2016 was a banner year for me! I shot more weddings this year than ever and have already booked significantly more weddings for next year than I had booked at this time last year. I spread my wings this year traveling to Murfreesboro for an engagement session and wedding, to Sewanee, Tennessee and to Louisville, Kentucky for weddings. Here are my favorite shots from each wedding I did in 2016.
I don’t know about you but when I get an out of state call, I hesitate to answer. Usually it is a marketing call or spammer. However, being a small business owner, I have to answer them. I was so glad I answered the random call from New England last spring Kirsten and Kenny were having a destination wedding in Townsend and were interested in my services. After a good conversation and maybe even a Facetime meeting (which I do often with prospective brides who life out of town), Kirsten and Kenny decided I was their wedding photographer.
They came into town from coastal North Carolina, where they resided, to do their engagement session at their wedding venue, Country Manor Acres. As we roamed all around the property for pictures, I got to know them and became more and more excited for their October wedding day. They were so much fun to be around and very obviously in love.
The wedding rolled around and was one of the most amazing and funnest weddings I have participated in. I like to allow couples to tell their own stories about how they met, got engaged and specifics about their day. I hope you enjoy Kirsten and Kenny’s perspective on their wedding day!
When and where did you guys meet?
Kirsten: I was lucky enough to be stationed in Wilmington for two months during my primary care rotation while I was a student in PA school. I met Kenny during this time, and we continued to date long distance while I traveled around the rest of NC, finishing out my studies. After I graduated, I couldn’t wait to find a job closer to Wilmington, and closer to Kenny!!
What were your first impressions of each other?
Kirsten: I thought he was hilarious, charming, and of course, very handsome!!
Kenny: Words really can’t describe it…I just instantly felt drawn to her and somehow already connected.
Tell me about the day Kenny proposed.
Kirsten: He first took me out to our favorite seafood restaurant on the water, the same place he took me on our first date. Dinner was awesome, as it always is there, and the weather was perfect that night. He then casually suggested going for a walk along the beach after. He took me to a stretch of beach where we actually had our first kiss! It was here he dropped to one knee and asked me that little question I’d been waiting for him to ask me for SO long!! It was so romantic, and perfect in every way!!
Why did you decide to have a destination wedding? What challenges came with doing that?!
Kirsten: We both put a lot of weight into the location of our wedding, and really wanted to pick just the right spot to start off our marriage with good vibes and good fortune!! If we had chosen Connecticut, where I’m originally from, it would have really only been meaningful to me. And if we chose North Carolina, where he’s lived the majority of his life, it was in the same way mostly only meaningful to him. And so it was, our first big compromise as a couple, to come up with a location that was equally meaningful to both of us. We had been to Tennessee for the first time together, on a spontaneous birthday trip a couple years ago. We both remember that trip as being one of the best we’d had together, and we remembered the beauty of the Smoky Mountains as unprecedented. The very moment we drove onto Country Manor Acres property, with its rolling 50+ farm acres and picturesque view of the mountains, we both just instantly felt that we had found our venue!
Doing a destination wedding of course had many challenges! We couldn't meet with our vendors very easily, and had to rely heavily on online reviews. But I have to say our vendors were all so amazing and so willing to work with us, even from 8 hours away! It was just another reason we love Tennessee so much—the people there are amazing! If we had to do it again, we wouldn’t have changed a thing!!
Kirsten, tell me about your wedding dress:
Kirsten: I bought my wedding dress from a boutique in Westerly, RI, called “Melissa Ashley Brides.” Both my mother and maid of honor helped me pick it out earlier this year when I had come home to visit. It was actually the very first thing I had purchased for the wedding, before we even had our venue location or wedding date picked out….I was that excited about this dress! The weird thing was, it actually was nothing like what I had in mind! It was one of those things, where I tried it on, and instantly fell in love with it, and still am! I wish i could wear it every day!
What one moment of your wedding day sticks out as your favorite moment for each of you?
Kirsten: Hmm…That’s a really hard question! I think it may have been going around the property taking our pictures together! My heart was just so bursting with love and excitement, and it felt like a very special time we shared together. !
Kenny: I really couldn’t really pick just one moment, it was all perfect!!
What was the most emotional moment of your wedding day?
Kirsten: For me, it was walking down the aisle with my Dad, seeing Kenny’s handsome face, and knowing my life was about to be forever changed for the better!!
Kenny: Our vows, definitely.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
Kirsten: Only if I could have made it last longer!!!
Kenny: Not a thing.
How are things going now that you have been married for a few weeks?!
Kirsten: I feel like I am living a dream still, and am very, very blessed to have such an amazing husband to spend the rest of my life with!!
Kenny: Things are going great. We’re looking forward to finding a house, a boat, and planning another vacation together just like our honeymoon!
Knoxville Wedding Photographer - Suzanne McNeil Photography
Venue - Country Manor Acres
Flowers - Melissa Timm Designs
Catering - Bradford Catered Events
Band - Jeff Jopling Band
Bridal Boutique - Melissa Ashley Bride
Cake - Family
As my fall sessions are starting to wind down, I wanted to share some of my favorites from Brad and Margaret's Engagement Session take at Ijams Nature Center in Downtown Knoxville. If you haven't visited Ijams before, it's a "must see" place. Check out their website to see more.
Brad and Margaret are getting married next summer in Knoxville. I'm excited about their downtown wedding. They traveled to Knoxville from Nashville for their engagement session.
I wanted to share my favorites from Nick and Sarah's Engagement Session a couple of weeks ago. Because their wedding venue, Country Manor Acres, is in the mountains, they decided they'd like to have a more urban feel to their engagement session. We headed to Downtown Maryville, Tennessee. The park there has such a great variety for picture spots. From bridges and tunnels to vintage advertisements painted on wall, it's all there!
I'm looking forward to their wedding day coming up in March. They have some fun things planned for their reception! Can't wait to photograph their day. Thanks Nick and Sarah for entrusting me to shoot your wedding!
Daniel and Haley have known each other since they were babies. They grew up in the same church. When she was ten years old, Haley was very quick to realize that she had a crush on Daniel. She found herself “stalking” Daniel and drawing pictures of them together as a couple. When they were in their early teens, their church group headed to the beach where Daniel finally asked for Haley’s number. (Come to find out, Daniel had had a crush on Haley for a while.) They started officially dating a week later, and as Haley puts it, “We’ve been stuck together like glue!”
Six years later while back at the beach, Daniel proposed to Haley. Daniel acted like they were doing down to the beach for pictures, but he had other plans! He told a family member that he was going to propose and had her change from camera to video to capture the whole special moment!
To help with all the planning and "day of" coordination, Daniel and Haley hired the Margaret Claire's Wedding and Events. I had never worked with the ladies at Margaret Claire's before, and let me tell ya, they do an amazing job! Lindsey spent the entire day with Haley and her crew making sure everything was perfect and went off with out a hitch. Another fun thing about the wedding was that Daniel and Haley's wedding was the first event in the brand new barn at Cedar Pond Farms. What a gorgeous place!
When shopping for her dress, Haley tried on dress after dress, but her mind was still on the one she found at David’s Bridal early on. “I was in the dressing room when my mom picked my dress out and brought it to me. I saw it in the bag and loved it. I had family and friends with me at David's Bridal that actually hated the dress. My mom just laughed (at our friends/family) and said that she knows what I like (and brought the dress to me).” After several trips to different bridal shops, Haley returned and snatched it up! (Side note – Haley’s dress was gorgeous. I loved the bottom of her dress and the blush undertones! It photographed beautifully!)
"Things are going great now that we are married, but I'm not sure it has completely sunk in yet considering I catch myself still calling Daniel my boyfriend. Jamaica was awesome, and the most fun we have ever had. I wish we could have stayed there for 6 months!"
Overall, it was a wonderful day! The vendors made this day amazing! There were so many people who made this wedding possible. Check out the list of vendors at the end of this post. Congratulations Daniel and Haley! Many, many more years!!
Knoxville Wedding Photographer – Suzanne McNeil Photography
Venue – Cedar Pond Farm
Wedding Planning/Coordinating – Margaret Claire’s Weddings and Events
Flowers – Cachepot Floral Garden
Catering – Buddy’s BBQ
DJ – Keith Smith
Hair – Sarah Darden
Make-Up – Jesse Rucker
Cake – Jessica Childress