Remember my gorgeous waterfall bride? The one that braved rocks, mud and spectators to achieve some stunning, magically-lit bridal shots at Pisgah National Forest in Asheville? I could not WAIT to shoot her wedding. McCotta and I really bonded over our love for the outdoors during her bridal session and I knew she was intending to pull a lot of that into her wedding, especially at Amanda Point, the family land where the reception took place.
Traci: What is the absolute best thing about your Beloved? What would he say about you?
McCotta: His warmth as a person. I have never been around someone who smiles as much and gives as much as Todd. He is almost always happy and can really find the positive in any situation. His caring nature and warm heart are what draw me to him. He is my balance. I hope that in turn he feels like I am his rock as well.
I shot both the bridal shot and an engagement session for McCotta and Todd, so by the time the wedding weekend arrived, I already knew what a sweet couple I was getting to photograph. They decided to have me shoot their charming rehearsal dinner at the Downtown Historic Depot and Amphitheater in Burlington, NC, complete with made-to-order wood-fired pizzas and entertainment provided by the Darkwater Redemption band. It was a super fun way to kick start a wedding weekend focused on family, close friends and tradition.
Traci: What is the coolest thing about your wedding?
McCotta: US! In all seriousness, I think the fact that we started the planning together means it will have a lot of personal touches of the two of us. We are involving as much family as possible from the venue to the cake to making pillows for the benches and helping plant the wildflowers at Amanda Point. We are making the wedding about us and keeping our families close to the occasion to share in all of the excitement as well.
McCotta and Todd’s wedding was indeed personal and unique. For starters, their wedding had a unique start time – 10:30 AM. The sweet service at McCotta’s childhood church was led by not one, but two ministers, which I always find interesting and cool. Before the ceremony, I pulled a bridesmaid in and mocked up a shot, including lighting her with the gun light, on a staircase that I had noticed the night before. Right after the ceremony, I put McCotta and Todd in the same location and got one of my favorite shots. The moment is tender and loving and I adore the way the light illuminates the two of them, already glowing from their very recent nuptials.
Todd and McCotta’s reception felt like a wedding village. There was a dance floor in the middle of a field with tents surrounding it. There was a tent for the band, Walrus (one of my favorites!), a tent for the buffet, a tent for the cake, a tent for people to sit under….I loved the way McCotta paid so much attention to detail, allowing guests to be in the sun or the shade, but all part of one outdoor community. I tried to highlight her thoughtful planning through my photographs…capturing the outdoors, even when I was shooting under one of the tents. In addition to this enchanting setting, there were fun and personal traditions that made for one entertaining time. They had buried a bottle of whiskey 30 days before the wedding. Todd and McCotta dug it up before they cut the cake and everyone had a sip (love the photo of McCotta leaning against the shovel, drinking straight from the bottle). It is also a tradition in Todd’s family to throw the newly wedded groom into a body of water. To fulfill this one, they doused him with a cooler full of ice water at the end of the day. How could you not have fun with this crowd?!
Traci: Why am I the right photographer for you guys?
McCotta: We love your work. I found you online on the same day that my mom was referred to you. I knew it must be special. Todd and I are both comfortable with you and knew if was the right fit when we both saw your caring nature and your fire for what you do.
With such a thoughtfully planned wedding focused on nature and family and so many unique traditions, I was in photographer heaven. There were so many fantastic images from this wedding, but in addition to the ones I already mentioned, I also loved the wedding cake photograph…I shot it through a plastic plate with the intention of using reflections to surround the cake completely with sky. The ring shot is another one of my faves. I placed the rings on a pollen covered thick tempered glass table and shot from underneath the table. It gives the feeling that the rings are part of a constellation.
Congrats McCotta and Todd – I was honored to be a part of your wedding AND pre-wedding festivities!