Meredith & Cody – their day, their way!
Meredith & Cody looking back at The Barn at High Point Farms where their guests were awaiting their arrival.
This story, for me, started back in the spring (2016). We met Meredith at the Whitestone Country Inn Bridal Show. We had an instant connection. If I remember, she was with her mother. They looked through a couple sample albums from recent weddings. My wife, Allyson, explained the particulars of those weddings. And I shared what makes us unique. Meredith told me she’d be in touch. We hear this often. And it’s a good sign for sure, but often brides will loose track of who they met where. But Meredith filled out an info card so we knew we’d reach out to her soon. And we did.
In a few weeks we met for lunch to discuss their plans. They shared that the venue that selected was The Barn at High Point Farms outside Chattanooga across the Georgia state line. I knew of it and really wanted to shoot there. It's listed as #8 in Country Living's "30 of the Country's Most Beautiful Barns for Weddings." It’s one of those places that photographers loooooove to capture. You’ll understand once you begin to look through the images.
So it was all set. Meredith & Cody chose us. They chose a package that came with an engagement session. Cody asked if I would go to Nashville to photograph a hot air balloon excursion. “YES!!!” I exclaimed. And if you read my blog posts, you already know all about that adventure. But if not, go HERE to read all about it. We captured them in a hot air balloon above rolling farmland outside of Nashville!
Such a fun engagement!!!
But this blog entry is about their wedding day. We arrived that morning to a sweltering, steamy Smoky Mountain July scorcher. But the farm and surrounding landscape was beautiful. The farm was even lovelier than the photos I had viewed. And I heard they had baby goats so I was on a mission to hold a baby goat.
Before I get too far along, I want to thank everyone who participated in the wedding. These things take tons of work from tons of people.
Venue – The Barn at High Point Farms (Margie, David & Jillian)
Flowers - mother of the bride
Hair Stylist - Audra Morgan
Make Up - Paige Goforth
Minister - Tony Madden
Catering - Famous Dave’s Catering
Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches - Cookie Cow
DJ - Fred Watson
Photography – Mile Marker Images (Al & Allyson Harris)
Photo Booth – Mile Marker Images (Mazie Perkie)
Meredith had a special request. She asked if I could take some photos of sunrise on her wedding day. I love this idea. So an hour before first light, I headed out to Racoon Mountain. The overlook there faces east above Chattanooga and Tennessee River Valley. And although there were heavy clouds, we did get a bit of good light right at sunrise.
Sunrise above Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley.
We are from Knoxville. High Point Farms is south of Chattanooga, TN about 20 minutes. That's further than we like to drive after shooting a wedding. Meredith and Cody chose to use some of their studio credits for our lodging expenses. All of our packages come with studio credits. This is an amount of money built in to the package that allows couples to purchase gift prints, archival prints, large canvas prints, albums, our photo booth, a second shooter, etc. Or if we need lodging, the studio credit can be used for this. We found this is a helpful tool for our couples as it helps them not incur “additional charges” that no one likes.
After the sunrise photos and a bit of breakfast, we made our way to High Point Farms. We stowed our gear & took a quick tour of the farm. Margie, owner of the farm, grabbed her golf cart and we got our hands on one of those baby goats!
Super soft and only one day old!
In addition to photographing the venue, when we capture weddings, we always get images of flowers, rings, dress and other artifacts of the day.
The Barn at High Point Farms!!!
Reception area in the barn.
Ceremony Grove adjacent to the barn.
Meredith's shoes & bridal bouquet.
Their wedding bands with 1st Corinthians 13:4.
The wedding gown hung in the opening of the barn (a request from Meredith).
Next we found Meredith and her bridesmaids getting ready in the yellow farmhouse. This charming farmhouse is filled with authentic memorabilia. It is really cozy and creates a playful, fun atmosphere with lots of space for bride, bridesmaids, mothers and flower girls to get ready.
The original farm house is where the bride and bridesmaids get ready.
The natural light in the farm house is perfect for make up & hair.
One quick shot before the bridesmaids dresses and wedding gown are put on.
After a few minutes of meeting the bridesmaids, I left Allyson, my wife and second shooter, with the ladies. I headed over to the small greenhouse shed. This is where to gentlemen get ready. It’s dark and really cool inside – literally cold. And in the July heat they needed the cool.
The groom's house is adorable.
SURPRISE SHOT!!! Meredith learned of this get up when she first saw the photos. And she looooved it!!!
I went back and checked on the ladies. They were finishing up. I prefer to shoot the bride & bridesmaids just as soon as they are ready. The hair, makeup and attire are perfect. Plus it gives them a chance to play dress up, enjoy the glamour and splendor for a few minutes.
On the porch of the of the farm house.
Prayer circle - if you could only here the prayer being offered.
A final moment with mom.
Everyone is perfect!
LET'S DO THIS!
Then came time for Meredith and her father to share a few tender moments. I am always impressed by how much fathers keep it together on wedding day. They are usually the most vulnerable on the inside, but cautious on the outside.
Meredith and her father - must have moment for her.
The next chapter of their wedding day was “First Look Without Looking.” They wanted the time to be near one another for a few moments, but they did not want to see each other until the ceremony. They began with simply hearing each other’s voice. Then they shared a tender reach across the edge of the door.
"I can see her arm!" He's her kind of goofball.
After “first look” we try to give both the bride and groom a little time to regroup and get prepared for the ceremony. And it gives us time to get some photos of guests gathering, signing the registry, and finding their seats. And if there’s way for me to coax the guests into a cheer, I get this shot as sort of a surprise. Plus this gets the guest excited.
Folks finding their seats.
Let's have a cheer for the couple!
And if I need to climb a tree, I will. Because wedding!
Once the guests are seated, the formal seating of grand parents and parents begins. This is followed by the minister and groom. Then the bridesmaids and groomsmen file in. After a punctuated pause and closing of the curtains, the guests are filled with anticipation.
Minister Tony Madden with some last minute instructions. Pay attention and don't be nervous.
Did I mention their dog was part of the ceremony?
All the pretty girls lined up and ready!
The bridal march begins. And you can hear folks humming “Here Comes the Bride.” The curtains are pulled back to reveal Meredith and all her beauty. It was magical!
The afternoon light was perfect!
The ceremony begins with her father passing her to Cody.
The minister, Tony Madden, takes control. Vows are exchanged.
“You may now kiss your bride!”
The formal bridal party exits. And this is known as “There Goes the Bride.” All immediate family joins the bridal party for formal photos and family photos. We start with a group shot and work our way down to specific families and pairings.
All family and the bridal party.
And there's always a moment when it's ok to be silly because the important part is over.
After family photos, we adjourn to a new location for photos of just the bridal party. And the property at The Barn at High Point Farms has plenty of great locations. We headed to the front meadow with High Point Ridge as the backdrop.
One of my favorite images!
After the bridal party photos, we took Mr. and Mrs. Snyder to a new location. These are my favorite photos to shoot. I get the newly weds all to myself. We give them some helpful direction and insure the dress is always perfect too! And we always include the magic of the location. The Barn at High Point Farms has so many beautiful locations. We choose an upper area to put the barn and reception behind and below them. Then we headed to the long hallway of trees where we were joined by animals! And a baby goat!
If you could only hear that little goat . . . just adorable.
THIS - we love this!!!
The next chapter of the day was the formal introduction of the wedding party.
Which leads right into toasts. Then dinner was served and everyone had time to mingle and relax.
DJ Fred Watson was always working the crowd.
After dinner, we moved into the dance hall portion of the barn. This area has tremendous air conditioning. Did I mention it was July? Humid? Hot? The room has great light from the chandelier and strands of twinkle lights.
Epic First Dance - another favorite photo.
The father-daughter dance is magical.
Then the mother-son dance was so tender.
Did I mention the great AC? Seriously, the guests danced and danced and danced. Dancing lasted way into the evening. Fred Watson kept everyone moving and grooving!
Nice work Fred Watson. You made this reception super fun!
After a few slow dances, the guests prepared for the sparkler send off. The outside lights on the barn gave us a nice backdrop of light. The guests lined up and they sent Meredith and Cody off in rustic, romantic style.
All things should close with a great kiss. Meredith & Cody did not disappoint!
So you may be asking, “Is this a typical wedding day?” Regarding the events, yes. Regarding the venue, all the folks that helped, and the amazing family and friends, for the most part this is one was unique in that Meredith and Cody trusted the wedding professionals they hired. And they let us do what we do best. And in the end, that’s what really makes a great wedding. They got to get married and got to enjoy every little moment, and all the big moments too. This blog is only a handful of the photos that make up the full collection. The collection contains 23 galleries and more than 800 photos. If you want to see the complete collection, go HERE.
And you may ask, “How did Meredith and Cody feel about the wedding pros?” Go HERE to read the review they gave us on Wedding Wire.
We love what we do! And we love helping you have the best wedding day possible. Email, call, text or skywrite to see how we can help you. And if you are in the Chattanooga area, we are expanding and growing to work in that area more. Will we be at the Pink Bride Show in Knoxville on Jan 8, 2017 and then in Chattanooga on Jan 29th. Stop by and say, hello."
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