If you were to ask anyone in Charleston the best place to see the peak of spring and azalea blooms, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens would be in the top 3 every time. So when Erin contacted me about booking her elopement there and wanted me as her photographer I was flattered and overjoyed. If I were to have a "bucket list" of the sessions I'd love to do as a photographer, an elopement there at Magnolia in the spring would be fairly high on that list. There just isn't a landscape more stunning to me than Magnolia in the peak of azalea season. This year's weather was a little unpredictable, we had cold weeks, we had hot weeks... basically the azaleas starting blooming in February this year so I was a little nervous about when peak would actually be. But it didn't disappoint.
Erin and David, or better known to each other as Oranch and Richardson, met several years ago teaching at the same school in Texas. They had planned their elopement during their spring break and were driving to Charleston in order to bring along all the details and accessories of their big day. There were just a few details Erin had in mind that were very important for them and their big day here. They wanted a Christian Pastor to preform their ceremony and a show-stopping bouquet. I took the search to Facebook and was able to find them the perfect match for both.
As the date got closer is when things started to look a little uncertain as news of a possible pandemic had broke and states began closing schools and international flights were being grounded. We kept in contact frequently as their date approached, and since they were driving there was no immediate fear of a travel restriction. And since it was an elopement we didn't have to worry about any gathering restrictions at the time. Instead we chose to focus on the positives and the excitement of their day.
Erin and David were able to apply for their marriage license Downtown on Monday, March 16th and were actually given their license without the 24 hour waiting period due to the uncertainty of government offices remaining open in Charleston. Kind of a bonus for them, it saved them a trip and they were able to spend the morning of their wedding with one less thing to stress about. The weather that day was looking gloomy at first, we had some rain in the morning. We were all on edge and worried about not having the sun. As it turned out though, the light overcast was perfect for lighting, and it kept Magnolia pretty empty of many visitors allowing us to have the grounds completely to ourselves.
For details, I brought along my good friend and colleague, Lindsay of Lindsay A. Weber Photography. She has an amazing eye for detail shots from the creativity and arrangement to the depth of field in the focus. And considering both of our schedules were dwindling with cancellations, she was the one person I wanted to work with one last time before a potential lock down. She did an amazing job, as expected, and we both really felt like our creativity and posing was enlightened by each other's presence.
Once Erin and David were dressed and ready to go, Len Ripley the pastor arrived and we were ready to get started. But not without an official first look. And since Erin had already told me what she wanted for their ceremony, I knew this would be the perfect spot for this- surrounded by the azaleas and Spanish Moss.
Erin really wanted her ceremony to take place where they were surrounded by trees and low hanging branches and Spanish Moss. She admired the look of those images on the Magnolia Plantation website so we chose the spot directly on the main lawn in front of the Plantation House. Between Lindsay and I, we were able to capture their ceremony from two points of view to really highlight the intimate setting while they exchanged words of prayer, rings, and vows.
They said, I do!
Once the I's were dotted and the T's were crossed on the marriage license, Pastor Ripley made his way home and the remaining four of us had the entire plantation to ourselves, a photographer's dream.
From the iconic bridges...
To the enchanted hidden gardens...
To the tunnel of blooms...
And no wedding is complete without the first dance...
"It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart Without saying a word you can light up the dark Try as I may I could never explain What I hear when you don't say a thing The smile on your face lets me know that you need me There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me A touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall Now you say it best when you say nothing at all All day long I can hear people talking out loud But when you hold me near you drown out the crowd Old Mister Webster could never define What's being said between your heart and mine The smile on your face lets me know that you need me There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me A touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall Now you say it best when you say nothing at all The smile on your face lets me know that you need me There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me A touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall Now you say it best when you say nothing at all"
When You Say Nothing At All by Keith Whitley (played from my iPhone speakers)
Or the sharing of cupcakes...
We just didn't want the day to end, it was so perfect, from beginning to end.
Congratualtions to Mr. & Mrs. Erin and David Richardson!