Brooke and Ryan’s wedding in Manning, SC is one I have been looking forward to since the day I met them at their engagement session! They are madly in love, laugh at all of my ridiculously silly (and sometimes awkward) jokes, and we became fast friends over a mutual love for Bravo’s Southern Charm (my one and only reality TV guilty pleasure). After photographing Brooke’s bridal portraits at Lowndes Grove Plantation in Charleston (see them here), and of course, laughing and discussing Southern Charm even more over dinner afterwards with Brooke’s wonderful mother, I just knew their wedding would include all the small, well-thought-out details that any wedding should. I was not disappointed!
They were wed at First Baptist Church in Manning, which was actually built by Brooke’s grandfather, Norman Gunter Ardis, after a fire destroyed the church in the 1970’s. I had no idea what I was in for as I pulled up to the church, but as soon as I arrived, I knew this church was something special. I have NEVER photographed in such a gorgeous church with such beautiful lighting! That was a huge blessing on this day, since it was about 100 degrees outside, and we needed to keep people in the air conditioning as much as possible before the ceremony.
Brooke and Ryan opted for a First Look, which I ALWAYS recommend, as it really is the only time of the day that the bride and groom get to be alone! Seeing each other for the first time alone, as opposed to in a room full of friends and loved ones, really helps bring down the nerves of the day so that the bride and groom get to enjoy their wedding day!
Just LOOK at this gorgeous hallway! I would shoot in this area of the church forever and ever if I could!
Another benefit of a First Look, is that it lets us get more bride and groom portraits than we are able to get when we have to rush to take family formals (standard posed photos with family) after the ceremony and before the reception. This way, the bride and groom have 2-3 separate portrait “sessions” on their wedding day!
The sanctuary was just as beautiful as the rest of the church, and the light coming in the windows in the late afternoon sun was absolutely perfect to highlight Brooke and Ryan exchanging vows.
When I saw Ryan’s dad’s reaction to Brooke coming down the aisle with her father, I almost burst into tears myself! These entire families were just so happy and joyful about Brooke and Ryan’s marriage, and it was enough to pull hard at my heart strings!
After Family Formals, we got to have more fun with Brooke and Ryan in the AMAZING late afternoon/early evening sunlight! Photographers go NUTS for “Golden Hour”, as we like to call the last hour before sunset and after sunrise every day!
Florals – A Ring Around the Roses
Groom’s Tuxedo – Michael Kors
Groom’s Bowtie – Brackish Bowties
Catering – Catering for All Occasions
DJ – Mitch with DJ Howie D’s Entertainment
Cake: Elaine Byrd
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Reception: Cypress Center