Adventurous Weddings + Elopements: How to Respect the Great Outdoors on Your Wedding Day (Leave No Trace)

Adventurous Weddings + Elopements: How to Respect the Great Outdoors on Your Wedding Day (Leave No Trace)

It’s no secret that I hike and shoot a lot of weddings and engagements up on Roan Mountain and other scenic locations. I often feel a smidge of guilt bringing weddings and guests to these locations, simply because that’s bringing more opportunity to wear down the terrain, annoy hikers, or potentially leave pieces of litter behind, etc. However, I’m also a believer in sharing these beautiful places and trails, because nature is meant to be enjoyed! I try my best to adhere to Leave No Trace’s 7 principles and to always leave a place, “better than we found it,” and to, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” If you’re a newbie to hiking and the outdoors, most hikers live by the Leave No Trace code- 7 principles to remember while hiking, enjoying the outdoors, or planning your adventurous wedding!

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Hampton, TN: Angie + Austin's Fall Sunset Engagement Session at Watauga Lake

Hampton, TN: Angie + Austin's Fall Sunset Engagement Session at Watauga Lake

Angie and Austin are just so incredibly sweet together! These two drove all of the way from Charleston, South Carolina to visit me in the mountains for their engagement session at Watauga Lake in Hampton, Tennessee! As we arrived, the sun was already setting, so we chased the light from spot to spot. Austin and Angie brought their little pup, Daisy, who was just so precious! Their humor together is just so contagious- I was laughing all evening! I’m so glad that we got to enjoy one of the last nice Fall evenings by the lake.

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Cleveland, TN: Nate + Celeste's Pink Rustic Wedding at the Apple Barn at Howe Farms

Cleveland, TN: Nate + Celeste's Pink Rustic Wedding at the Apple Barn at Howe Farms

Nate and Celeste are married! These two said their vows at the gorgeous Apple Barn at Howe Farms in Cleveland, Tennessee! It may have been the only wedding this year that I haven’t had to worry about rain, for the sun was shining 100%! These two have been together since high school and has waited for this day for years.

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Limestone, TN: Renita + Nate's Intimate Rustic Country Wedding at the Millstone

Limestone, TN: Renita + Nate's Intimate Rustic Country Wedding at the Millstone

A running theme of wedding season this year has been the constant threat of rain, and it was no different for these two. You can probably see the ominous clouds in the photos, but we lucked out and had a sunny and breezy evening for their wedding day. Renita and Nate didn't want a huge wedding, so they opted for an intimate celebration with their closest family members at the Millstone. Renita and Nate walked down the aisle together and met the officiant, Renita's dad, Reub! I thought it was so special that the father of the bride was also the officiant! After vows were read and rings were exchanged, Renita and Nate kissed for the first time as husband and wife and headed to the reception for delicious barbecue, pies, and cupcakes!

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Roan Mountain, TN: Chelsea + Tom's Windy Mountaintop Vow Renewal at Dusk

Roan Mountain, TN: Chelsea + Tom's Windy Mountaintop Vow Renewal at Dusk

Chelsea told me that she and Tom got married on a super hot and humid day in Florida. She laughed and told me that she had said to Tom that she wanted their vow renewal to be the complete opposite of their wedding day, and we definitely were given that! When we arrived on the mountain, we were greeted with high winds and such chilly temperatures! It was downright cold! The wind was whipping as Chelsea and Tom said their vows to each other and renewed them for years to come!

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Butler, TN: Zach + Daisy's Rustic and Rainy Wedding at Sugar Hollow Retreat

Butler, TN: Zach + Daisy's Rustic and Rainy Wedding at Sugar Hollow Retreat

Daisy and Zach were married at the lodge at Sugar Hollow Retreat in Butler, Tennessee. The original plan had been to have the ceremony on the lawn and reception under the tent, but Mother Nature had other plans! We all kept glancing at the weather radars, silently hoping there would be a break in the rain. The forecast didn't give any sign of it giving up, so Daisy made the decision to go for Plan B and moved the ceremony under the tent. Shortly after, the two said, "I do," to the sound of raindrops pattering on the tent and underneath the twinkling string lights. Talk about a romantic way to become husband and wife!

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Abingdon, VA: Michelle + Johnny's Rustic Outdoor 4H Center Wedding

Abingdon, VA: Michelle + Johnny's Rustic Outdoor 4H Center Wedding

Michelle and Johnny were married at the Southwest Virginia 4H Center, at an amazing, rustic, outdoor amphitheater in the woods, surrounded by friends and family. The weather was absolutely perfect for their day- it was sunny but the air had a slight chill and was one of the first days that felt like Fall. These two had dreamed of throwing more of a party for their guests, than just a wedding celebration, and I can tell you- their dream came true! 

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Best of 2017: A Year of Adventures, Sunsets, Mountains and Love in Northeast Tennessee

Best of 2017: A Year of Adventures, Sunsets, Mountains and Love in Northeast Tennessee

Holy smokes, this year has flown by! I seriously cannot even believe that 2018 is just a few days away! It feels like yesterday that I was rounding up images and reminiscing about everything 2016 brought for last year's review blog! I'm almost at a loss for words here as I look back at all of the adventures, stunning summer sunsets and genuine smiles from laughter. I am incredibly blessed and fortunate to capture the love stories for all of my amazing couples in such a beautiful part of our country.

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