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Botanical Garden, Knoxville, TN

Monday, July 6, 2009
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I met Kendra when she was the maid of honor at Candi's wedding last year, and I am honored to have been her wedding photographer this year. Kendra and Matthew's ceremony last Saturday was at The Knoxville Botanical Gardens on what turned out to be a very hot and humid day. Happily, the girls got ready in the lower level of the house which has stone walls and stayed nice and cool. In addition to all of the beautiful plants and trees, the stone walls and buildings are really what make this particular venue so unique and charming. The reception later that evening was held at Regas Restaurant in downtown Knoxville.

Although they didn't want to see each other before the ceremony, the couple did have a short "meeting" on either side of a heavy door.

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Kendra was expecting a romantic kiss on the hand from her loving, soon-to-be husband...

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Guests were provided with fans and cold drinks to beat the heat before being seated for a short but sweet ceremony in the greenhouse.

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Rather than a candle or sand ceremony, the couple performed a unity tree planting which was especially appropriate given the venue.

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

After a bubble exit and some dress adjustments, we did a few quick formal, bridal, and couple photos in the gardens.

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

It was great seeing Candi again as she was Kendra's matron of honor, and Kendra's brother also received leave from the navy to attend the wedding.

Creekmore / Hutzler Wedding June 27, 2009

Kendra and Matthew's wedding was my last for the year as I am now 31 weeks pregnant (and huge). It's going to be tough taking off from weddings until next year, but I couldn't have ended this year's season with a better couple. Special thanks to Marcus who was wonderfully helpful as always and to Sondra of Leban Photography who graciously withstood the heat to help me with this wedding.

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Brother's Cove Lodge, Sevierville, TN

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
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Kristin Elise and Ben were married in an outdoor ceremony at Brother's Cove Lodge overlooking the Smoky Mountains. Being my first Jewish wedding, I expected a whirlwind day, and I wasn't disappointed. The day was a wonderful mixture of religious symbols, rituals, traditions, and joyous singing, dancing, and celebration. If you've been to a Jewish wedding before then you probably have some idea of how much fun they can be. Even though it was a bit hot that day, the couple and guests were all able to let loose and really enjoy themselves in a way that not many wedding groups do. It was a true celebration of marriage.

Before the actual ceremony, the bride was joined by all the women who danced, sang, and took turns offering her advice and best wishes. This kabbalat panim is really a wonderful ritual in that it allows all of the women to come together and share their love and support with the bride. Meanwhile, Ben was joined by the men at his tish outside where they also sang and danced.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Once everyone was relaxed and caught up in the happy mood, the men encircled Ben and then sang, danced, and carried him into the lodge to see Kristin Elise for the first time. When the men came in with him and joined the women, the whole building filled with singing and stomping. It was a very exciting moment for everyone, especially the bride as she nervously waited for Ben to make his way across the room to her.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

During their bedeken ceremony, Ben lowered Kristin Elise's veil over her face, she helped him into a traditional white robe, and they also signed their ketubah. Then it was time for the guests to make their way outside to the tented ceremony site.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Their Jewish ceremony included many rituals and participants to make the day more meaningful. It was especially nice to see so many of their family and friends involved as they took turns reciting and singing blessings in both English and Hebrew. Their parents also took turns coming forward and offering the couple blessings and words of love and support.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

I especially loved their ceremony, but I think that the dancing is probably one of the most unique aspects of Jewish weddings. Of course they had a long and jubilant hora at the reception which included a brief period when the guests lifted the couple into the air on chairs. Receptions are usually happy events, but this crowd was especially jubilant. Everyone participated in the laughing, singing, dancing, and general celebration.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Although Marcus was a huge help as always, I also want to especially thank my friend Alecia for coming up from Atlanta to shoot with us. Being in my third trimester now, I couldn't have done it without her help. With the 3 of us shooting, we ended up with many wonderful photos, and I didn't have to worry about getting in the middle of a crowded dance floor where I could have been knocked down or bumped. Check out some of her great shots from the day (including Ben being danced into the bedeken and Kristin Elise being raised on the chair) on the Alecia Lauren Photography blog.
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Sequoyah Hills, Knoxville, TN

Thursday, May 28, 2009
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Sarah & Matt Fielden were married at New Market Baptist back in March but waited until everything turned warm and green to do their photo session together. Sarah had two beautiful dresses for her wedding, one for the ceremony and one for the exit, so she used both for the photos. She also had sexy shoes that just had to be shown!

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

Sarah & Matt's Couple Session

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Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
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In order to fully take advantage of their beautiful venue, Erin and Ellis chose to do their bridal/couple session on a day after the wedding. Couples who really value those special photos together will often choose to do the session on a later day, and there are several advantages. This allowed the wedding day to be more relaxed. We chose a day with better weather than the actual wedding day. Erin looked her best for the ceremony and didn't have to worry about getting dirty or disheveled during the photos. We could spend more time on the photos, and the couple didn't need to see each other before the ceremony.

Erin and Ellis spent a few additional honeymoon days at Blackberry Farm after the wedding so I went up on a weekday for the session. We practically had the place to ourselves, and the staff members at Blackberry were very accomodating. I would like to especially thank the group sales manager Lisa for being so flexible and helpful.

Erin and her family have horses in Kentucky so we were excited to borrow one of Blackberry's beautiful animals during the session. Erin is a real country girl at heart (her dog went to hunting school while they were in Tennessee getting married), and I'm glad that she brought along her boots for a few photographs. It was a great day with wonderful people, and I'm thrilled with the resulting photographs.

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

Erin & Ellis's Couple Session

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Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Monday, May 11, 2009
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Erin and Ellis tied the knot in an intimate ceremony on Saturday, and I have to admit that I am in love with their venue. Blackberry Farm in Walland is an amazing little hotel hidden away in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. It blends country charm and beauty with modern luxuries to create a relaxing retreat, the perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding celebration.

Blackberry has been called a Ritz-Carlton in the woods, and their service and hospitality live up to the reputation. If you really love the beauty of the mountains but prefer not to shiver all night in a tent while swatting bugs and eating out of cans, you'll love this place. Blackberry Farm is about as far from "roughing it" as you can get. With their award-winning food and wines, exquisite rooms and cottages, and four thousand acres of maintained fields and forest, this is the sort of place to go if you enjoy being pampered. For those who can afford the very best, this is it - the very best place to stay or get married in the Smoky Mountains. Can you tell that I am impressed?

As we all know, last week was WET in East Tennessee, and the bride wasn't the only one worried about having a rained-out wedding. Erin and Ellis live in Kentucky so we hadn't met, but I email with my brides quite a bit before the wedding. Erin is just so sweet and easy-going. I really wanted her to have an amazing wedding day so I was checking the weather daily and crossing my fingers for a dry Saturday. Luckily, the rain let up for a few hours in the afternoon and evening, and the couple had a touching ceremony against a beautifully pastoral backdrop.

When a beautiful venue and a great couple come together with their family and friends to create an amazing wedding, I am so honored to be there to witness and document the day. Those are just the best days to be a wedding photographer.

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Wedding days can be really stressful and hectic, but it's great when couples actually have some "down time" to just relax and be in the moment. This wedding was about as stress-free as any I've seen. While the guests were transported to the ceremony site, I had a few free moments to photograph Erin in her cottage. She's such a gorgeous bride.

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

Eusner/Sullivan Wedding May 9

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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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