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The Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, TN

Monday, April 30, 2007
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Kelly Powers and Dempsey Parlier had a 2005 destination wedding in Gatlinburg. While helping her daughter plan the wedding, Kelly's mother Cathie heard about me on The Knot message boards and contacted me about photographing the wedding. I'm so glad that she did!

When I arrived and saw the baker transporting the cake up to the ballroom, I knew that it would be a fun wedding. The cake, like the couple, was really fun and quirky.

I began with photos of the girls getting ready in their suite on the top floor of the Clarion. From the large windows in the room, we could see the chapel across the street. The weather was wet, but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits.

For destination weddings, the small chapels in Gatlinburg can offer a great value. They often have inclusive packages at reasonable rates which can be perfect for many couples. However, in order to keep the cost low for each couple, much of the business plan is based on performing a large number of weddings and/or selling add-ons (such as photography). Anything that cuts into their profit (such as an outside photographer) may not be welcome, and as a result I have seen a few brides run into problems on the wedding day.

Fortunately, Kelly & Dempsey were married at Sugarland Wedding Chapel. Unlike some chapels that restrict guest photography so that you have to purchase expensive prints from them if you want to have any photos of your own wedding, Sugarland was much more accomodating. They did allow me to take photos as long as I stayed in one place and did not use flash so that I wouldn't disrupt the ceremony or interfere with their photography.

Afterward, everyone walked across the street to a reception in the Clarion hotel ballroom. Kelly's wedding was my first opportunity to work with one of my favorite DJs - Jim Ogle of Special Notes. DJs, like photographers, are not all the same. A good DJ does make a difference and can even make my job much easier, helping me produce the best reception photos possible.

Here are a few favorite photos from the day. Happy second anniversary, guys!
Powers/Parlier Wedding Anniversary April 30

Powers/Parlier Wedding Anniversary April 30

Powers/Parlier Wedding Anniversary April 30
Powers/Parlier Wedding Anniversary April 30
Powers/Parlier Wedding Anniversary April 30
Powers/Parlier Wedding Anniversary April 30
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Riverwood Mansion, Nashville, TN

Sunday, April 29, 2007
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Last year Kathryn Graf and Brandon Eiff said their vows in a garden ceremony at Riverwood Mansion in Nashville. We started off with some photos of the bride getting ready and then headed outside for a few photos of the girls. Luckily, we had great weather and could take advantage of Riverwood's beautiful grounds.

It's always a pleasure to work with couples like Brandon & Kathy. After planning everything perfectly down to the last detail, Kathy was able to relax and really be "in the moment" on her wedding day. They were both so expressive, and their happiness was contagious. Everyone had a blast at the reception. Even after waving goodbye to the couple, many guests stood around for a few more minutes, not wanting the night to end.

Ideas for other brides: Kathy did toss her bouquet, but they had a candy toss for the kids instead of having a garter toss. They also had a classic get-away car.

Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29
Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29
Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29
Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29

Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29
Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29
Graf/Eiff Wedding Anniversary April 29
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Holy Family Catholic Church, Brentwood, TN

Sunday, April 22, 2007
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Lindsey Reinhart & Brad Rice were married at the Holy Family Catholic Church of Brentwood last year. It is a nice, modern church with high ceilings, and the priest was kind enough to allow me to shoot from the front of the center aisle during the ceremony. Afterward, the wedding party piled into a stretch Hummer and everyone headed over to the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin for the reception which featured a sit-down dinner and live band. Lindsey's hair was short, and she wore it in really cute ringlets. She also had a cool french bustle on the back of her gown (my favorite style), and the bridesmaid dresses had pick-up skirts to match.

Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
Reinhart/Rice Wedding Anniversary April 22
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On Location, Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
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Knoxville CityView Magazine has an April wedding edition on newstands now. The editor said that he wanted to include the best wedding photographers in the East Tennessee area, and I'm honored that they asked to interview me and showcase one of my photos in their feature story.

If you run into an issue (Pilot seems to be one of the best places to find one), be sure to check it out! Here is a scan of the page featuring my photo.


Published in Cityview Magazine's Wedding Edition

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Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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Shannon Baca & Ben McVay were married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown Knoxville on Saturday afternoon. IC is a really cool old church with high ceilings, stained glass windows, and a nice alcove around the altar. The church coordinator and priest were really great at working with me in trying to get the best photos for the couple and even allowed some moving around during the ceremony.

If rain on a wedding day really does bring good luck then these two are going to have one very lucky marriage. I did get a few shots of Shannon and her bridesmaids outside before the downpour. It was chilly, but they were all great sports about it. Everyone was in such a good mood and so obviously happy for Shannon and Ben. The heavens even seemed to participate in the ceremony with a few loud crashes of thunder at key moments.

I liked that Shannon's gown had a bit of color by way of a green sash that matched her bridesmaids' dresses. Her cake also had the same colored ribbon around each tier (and was delicious).

The reception featured a sit-down dinner and DJ at the University Club on Kingston Pike.

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14 

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14
The shot below was one of the last of the evening, taken in a little hallway just outside the restrooms.

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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