Gorgeous, talented, sweet, and in love – that’s how I (and probably most people) would describe Ashlee and Matt. Their wedding at Palmetto Riverside Bed and Breakfast was simple and classic. Soft blush tones and whites made up the color palette, which mainly came from the beautifully done florals – the perfect compliment to Ashlee’s all lace wedding gown. The B&B was truly a fitting venue for this laid back couple to enjoy everything about their day in one spot. Although the couple chose not to have any attendants, the love and support of their friends and family was evident and the reception was a blast. The speeches, given by Ashlee’s friends and Matt’s sister were so memorable that I can still recall them (and that’s saying a lot, considering how many I’ve heard!). I couldn’t stop laughing when Matt’s sister shared the following (I will relay it as best I can): She said Matt has always been so picky about relationships, and she asked him what exactly he was looking for in a woman. He said he wanted someone beautiful, smart, and funny, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and who is (or maybe it was looks like) a cheerleader. I don’t know how much of that was in jest, but his sister replied “Ok, good luck with that haha”. She then turned to the guests and said “Guess who’s laughing now!”. Because not only is Ashlee all of those things, she was also a cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Bucs. Sometimes dreams do come true, don’t they? My favorite thing about this wedding was all of the genuine smiles and laughter I was able to document. You can’t look at those two smiling and not smile yourself. There’s not much better than a couple on their wedding day who are so obviously deeply in love, are truly best friends, and who have contagious smiles.
Earlier this year I took my little guy to Sarasota Jungle Gardens for their annual Easter Egg Hunt. It had been several years since I’d been there, and I was struck by what a great place it would be to use as a shoot location. Anyone who grew up in Sarasota or Bradenton is familiar with Jungle Gardens, and those who were children here in the 80’s and earlier may closely associate it with their childhood, as back then it was one of the only non-beach kid friendly places around. I have lots of old photos of my mom with her long, straight hair, big sunglasses, short-shorts, and wedges pushing me around the gardens in a beast of a stroller or looking at the flocks of pink flamingos chilling on one leg near the water. There’s even an old newspaper clipping from The Sarasota Herald Tribune with 3 year old me holding a giant parrot on my arm. The best thing about Jungle Gardens is that it really hasn’t changed since those days. It still retains that kitschy mid-century Old Florida vibe. When I was thinking of locations to use for Abi and Spencer’s engagement session, I knew I wanted to do something a little different with this gorgeous, fun couple, and I knew they were up for anything. Sure enough, when I suggested Jungle Gardens, Abi was on board. Despite the intense heat and humidity that day, we sweat through it and had a great time. My favorite shots are the goofy ones of Abi and Spencer sitting on the legendary concrete alligator (that photo is a must have for every visit!), and having a popcorn war at the cute little Flamingo Cafe. While glancing at my screen, my daughter reminded me of the time we saw a straying flamingo walking right out of the cafe like it was totally normal. I’m so happy we got to step back into our childhoods for this shoot, and I am so excited for Abi and Spencer’s Phillippi Estate wedding coming up this winter – and for the much better weather we will have for that!
Jaimee and Steve got ready for their wedding day at The Hampton Inn in downtown Bradenton, Florida. The hotel is a historic building, which was renovated several years ago with many of its original charming features kept intact. It was the perfect setting to showcase their subtle vintage style. The ceremony took place at the Manatee Village Historical Park, which is the sweetest place for a wedding, with it’s brick paths, tall old trees, and collection of white wooden buildings, including a beautiful little traditional chapel. We had a lot of fun utilizing the surroundings such as the brick and iron gated entry, the old train, the general store, and more. The Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto, Florida, was the reception venue, which provided a glorious view of the water and sunset. The bride created most of the decor herself, which was pretty impressive. It was an honor to watch this little family celebrate their union and we wish them a lifetime of happiness!
When I arrived at Phillippi Creek Estate in Sarasota and started making my way through the grounds, I knew the light was going to be perfect for an engagement session. Then, I saw the bride-to-be, Reva, walking towards me with her fiance, Steve. She looked ethereal in a long light pink floral dress, the golden sunlight passing through creating a beautiful glow and backlighting her hair. This was photographer’s heaven. Things only got better from there, as the Reva and Steve turned out to be super awesome people that were a lot of fun to hang out with for a couple hours. When engagement sessions go this well, the wedding becomes even more exciting to look forward to!