Emily & David | Great Smoky Mountain Wedding
North Georgia Photographer

March 15, 2017

I was so excited when David reached out to me about photographing his surprise proposal to Emily.  It ended up being one of the cutest moments I’ve ever captured on camera, and you should go read about it here.  Shortly after, Emily came to my studio to chat about photographing their wedding.  Have you ever met someone and instantly felt like you could be best friends?  That’s how I felt about Emily, and I left that first meeting absolutely stoked to photograph their nuptials.

David & Emily met in one of their undergraduate classes at the University of Georgia.  They would ride the bus together while heading to their next class, but Emily eventually found out that David didn’t have class after that and just rode the bus to talk to her. :) After acing a few exams from studying together, David asked Emily to hang out one evening.  During their first “date,” David took Emily to downtown Athens and handed her a packet of googly eyes.  They spent the next two hours finding pipes and poles that could make the best faces (how uniquely cute is this?!).  When David drove Emily back to her car, which was parked in a field by the school, he asked her to share a dance with him.  It was a clear April night with a sky full of stars, and they ended up dancing through an entire Luke Bryan album.  Note: This field became an important factor during David’s proposal years later.

That EPIC first date turned into 4 years of dating — sometimes in the same city, sometimes in different states, and sometimes in different countries.  Emily claims that their many months of communicating as lagging pixels over Skype only allowed them to get to know each other better.  One thing I love about David & Emily is their sense of adventure.  They’ve both traveled all over, together and apart, and even their “date nights” at home aren’t typical.  They love learning new things together and trying out new hobbies.  I swear I could sit and listen to their stories all day.

Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all when David & Emily first pitched their wedding plans to me.  But since it was soon after meeting them, I sat in the studio with wide eyes as they described their vision… to get married in the middle of a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains… with no cell service… in a primitive church with no electricity or heat… at 8:30 in the morning… in the beginning of March… in hopes of sighting the elk that come to the valley at that time.  It was definitely unlike anything I had heard before, but as the wedding planner side of me came out and asked them a million “what if THIS happens?” questions, I realized: This is SO them.  They weren’t the type of couple who would shy away from adventure, and they knew exactly what their “dream wedding” looked like, so I was on board to make it happen.

Their wedding day ended up being even more magical than I had anticipated.  Even though it was 25 degrees at the start of their ceremony and my toes felt like they had frozen off, nothing overshadowed the emotion of their sweet ceremony.  David & Emily thoughtfully provided blankets & hand warmers for their guests, and Emily braved the cold like a champ, even choosing to remove her gorgeous fur for some photos.  After the ceremony, we explored the forest, walked across a bridge over a river, climbed up into a barn, and ventured into a field of elk (while keeping a safe distance).  They then shared a brunch buffet (my favorite food!) with their guests at a nearby ranch before leaving for their honeymoon in Seattle.  I can’t look at these photos without smiling, and I hope you love them too!

David and Emily, I can’t thank you enough for trusting me to join you on this journey and document these special moments.

Venue: Great Smoky Mountains  ||  Bride’s Dress: BHLDN  ||  Rings: Grayson Jewelers  ||  Caterer: Cataloochee Ranch

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Claire Diana