Ansley and Stuart’s Scottish wedding at Dunaway Gardens was to die for! The details of this wedding were like nothing I’ve ever photographed! The bride wore a rose gold lace gown, the groom and groomsmen dressed in kilts, the ladies wore beautiful crimson, and the venue looked like a secret garden. They even had a drummer and a bagpiper.
I first met Ansley years ago when she modeled for a fun T-shirt shoot. She’s sassy, quirky and so cute! We had a lot of fun that day. We lost touch a bit between there, so I was thrilled when she asked me to photograph her wedding!
Arriving at the venue, I was blown away by the beauty of Dunaway Gardens. It was a lush estate covered in moss and ivy. It was established by stage star, Hetty James Dunaway. The gardens were an oasis for the performing arts and a favorite retreat for celebrities of the time including Walt Disney! To read more about the history of Dunaway find their history here.
Ansley and Stuart got ready at a nearby hotel in Newnan. The guys had a chill morning sipping on scotch whisky. The girls sipped champagne across the hall as they prepped hair and make-up.
Ansley, alters wedding dresses for a living, so she made some final touches to her dress on the beautiful porch of the bridal cabin at Dunaway. Her mother helped her into her gorgeous dress. The brides added some final touches. Before the ceremony, the bride pinned on her mother and grandmother’s tartans.
The ceremony was held in a beautiful outdoor stone amphitheater. The steps are carpeted with green moss and its surrounded by trees. It was an unbelievable spot and the overcast day made it even more Scottish.
As the ceremony started, the couples’ friends sang a beautiful Scottish song to precede the ceremony. Stuart entered with his groomsmen in tow dressed their kilts. He held back tears, as he watched Ansley make her way down the large stone steps, escorted by her father. Her mother joined them at the bottom of the steps and the both gave her away to her groom.
The ceremony itself was full of wonderful Scottish traditions. Instead of a candle or sand jar they had a hand fasting ceremony to signify their union. Their long-time theater friend officiated the ceremony. He wrapped their hands and gave a blessing for their new marriage. To close the ceremony, the groom pinned his family tartan on the bride’s dress. They shared a sweet kiss and then invited the whole family for a group picture before leaving the ceremony. And when I say the whole family, I mean the WHOLE family! It was super cool to see everyone together in one picture.
After the ceremony concluded the bagpiper and his drummer wife, lead the guests in a traditional processional to the reception to begin the party!
While the guests were making their way to the reception area, I photographed the fabulous wedding party. They are pretty much all thespians, which made for some very awesome pictures. Personality was shining through for sure!
I took the bride and groom down to the lower garden for their portraits. They wandered around the stunning lower garden at Dunaway. So, in love and ready to celebrate! There was a wishing well in the garden, so the two of them made a wish and tossed the penny into the water.
I can’t get over how Stuart looks at Ansley. Ladies, find you someone who looks at you the way that Stuart looks at Ansley. Talk about Prince Charming.
We made our way to the reception and quickly cut the poor cake that was starting to melt in the unseasonably late Georgia heat and humidity. Figures! The simple white cake was adorned with gorgeous fall flowers.
The reception kicked off with the first dance between husband and wife to Sweet Annie by the Zac Brown band. (Fun fact: Anything by Zac Brown makes me cry like a baby!) They were beautiful to watch as they twirled around the dance floor in each other’s arms. Ansley danced with her father to a special song that was actually written by her dad’s great aunt. Stuart shared a sweet dance with his mother who looked gorgeous in her long blue dress.
The rest of the guests kicked off the party and seriously danced the night away. I loved that Ansley and Stuart let loose and really enjoyed their night. The Dj was awesome and kept the party pumping. There was one special song dedicated to Ansley from her childhood girlfriends that also speaks to my heart. If you a female who grew up performing with your friends in the living room, I’m sure you’re going to know this one! Its called Lady Marmalade from the movie Moulin Rouge. That song takes me back to sleep overs and sing-a-longs with my best friends!
The wedding was so much fun! I had a blast photographing it.
PS: Since photographing this wedding, I have some special news, Ansley and Stuart are already expecting their first little one! Yayy!! Can’t wait to see those precious pictures!
Wishing the Spears, a long & happy marriage!
The fabulous vendors:
Venue: Dunaway Gardens
Event Coordinator: Elizabeth Stephenson with Table 6 Productions
Dress: Oleg Cassini for David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids dresses: David’s Bridal
Kilts/Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse and Atlanta Kilt Rental
Cake: Kathryn Spears
Bag Piper/ Drummer: Tom Crawford