Images from photographing a gorgeous wedding in Chicago with the lovely Jody Savage Photography! Make sure and check her out, she's one talented lady!.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting an astounding business woman in Alpharetta name Rawan. While searching for the perfect gown to take to Iceland I ended up contacting Berta directly as I had my eye on one of their new beauties. They were kind enough to point me in the direction of a new store just 20 minutes from my home and I was so excited to hear about it! After making an appointment to meet with their shop owner to discuss the possibilities of photographing one of their gowns I was blessed to gain a friend in Rawan. Her strength and hussle is inspiring! Not only does she run this beautiful store but she's also a mother to three beautiful children. Elite Pour La Vie is most definitely the best place in Atlanta to find the perfect couture wedding gown for your big day. With their array of designers, you are sure to find the perfect dress to impress everyone as you walk down the aisle. They carry Berta, Marchesa, Zuhair Murad, Baracci, and more! These designers have dressed countless celebrities for red carpet events and Elite Pour La Vie even carries some of those incredible designs. Even if you aren't getting married, they carry dresses perfect for your next black tie event, prom, or night on the town. Be sure to make an appointment soon as they are appointment only and book up fast! You don't want to miss out on an opportunity to meet Rawan and be dazzled by the dresses in her incredible store.
Dress: Marchesa from Elite Pour La Vie | Model: Chloe M. Hall | Hair & Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | Floral Design: Lindsay Coletta | Vow Book: Wedding Story Writer | Venue: The Greenhouse
For the past 8 years I've done my fair share of traveling. From Europe to Asia I've taken trains, planes, and cars in search of a new adventure. Traveling is something that has become a part of my soul. It enriches my life and makes me a better person each and every time I do it. If there was some way I could get paid to travel the world for the rest of my life, it would be the greatest life ever lived. All that being said, and after all the amazing things I've seen so far, nothing could have prepared me for the way that Iceland stole my heart.
With its unforgiving, rugged landscapes and intense weather I was a bit nervous to go there in the winter. Most of the pictures I'd seen of this place feature luscious green valleys and fields of purple flowers as far as the eye could see. Incredible to say the least, but I wanted to see the Northern lights so summer was out of the question. After reading what felt like 100 blogs on Iceland in winter, 50 packing lists, and watching a dozen youtube vblogs I felt confident that winter was the choice for me. I am sooooooo thankful that I did. It was everything and more than my imagination could have dreamed up.
From the moment I stepped off the plane in Reykjavik I was blown away by the kindness of the people and the fresh supply of pressed juices that were available! I remember thinking as I drove away from the airport at 5 a.m. that first day and watched the sun rise over the Mars like landscape that I had entered a world unlike any I'd seen before. The city of Reykjavik is sea of grey and white Scandinavian homes with pops of red, yellow, and blue throughout. A quiet town, I found myself feeling very relaxed as I checked into my tiny airbnb. You can walk almost anywhere in town and as I started to explore I came across dozens of the cutest coffee shops, organic grocery stores, and of course the famous Icelandic hot dog stands within blocks of my place. This tiny city is worth a good day, but the beauty that lies beyond it's limits is what I enjoyed the most. Renting a car was the best thing I could have done.
My first drive in Iceland occurred the morning I arrived as it was so early in the morning I couldn't check in until late afternoon. I pasted through the mars like terrain around the airport and into what seriously looked like my Nebraska roots. Flat and barren, I could see miles and miles around with not a tree in site. As the drive continued I started to wonder if I'd flown all the way to Iceland just to see landscape I could see at home! I was considering turning around when I saw the first set of mountains around the bend, glittering with dozens of tiny waterfalls. My heart was instantly filled with excitement and everything I saw after that first mountain ridge was nothing less than brilliant. I had spent so much time and energy looking at pictures and videos of Iceland that seeing it for myself brought tears to my eyes. Literally.. I was crying in the car listening to Icelandic news radio because before my eyes I was witnessing something I'd dreamt of for years. I stopped at every waterfall along the 1 and pulled off onto an over pass that allowed me to hike up to a view of the famous black sand beach of Vik. I'm told I got a very rare day that first morning as the sun rarely ever shines in Vik. I didn't even take my camera out because I assumed I'd have plenty more opportunities to take photos and I wanted to take it all in. The sun was bright and lit up the beach below making the contrast of white foaming water on the black sand pop like nothing I'd ever seen. I didn't even need the winter coat I'd packed and I sat on the edge of the cliff for over an hour just watching the tide come in and the birds fly circles around their cliff side nests below my feet. It was only 9 a.m. and already I was smitten. Around lunch I found my way to a hot dog stand where I tasted my very first Icelandic hot dog. Not being a hot dog fan myself, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had heard this was the thing to do in Iceland and I wasn't going to miss out. I ordered one dog wrapped in bacon on a bun grilled to perfection, covered in onions and some sauce I thought was mayo, but didn't taste like anything I recognized. A little afraid I took a bite and it was everything I wanted in that moment. Delicious and cheap and the perfect introduction to Icelandic cuisine. I may or may not have eaten 10 more before departing the island. I drove for 13 hours that day and it didn't feel like nearly enough. When I got back to the room that night I couldn't sleep because the images of what Id witnessed were still with me.
Over the next few days I picked up several friends from the airport. Some new, some old, all so very talented. I am so thankful to have gotten to share these experiences with them. I was lucky enough to book several client sessions around Vik and spent a lot of those first days driving around to meet with them in random locations in the south. We saw the Reynisfjara black sand beach, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and the Solheimajokull Glacier. A highlight of our time in the South was a dazzling display of the Northern Lights that put on a show for us the night we finished our biggest photoshoot. Not knowing what to expect of the Northern Lights, I had low expectations, but this display took my breath away and we were told it was the strongest show they'd seen in Iceland for some time. God truly gave us a reward for all the hard work we'd accomplished that day. Sitting in the back seat of our rental with our model, the ever so sweet Erika, I couldn't take my eyes off the sky, tears streaming down my cheeks yet again. Streaks of white lights danced to it's own beat in the sky above us surrounded by stars. It disappeared as quickly as it came but it will be forever burned into my memory. I can still see it and feel the emotions I felt at that moment when I close my eyes. It was one of the most profound travel moments I've ever experienced.
After three days of finishing up client shoots, we set out up the east coast of Iceland for the first time. Although the morning didn't start out the best (note to self, don't drive down gravel roads in Iceland if you don't want to pop a tire), we made it to our first official stop of the road trip. The Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. I think we all were blown away by this place as it was unlike anything any of us had ever seen. Never in my life did I think I'd be standing at the foot of a lake filled with icebergs floating out to sea. The very lagoon the iceberg believed to have sunk the Titanic came from. It was a site like non other we witnessed on the trip, and by far my favorite. We stopped in Hofn and I had the most incredible pasta dish with Icelandic Lobster at Kaffi Hornid. If you're ever in Hofn, you HAVE to stop here to eat. It's seriously incredible and the staff is very kind. From Hofn we drove along the rugged coast, through snowy mountain fjords, and up the scariest snow covered road I've ever been on. There was a moment I think the whole car thought we might slide down the mountain to our deaths. Luckily that didn't happen and that evening we arrived in Akureyri. The charming capitol of the North is full of great food, nightlife, and shopping. Another highlight was found nearby at the Myvatn Natural Bath. Definitely skip the Blue Lagoon and come here. It's half the price and we got drink bracelets which were so worth the extra money. For three solid hours we bathed in the geothermal pool and watched the sunset of the volcano Askja.
The next part of our journey was very snowy so we couldn't see much, but it led us to the magic that is the snaefellsnes peninsula. I thought we'd seen all the beauty we could possibly see already but I was wrong because this little peninsula was by far the most scenic place yet. Our first day there we explored the famous black church and spend a good amount of time making friends with the sea lions that were playing on the rocks in a nearby lagoon. I spend an afternoon alone traveling the whole way around stopping at every side road I could find. I climbed to the brim of a snow covered volcano, sat on the ledge of a tall cliff over looking a black sand beach, and witnessed the most violent ocean waves I've ever seen crash on the rocky shore just steps in front of me as big white puffy snowflakes fell quietly to the ground. I don't even have words for that drive, and the pictures don't come even close to doing it justice. I will thank God everyday for allowing me to be in that place at that exact moment in time because it left me speechless. Those days are the best parts of a trip. The ones you know you will never be able to recreate because they only happened that way once in a lifetime. That night we all met up in the town of Stykkisholmur which if you didn't know is where Walter Mitty stops to sing Kareoke and drink beer from a glass boot. That bar doesn't actually exist, but it is a nice bookstore. Down by the harbor there is a restaurant you have to try. Please order the fish burger... just trust me. You won't regret it. Best meal of the trip by far, and the end of an amazing journey. Iceland stole my heart and changed me in ways no where else has. It left a fire inside me. While I was ready to be home, I am already planning my next trip to this land as I know there is still so much I didn't get to explore. I'm not sure one person could every really explore all of it the way it was intended to be explored. I can't thank it enough for giving me all the gifts that it did, but I will take them with me everywhere I go.
Styling your engagement session is a very important part of your wedding design process! Finding the right team to make your vision a reality is very important, and Lauren really knocked hers out of the park. Together, she and I designed this springy fine art engagement session with all the special touches that will tie this shoot in with her upcoming wedding at Yonah Mountain Vineyards. From her flowy blue dress from ASOS.com to her gorgeous Mrs. Box and save the dates from Written Word Calligraphy, it all came together perfectly. When planning your engagement session make sure and consider your details! They will make your session stand out and you can reuse them on the big day!
It doesn't get any better than photographing a woodland themed wedding at the gorgeous Foxhall Stables in Atlanta, Ga. My favorite part of being a fine art wedding photographer is capturing each and every detail of a couples wedding day like it's a work of art. I arrived early to Sarah & John Morgan's big day because I was worried the rain might prevent me from styling the details the way I wanted to. Luckily it only poured for a short time and we were able to design the perfect wedding day timeline for these two! Foxhall Stables is an amazing venue just south of downtown Atlanta and anytime we get to shoot there is a pleasure. With the amazing light in every room, we were able to shoot film during the duration of the day, and Sarah & John Morgan's love shined through every frameJoin us in Switzerland this August for an incredible vow renewal with these two incredible people. I'm so excited to see them again and make more images like these together.
1 year ago I had the pleasure of photographing an amazing couples wedding at a beautiful farm in Georgia. I met Kristen at a Panera Bread and we connected instantly. Her kind heart was evident and her desire for beautiful wedding photos excited me as it's not often you meet your ideal client and connect in this way.
When planning my trip to Iceland I was also in the planning stages of an Anniversary session for sweet Kristen. Never in a million years did I think this girl would travel across an ocean for such a short period of time, just to be photographed in Iceland's incredible landscape. I am so thankful that she did. Nothing gets my heart more excited than finding a couple that is willing to hike around in the cold and windy wilderness, that is Iceland, in wedding attire to be photographed on film. If I could specialize in something for the rest of my life, adventure wedding photography would be it. This day in particular was very cold and a little wet, but we persevered! We even made friends with some Icelandic horses! Thank you Kristen & Tyler for not only trusting me with your wedding photography but also with your friendship. I'm so glad we got to spend this day together creating beautiful anniversary photos for you in this amazing country.
One of Tri’s highlights of our recent trip to Vietnam was driving a motor bike up the famous Hai Van Pass, a war torn highway in Vietnam known for very little car traffic and incredible ocean views. A few days before while in Hoi An we called around to a few hostels in Da Nang about renting the bike and dropping off our luggage so we wouldn’t have to drag it with us on the trip. We came across Memory Hostel and I couldn’t recommend it more. They were so kind, easy to work with, and the place is incredibly affordable for how nice it is. Having stayed in many hostels in the past this one is 4 star at the least. With it’s stylish interior, clean bathrooms, and top notch customer service, it’s the perfect place to stay in Da Nang. If we had more time, we would have definitely stayed a few nights to check out the busy bayside town but we had to stick to the itinerary and set out toward the Pass.
The traffic getting from Memory Hostel to the Pass was a little intimidating for first time motor bikers but we took our time and managed to make it through the honking whirlwind of drivers who don’t seem to follow any sort of speed limit or traffic laws. You become part of the flow, the bikes pulsing like a beating heart as they seamlessly made their way to their destinations. Never before have I felt so alive driving in a city.
SAFETY TIP: Make sure you ask for helmets when you pick up the bikes. Most people don’t wear them, but I think it’s a smart idea. You may also want to wear a long sleeved shirt and jeans despite the heat. You’ll thank me later when you arrive not completely covered in dust and dirt.
As we approached the mountains the road became steep and winding, but easy to maneuver as there were only a few other bikes and us. It’s still smart to honk when turning corners as that is the customary signal and occasionally you might run into a car traveling in the opposite lane. The farther up we drove the harder it became to not stop every 5 second to take a picture as the views became more and more incredible. We found a place to stop and take it in around one of the very first turns. We took a seat on the red plastic chairs, bought some water bottles, and played with the sweet puppies that lived there. After we climbed up to the viewing rock they had there and looked down on Da Nang, now just a small speckled memory in the distance.
A bit further up we came across an old war lookout station where we were able to climb up and view the twisting turning road ahead. Covered in wildflowers, the viewing station rewarded us with a stunning 360 degree view of the ocean and jungle around us, giving us a good idea of the drive ahead of us. There are some pushy sales ladies at this stop selling jade jewelry and trinkets. They mean well, but if you don’t like to be hassled, try parking down the road a bit and walking back up away from them.
Past the viewing station we were startled to discover a large cow on the side of the road, just on the edge of a steep cliff. We are still amazed at their ability to cling to that edge and not fall over, but somehow they do. The Hai Van Pass is full of adorable cows, goats, dogs, and chickens, so if you are an animal lover you’ll be in heaven.
If you time the drive right, you can stop for lunch in the gorgeous bay town of Lang Co. On a sunny day, the water in this bay is second to none, the most brilliant shade of cerulean blue we came across in Vietnam. The view from the ridge is definitely worth a picture stop and the final drive through the harbor and into the town leads you to a quiet fishing beach with a cheap and delicious seafood restaurant. It was so good Tri ordered 3 separate meals for himself. The best part is, you can eat in the open air overlooking the bay and they have wifi making it the perfect time to upload all the photos you took on the way! The cemetery behind the restaurant is also worth a look as it is beautiful and full of intricate art work.
The final portion of our trip was a bit different than we had planned. After Lang Co we somehow missed the rural road and ended up finishing on the highway. I would recommend getting a paper road map so you can easily see where you are going. We just relied on google maps and I think the road wasn’t loaded properly. None the less, the drive was thrilling and I would take it again in a heart beat. Be sure to read our post about Hue to learn more about the ancient city and former home to the Nguyen Dynasty and the Forbidden Purple City.
There is nothing we love more than meeting new film photographers and sharing our love of film with them! I am so grateful for the wonderful attendees that came to our gathering at Swan House. Your images are so stunning and I'm so proud of you! Anytime you plan a workshop or an event for other people all you want is for everything to turn out beautifully and for everyone to be happy! There are so many factors in getting the equation right, and boy did this day give us a run for our money! After being up all night long the night before with my sweet friend at the ER, we somehow were still able to create something lovely for our attendees and I am soo very proud of them and all of these images they took. Congratulations to all of you!
Images by our attendees: Taylor Sellers Photography, Hannah Forsberg, Holly Von Laken, 4 Corners Photography, Morning Light, Lauren Liddel, Rachel Brewer, Kate Lamb, and Alexis June Weddings.
Hair & Makeup: Jennifer Nieman | Floral Design: Lindsay Collette | Rentals: Crush Vintage Rentals | Vow Books: Wedding Story Writer | Dress: The Sentimentalist | Ribbon: Silk & Willow | Food Styling: Sun in my Belly | Venue: Swan House | Invitations: Rachel Brewer | Images by: Taylor Sellers, Hannah Forsberg, Holly Von Laken, 4 Corners Photography, Morning Light, Lauren Liddel, Rachel Brewer, Kate Lamb, and Alexis June.
As seen in Volume 5 of Utterly Engaged Magazine
Styling and Concept: Honey and Cinnamon Italian Wedding Planner| Fine Art Film Photography: Tulle & Grace | Bridal gowns: Rime Arodaky | Male attire: Agnetti Boutique | Bridal accessories: Kelly Spence Bridal Accessory Design| Rings: Immago Jewels | Florals: ISA Events | Stationery and calligraphy: Cecilia K Boschi | Foods: Smile Beauty and More | MUAH: Mariangela Palatini | Female model: Elina Vasilkovskaya | Male model: Samuele from 4Upper Models | Wedding Vow Books: Wedding Story Writer
Tri & I could not be more different when it comes to things we enjoy while traveling. Tri’s idea of the perfect weekend trip is lying on the beach for hours on end, lazily taking afternoon naps in a hammock between two coconut trees, and having a few drinks by the pool before retiring for the evening.
I on the other hand want to get up at 6 a.m, watch the sunrise over an iconic landmark, walking 10 miles in every direction possible looking at everything I possibly can and photographing it, trying all the best restaurants yelp has to offer, climbing every mountain summit and ocean trail, pretty much not stopping until late in the evening when I crash only to wake up and do it all again.
As I’m sure you can imagine, these two things can really clash when traveling together, so some thoughtful planning is always in order to assure no arguments are had and everyone’s soul is refreshed. My strategy is always balance accomplished by tons of research.
A good example is our most recent trip to Bali. Tri was there for work and I was there to play but we got two full days together to do whatever we desired. After reading blog after blog and watching a dozen travel vlogs I came up with the perfect itinerary.
- Sleep in and eat a long breakfast by the pool. (for Tri)
- Take a walk into town to rent a motor bike for transportation (for Whitney)
- Drive to a quiet, secret beach we read about and descend the 500 stairs through the monkey forest. Swim for three hours (for Tri)
- Head back to the hotel and get ready for a romantic date night on Bali’s seafood beach and walk through local markets and nightlife. (for Whitney)
By the time we made it back to the hotel we were both tired and very satisfied with the things we got to do. Was I bored at the beach for that many hours. Absolutely, but I brought a book and got in the water and took some pictures which helped pass the time while Tri relaxed. You have to compromise in a marriage. At the beginning of our traveling relationship we fought so much we thought for sure we’d never be able to travel together. In fact I took a solo trip to backpack Europe after we got married, and he took several work trips and didn’t invite me because we were so afraid of ruining it for each other. Marriage can’t be selfish. You have to learn what the other person needs and how to be ok with giving them that. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have finally learned that lessons years later because the trips we are taking together now are so much more meaningful than the trips we took alone.
TIP: Get dressed up and go out for a trip planning date. Bring your travel guide and a pen and paper and make a list of the things you both want to do. See what things are the same and make sure you make time to do a few important items on each others wish list as well.
Hoi An, Vietnam. One of the more romantic cities we visited on our tour of Tri’s home country. Nestled on the Eastern shore in the center of it all, Hoi An is a must stop if you are planning a Southeast Asia trip. From the ancient city, to the INCREDIBLE food, and the eco tours, you are sure to fall in love with this magical city of lanterns.
Having just come from 2days in the craziness that is Ho Chi Minh City we were delighted to be in this quieter place that immediately brought us peace.
Old town Hoi An is located on the beautiful river Thu Bon River. Because it has been so well preserved for so many year UNESCO has declared it as a WORLD Heritage Site and we instantly could see why. The buildings with their ancient architecture and incredible details blew us away. Unfortunately tourism has taken over this area a bit, so you’ll have to do some walking to find a more authentic experience. It however THE PLACE to get anything custom made. From suits to leather shoes to dresses, skies the limit in Hoi An. You can walk up and down the streets of Old Town and haggle with 20 different seamstresses if you want and in return you will be rewarded with an inexpensive, custom tailored item that is sure to wow people back home. My husband bought two custom suits for only $100 each! That’s a steal!
In the evenings you can take a stroll long the river and light a wish lantern, or take a boat ride with a local for less than $5. (Be careful getting into the boats as there is a long drop and no ladder. Whitney almost fell in the river lol!)
Don’t even get us started on the street food. We could have eaten meat sticks all night long, but we did finally head to the local market for an authentic, and incredibly delicious dinner. You won’t find anything more local than Chợ Hội AnMarket. We walked in here two nights in a row and were greeted with stall after stall of incredible local cuisine, prepared in front of you while you sit on plastic stools. For us this is the only way to eat in Vietnam. If it doesn’t seem a little unsanitary and if you aren’t sitting on a plastic chair chances are the food will disappoint you. We learned this the hard way after a few meals at nicer restaurants. Just try not to think about it and dig in, you won’t be disappointed.
Places to Eat:
Cho Hoi An Market
Bánh mì Phượng
Things to do:
Coconut Eco Tour and Cooking Class: This was a super fun day. It starts out with a ride down the river in traditional circle boats. You can catch crab on your way to the cooking school, and when you arrive you learn to make a 6 course meal including homemade rice paper. Everything was sooo good and they gave us all the recipes and special utensil to take home.
Rent a Bicycle and ride around the neighborhoods and the rural rice paddies that lie on the outskirts of town.
Day trip to watch the sun rise at My Son. We didn’t get a chance to do this, but I’ve heard great things. If you like temples and ancient history, this is for you.
Get a custom made suit or dress!
Where to stay
There are a lot of local homestays in Hoi An which we highly recommend for a more authentic experience! Avoid the beach resorts, they aren’t as nice as the pictures make them look.
Venue: Piedmont Driving Club | Hair & Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman| Photography: Tulle & Grace
Planning: Wrennwood Design | Floral Design: Bowman & Clark | Hair & Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | Location: Carl House | Dress: Moniquel Huillier | Assistant: Chelsey Dellinger