A Wedding with Edge and Personality
Mike and I get a real kick out of working weddings where the bride and groom really go out of their way to express their personalities on their wedding day. Recently we got the opportunity to photograph that type of wedding in Galax. (My hometown, by the way.)
Our previous contacts with Megan and Topper indicated the two were very laid back and relaxed, but their wedding day was a mixture of true southern hospitality and absolute joy. It is rare to see a couple so in synch and comfortable with who they are, especially given the weather conditions they faced the day of their wedding.
Megan and Topper’s plans were to be married at the top of the hill on Topper’s dad’s farm. The ceremony site on the “hill” would be facing White Top Mountain. Mike and I had visited with Megan and Topper some months prior to the wedding and had the opportunity to view the area after a recent snowfall. I remember being giddy with excitement as Topper drove us in his 4×4 to view the top of the mountain. I took several photos of White Top covered with snow that day. It was breathtaking. I couldn’t have imagined a more remarkable wedding site.
The day of the wedding it had started raining and storming. It continued to rain all the way up the mountain side as we made our way to the wedding site. We had the sneaky suspicion they would have to relocate since the intial plan was to have the ceremony outside, but we didn’t anticipate the lengths the wedding party would go to in order to make that happen.
Apparently, family and friends had gathered earlier that day to set up the arbor, chairs, and flowers at the original ceremony site. After most of the site had been completely set up, a wind out of nowhere began tossing 50 lb. bales of hay and the wedding arbor around like toys. Family and friends worked frantically to gather the ceremony items and transport them to a safe location. In the meantime, other folks setting up the reception site a few hundred yards away were forced to hold down the reception tent (which was a huge tent) while the wind, rain, and thunderstorms threatened to rip it apart.
We arrived just as the winds and rain had subsided and the wedding party was taking a break to get a bite to eat and rest. As they relaxed, Topper stopped by to check on the progression of things while Megan was at a nearby home getting ready. I left Mike at the ceremony site to photograph the Groom and groomsmen while I went to photograph Megan getting ready.
When I walked into the house, I was stunned at how calm and together Megan seemed. She was standing at a table near her mother and was joking about having to relocate the wedding due to the weather. From time to time, I could see her texting guests, updating them on the new ceremony site. Just beyond where she was texting, the kitchen table was lined with beautiful yellow daisy bouquets trimmed with soft baby’s breath and matching boutonnières as well as an open bottle of champagne (which Megan would turn up from time to time). Her gown was hanging neatly on a nearby hallway door. A few friends and family sat throughout the house and casually shared the plans for the day.I spent a little over an hour shooting candids of the girls and family, then left with the bridal party to return to the ceremony site.
Megan maintained her calm composure as she was escorted by her mother from the red barn to the redesigned ceremony tent decorated with dogwood blossoms and daisies. The bad weather had broken, and the day’s ceremony went off without a hitch. It was one of the most comfortable and relaxed events I had ever witnessed.
As soon as the wedding party completed the traditional greeting of guests in the reception line by the big red barn, the group gathered in SUVs and pickup trucks to gather at the original ceremony site for portraits. Taking the group portraits was a blast. Country music blared from one of the trucks as the bridesmaids and groomsmen danced along the edge of the hillside making the portrait session a celebration within itself.
Bales of hay lined the edges of the hilltop and the friends and family moved easily in and out of groups for portraits. Everyone was laughing, slapping high fives and seemed to be fully engaged in the moment.
For the most part, the portraits taken that day demonstrate the laid back tone and relaxed atmosphere that Megan and Topper managed to set. From the ceremony site, to the reception (which ended much later that night) Megan and Topper made getting married seem so easy. If they were stressed or uptight it certainly didn’t show in their demeanor. For Mike and myself, it was one of the most fun Saturdays we’d experienced in a long time. We talked about it the entire way home. This was definitely a wedding with flair and personality that made guests as well as the hired professionals feel warm and welcome.
Well done, Topper and Megan!