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The Number One Tip to Personalizing Your Wedding

Atlanta Wedding Photographer, Monday Night Brewing, LeahAndMark & Co.

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

I know. If you’re reading this then you probably know how I write and I probably know that some of you just wanna say F*ck all the wedding decorations! No one remembers the chairs/ the flowers/ the centerpieces! I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about everything else and that.

When you start thinking about what it means to personalize your wedding – most people think about how they’re going to decorate their reception. Or make their wedding cake special and specific to them. Or what colors they should use. Or the food. Going down the list of things and seeing how they can make it more “personal”. Whatever that means.

Atlanta New Year's Eve Wedding | NYE 2017 | Wimbish House

What does it mean to personalize your wedding? Does it mean going through a catalog of things, or collection of Pinterest boards and finding the items that could mean something about the two of you? Finding the items that somehow randomly relate to what you and your partner are?

You really want to personalize your wedding? Tell your story. Share your story with all of your guests.

That’s where you begin. That’s the core of how you go about personalizing your wedding. You can pick things, colors, and decorations you like – but you should also find different ways to show your guests aspects of your relationship with each other. Your history together. Meaningful items that show where you come from, or tell how you came together – and that show your lives and adventures together up to this point. Your wedding isn’t just a celebration of this one ceremony, or day. It’s a celebration of the time you’ve spent together, the time you will spend together – and your love.

This might require some extra work that you hadn’t thought about (I’m sorry – but it’s true). You may have to sit down together and actually write out the story of YOU (you both) and go over your history together. Right from when you met, to when you broke up that first time (or 2nd, or 3rd time) to when you supported each other through the really difficult moments. And all of your successes along the way that led you to this point. Let’s be clear – beyond all the cheese and annoying wedding industry marketing – you’re making history. Your wedding is a historical moment in your lives.

No matter how cynical I might be at times – I realize how special weddings are – and I’m reminded of their importance during every. single. ceremony. Getting married is an amazing thing – the culmination of a relationship up to this point in life – and at the same time just a marker on the way to greater things. Another event to add to the story of you two.

How do you personalize your wedding? Find ways to share your story with your guests.

(and make sure your photographer takes photos of EVERYTHING.)

Questions? Ask us down below in the comments section. We’ll make up some good answers.

 

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Atlanta. Wedding. Planning. Advice. How to. Personalize. Your. Photographer. Photography.

Wedding Day Schedule Driving You Crazy?

Creating a Wedding Day Timeline isn’t nearly as difficult or challenging as people think it might be.

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

Whether you’re having a large wedding or a small wedding – a lot of the same stuff will happen. You get dressed, you have a ceremony, you have a party – and the entire time you have a photographer following you around and even directing you sometimes for your amazing wedding photos.

If this is your first wedding (insert some kind of joke here) – then you might not know how a regular wedding day goes down. Well that’s why we’re here! To help you out with that! Below is a regular, traditional, awesome wedding day schedule and timeline. This example is partly from your photographer’s point of view and covers an 8 hour timespan. During your planning, START with this wedding day timeline and then MAKE IT YOUR OWN. Seriously – jack this thing up. Twist it around, turn it inside out – it doesn’t matter – it’s YOUR WEDDING RIGHT?

Just don’t touch the allotments for photography… just kidding… no really… don’t touch them.

SAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE (8 hours of coverage)

1:00 PM                YOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS ARRIVE & BEGIN MAKING AMAZING PHOTOS

Your wedding photographers will photograph “details” such as the dress, shoes, jewelry, bouquet, and of course cover all of your preparation process such as getting your hair & makeup completed, and having a great and relaxing time with your bridesmaids as they get ready as well.

2:00                        BRIDE GETS DRESSED

Now is the time to finish getting ready. Don’t worry, your photographer doesn’t have to photograph EVERY part of putting on the dress. What we like to tell brides is “We’ll be right around the corner. Go ahead and put your dress on, but the moment you feel comfortable and covered enough – but not “finished” – let us know and we’ll come in and start photographing. What is comfortable is different for everyone, some people are VERY comfortable and others want to be more covered. We leave it up to the bride to decide.

3:00                        GROOM MAKES FINAL PREPARATIONS

It’s at this point that we’ll move over to the groom’s side of things. Since we generally don’t need or want photos of the groom and his groomsmen literally putting their pants on, we’ll arrive when they’re nearly finished getting dressed and just start photographing everything – quickly. Same as the bride’s side, we’ll capture all of the “details” and then also group photos of all of the groomsmen.

3:30                        FIRST LOOK (and then bride & groom portraits)

You won’t have to worry about planning this at all. We’ll find the location, set the groom up in position, and then bring the bride in to surprise him. We kick everyone out of the area so it’s a private moment between the two of you… and your photographers…

4:00                        WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

After your first look and portrait session, we’ll bring in your wedding party to complete all of the wedding party photos with the two of you.

4:30                        HIDE THE BRIDE & GROOM

Of course – the groom doesn’t always stay hidden and often times will walk around greeting guests – but generally this is the time for the entire wedding party to relax, get a drink, or cool off/warm up if the weather’s being crazy. Your photographers will take this time to finish photographing the ceremony site and ceremony details. They may also sneak in and photograph the reception space if it’s ready as well.

5:00                        CEREMONY

This is where you get married!

5:30                        FORMAL FAMILY PHOTOS & COCKTAIL HOUR BEGINS

We RUN the family formal session like we’re on a crazy mission to get them finished in record time. We do this EVERY TIME too. Literally. I don’t care if you have 100 people or 10 people for the family photos – we will GET. THEM.DONE. and then you can still get to the last part of your cocktail hour. We want you to be able to spend as much time with your guests – this is about you and not us stealing you away just for our amazing photos (well, it’s not ONLY about that…)

6:00                        PHOTOGRAPHERS PHOTOGRAPH RECEPTION SPACE (before guests enter!)

6:30                        RECEPTION BEGINS!

6:45                        GRAND ENTRANCE ANNOUNCEMENTS & First Dance

7:00                        DINNER IS SERVED

7:30                        SPEECHES & TOASTS

7:45                        SPECIAL DANCES (Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, etc.)

8:00                       OPEN DANCING

8:15                        CAKE CUTTING

8:30                        BOUQUET TOSS

9:00                        PHOTOGRAPHERS CONCLUDE THEIR COVERAGE

Wedding Day Timeline | Couple in the Mountains

Of course this is just a sample wedding day timeline – but it should give you a good idea of how your wedding day can be scheduled – and you can see how all of that time just literally disappears. Sure – when your photographer tells you that their base package starts at 8 hours of coverage you think to yourself 8 hours is plenty of time! But when you actually write it all down from start to finish – 8 hours of photography coverage can seem like just enough or not enough to cover everything.

Sample Wedding Day Timeline 

Something to note – your reception can happen ANY WAY YOU WANT. Sure there needs to be some sort of ‘dinner’ portion for your guests – but other than that – the order is UP TO YOU. You can do all of the things DURING DINNER if you’d like (special dances, toasts, etc.) or you can space them out as the reception moves along. You can skip them. You can have a 30 minute hora dance spectacular if you’d like (totally had that happen – and it was AMAZING.)

Questions? Ask us. Need more help? Check out our good friends at A Practical Wedding.

 

Wedding Day Timeline. Example. Atlanta Wedding Photographers. LeahAndMark & Co.

 

Callanwolde Fine Arts Wedding Venue & Weddings

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Callanwolde Fine Arts Center | Wedding | LeahAndmark & Co.

A Callanwolde Wedding at Callanwolde Fine Arts is a great wedding venue because it has the ability to transport you to a different place – in a good way. The grounds have a certain feeling to them that isn’t like any other venue in Atlanta. I’m not sure what it is exactly. But it’s not any one thing individually. It’s the combination of everything that’s there. From the gardens, to the grassy areas, and the trees and flowers – to the building facade that’s reminiscent of a castle but not exactly. To the side patio area that almost feels like you’re in the French countryside. Or the grand staircase with the back lit stained glass windows. Or the classroom feelings of the up stairs getting ready spaces. All of it. It all transports you to a place that doesn’t feel so modern, or even so Southern the way that so many other wedding venues in the South tend to do. 

Callanwolde Wedding Fine Arts Venue

Callanwolde Wedding Fine Arts Center

Callanwolde Wedding Fine Arts as a wedding venue lends itself to your creativity. You can really set it up to go in a few directions. Classic and timeless. Or a little big magical and fairy-like… or even medieval and whimsy if you like. Or just plain, flat out elegant (that’s a thing right?)

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Your photographer will definitely have an endless supply of ideas at Callanwolde as well. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate and it’s raining – there’s a good bit of cover to work with around the building – and you can always sneak a few minutes outside when the rain does take a break.

We’ve photographed several weddings at Callanwolde Fine Arts and they’ve literally always, always, always been amazing. 

Atlanta Wedding Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. Callanwolde Wedding Fine Arts Center. The Best Photographers. In. Atlanta.

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Biltmore Ballrooms Atlanta Wedding Venue Weddings

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Biltmore Ballrooms | LeahAndMark & Co.

A Biltmore Ballrooms Wedding in Atlanta is amazing because of the spaces’ ability to transport you to a place that’s elegant and unique and unlike many of the other ballrooms or event spaces in Atlanta. Elegant, classic, aristocratic – those are some of the words that would appropriately describe the Biltmore Ballrooms. Especially that feeling of aristocracy and elegance. Contrary to what their brochures might tell you – you cannot achieve that same atmosphere at any hotel ballroom here in Atlanta. 

Biltmore Ballrooms Wedding | Atlanta Georgia Photographer LeahAndMark

Biltmore Ballrooms Wedding Venue

And of course – not only are the actual ballrooms an amazing feature of the wedding venue – but the front entrance facade is spectacular. With high 50 foot columns and that old-money richness to it – your wedding portraits will look like they couldn’t have been made anywhere else but at the Biltmore Ballrooms. 

Biltmore Ballrooms Wedding | Atlanta Georgia Photographer LeahAndMark

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Obviously – once people see the ceiling of your ceremony or reception space, they’ll immediately recognize where your got married. Because that ceiling is iconic, famous, and a landmark in Atlanta. 

We’re often hard pressed to truly recommend certain venues – but recommending the Biltmore Ballrooms for your wedding is absolutely of a required consideration at the very least.

Here’s the thing about a Biltmore Ballrooms Wedding. It’s A LOT OF CLASS right in the middle of Atlanta. You’re transported to a different location. You don’t feel like you’re in a modern city full of glass and steel. You may feel like you’re far away on a grand estate – maybe even the actual Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. Yeah it’s that amazing in the ballrooms which is crazy when you think about it because it’s literally just one large room. Oh, but what a large room it is. You won’t regret having your wedding there. Trust us. Trust yourself. 

 

Biltmore Ballrooms Wedding. Atlanta Wedding Photographer.

Check out the Biltmore Ballrooms Website here.

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Need help planning and ideas? Check out this book by our friend Meg.

C & R | Wimbish House NYE Wedding | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Wimbish House; Wedding; New Year's Eve; NYE; Atlanta Wedding Photorapher LeahAndMark

Having a Wimbish House Wedding? On New Year’s Eve?! I’ve said it before and I’ve said it over and over again – when you have a New Year’s Eve wedding you are deciding to host a New Year’s Eve PARTY. Don’t try to be low key about your wedding if it’s on NYE. You’re asking people to spend a party holiday with YOU – so you need to put on a party.

Wimbish House; Wedding; New Year's Eve; NYE; Atlanta Wedding Photorapher LeahAndMark

I mean you don’t HAVE TO – because I’ll never say you HAVE TO do anything for your own wedding (but seriously – if you invite more than 10 people then… don’t be lame and have a party.)

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co.

Wimbish House; Wedding; New Year's Eve; NYE; Atlanta Wedding Photorapher LeahAndMark

I’ve photographed several new year’s eve weddings and fortunately – they’ve all lived up to the hype – they’ve all had crazy crazy great parties for the reception. It’s simple really. In fact it’s almost easier to have a great party reception on New Year’s Eve because people are in the mood to party. That’s not always the case with other wedding receptions. Sometimes people are just like… laaaaaaaaaaaaaame. And then other times they’re just tired. But on NYE – they won’t be. 

Plus – all you really need to get the party going is a decent DJ, party hats, and some noise makers. Seriously – if you have party hats all of a sudden it’s a CRAZY party. In fact – if you want to have a great party reception at your regular, non-NYE-wedding – then just make sure you have enough fun party hats. And Sunglasses. AND alcohol. 

Wimbish House Wedding

Wimbish House Wedding Photos

I know I know – alcohol is not a must have – but if you want to play percentages and just have a better chance at a better party… do not have a dry wedding. A dry wedding is a 100% reason for guests to leave your reception early – like right after the cake cutting early – or even right after dinner. Because damn if most people are gonna hangout with you til midnight without any alcohol. What are they? 12 years old? I mean… okay unless it’s a religious decision then just label your wedding reception as a ‘lock-in’. You know, like back in your Christian teen youth group days. Remember those? A “Lock-In” and you raised money by saying you were going to talk or dance or sing the whole time/every hour or something. And you were raising money for your youth group to go on some missionary trip to help indigenous peoples of wherever with their poor lives and poor living. 

Oh – but your NYE wedding. Right. 

New Year’s Eve Wedding in Atlanta

Wimbish House Wedding; New Year's Eve; NYE; Atlanta Wedding Photorapher LeahAndMark

So what else do you need? Food. Snacks. Well – at least a great dinner. This is not the time for one of those receptions where you just serve heavy appetizers and think that people will be satisfied. F*ck that. You need to serve them dinner and have a decent amount of dessert. Now you don’t need to buy the $1,000 cake – just have more than enough cheap cake and spend the money on the alcohol – cause then that cheap cake will TASTE AMAZING.

In conclusion, Caroline and Ryan are AMAZING and Full of Awesome. 

Wimbish House Wedding; New Year's Eve; NYE; Atlanta Wedding Photorapher LeahAndMark

Wimbish House Wedding; New Year's Eve; NYE; Atlanta Wedding Photorapher LeahAndMark

Atlanta Wedding Photographer. Wimbish House wedding. New Year’s Eve Wedding. LeahAndMark & Co.

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Need help planning? Check out our friends.

The Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding Venue Weddings

Big Canoe, The Chimneys, Wedding, Jasper Ga, LeahAndMark & Co.,

What’s great about a Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding is that they basically give you the keys for the entire day and let you get down to business. Decorate, party, finish up. Oh. AND It’s BEAUTIFUL there. The outdoor patio area ceremony site with the golf course and lake backdrop is stunning. You’re surrounded and embraced by the forest canopy while you’re getting married and everyone is there to watch you profess your love for each other. What more could you ask for????

Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding Photos - Ceremony Location

With a large wrap around covered deck – rain is no problem either! Because you can have your ceremony indoors if you want, or if it doesn’t start raining until your reception – people can STILL be outdoors enjoying the spectacular North Georgia forests. 

We may be a little biased too – because this is where Leah and I got married – so yeah – we think it’s all kinds of great because we ourselves have AMAZING memories from our own wedding that took place there.

Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding Photos - Groom Shot over the brides shoulder

Oh yeah! And one of the best parts is that it’s pretty easy to just rent several large homes down the street to house all of your friends and family and wedding party guests. So you’re never too far from the venue and the party can continue long after you’ve made your exit from the reception!

Granted – I have a bit more knowledge about a Chimneys at Big Canoe wedding because we had OUR wedding there – but also because I’ve photographed weddings there as well. It’s an amazing venue and the layout really lends itself well to serving your guests a good sit down dinner while also making it so that they don’t just stay in their seats. They will want to walk around and mingle and dance! 

Definitely consider them for your wedding!

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Need other help planning? Check out this book by our friend Meg.

Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding. North Georgia Wedding Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co.

M & J | Cator Woolford Gardens | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding photos and this is M. & J. They’re awesome. And I’m not just saying that because duh they paid a ridiculous amount of money for us to photograph their wedding so what else would I say about them? I’m saying they’re awesome because notably – they smiled SO MUCH DURING THEIR WEDDING DAY. Some people are nervous or anxious or just… fine – and really – one of the things we say about weddings is that it’s definitely a day when you shouldn’t hold back. Don’t Hold Back. F*ck being cool and really just… let yourself Love Out Loud.

Some people have infectious smiles and laughs and happiness – M & J are those people (at least they were those people during their engagement session and definitely during their wedding.) And honestly – infectiously happy people are some of my favorite kinds to photograph. Duh. Sure I write words and talk like some kind of cynical fucker full of fuckery but come on – I photograph weddings for a living. Deep down… ah nevermind – check out these photos! And all the GREEEEEEN.

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding 

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SEEEEeee. Right from the start when we arrived – M. was totally totally being amazing and happy infectious and I knew the day was going to be all kinds of YESSSSSSSsssss.

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Alright – now I know you can’t see much of the house from these photos – but M. & J.’s house is purposefully decorated and the design throughout is… I LOVE IT MAN. Shut up. I can say that. Because I’ve been in their house and you probably haven’t so you didn’t get to see all the cool stuff they have – without it feeling cluttered and without it all coming from IKEA. Like my house. But I’m working on it okay? I am.

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Here’s the thing about first looks – sure they help things out logistically (since you can cut out 30+ minutes between your ceremony and reception) – but they’re a completely different type of session than only a portrait session. I know it seems like a little small thing – but the anticipation, the setup, and the angles that you get because of a first look can’t be recreated well from only a portrait session that takes place after the ceremony. Not always better – just always different.

But also – I’ve photographed several Cator Woolford Gardens wedding (s) but damn – the gardens were on point and impressive that day. The cloud cover with no chance of rain really helped as well. AND IT WASN’T HOT. Perfect? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

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OH YEAH. And we got to work with a couple of our FRIENDS at this wedding – the always excellent and amazing sounding Luna Strings and the most magnificent Reverand Deanna Lancaster! It was seriously like a wedding vender get together – and it’s always fun to see your friends ‘at work’ right? Especially when they don’t suck. HA. Although I’m not so sure they would say the same about me – but it’s all good.

But now – with these last few words – I hit the 500 word count. So.

M. & J. You. Are. Awesome.

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Wedding Venue: Cator Woolford Gardens at the Frazier Center

Wedding Photographer: LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Planner: Terri – Everything and More Events 

Ceremony Music: Luna Strings

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Need help planning and ideas? Check out this book by our friend Meg.

Atlanta. Wedding. Photographers. LeahAndMark & Co. Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding Photos. Photography.

The Social Goat Wedding Venue Weddings

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

We recently photographed a wedding at the Social Goat Bed & Breakfast and you know what? It was kind of amazing. No really – amazing. And comfortable. And relaxed. And exactly the way the couple wanted their wedding to be. What else is that I had no idea the Social Goat even existed until recently – and I literally lived just around the corner from it. It’s just south of Grant Park (and by just South I don’t mean like the next town south, I mean I think it still counts as being IN the Grant Park neighborhood.)

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

The Social Goat Atlanta Wedding Venue

Right. The Social Goat is a large house that serves as a bed & breakfast and also has a large ceremony space in the backyard. Perfect for a backyard wedding if you don’t have friends with decent backyards, or you don’t have one of your own. Cool huh? 

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

Atlanta Backyard Wedding Venues

And it’s just nestled in Grant Park and easy. Oh and plenty of room for you to get ready, and your wedding party to get ready, and your guests to have fun. Oh and not only that – but the grounds are well kept with a bit of quirk and uniqueness – so your photographer will have plenty to work with. And you’ll look amazing in your photos. Trust us. You will!

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

 

Simple & Intimate Decatur Square Weddings

There is something to be said about choosing to have a smaller, more intimate wedding near Decatur Square in downtown Decatur, Ga. Sometimes you don’t want or need a venue that can hold 200 guests. Sometimes you just want a more relaxed atmosphere without all of the usual trappings of a WEDDING. Sometimes. And even then – you might want a small wedding but you still want it to feel like a wedding and not just a party or random dinner. You know what we mean?

Decatur Square Wedding in Downtown Decatur, Ga.

So you figure out what that compromise looks like to you and your partner. A great option that we recently photographed was this wedding that took place at the Iberian Pig restaurant right on Decatur Square in downtown Decatur, Ga. The couple confirmed the complete upper loft level for their ceremony and their guests. It was a simple and easy ceremony – and once that was over with – they got on with the  evening and enjoying their time with all of their friends and family that were in attendance. It was almost… too easy I suppose. But it was just right and perfect for them. And that’s really what we always hope for our couples. We want you to have the wedding that’s perfect for you

Iberian Pig Wedding in Decatur, Ga.

Whether that does mean renting out a banquet hall, or an entire farm, or just a medium sized room in upstairs of a restaurant. Have the wedding that you want to have and then get on with enjoying your lives. Right? Right. Perfect.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Hightower Falls Wedding Venue in Cedartown, Ga.

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls is a wedding venue located in Cedartown, Ga. and WOW. It basically has everything you’d ever want from a countryside wedding venue. It’s about an hour away from Atlanta. It has a waterfall. A real waterfall, not just a baby pretend 10 ft trickle of a waterfall. It has a barn (which is kind of required these days for countryside venues right?) It has RUINS. And not just the foundations and some pillars. It has an entire building structure of ruins. (Very stable too so don’t worry.)

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls Wedding Venue

What else… oh yeah it also has a few horses and a giant open grassy field and forests and trees. And a decent river creek area. OH and a wooden bridge. So yeah. Hightower Falls is kind of the perfect wedding venue if you’re looking for ANY of those things – or if you just want ALL of them. Because it’s nice to have options right?

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co.

One thing you’ll want to make sure you do – is schedule plenty of time for your photography. I’m not just saying that because I’m a wedding photographer – I’m saying that because you have SO MANY different and great backdrops for photos that you’ll want to spend more than 15 minutes on your portrait session. SERIOUSLYYYYYYYY. Look at this place! 

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Countryside Wedding Venue with a Barn & Waterfall

 

2017 Top 10 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the U.S.

First – this list is the MOST OFFICIAL of Official Lists EVER in regards to the Top 10 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the U.S. for this year of 2017. 

2017 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the U.S.

So. Here are the best cities and/or locations for destinations weddings in the United States? Easy. We got this. 

  • Atlanta, Georgia

    • Okay – I’m completely biased here. But really – Atlanta is a great destination wedding location! In fact – many, many, many of our past couples that have gotten married here in Atlanta – don’t actually live in Atlanta. Why? Because it’s a great central location – with an amazing airport that everyone can fly into very easily. Plus – the food is crazy good. The city is super, SUPER. And you have about a billion amazing wedding photographers within walking distance of any area of the city. Seriously. I should know – we compete with ALL OF THEM. And honestly – they really are ALL AMAZING. 
    • But more so – the night life here is great (not that I know) and the food amazing (have I said that already?) and well – the rates for everything here will save you a good bit over the wedding rates in places such as New York or Southern California (well, really ALL of California). 
    • Also – no matter what kind of wedding venue you want (farm, mansion, museum, industrial warehouse, etc.) – you can find that in or near Atlanta. Okay except a beach.
  • Sea Island, Georgia

    • Hey! You wanted a beach wedding? SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA is your place. 
    • Because Sea Island is basically a private island and you can only stay there if you’re at one of the two resorts, OR you happen to own a house there. So you’ll be avoiding all of the crowds of people that are visiting the nearby public beaches… alright that totally sounds bougie and elitist – but come on – it’s YOUR wedding. You’re not inviting EVERYONE anyway. 
    • Oh yeah – and from the chamber of commerce – tourquoise waters and pristine beaches – it’s like the Carribean except, not. And you can do all the cool beach resort things. 

  • Florida Keys, Florida

    • It’s still technically winter and I’m still absolutely wishing I was at the beach. SO. Another beach destination.
    • Because COME ON. It’s the FLORIDA KEYS. You KNOW it’s super cool down there. And your wedding will be super beautiful. And you don’t know anyone else that’s even had their wedding down there. You will literally be THE ONLY ONE you know who’s ever gotten married down in the Florida Keys.
  • Aspen, Colorado

    • Seriously. Pick a medium to small town in the mountains in Colorado and done.
    • So we picked Aspen. Because HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO COLORADO AND SEEN THOSE MOUNTAINS?
    • It’s F*cken AMAZING.
    • Now your wedding will automatically be F*cken Amazing just because of those mountains and all the mountain-y things 
    • People at the office will be bragging about how they got married at their Farm Barn and you can be like F*CK YOUR FARM. I got married at 8,000 feet. (or 13,000 if you get married at the top of a ski resort)

  • Las Vegas, Nevada

    • You know why you pick Las Vegas for your wedding destination? Because all you do is tell people when to show up and you’re done. 
    • Literally – pick a hotel/venue, buy their package where THEY DO EVERYTHING – and then you’re done. People won’t even be bugging you about what they should be doing because it’s Vegas and they won’t really want to see you until your wedding day anyway. UNLIKE other resort destination weddings where you basically have to babysit the whole group to make sure they feel welcome or some other BS. 
    • And if anyone asks you where you got married you can just say Aspen, Colorado.

  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    • I don’t know. I saw a photo and thought it would be a cool place. 
    • Maybe it’s too much like Aspen, Colorado.
    • Ah forget it – just get married in Aspen.
  • Coronado, California

    • I grew up there. (Silver Strands military housing yeah!) And it’s winter right now. I miss the beach. 
  • Wisconsin/Michigan

    • For us liberals that grew up on the coast – we would never, ever, think about having a wedding in Wisconsin or Michigan
    • But that’s too bad because it’s totally cool and beautiful there 
    • I know – Wisconsin and Michigan are two states and probably different from each other
    • But are they really? I don’t know – I’ve pretty much lived along the coastal states my whole life (except that part in Arizona – but even then everyone just escapes to San Diego whenever they can.)
    • So Wischigan. I’ve actually photographed 4 weddings there and one thing I can say is that THOSE PEOPLE ARE F*CKEN AWESOME. They love them their beer and I love them for loving their beer. 
  •  

  • Hawaii, Hawaii

    • Pick an island
  • PNW (Pacific Northwest)

    • If you like trees they have lots. Pick a state up there. Make some #LiveAuthentic #Kinfolk #GetOutside Instagram posts 
    • You can visit my cats that live with my sister in Portland, Oregon
    • There are a lot of waterfalls apparently
    • But no really – visit my cats in Portland.

2017 Top 10 Best Wedding Destination Locations in the U.S.

How to have a completely stress free wedding

Weddings are bonkers. I’m not sure they were always this way – but today – they’re often just flat out crazy bonkers full of bonker balls and more bonker bonkers. (Say bonkers again! I dare you!)

SO. You want to have a stress-free wedding. Is that possible? I mean yes – of course it’s possible. But how do you do that? I googled it. And many of the tips consists of basically doing as much planning up front as possible. And/or paying someone else to take on the stress so you don’t have to stress – which means that you hired a great wedding planner to do everything for you. 

How to have a Stress-Free Wedding

That’s just transferring the stress. Unless you don’t have to stress out about money. Many of us do. We’re not supposed to because ‘money isn’t real’ – but it’s real enough to our tiny brains that it might as well be real. (I’ve been listening to too much Alan Watts lately so bear with me.)

Oh yeah. Back to it. How do you have a completely stress free wedding? IDK. Be dead. That’s about the only way to be completely stress free. (But even the dead don’t seem to be stress free sometimes – that’s why they’re like, haunting us or you know, hanging out around.) OH. Right. Focus. 

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

OKAY. The way to have a completely stress free wedding IS……. to just get married and then have your wedding later. (Like elopement style.) BOOM! Take that! Ha! NO seriously. It’s totally a viable option. What’s getting married anyway? I mean – ‘legally’ it’s some paperwork. Spiritually it’s two people being all I promise these things to you. Community-wise it’s people around you that celebrate your Union and LOVE… Arguably – it’s NOT most of what the wedding industry and magazines are selling. Unless you’re talking about amazing wedding photos. Those are ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED or else you’re just not really getting married. (I kidddddddddd. No I don’t.) (Yes I do.)

SO. You get married. And then you’re like – aw yeah f*ckers try to stress me out now! I’m already married! HA! 

Okay. Sure there are logistics – but much fewer than all the planning that goes into the BIG GIANT IDEA OF A WEDDING. And you might get some blowback from your family – but come on. It’s your life. 

IT’S YOUR LIFE. (Both of you.)

Simple Wedding Ideas With No Stress

And that means that other people will just deal. They will. And you know what. No one is going to kill you. They’ll still want to celebrate with you somehow – but they won’t kill you. 

But really. As I write this – I’m asking myself WTF AM I DOING. I basically have a job because people spend A LOT OF MONEY on WEDDINGS. There aren’t any real photographers that make an actually good living off of just ‘elopements’. (I know I know – sure there are. They’ll email me. But come on – we know they’re not making a living off of just elopements.) 

Maybe I’m just… I like you to have options. All of them. I want you to have all the options you want and not think that you have to go through with some kind of wedding that you don’t want. 

But if you don’t want amazing wedding photography – then you’re dead to me. DEAD TO ME.

Sincerely,

Mark Tioxon