Two wonderful families celebrate Bethany & Tyler's wedding day in Columbus, MS in true Southern style.Read More
You Call the Shots Photography Mississippi
Happy Anniversary to our sweet friends Joby & Thierry!Read More
Cool things happen around Joby & Thierry. Things like alligators showing up in your photography session, or learning how to play bocce, or Thierry making you an apple tart. Joby & Thierry are the kind of people that invite you into their lives, open wide the doors of their hearts, and let you make yourself at home. They share their hobbies, their food, and their hospitality. In short, they give you themselves.
Joby & Thierry have been dear to our hearts since we first met them a few short years ago. We had the privilege of photographing their beautiful wedding, and every year since we've gotten together for a fun anniversary session. This spring we met at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge near Starkville, Mississippi. Jon & I had never visited the Refuge before, and we were blown away by the wild botanical beauty of the place. And by the alligators! This guy was very curious about what we were up to. I was very glad we were on a boardwalk, out of his reach!
I had a special joy in my heart during this session - an immense feeling of gratitude and thankfulness. Last year, we photographed Joby & Thierry for their first anniversary, and at that time, Joby was halfway through chemotherapy treatments. A few months after their wedding, Joby was shocked to discover she had breast cancer. One moment they were newlyweds planning out their first Christmas together. The next minute they were in a battle for Joby's life.
The story of her treatment & recovery is Joby's to tell, but I was inspired by her faith, optimism, and courage. Joby kept her friends & family updated with regular emails. (I've saved every one of them!) Joby wrote once, "Cancer has given me new perspective on altruism towards other people and the need to really have 'relationships' with people and not just a passing "hey, how are you?" with no concern for the true answer." Those are wise words.
So that's why this session is a little extra special to me. When we marry, most of us repeat the words "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health," but we really don't think about what that means. Joby & Thierry had to live those words out when they were just a few months married. And it gave Jon & I so much joy to celebrate their second anniversary with them, not just because they had been married two years, but because they had overcome.
Joby & Thierry love this little picnic spot on the Bluff Lake Boardwalk. I am posting lots of pictures of their picnic because that cheese was DELICIOUS. (They are always kind and feed their photographers.)
Joby & Thierry, your friendship is a gift to us. God bless you both.
Mallory & R.J. are Mississippi sweethearts through and through, and their wedding celebration reflected their love of their home and their families. They chose the Northpointe Red Barn in Jackson, Mississippi as their wedding venue, and Jon & I fell in love with it at first sight. Even the antique door handles and keyholes were shaped like hearts!
Every wedding venue should have at least one really tall window to showcase the dress.
R.J.'s beloved mother was remembered in many ways throughout the day. I especially loved how R.J. wore his mom's photograph close to his heart. What a perfect way to include the memory of a loved one!
This little one was very excited to see Mallory put on her beautiful dress.
Mallory was a lovely, lovely bride - she just glowed all day long. She put so much thought and effort into every detail of her wedding day, including her creative cotton boll bouquet.
I loved how the lace edging on her veil was echoed on the back of her dress.
Mallory's daddy was speechless when he saw his little girl for the first time in her wedding dress.
I always, always love the moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time on their wedding day.
Jon and I had such a wonderful time watching Mallory & R.J. celebrate their love for each other with their families and friends. We felt so honored and blessed to capture these memories for them. Mallory & R.J., we pray that your life together will always be filled with love and laughter, just like your wedding day.
- Jon & Amaris
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
Shadowlawn is a lovely, historic antebellum home, constructed circa 1848, and beautifully restored in 2001. The gracious lady of Shadowlawn, Mrs. Burnette Avakian, is also the amazingly talented owner of A Bride Idea Wedding and Event Planners. The bride, Elizabeth, is her lovely (and also amazingly talented) daughter, and they, together with an entire crew of gifted people, create lovely, lovely wedding experiences for their clients.
So we knew this wedding was going to be AMAZING. And it was, down to the last pink detail!
Liz and Adam had us laughing and smiling all day long, from the first moments of the day, to the big finale of their sparkler exit.
Here's a sweet moment during their First Look.
Liz was a gorgeous bride.
The tiny ringbearer stole everyone's hearts.
The grounds of Shadowlawn were transformed into a garden of roses.
I loved Liz's idea for this pose!
Oh my goodness, this First Dance made me cry and smile at the same time.
Liz and Adam, your wedding was such a beautiful celebration of love, hope, dreams, faith, and family, and everything that is sweet and good. We will never forget your amazing day.
Jon & Amaris
I can't think of many better ways to spend a beautiful November afternoon than this... hanging out with a sweet, funny couple who are very much in love. I fell in love during this session too - with the Mississippi prairie! This amazing engagement session was held at Meryl's parent's farm near Columbus. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather - the sky was blue, the sunset was gorgeous, and the fields were golden. I'll never forget that lovely November light. Who says you have to have your outdoor engagement photos taken in October or April? :) This collection of photos shows that Mississippi is beautiful all year long, especially when you're telling a love story. Meryl and Brinton, it was a blessing and a privilege - not to mention so much FUN - to spend the afternoon with you.
- Jon & Amaris
Magical. Delicate as a snowflake, but strong and timeless as the notes of a bagpipe skirling through the December sky. (Can you tell that Whitney and Scott's wedding inspired the poet in me?) :) I've said it before - we get to work with the coolest couples. From the first moment we met these two, we knew that their wedding day was going to be something very, very special. Here are some of our favorite moments from the day. Whitney, Scott, we love you guys! <3
Whitney gettin' made up. And yes, that clock reads 8 AM.
The stained glass windows at the Chapel of Memories are breathtaking. What a venue!
Sweet moments from their First Look.
Whitney spent months planning the details of her wedding. Isn't her bouquet AMAZING?
Whitney and her lovely attendants. This was such an elegant color scheme for a December wedding.
Hee hee hee - I love it when the bride and her attendants get silly.
Scott and his dudes having fun.
The piper played a haunting melody as the ceremony began.
This guy was awesome.
I LOVE LOVE LOVED these shoes. Very excellent choice, Mrs. Branch.
The beautiful bride...
Check out these cowbells! What a wonderful idea for a wedding at the Chapel of Memories!
Whitney and Scott's cozy, happy reception was at the Verandah in Starkville. I love this place.
Whitney painted the cake topper! :)
And just one more, of a little wedding guest all worn out. Whitney and Scott, we will cherish the memories of your wedding day! Thank you for inviting us to share in your joy.
- Jon & Amaris
Looking at wedding pictures makes me happy. The past few days I've been revisiting our galleries and reliving all the beautiful, joy-filled moments Jon & I have been blessed to share. Today, I want to invite you to share in the classic loveliness of Jessica & Ryan's October 2012 wedding.
Jessica & Ryan celebrated their wedding at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Starkville, Mississippi, where they live. Jon & I were blown away by the simple, reverent beauty of this sanctuary.
Jessica's wedding band belonged to her grandmother, and her bouquet incorporated precious keepsakes as well.
Jessica was a beautiful, elegant bride. Her dress shimmered in the light. I could have photographed her all day!
Ryan's attendants were an absolute hoot to work with. I love it when the wedding party cuts up!
Jessica chose some very special people to be her attendants. I loved how she included her brother. There's no reason guys can't be included and honored by the bride as one of her attendants.
Jessica & Ryan chose to have their First Look in the sanctuary... so sweet and lovely. Ryan's a man of few words, but his eyes said it all.
Sweet flower girls & ring bearers led the way into the sanctuary. Family and friends looked on as Jessica & Ryan said their vows in the holy hush of the chapel.
And then it was time to celebrate!
Jessica & Ryan's getaway car has the distinction of being the most highly decorated and, um, "accessorized" that I have yet to see at any wedding. :)
Here are the happy bride and groom before they discovered they had a stowaway in the back seat!
The newlyweds finally escaped, their car trailing ribbons & cans all along Starkville's shady streets.
Jessica & Ryan, I hope you enjoyed reliving these wonderful moments as much as I did! Your wedding was so romantic, and so simply beautiful. We were blessed & honored to be a part of your special day.
One of our most favorite wedding venues in Columbus is the beautiful, historic antebellum home and bed & breakfast, Shadowlawn. Jon & I were so excited that Amanda & Ben chose to have their elegant, intimate wedding here.
Amanda and her little girl made the sweetest pair, and they were both so beautiful in their wedding attire.
Shadowlawn is the perfect setting for an elegant, intimate wedding. The home of Mrs. Burnette Avakian and her family, it has been lovingly restored and decorated. Mrs. Burnette transforms every wedding into a storybook wedding!
Amanda & Ben had a sweet ceremony in the parlor, surrounded by their loving families. I loved that they took Communion together. To me, that's a wonderful part of any wedding ceremony.
This photograph sums up one of the many reasons I love being a wedding photographer. This little one and her grandfather met each other for the very first time on her mother's wedding day. God is good.
Here's the handsome groom. Ben was kind and funny and at ease in front of the camera (which is not usually the case for most grooms we photograph! He wasn't nervous at all!)
Brand-new cousins, brand-new friends!
Amanda & Ben's wedding day ended in laughter and joy. We enjoyed witnessing two families become united in mutual love, as well as Ben & Amanda pledging their love for one another. This wedding reminded me that love truly is a gift from God.