Way Down Film Festival | Springer Opera House | Columbus, GA

Way Down Film Festival 2018

If you haven’t been to the Way Down Film Festival at the Springer Opera House in Columbus, GA then you’re truly missing out. This is the 3rd year that the film festival has been a part of the community. This is where filmmakers mingle with film lovers and artists of all kinds to showcase their short films.

The film festival takes place at these Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia one of the oldest theaters in the state. The theater itself is so beautiful and ornate it is truly a work of art. It’s the perfect backdrop to this unique festival.

And with the film industry in Georgia booming this festival is sure to continue for many years to come. Founders Jacey Jenkins, Stacy Cunningham and Cora King have done a tremendous amount of work bringing this festival to our city.

This is something so different for our community and it’s so important that people come out and support it so we can to continue growing and doing important events like this for our community’s future.

I was only able to attend the Friday screenings, but I was not disappointed. The quality of films that were shown made me laugh, cry and kept me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to be a part of the event next year.

It’s fascinating how these storytellers can capture you entirely in movie that is less than 20 minutes long. These pros can tell such a engulfing story full of emotions that leaves the audience with lasting impressions.

Please enjoy these photos from the Way Down Film Festival 2018 and be sure to check out the full gallery at this here.

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Ryan + Caroline | The Woodlands at Sweetwater Brewing Co. | Buckhead, GA

Before the special wedding celebration at the sweetwater brewing company in Buckhead, caroline and Ryan met at CSU.

I remember the night at the Tap when she squealed because Ryan had walked into the bar with his friends. She had had a crush on him for awhile. We were hanging out after a shift together at Houlihans. This must have been before her nursing program, because she was actually out with us to have fun. 😉

Caroline and I became good friends while at Houlihans during our restaurant days. We’ve had some fun times together. We’ve listened to music together in the hot Tennessee sun at Bonnaroo. We’ve ruined through all her dresses too find the most flapper-esque styles, so we could have a 20s themed photoshoot with our other friend Gaby. We traveled to Cozumel where we went scuba diving and kissed tiny baby monkeys (which was probably a bad idea, but we survived).

Since then she’s become this incredibly determined and driven woman. She knows what she wants and shes not going to let anyone get in her way of her plans…except Ryan. 😉

Ryan and Caroline seem to have one of those relationships that makes it easy to love one another.

They lift each other up.

They cheer on the others accomplishments. They inspire one another.

I’m so happy that my friend has found that in Ryan. They are both beautiful and genuine people and their wedding day was nothing short of authentic.

The ceremony was held at the Sweetwater Brewing Company in Buckhead.

But let’s rewind a bit to the time I arrived at the wedding an hour early. I was feeling good ready for the day. Found a great parking spot. Paid for said parking spot. Only to walk into the lobby to discover there was more than one ac hotel in the atlanta area and I was NOT at the correct one…CUE THE PANIC!

Luckily, my second shooter, Jason and I, made it to the correct hotel with enough time to get all the shots we needed! Phew! But let me tell you that no wedding ever goes without some sort of panic, but it always works out in the end.

Fast forward to the ceremony. Ryan and his groomsmen were hanging out in the upstairs area of the brewery. Beers in hand. This was an amazing place for a wedding. There was a stack of sweetwater cans on the counter that were stacked like a three tiered wedding cake.

The girls were in a empty room with amazing light on the other side of the bar. They were busy helping Caroline get into her stunning dress. Her mother held her veil and helped fasten her dress. I mean, it would hard to find a more beautiful bride than Caroline.

She shared a first look with her dad who is a pretty quiet man, but full of love and pride for his daughter. She read him a sweet letter before he walked her down the aisle.

While I was going back through these photos after the wedding, I got so emotional thinking about all the authentic moments of joy that were shared throughout the day between friends, family and especially between Ryan and Caroline. I’m getting emotional now thinking back on them! The photos were beautiful but there’s an authentic emotion that was captured in them that brings me so much joy.

The ceremony was unique. They music they played was amazing. The grooms brother, Gerald, officiated the ceremony. He did a great job. He made people laughed and shared Gods word. The special part of the ceremony was where they washed each others feet. The River played during this portion and couldn’t have been a more perfect song choice. It’s a beautiful and powerful song.

The newlyweds shared their “I dos”.

I took the couple out to take their portraits before they could go in and party. They were enjoying the moment of calm in all the craziness that was about the the reception.

The wedding party lined up to enter the reception. The crowd cheered and clapped as each member was announced into the party. Last, but def not least, The Branches entered the reception. They jumped right into their first dance to a Work S

 

ong by one of my favorite bands, Hozier.

Instead of a cake, they had their own beer brewed by sweetwater. They tapped the keg instead of cutting the cake which was so awesome! Future reference: Stand back when kegs are being tapped!

The rest of the night was where everyone could party and let loose! This was a dancing crowd and they were awesome. Looked like everyone was really having a blast! Even the photographers. 😂

The night was coming to a close and like many couples these two had to run through a corridor of friends and family holding sparklers to bring the night to a close. This is always such a fun moment to capture. Caroline and Ryan’s exit was no different they left their wedding on cloud 9 and were whisked anyway to their honeymoon in Columbia.

I was so thrilled and honored to photograph this wedding. Happy to call these two friends. I know you guys will be just fine. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness!

Check out the photos from The Branch’s day!

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The Vendors:

Venue: The Woodlands at Sweetwater

Hotel: AC Hotels

Dress: Long story… 

Bridesmaid dresses: Shop Revelry 

Tuxes: Black Tux

Coordinators: Stella Harper Events [Erin Stapleton]

DJ: DJ Byrd Dillonb33@yahoo.com

Florist: Stems Atlanta

Hair and makeup: Candace Davis icon_stylist2012@yahoo.com

Videographer: Rusticus Films

 

Vanessa + Andreas | Rancho Santa Maria Polo Club | El Paso, TX

Vanessa and Andreas’ wedding celebration at the Rancho Santa Maria Polo Club was such a fun experience. Vanessa is a Texas girl who was swept off her feet by German named Andreas. They fell in love during a motorcycle road trip and moved all the way to Berlin, Germany.

I was so thrilled to photograph this union. You couldn’t really call it a wedding it was more of a celebration of their union surrounded by the couple’s friends and family in Texas. Vanessa’s mother, Anette, did an amazing job of planning the whole celebration since the bride was in another country!

A couple things stand out in my mind about this day that I’ll never forget. One was having the beautiful Indian motorcycle get stuck in the sand on the banks of the Rio Grande as we were attempting to take the couple’s portraits. Poor Andi, was so done before the pictures even began. But fear not! We had a couple guys from the farm come help push the bike out of the sand and we settled on the dirt road for pictures. It was so El Paso!

We took some gorgeous portraits of these newlyweds. As a photographer, I just love photographing in the desert. The soft pastel colors of the sand and desert plants just translate so beautifully in portraits.

The couple was so effortless together. They balance each other. Vanessa looked elegant in her lace, long sleeve, fitted wedding dress. Her black curls swept up into an effortless up do. Andi was looking handsome in his blue jacket, straight-leg jeans and silver belt buckle. Of course, they both wore boots. Very modern Texan.

We arrived back at the ranch for cocktail hour before the ceremony would get underway. Yellow-orange Margaritas, sat on a table to greet guests as they arrived. Guests mixed and mingled under the patio and the tent as the mariachi band played in to the golden hour.

Before anyone had arrived at the ranch, I was able to watch the Shaman, his wife, grand daughter and friend set up the intricate ceremony setting. Every item had a meaning at the ceremony. From the archway that they walked through to the deerskin that laid at their feet. But don’t ask me these meanings!

As the ceremony began, guests were seated. They didn’t have a wedding party, but the family and friends closest to the couple lined up to make their way through the arch way. Before each person entered the ceremony, they were cleansed by the Shaman. After passing through the archway, they formed a circle around the couple.

Sage burned in the air as the Shaman gave his blessing to the new husband and wife in front of a cute little chapel under a beautiful tree. Their hands were wrapped in special cloths. And before the first kiss, Vanessa and Andi signified their union by drinking wine out of a special vase together, which honestly looked pretty difficult, but somehow, they did it without spilling any!

The party kicked off with the first attempt of lighting the colorful lanterns, but the El Paso wind crashed that party quickly. It actually turned out to be a good thing they held off till later in the evening, because the second thing that I’ll never forget from this day were the hordes and I mean hordes of mosquitos that came out of the ground while guests were trying to light their lanterns. It was something out of a survival show. Fortunately, we all survived. I’m sure this is one part of the day Andi and Vanessa would hope to forget, but it does make a good story!

As the sun faded out, so did the mosquitos. Guests were finally able to enjoy dinner and be entertained by the groom’s fantastic speech of how he and Vanessa met and fell in love.

It was a saga of epic proportions to say the least and the groom had everyone captivated with his tale. Guests laughed at his endeavor of how he would attempt to acquire the bride’s father’s permission to take his daughter out and cried over his tales of how the two bonded over a love of music on the back of a motorcycle.

The party was kicked off with the first dance shared between husband and wife and then the rest of the guests joined in on the fun! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, good dancing is in the water in El Paso. All the guests had an absolute blast dancing and partying the night away.

And we finally got to send off those paper lanterns! The wind finally calmed down, so guests grabbed their lighters and sent off their blessings to the new couple into the night sky.

The last thing I’ll never forget at this wedding was the fire dancers from Odd Lab! YESSSS! These guys were so cool and put on an awesome show for the bride, groom and guests. The four guys each took turns doing different routines with the flaming balls of fire swinging around them! At the end, they further impressed by climbing onto each other shoulders with the fire. It was a wonderful way to end the night. Guests were wowed, I was wowed. It was definitely a wedding celebration I’ll never forget!

Cheers to Vanessa and Andreas!

 

Now, enjoy these picture from this awesome day!

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See the rest of the photos from Vanessa and Andreas’ wedding here.

Michelle (Shelby) + Kory | Grace Gardens | El Paso, TX

 

Wooo! Sorry for the hiatus, but I’m back on the wedding grind after a boudoir break!

Shelby and Kory’s wedding was a beautiful affair held at the lovely Grace Gardens in El Paso, Texas.  I was so happy to photograph Shelby and Kory’s wedding. We had so much fun at their smoke bomb engagement session that I couldn’t wait for the wedding!

Michelle, or Shelby as her friends call her, was mingled with her friends and was doing some last-minute checking of the blocks for the day when I arrived. Some of the other bridesmaids were already finishing up with hair and make-up. Shelby’s little Yorkie relished all the attention that she could get, which was a lot. 😉 She’s a cutie!

And of course, there were mimosas!

All the ladies primped and prepped for the big day ahead. Evidence of the night before, showed that the ladies had watched a modern-day classic for every bride and her entourage…Bridesmaids! Also personal favorite movie of mine. Who doesn’t love that movie?!

Shelby’s bridesmaids and mother helped her get into her dress and fasten her shoes. As the finishing touches were completed, the ladies piled into the limo that was waiting outside and headed to Grace Gardens.

Kory and his groomsmen had a laid-back morning getting ready and doing guy things.
Beer? Check.
Whiskey? Check.

They helped each other straighten ties, button vests and fasten cufflinks. When they arrived at the wedding venue all the guys, but especially Kory made their grand exits from the limo all looking like celebrities!

When it came time for the ceremony to begin, Kory escorted his mother down the aisle and then took his place at the alter to wait for his bride.

Shelby was escorted by both her mother and father. I saw a wave of emotion flash across Kory’s face in seeing his bride for the first time.

The Officiant did a wonderful job mixing humor and the serious commitment they were making to one another. They tied a cord of three strands to signify their union with each other and with God. The rings were exchanged and as they were pronounced husband and wife, Kory passionately kissed his bride.

After the ceremony, we headed to one of the many pecan orchards in the area to take the couples’ portraits. Fortunately, there was a farmer working, so we asked if we could take some pictures among the rows of symmetrical pecan trees that were full and green. The couple looked so happy during the brief moment away from the crowd of guests. They laughed and joked and enjoyed each other’s company.

We all headed back to Grace Gardens to kick off the reception. The reception tent looked soft and beautiful. Light pink roses were on every table.

I had to sneak Kory and Shelby out to the fields behind the venue for one last photo opp, because the most beautiful sunset was happening. I can’t miss the opportunity for some beautiful sunset photos!

The party kicked off as the wedding party and newlyweds were announced into the reception. Kory and Shelby shared their sweet first dance to That Look by Aaron Watson.

Sidenote: I swear everyone in El Paso is a good dancer. Young and old were on the dance floor having a blast and making my dance skills look laughable! (But my lovely second shoot and I tried anyway!)

‘Spirited’ is the word that I would describe the bouquet and garter toss! Finally! Guests that would get into the fun of this tradition. I feel like single people don’t really jump for that bouquet and garter anymore! I suspect it has a correlation with people getting married later and later these days. What do you think? Fortunately, the singles at this wedding brought their A-game!

The couple’s closest friends and family toasted the couple’s happy union. Guests continued to dance and party up till midnight. When it was time to wrap up the party, guests lined up with glow sticks and Kory and Shelby ran through them and were whisked off to the honey moon to live happily ever after!

Kory is currently overseas on a deployment and I know that Shelby is missing him like crazy! So, send your blessings to them as they go through this difficult time apart!

And keep in touch because they’re headed to Hawaii next! 😉

Cheers to Shelby and Kory!

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Venue: Grace Gardens
Dress: Ella Blu | Casablanca Designs
Bridesmaid Dresses: Ella Blu
Make Up Artists: DeShea Exclusive
Hair: BlondeTourage
Tuxes: Mens Wearhouse
Wedding Cake: Kimberly Trujillo {915-603-2726}
Florist: Grace Gardens

 

Valerie + Andy | Castle Ballroom | El Paso

Valerie and Andy are the sweetest couple who shared a beautiful wedding ceremony at the Shalom Christian Church in El Paso, Texas surrounded by their friends and family.

Valerie started her day at Xtremes Salon along with her sister and mother. They had a chill morning as the stylists pampered the ladies for the special day ahead. Valerie’s long dark hair was curled and her make up carefully applied. She’s a natural beauty who looked stunning after Ana, the stylist, had finished. Her sister, Brenda, and their mother, Lucy, posed for a cute picture under the hair dryers before we headed to Valerie’s house to step into her dress and add the finishing touches.

The bride’s mother helped her get dressed and pinned her “something old” to her dress for safe keeping. Valerie looked stunning in her wedding dress. The dress was unique with beautiful lace overlay and layers soft tulle fell to the floor. The silver beaded belt added a little bling to the already beautiful dress.

When she was dressed and ready her father, Jerry, got the see her for the first time. These are always such special moments. I love to see the dad’s reaction to seeing their daughters for the first time in their wedding dresses. It never disappoints!

It was a rainy wedding day for Valerie and Andy, but that didn’t stop them from having a beautiful celebration. We arrived at the Shalom Christian Church and everything was set up and ready for the vows to be exchanged. The handsome groom beamed as he waited for his bride to join him at the altar. The bride made her way down the aisle to meet Andy. They walked hand in hand up to the stage where the minister lead a God-filled ceremony. Andy and Val’s relationship is one that is centered around Jesus and their church family. They have strong family and church family realtionships that will be ready to lend support whenever its needed.

After the ceremony the rain was still falling in Fabens. So, we had to get creative with the photo locations. We decided on The Fountains because we knew it wouldn’t be muddy! So we could keep the brides dress as clean as possible. This place actually worked out really well and miraculously it was not raining when we started shooting!

Later in the evening, wedding party and guests began arriving to the Castle Ballroom in El Paso. The room was beautifully decorated to kick off the celebration for these newly weds! I was super impressed with the milk and cookie bar that was the bride’s brilliant idea. They had all kinds of cookies and every kind of milk in cute little glasses! It was a lot of fun for both the kids and the adults at the party.

After dinner was served, the DJ turned up the music and the party kicked off with the first dance for the new husband and wife. Both the bride and groom shared special dances with their parents. Afterwards, the guests had a blast dancing and partying the night away. Everyone you and old was on the dance floor! El Paso really does now how to party.

Take a look at some of my faves from Val and Andy’s day!

Getting ready

bride reads magazines with mom and sister under salon dryers

 

brides mother fastens dress

brides poses for a full length portrait

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brides father sheilds her from the rain

Shalom Christian Church | Fabens, TX

 

groom smiles as he waits for his bride at the altar

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bride and groom cheer after they are pronounced

bride and groom kiss in the limo

 

The Fountains | El Paso, TX

 

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bride and groom pose under the veil

 

Castle Ballroom | El Paso, TX

 

toasts with the whole familybride and groom share first dance

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The Milk + Cookie Bar

guests dance at the reception

 

Vendors:

Venues: Shalom Christian Church, Castle Ballroom
Hair & Make Up: Xtremes West Salon, Ana
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal, Vera Wang, White Collection
Florist: Angie’s Flowers
Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Cakes: The Cake Lady, Irma Holder
DJ: DJ Munchies (Luis)
Milk & Cookie Bar: Elegance by Susy

 

Steph & Stephen Sneak Peek

I’m a little behind on posting this sneak peek, so there a few more images in here than I would normally share. This was a wonderful and unique wedding at the International Museum of Art in El Paso. It had all the art deco touches that I’m obsessed with plus some really cool science nods in the decor! Please enjoy a few of my favorites from Stephanie and Stephen’s wedding.

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