Sometimes we actually forget how amazing some of our bridal sessions are! That's mainly because we can't publish a photo of the bride in her gown before the wedding. Some brides choose a bridal session, while others choose engagement portraits. Whether displayed at the reception or given to the groom as a wedding day gift, we love photographing both bridal and engagement sessions! Bridal sessions are always fun because it gives us a preview of how beautiful our brides are going to look on their wedding day. We photographed Amanda a few weeks before her wedding at The Clubhouse on Highland. The home has so much character and it was the perfect place for bridal portraits, thanks to the beautiful natural light. With huge windows and mahogany wood, we scouted some awesome places for portraits. Here are a few of our favorite photos!
Amanda and Bryan were married on a beautiful day at Windwood Equestrian. We met Amanda last year during the beginning planning stages of her wedding. I remember thinking how gorgeous her eyes were and how I couldn't wait to see her as a bride! The wedding took place at the School Barn where family and friends gathered to watch this adorable couple exchange vows. I remember asking Amanda to describe Bryan to me. She mentioned that he loved the outdoors and that definitely showed with his choice for a groom's cake. The couple welcomed guests into the reception where they wined, dined and partied the night away. I can truly say that Amanda and I will be friends for years to come! We grew extremely close during the planning process and I can't wait to see what the future holds for this couple! Congratulations and thank you for choosing Arden Photography to share this amazing day with you!
Amazing vendors make amazing weddings! I'm pretty sure most of you have seen the movie "The Wedding Planner". It's based on a fictitious character who lives and breathes weddings! It seems to be the real life autobiography of the ladies of Mariee Ami. We were fortunate to have two back to back weddings with them and it's always a pleasure to be in the presence of industry greatness. Every little minor hiccup that seems to be a disaster in waiting is always demolished at the surface when these ladies are around. Professional perfectionists is a nickname I've given these ladies over the years. With every singly wedding, that phrase never seems to lose it's authenticity! This is one of the many reasons this team is our vendor of the week. So, cheers to an awesome start to this year's wedding season and it's always a pleasure to work with the dream team of Mariee Ami!
Don't you just love a sneak peek? Well, so do we! We couldn't wait to share some photos from this weekend's amazing wedding! After a threatening Winter storm on Friday, the weather was all smiles on Saturday for Jason and Emily's big day. The sky was blue, the temperature was a bit nippy, but that wasn't anything a fur coat couldn't handle. The wedding took place at one of our favorite churches' in Birmingham, The Cathedral Church of the Advent. After the couple exchanged vows, everyone headed to the reception at Vestavia Country Club where Emily was the life of the party! Everyone danced, twirled and sang along to some of her favorite songs including her custom playlists. Check back for more photos from this awesome wedding and congratulations to Emily & Jason!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
2014 was a big, big year for Arden Photography; so many exciting things, beautiful weddings, the Equus collection. It was filled over with such gorgeous imagery, smiling couples, close friends, and new chapters that we are beyond excited for the new beginnings in 2015. We are so very lucky to have such a wonderful and embracing community and many friendships. We hope you are as ecstatic about 2015 as we are! We cannot wait to take you along for the ride next to us, and to allow us to capture all of your beautiful memories and stories for 2015! In the meantime, here is a look-back at a few of our personal favorite images from 2014.
You aren't seeing double but you are seeing twice the cuteness! Becky Burns' twin grandchildren might be the cutest set of twins we've ever seen, and they are such hams with the prettiest baby blues you've ever seen!
How stinking adorable are these faces?! Capturing kids in their natural element - whether it is at home, at the ball field, or the playground - it's easiest to snap real smiles when they're comfortable and "at home." And the cool thing about this shoot was that we did take these shots at their home. They wanted to show me a little bit of everything they love doing, and I was amazed at how well they got along together, being siblings and all! Cute kids alert for sure!
We loved shooting these engagement portraits out by Regions Field and Railroad Park! That Birmingham emblem blazing in the background makes for great photos! It seems so urban and modern and then you turn the corner and you have the lush green grass of Railroad Park - way to go Big Ham! Julie and Paul blended seamlessly into this landscape with their pet pup! This couple was so cute and affectionate - we can't wait to shoot their wedding in a few weeks!
Family portraits are some of our favorite shoots to do! We love getting to know the family and watching the kids grow up over time as we often photograph the family more than once. We met Melissa at the Botanical Gardens with her two adorable children - I mean look at that red hair! Like mother, like daughter, right?
Fall comes and goes so quickly around here! Be sure to book your fall family portraits now!
Some of our favorite wedding photos to shoot are the ring images. Probably has something to do with all the sparkly bling, right? There are so many interesting and unique details personal to each wedding, and we love to incorporate those into the shot. While the rings speak for themselves in beauty and value, it is often those small details that really make the image! Often times, the ring photo says everything about the wedding ceremony - classic, elegant, whimsical, rustic, charming - you can see that in the details!
Tell us what you think! Do you like the simplicity of the rings by themselves, with the bouquet or flowers, or showing off one of your favorite (and often overlooked) features of the day - like the shoes? Got any ideas for beautiful ring detail shots? Let us know!
Gadsden Museum of Art has chosen Arden Ward Upton as the 2014 Artist of the Year. Her Equus collection will debut December 7, 2014 and will hang in the museum until January 20, 2015. In the gallery collection will be a few new editions to her ever-growing Equus fine art including the release of the Italy "Snow Polo" images. Please be sure to click the link to visit the Gadsden Museum of Art website for any additional information. The grand opening of the Equus gallery will be Dec. 7, 2014 from 2-4pm.
We loved shooting Brittany and Cory's engagement photos back in August! Can't believe it's already October and they are getting married this Saturday! Looking forward to more fun times out of this cute family! More photos to come.
The fall wedding season is in full swing here at Arden Photography! But who could complain when you've got such beautiful people to photograph?! We often say that a happy bride makes all the difference when it comes to the wedding photos. Austin was more than happy - she was absolutely beaming! She smiled and laughed all day - we don't have a single photo of her where she isn't. Their wedding was full of elegant charm, pops of vibrant color, and handmade tokens that made it all the more intimate. Thank you Austin and Jake for letting us be part of your big day!
It was a sweet September afternoon at Windwood Equestrian when Laura glided around the corner to see Zechariah for the first time. They were all smiles as he asked her to twirl around for him in her dress. She wore flowers in her hair, and a veil that would catch in the wind. They married beneath an altar her father built, complete with garlands of flowers and a dainty chandelier - absolute romance filled the late summer air. Dancing ensued late into the night, and the couple made their exit through flowing ribbons and cheers!
Have you seen that Internet e-card floating around social media? The one that’s all, “We’re having an open bar! Oh… and a wedding.” This is hilarious to me because as a wedding guest, I like to know whether or not there will be free alcohol. We are there to celebrate two people coming together to declare their love and unify as one for the rest of their lives! Your friends and guests want to celebrate with you, dance with you, laugh with you, and revel in the glowing light of your love - and everyone enjoys dancing a bit more after one or two adult beverages.
Choosing whether or not to do an open bar is one of the most stressful decisions you’ll make while planning the wedding.
First off, there’s the family politics of the game: do both families drink? Will anyone be offended by the presence of alcohol? Or do they get a little too rowdy after one too many drinks – because being featured on Cops rather than Weddings Weekly isn’t exactly every bride’s dream.
Second: the budget *insert dramatic score*. Is there room for an open bar in your budget? This can often be one of the biggest expenses of a wedding.
And last but certainly not least: how do you feel about it? On some levels, having an open bar might feel like it diminishes the importance of the ceremony at hand. Are you here for my husband and I, or are you here to eat and drink for free?
These are the questions you will have to address before you ever start tasting cocktails. And if after deciding yes, you do indeed want your wedding to also be a rocking party, then read on to learn a bit more about price and definitions of the phrase, “open bar.”
This is the *average* breakdown of what a liquor shopping list looks like for 100 guests:
Beer: 5-6 cases
Whiskey: 1 liter
Bourbon: 1 liter
Gin: 2-3 liters
Scotch: 2 liters
Light Rum: 1 liter
Vodka: 5 liters
Tequila: 1 liter
Champagne: 1½ cases
Red Wine: 2 cases
White Wine: 3½ cases
Dry Vermouth: 1 bottle
Sweet Vermouth: 1 bottle
The keyword here is “average.” You know best what your family and friends will drink. If no one you know drinks scotch – scratch that from the list. If you know that you and yours are mostly beer drinkers, be sure to buy more or go with the keg option instead. Also this list does not include mixers, syrups, or garnishes, so be sure to factor that in as well.
The next important thing is understanding exactly what “open bar” means. There are a few other options instead of having an entirely open and fully stocked free bar.
Open Bar: Guests do not pay at all; they can drink anything and everything they want. Generally, the payment plan works as charging per person per hour.
Hosted Bar: This is essentially an open bar: guests do not pay and can drink anything and everything they want. However, instead of charging per hour, each drink made is rung up and at the end of the night, the final bill is charged to the host.
Limited Bar: This can be when there is a limited selection of drinks like beer and wine; or it can be when the hosts choose to set specific drinking times like toasts or for an hour after dinner.
Cash Bar: The guests pay to drink - just like any other bar.
There is some wiggle room in all of these. If you want to do a limited bar with beer and wine, but you have a few friends who drink only vodka, then get creative! Add on one signature cocktail in the color of your wedding. Blue bridesmaid dresses – Blue Hawaiian cocktails! Big Alabama fan – Crimson Tide cocktails! (click the link for the recipes!)
There are always inexpensive shortcuts you can find when planning a wedding on a budget (and honestly who isn’t these days). Those pictures of you and your besties getting down on the dance floor will be some of your absolute favorites. The one candid shot of your groom and his friends toasting out on the balcony, one of your favorites. Not saying, of course, that there needs to be alcohol present to have a beautiful and fun affair. But, hey, if it helps the chances that all of your guests will get out there and spontaneously break into the “Thriller” dance, then it is totally worth it. #yolo (too much?…Probably)
Tell me what you think about having an open bar! Do you think cash bars are acceptable? If you've got any fun and crazy cocktail recipes, throw them in!
It is Ekaterina's birthday today! Happy Birthday! She came by our studio for some quick head shots and portraits. We photographed her wedding earlier this year as well as her engagement story. We love sharing life milestones with all of our clients, and were so happy when Ekaterina came in to have more photos done with us! Take a look back at Ekaterina and Charlie's wedding day: http://www.ardenphotography.com/blog/2014/3/20/ekaterina-charlie.html
You have fantasized about this day since the first episode of Full House when Uncle Jesse came walking down the stairs with that signature grin of his… say it with me ladies, “John Stamos.” You pictured the dress, him lifting your veil, the first kiss, the first dance – all of it! And while John Stamos might not be the man at the altar in reality, you still want that picture-perfect wedding! The big day can go by so fast that it’ll be like a blur in your memory. This is why the photos are such a big deal – you’ll have these forever! This is the list of our top five must have wedding photos featuring some of the best memories you will make.
1. Mom Arranging Bride’s Gown
Getting a snap of mom tying up your dress, clasping your necklace, or pulling your veil down is something both of you will cherish for years to come.
2. The “First Look”
This is a controversial one. Some couples want to wait until they’re together at the altar to see each other for the first time. But we love it when couples do a “first look.” It’s special, the one moment you and your very soon-to-be husband can just admire each other with no one else around (but us photogs of course!). Even if you choose not to do this, that moment when he first sees you coming down the aisle, is a gorgeous memory to capture.
3. Bride and Groom Holding Hands at the Altar
Right after you hand off your bouquet, and before the rings are exchanged, there’s an instant where you and your groom clasp hands while you declare your vows. This stands out as that moment of unity.
4. Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dances
There is so much emotion to capture while you twirl about on the dance floor. Dad whispers something to his daughter and you see her tear up. Mom laughs and smiles at her son as he says something about “crazy Aunt Millie over there.” They are so proud of you, and this is worthy of every photo album ever.
5. The Big Send Off
We’ve seen couples do some truly unique exit strategies – this is hands down why it is one of our favorite captures! Everything from old Volkswagen buses, café racer motorcycles, golf carts, and Gatsby-esque Rolls Royces have been used to whisk off the new couple to their happily ever after!
The truth is that there are tons of must have photos on your wedding day. Everything should be captured from beginning to end, so that you’ll always have those memories. That’s our job, but it’s also what we love…. And John Stamos ;)
Here at Arden Photography and Windwood Equestrian, we like to think we are animal people. We quite often feature horses, dogs, doves - all kinds of animals in our photos. We want to give you the full farm experience! So meet Edgar - the barn cat. He is quite the handsome character and likes to make feature appearances in your wedding ceremony to add a little sass and a little attitude for a truly one-of-a-kind experience! His talents include napping, snacking, and more napping. Don't worry - he doesn't bite….often! Book your special Edgar appearance at Windwood Equestrain today!
Alabama Symphony Orchestra held its annual Maestro's Ball. The gala fundraising event is ASO's largest, and the proceeds benefit the programs they offer for education, creation, and outreach. Accompanying the event is music performed by the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra, and then a concert led by Conductor Christopher Confessore, followed by an elegant dinner and champagne.
As far as engagements go, I've never heard a story of how the question was popped that went according to the plan. Something always happens that puts a kink in the whole design. In Ben and Lacey's engagement story it was the weather, of course! Ben had originally planned to propose to Lacey at Railroad Park, but his schemes were thwarted - and he would have gotten away with it had it not been for that pesky Alabama weather! So to commemorate that effort, we headed to Railroad and Vulcan Park to snap their engagement photos - no bad weather in sight!