Confession: we absolutely LOVE these two precious people, so I am going to be embarrassingly, unapologetically over the top with this blog post. We've known Anna's sweet family for years, and we have been blessed by their friendship in more ways than we can count. When Anna & Daniel told us WHERE and WHEN they were getting married, we were over the moon. A mountain wedding? In October, our favorite month? With two of the sweetest, kindest people we've ever been blessed to meet?? I'm not sure if I have enough words to describe how excited and happy we felt to be a part of their special day. So I'll just post lots and lots of photos instead. :)
Anna and Daniel love hiking, camping, and all kinds of outdoor adventure, and they have spent many happy days in Mentone, Alabama with their family and friends. Anna grew up traveling to Mentone with her family, and when she was a little girl, she told her daddy she wanted to get married at this little church, Sallie Howard Memorial Chapel. This little chapel was built by Colonel Milford Howard as a memorial to his wife, Sallie. As you can see, the stone church is built around a huge natural boulder. It's a living, working church, and if you visit Mentone or Fort Payne, you can stop by and spend time in prayer in this quiet, pretty place. The doors are never locked.
Now, I want to show you a little bit of the quirky, tiny town of Mentone, and the beauty of DeSoto State Park. You. Must. Go.
And when you visit Mentone, you must eat at the Wildflower Cafe. You must eat here, and you must try their Fresh Tomato Pie. You will thank me for it.
Guess where Daniel proposed? Right here at DeSoto Falls.
Here's what a sunset looks like from a cabin on the Brow of Lookout Mountain near Mentone.
The weekend of October 26, 2013 was chilly, clear, and very colorful in Mentone. The trees blessed Anna & Daniel with a glorious, fiery rainbow of gold and scarlet and every shade in between. The smell of smoke from wood fires lingered in the air, carried by a gentle mountain breeze. Anna & Daniel kicked off their wedding weekend with a delicious rehearsal supper at DeSoto State Park. The stone pavilion was warmed by crackling fireplaces, a few extra heaters, and lots of love.
On the wedding morning, bright mountain light shone through the windows of the lovely lodge on the Brow where Anna & her family & friends prepared for the ceremony. As they dressed, they enjoyed a gorgeous view of the valley and all its rich autumn colors. The house was full of laughter and anticipation of the joy of the day.
Little Mr. Zooey James' precious wedding shoes had to be featured with his beloved auntie's.
I thought Anna looked like a movie star in her veil.
Anna & Daniel chose to have their First Look in the woods, on the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail in DeSoto State Park. Golden leaves fell, along with a few joyful tears.
Meet the Davidson + Brown Wedding Party! We had so much fun taking these photos!
And then everyone went to the little stone chapel in the woods, and there was a beautiful wedding, just like Anna had always dreamed.
The little ring bearer couldn't resist a peek inside...
Daniel, your joy at seeing your bride walking down the aisle gave all of us so much joy.
And the two became one.
Anna & Daniel gathered their loved ones for portraits, and then everyone headed to Brow Park for one of the most sweet, joyful, colorful wedding receptions Mentone has ever seen.
BEST. WEDDING. ACCESSORY. EVER. HORSES!!! A gorgeous draft horse carried Anna & Daniel in an antique carriage, up the winding road under a shimmering canopy of leaves. As family and friends gathered, the late afternoon sun shone warm and golden on the ridge overlooking the valley.
The horse got a lot of attention. I am pretty sure he thought the bouquets were for him!
The wedding party led the way to the reception as the newlyweds followed in their carriage. They were welcomed by a lively, joyful crowd of family and friends, and a gaily decorated outdoor reception on top of the mountain ridge.
At the reception, Anna & Daniel had a surprise for their guests and family. They gave special vows and gifts to one another... On an ancient stone ledge overlooking the valley, Anna gave Daniel a song, and he gave her a precious cup made by his own hands.
I miss this cake. I really do. It will forever hold a very special place in my heart.
Gentle breezes rustled the leaves as these two had their first dance. (Side note: Daniel and his family love to dance. LOVE to dance. Just another reason they are awesome.)
Brow Park was transformed into a charming celebration of Anna & Daniel's fun, adventurous personalities. Every where you looked, there was something warm, colorful, and creative to see.
Their guests enjoyed buffet tables loaded down with a warm, delicious supper of family favorites, rides in the carriage, and gazing at the incredible view of the sunset over the valley.
Little Zooey James, caught napping.
They also had a really fun photo booth wall!
Daniel had a trick up his sleeve (literally) when it came time to toss the garter...
There was quite a lot of enthusiasm among the single ladies over that bouquet!
As the sun cast its last rays upon the Brow, Daniel & Anna slipped away for a few quiet moments together.
And there was more dancing... until the sun had slipped away and the stars were coming out, one by one.
Daniel & Anna slipped away in their carriage as the last light faded from the sky.
But the fun wasn't over yet....
Day Three: The Waterfall Session! One cool thing about destination weddings... if the Bride & Groom are staying at the wedding location, they can choose to have a "Day After" portrait session. It's a really fun, laid back way to capture sweet moments together in your wedding clothing, especially if your wedding is someplace as lovely as DeSoto State Park in the fall! Anna & Daniel really wanted portraits of themselves as the waterfall, so we met them there the next morning. And then this happened. :)
Anna & Daniel, being part of your wedding celebration was a high point of our photography career to date. Seeing the love shining through you two (and your families) blessed us in so many ways. We carried home these photographs and so many, many warm memories of your kindness & hospitality. We will cherish your wedding for the rest of our lives. As Jon put it the evening of your reception, "We could quit photography now & die happy." God bless you both! Make lots more memories in Mentone!
- Jon & Amaris