of my couples who had a first look last year, Renita and Nate (you can see their wedding here), decided to walk down the aisle together! I just loved how special of a moment that was and how they decided to do it hand in hand.

Reason #5: You get to your reception a lot faster and is ideal for photography (at least in my opinion).

This reason is a bit of a 2-in-1, but they go hand-in-hand! Like I mentioned earlier, if you choose to do a first look, usually you’ll go ahead and get most of your photos taken before the ceremony, including: couple’s portraits, photos with your bridal party, and even some family formals if they’re in attendance before ceremony time. In traditional timelines, all of these photos are usually squeezed into the cocktail hour that occurs after the ceremony. Sometimes this can be a bit tough for photographers depending on how well family cooperate during formals and fast they can get through bridal party portraits, leaving a bit of time for portraits of the bride and groom.

First looks allow more time for all of these photos to be taken, takes a bit of stress off the photographer to get them all in during cocktail hour, and also helps you get to the reception faster! If you have a first look and get most photos finished before the ceremony, the only thing left before the reception are family formals since all of the family arrived in time for the ceremony. In my experience, family photos can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on how many are attending. If you’re having a cocktail hour, you can either choose to go straight to your reception and mingle with guests before dinner, eat dinner away from guests with just you and your husband/wife, or stick around for some sunset couple’s portraits with your photographer (just depends on what you want/logistics of the day)!

It’s also great for Fall weddings where the sun may set pretty early thanks to Daylight Savings!

Something to remember: it’s YOUR wedding day!

If you’d rather have a traditional timeline, that’s totally OKAY! I’m a firm believer in making your wedding day the way that you want it to be and reflective of the two of you! All of the reasons that I’ve stated above are from my experiences as a wedding photographer and what works best for me and my style, but that’s just me! I just wanted to share my thoughts on first looks and why I love photographing them.

I hope this blog was helpful and wish you all the best during your wedding planning! :D

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It’s no secret that I hike and shoot a lot of weddings and engagements up on Roan Mountain and other scenic locations. I often feel a smidge of guilt bringing weddings and guests to these locations, simply because that’s bringing more opportunity to wear down the terrain, annoy hikers, or potentially leave pieces of litter behind, etc. However, I’m also a believer in sharing these beautiful places and trails, because nature is meant to be enjoyed! I try my best to adhere to Leave No Trace’s 7 principles and to always leave a place, “better than we found it,” and to, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.”

It’s something that weighs on my heart each and every adventurous wedding, but the best way to respect and appreciate these beautiful locations is to educate brides and grooms planning their own mountaintop, lakeside, or outdoorsy adventurous wedding. If you’re a newbie to hiking and the outdoors, most hikers live by the Leave No Trace code- 7 principles to remember while hiking, enjoying the outdoors, or planning your adventurous wedding!

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

The first principle of Leave No Trace is to always plan ahead and prepare for your hike (or in this case, your adventurous wedding)! Always hop on Google and make sure to find maps of the trails that you plan on hiking and see if you can find any reviews that will tell you if it’s an easy or moderate hike (I can always assist you with this). Be sure to also keep an eye on the weather the week leading up to the wedding and plan to dress accordingly- wear hiking boots if need be (versus fancy heels or flats) and bring a jacket if it’s going to be windy, rainy, or cold. If you’re headed to a park or national forest, be sure to research any type of permits needed to hold your wedding in certain locations.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Now, you may not be camping during your adventurous wedding (if you are, that’s awesome), but you will be holding a ceremony in a scenic location to say your vows! It’s always recommended to stay on trails and to travel on durable surfaces to avoid disturbing or wearing down vegetation. According to the Leave No Trace website, “Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.” When picking a ceremony site, I try to recommend having it in a place where people already go for the view (but also where you’re a bit out of the way of hikers), and some place where you’re not ‘mowing down grass’ or breaking too many tree branches for the view. I also recommend keeping your guest list down (if possible) to the most important people, as to leave the footprint down as well!

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

This third principle is probably the most well known, but you’d be surprised at how much litter is still left behind in scenic places! I constantly find granola bar wrappers and disposable water bottles that were forgotten on the trail. If you’re planning on bringing any type of snacks or drinks, it may be best to bring a backpack or have a friend carry a bag for you to make sure everything is packed out and makes it way back into your car. If I have room in my camera bag, I’ll often times offer to take any trash that the couple may have while we’re shooting portraits!

4. Leave What You Find

While on your hike to the ceremony location or hiking for portraits after, it may be super tempting to pick some of the flowers you may find or take a pretty rock or other souvenir from the day. Some locations have biologically sensitive areas and picking flowers or taking mementos may disturb those areas. It’s best to try not to disturb rocks or limbs or to build any structures for your ceremony. I recommend not bringing any large items like altars, tables for cakes, or any chairs/couches as props. Let nature be the altar and enjoy what’s already there!

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

I don’t often build campfires during my intimate weddings or engagements while on the trail, but I’m also not opposed to it as long as we follow important campfire guidelines! A campfire engagement session can be a cute and cozy way of sharing your love for each other and the outdoors, however it’s super important to take precaution with a dangerous flame. First, make sure to check the conditions- has it rained the past couple of days making the ground moist, or has it been incredibly dry and windy? Check local forest personnel to see if it’s possible to build a fire. If it’s okay, try and use an already made fire ring where other campers have made fires and try to use the sticks and twigs around you. This just helps with leaving things how they are and to avoid disturbing the environment too much. Be sure to attend the fire/be tentative. Take necessary procedures to ensure the fire is out before you leave!

6. Respect Wildlife

In our Tennessee and North Carolina forests and trails, there is an abundance of wildlife —especially bears (Cue Dwight Schrute, “Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.”)! It is incredibly important to respect the wildlife you may see while hiking and exploring for your adventurous wedding. If you see any deer, bears, birds, squirrels etc, be sure to observe from a distance and NEVER feed them. Keep all trash in any backpacks or bags to avoid them looking or smelling your food/snacks. If you bring dogs to your session, be sure to bring leashes to keep them safe!

And last, but not least…
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Oh boy, this is a big one! This goes for not only couples and their guests, but also for photographers who may be sharing nature and locations with other photographers! Like I mentioned earlier, I believe nature is meant to be shared, but in a respectful way. When setting up for a ceremony, make sure that it doesn’t impede with other visitors who also may be enjoying the same view. Avoid making loud noises. It’s great to be happy and excited (most likely you just got MARRIED on a mountaintop), but remember how you would feel if you were trying to go on a hike and met some loud/obnoxious guests in a serene, quiet, location.

Photographers- if you see other photographers in an adventurous location with their clients, be sure to treat each other with respect! A smile and wave of acknowledgement can be nice! If you’re in a hot spot, be sure to allow others to get there too and try not to be in each others’ shots if possible. None of us “own” any location and we’re all so lucky to be able to bring our clients to these spots.

If we all remember the principles of Leave No Trace, we can all work together to preserve these amazing locations and continue to enjoy the beauty!

If you have any other questions regarding or would like more information on Leave No Trace principles, be sure to visit their website: https://lnt.org!

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36° 6' 21“ N 82° 6’ 13'' W

I just adore these two!

Courtney and David are friends of my former bride, Kaity, and reached out to me for a couple’s session in our Tennessee mountains! These two live in Nashville and not only celebrated their first year together, but also just moved into a new home! They both wanted photos to celebrate this new chapter in their lives and to have some printed for the walls of their new home.

We planned to meet up at Carver’s Gap on Roan on a chilly weekend in November for their couples session! Remnants of snow lingered in the shadows of the mountain, but the sun was out in full force for our photos that evening! As we hiked up to Round Bald, David told me a great punny joke that I absolutely loved (but can only remember a piece of now). He said something along the lines of, “How many wigs did a guy go through to get to the balds?” Get it. The balds- Round Bald, Jane Bald… bald as in no hair…hahaha! If you know me, you know that punny/”dad” jokes are my all-time favorite! David definitely had me cracking up the entire evening!

As we were taking photos, it was evident just how much David loves Courtney, and how much Courtney loves David. Their smiles and laughter were absolutely contagious and the way David looks at Courtney is just beautiful. I’m so glad that we were able to catch the most beautiful sunset and explore the mountain together for their session!

Courtney and David— thanks for traveling to east Tennessee to visit our mountains and to celebrate such a special time! You two are so wonderful and I wish you guys the best in your future adventures together!
























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