This styled shoot was literally everything I had dreamed of and so much more! Adding an extra day to my Arkansas trip was a million per cent worth it because I got to work with some extremely talented people and cross off something from my photography bucket list (doing a styled session while traveling). And to think it all started off with me leaving my comfort zone for a few hours one day back in January.
In those few hours just under two months before my trip, I convinced myself to research and contact a few wedding planning down in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
And honestly, it was as simple as that on my end. I put together a mood board and sent it to a very small handful of wedding planners I found on Instagram and then I crossed my fingers and waited to hear back from someone. I was really lucky that Courtney of Kate & Company Arkansas agreed to work with me on this project as she truly went above and beyond to make the entire thing magically enchanting! I may have requested the shoot, suggested a possible venue and sent a mood board, but Courtney made the entire thing a reality. She thought of every little detail and brought on board some amazing vendors to collaborate on the shoot!
And things just got better as I started to take photos! As you all know, I love wedding day details, so getting more or less as much time as I wanted to fiddle with this gorgeous invitation suite from So Inviting Invitations was heaven for me. Especially when I got to mix in some of the elements Courtney had brought along and ones from my travel detail pouch (which got a little fuller after a couple trips to the American craft stores).
And for all the 2019/2020 couples who are reading this right now – these images are why you make sure you have all these details during your prep, including extra stems from your florist! They really do make all the difference and help ensure your detail images will flow seamlessly with the rest of your wedding day photos.
I stumbled across St. Catherine’s at Bell Gable years ago when another creative photographer I follow was married there, but honestly, I had no clue where it was other than somewhere in the States. So I was beyond excited when I found it during my search for Northwestern Arkansas (NWA) wedding venues! The area has some pretty great looking options when it comes to wedding venues, but this one was definitely at the top of my list. The entire venue was so enchanting, it really was like being in a fairy tale!
This picture perfect tablescape was thanks to the gorgeous rentals from Eventures. Everything about them were marvelous and I loved how even the linens had a gorgeous, luxury feel and fit so flawlessly in with the other details of the shoot!
Those blooms I mentioned earlier were masterfully created by the fantastic team at Pigmint Flowers and Gifts. All those gorgeous purple tones mixed with some classic blush, greenery and punches of bright colour – completely wonderful! The bouquet, boutonniere, and table pieces were a dream to work with and they even thought to add a little touch of greenery to the chapel doors!
I had to leave mid-shoot to grab some shots of the hair and make-up being done. I was sad at first because I just wanted to keep shooting the venue and all those lovely details, but that sadness was instantly gone when I arrived at Soul Beauty Salon as not only did I get to meet our stunning bride for the day, Lauren, but Bree and Adriann were so nice and welcoming, not to mention insanely talented! I mean, Lauren is a natural beauty, no doubt about that, but Bree and Adriann kicked things up even higher and did such a perfect job with her hair and make-up – thanks ladies!
Once I got back to St. Catherine’s I was greeted by the most perfect cake ever! It was perfection and somehow both acted as a great showcase piece and fit seamlessly into the tablescape and details. It was created by Cakes by Robbin and everyone was completely head over heels for it, especially those delicately flowers!
So I am pretty obsessed with long veils right now, like super duper obsessed. I was so happy to work with Shannon‘s earlier this year and just wanted more! So I may have been a little less than subtle in my emails to Courtney about the matter. I am pretty sure I mentioned long veil in literally every single email I sent her at least once and included two or three veil photos in the mood board (which is a lot considering I think there were only 5 or 6 photos in it total). I didn’t want to be like there shall be a long veil, but I also really, really wanted there to be a long veil. Fortunately Courtney picked up my not so hinting hints and arranged for this stunning piece from Tesori Bridal to be part of the shoot. I am also really glad she called me on my lack of subtlety when we met, haha!
But seriously guys, how could you NOT want a long veil on your wedding day?! I mean, the things you can do with it are endless and once the photos are done, you can just pop it off so you don’t have to deal with it when you are partying! It’s the best of both worlds really, and honestly, not having a long veil is one of the few things I would change about my own wedding day if I could go back in time (or had the desire to renew our vows).
Our amazing bride and groom for the day were such a treat to work with! Lauren and JC rocked every pose I threw their way and were just so sweet and loving. Styled shoots tend to be where vendors play around and try out new things, which means things can take a little longer than usual to nail just right, but these two were so incredibly patient with me as I made sure everything was just right as I checked off all the items on my internal check list.
It was also a pretty chilly day down in Fayetteville during the session. And although I felt like it was total vacation considering the bone-chilling temperatures we had back in Ottawa (and I fought strongly against wearing anything more than a light sweater and my scarf), most everyone else was more than a little uncomfortable outside without jackets on. But everyone pushed through marvelously and these two didn’t complain once – even when the cool winds kicked in (although I should note that the wind was never really around/cooperating when I wanted veil toss photos – this is a trend during my sessions/weddings that I really don’t like).
I also learned that although I know how to coordinate a veil toss photo, I have never actual tossed a veil myself. I normally just have them wander in the wind towards the camera meaning I have a hand on it at all times. It is Dave who tosses the veils for me and apparently it is a skill because it took us a few tries to figure it out – so props to Dave for doing all the previous veil tossing work for our couple! And big thanks to Courtney for helping me out with these shots during this session!
And how have I not talked about this suit and dress yet?! This picture perfect suit was from Mr. Tux NWA. I’m a sucker for a grey suit – not only do they look amazing, but in the middle of the summer it would be so much more comfortable to be in a grey suit rather than a black one (in my opinion at least). And JC rocked this bad boy marvelously throughout the entire session!
This captivating dress was from Tesori Bridal and was absolute perfection! The flutter sleeves and all those detailed lace appliques really added to the whole fairy tale atmosphere of this shoot. Courtney scouted this puppy out and we both fell in love with it as soon as she found it! Plus, it looked stunning on Lauren – although somehow I feel like most things look stunning on this gorgeous lady!
As things started to wrap up, we were rewarded with the most amazing sunset! In fact, my entire trip was full of gorgeous sunsets, but I think the one during this session was the best one. If not because of the colours and vibrancy of it, then because I got to share it with all of these wonderful people! Lauren and JC pulled through a few more photos, even though I think I had told them we were almost done about a half dozen times by now (I am such a liar sometimes) and I am so glad they did!
And since I both hate cleaning/tidying up, and couldn’t stop taking photos of these two, I kept the momentum going and grabbed a few past sunset shots inside the chapel. It’s funny (to me) as when the day started I definitely thought it was a little dark in the chapel, and then by the end of the shoot I was happy for all the light inside it. The difference a few hours makes I suppose!
I am so incredibly happy with how this shoot went. So much so that while editing the photos I often had to remind myself that these were actually my photos! I was just so incredibly happy during the entire editing process (which is one of my least favourite parts of session to be honest)! I am so glad I left my comfort zone and reached out to Courtney, but I am honestly even happier that she said yes and found all of these wonderful people to work with. Thank you oh so very much to the most amazing vendors who were part of this shoot.
Design and Coordination: Kate & Company Arkansas
Photography: Stephanie Beach Photography
Florals: Pigmint Flowers and Gifts
Rentals: Eventures Party Rentals
Venue: St. Catherine’s at Bell Gable
Invitation Suite and Menus: So Inviting Invitations
Cake: Cakes by Robbin
Hair by Bree & Makeup by Adriann of Soul Beauty Salon⠀
Models: Lauren Cain & JC Hughes
Dress: Tesori Bridal Salon
Tux: Mr. Tux NWA