Megan and Matt's Wedding at Live Oak Plantation

Live Oak Plantation is one of our favorite venues in Pensacola. So when Megan told us that that’s where she and Matt were having their wedding, of course we were suuuuper excited!

Since they were from out of town, we got to meet them in person at their rehearsal dinner…and boy did we fall in love with them! They both (their families included) had THE BEST sense of humor! Matt was cracking jokes the entire time and was the life of the party. Megan never missed a beat and kept up with his shenanigans by retaliating with witty remarks. They definitely had us laughing all through their wedding day!

Prior to the ceremony, Megan had a first look with both her dad and Matt, so we we able to knock out some group photos of them and the bridal party in the field behind the estate, and get some shots of just the two of them underneath the oak trees on the trail. Both of these locations make for such beautiful backdrops for pictures!

The ceremony was short and sweet, and after they were announced as husband and wife and went in to kiss, Matt threw his hand up in the air like Judd Nelson does in The Breakfast Club! (He verbalized the reference at the rehearsal dinner, so it was awesome to watch him follow through on the big day!) Their guests threw flower petals at them as they walked back down the isle, which I absolutely loved! It was the perfect way to end the ceremony!

The table decor at the reception presented soft and subtle tones. Sheer beige fabric ran from one end of the tables to the other, eucalyptus flowing beautifully on top. Different sized candles were lined along the center as well, bringing the look together. Tables in the center had the same look, but were also accompanied by vases with a beautiful flower arrangement and floating candles, giving it an even more romantic look!

We topped the night off by taking some glamorous bridal shots of Megan on the front stairs of The Cotton House, her train flowing down behind her. It was such a beautiful day from start to finish!

Tips on Having a Fantastic Engagement Session

For those of us who aren't models, or don't plan on just using duck lips for every picture, photo sessions can be a little stressful.  Perhaps you are excited, but don't want to mess it up.  Or maybe you are only doing it because you know you need to have some semblance of a couples' photo shoot to post on your wedding website.  No matter what the cause of your impeding fear is, we are here to tell you that it can be an amazing experience and something both of you should look forward to!

 

H&P-13.jpg

So what are some things you should do to help you and your fiance feel more at ease about the whole in front of the camera thing?  For starters… TALK about it!  Talk with each other about your concerns and expectations, and talk with your photographer about as much as possible to help ease the burden of the unexpected. 

 

Once you have discussed some of the things you were worried about, here are just a few things we suggest going over before your engagement session gets too close!

 

1. IN SUCH APPAREL

This could be a fun time to play dress up... just saying!

engagement-photography-ideas.jpg

When it comes to outfits, most couples will go with two; one being casual and one being dressy.  It is best to try to coordinate your outfits instead of actually matching (Hey if that's your thing though, go for it!).  You can visit Pinterest for some outfit inspiration, but remember to think about your location and how it will relate to your outfits (your photographer should be able to help with this). The groom should avoid wearing things with writing unless it is purposeful or an inside joke between the two of you.  

Certain accessories can enhance the photography as well. Bold jewelry, bright colored shoes, a nice watch, scarf, etc. No matter your outfits of choice, you should make sure you look great and are comfortable enough to make it through the session!

 

 

 2. READY THE GROOM!

 Yes, he does have to come! Yes, he does have to wear that! And yes, he does have to show a little PDA! 

 

engagement-live-oak.jpg

It is very common for the guys to be a little less "enthusiastic" about getting their picture taken, but alas, it's that time!  So pay very close attention brides, because you know your man better than anyone else, and chances are he needs your help! Prep him by first explaining why you want and need the engagement session (we are assuming at this point you do actually want one).  Let him see and feel your excitement about it; that should help start easing him into it.  Fill him in on what's going to take place. Make sure he knows what is expected of him and show him a few engagement photos from your photographer to help him get an idea of what you are looking for from him.  Do you want him to be sweet and romantic, sexy and suave, funny and lighthearted, a mix of all of the above?  Fill him in ladies! The more he knows, the less eye-rolling you'll get during the session!

We have never had real complaints from our guys, and most of them say it wasn't nearly as bad as they thought and that they even had a great time...  But, if guys were aware of what was going to happen, it might not take the photographer as long to get them comfortable during the shoot! 

 

3. LEAVE IT TO THE PROS!

I'm not a photographer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!

Your photographer is not expecting both of you to come in and be models, so relax!  Everyone wants to look their best and have great pictures, but remember it's the professional's job to make that happen.  For most couples, it takes about 20 minutes to really warm up and be themselves in front of the camera, so don't fret if you aren't feeling super fluid with each other right from the get go.  A good photographer will get you loosened up and cozy pretty quickly... So try not to be too nervous going into it; you'll do just fine!

 

4. WHERE TO, MISS?

Location Location Location; it's all about the real estate!

K&S-Eng-95.jpg

This will depend greatly on where you live unless you plan on traveling to do your engagement session.  Here in Pensacola on the Gulf Coast, we get a lot of people who want one of their stops to be the beach... but that's obviously going to be different if you live elsewhere, like near the mountains or something along those lines. You'll also want to think about what time of year you want your pictures done, as certain locations/facilities only open or may close during specific times throughout the year. A lot of times couples want to shoot at a place that's special to them; maybe it's where they met or had their first date.  If that's something you want to do, just keep in mind that while it may be nostalgic for you guys, depending on the location it may or may not make for the prettiest pictures.  

 

Be on time!  That should speak for itself; if only to keep you and your significant other from feeling rushed and stressed out before you even get there.

Don't overthink the session.  Don't try to plan and envision the whole thing, just think about where you want to go and what you want to wear, and let the creativity of the photographer guide the rest. That's what you hired them for!! 

Don't be afraid to say YES... And NO!  Yes, we would love to sneak over behind that closed off area for some awesome shots... No, we don't want to hold out fingers in the shape of a heart in front of our faces.  Hey, It's your session!

Jackie and Nick's Wedding at Lee House

Jackie and Nick's Wedding at Lee House

One of the singers came out to the dance floor with a mic while singing “I Will Survive” and held the mic out to the Jackie…and boy did she sing her heart out! It was THE BEST thing ever! I LOVED capturing that moment!

Top Wedding Venues in Pensacola

After doing multiple weddings in the different venues that the Pensacola area has to offer, we decided to cast our own personal votes and take into consideration what our wedding couples have said about where they had their wedding and create a list of our faves that we feel you probably can’t go wrong with! Each venue not only caters to different wedding types, but also has its own unique flavor and differing elements that make it a great place to photograph, er I mean, have a wedding! ;)

So without further ado and in no particular order, here are our top 5 picks for wedding venues!

Lee House

J&N-blog-14.jpg

Accommodating up to 275 guests, the Lee House is a charming location for your wedding to be held. They have a beautiful courtyard that is perfect for an outdoor ceremony/reception, and it has a built in bar. (Heck yes!) The inside of Lee House is cozy and inviting, having a dining room large enough to have your rehearsal dinner or wedding shower in, and a living room that is seemingly comfortable for cocktail hour while you slip out for some picture taking! The Bonifay Suite, perfect for newlywed couples, is one of nine suites in this homey establishment. Lee house is also close to great restaurants and parks, and is a short drive away from the white sandy beaches that everyone loves!

J&N-blog-58.jpg
J&N-blog-21.jpg
J&N-blog-53.jpg



5Eleven

This particular location will forever hold a special place in our hearts because it is where Adam and I got married! Located in the heart of Downtown Pensacola, this rustic venue is an absolutely beautiful place to get married. It, too, has a dreamy courtyard with beautiful greenery and tea lights making it a romantic setting for an evening wedding ceremony. Inside, the exposed brick give off a rustic but warm vibe, having your guests “ooh” and “ahh” at the beauty of it. The wooden floors and chandelier are inviting for first dances. Not to mention there are multiple restrooms, so your guests aren’t as likely to form a line waiting to use the facilities! The large windows allow natural light to flow in, and its also a cool area to have your food served if you’re having a buffet! (That’s what Adam and I did!) Needless to say, this is a wonderful little location to get hitched!

galleries-17.jpg
T&N-731.jpg
T&N-678.jpg
galleries-58.jpg
T&N-895.jpg



Live oak plantation

Arriving at the Plantation you’ll be greeted with a beautiful brick home with colonial style pillars, accompanied by a large outdoor area with tea lights and chandeliers hanging between the trees and floating windows guiding the walkway. It’s perfect for a whimsical ceremony overlooking the lake, or throw some standing tables out there and BAM! Now it’s a place for guests to mingle! The Cotton House is fantastic (in the name alone *wink wink*), as it has plenty of space for a reception. Gorgeous wooden tables and chairs make this such an inviting area for your guests to eat dinner and enjoy themselves! It also holds a bridal suite that is to die for, so there’s that! There’s a huge field behind the house that is the perfect backdrop for rustic/country photos. Not to mention the giant oak trees down the pathway! (Hence the name Live Oak Plantation!) This is just a few of the many things we love about this place! So if a beach or ranch style wedding isn’t quite your thing, then I would definitely take a walk through at Live Oak!

K&Z-846.jpg
Live-oak-styled-72.jpg
public.jpeg
Live-oak-styled-73.jpg
K&Z-185.jpg

Sowell Farms

This 100 acre, country style venue feature bride and groom getting ready rooms, multiple spots for ceremonies, and yes, you guessed it…animals! Kangaroos and camels and zebras…oh my! It’s a possibility you’ll have these adorable animals photo bomb your wedding pictures! (In the best way, of course!) Tea lights drape from the top of the barn all the way to the french doors where the bride makes her grand entrance, making it an irresistible spot for a ceremony. There’s also a charming little pergola, a perfect alternative if you’re wanting to have your ceremony elsewhere on the property! All in all, Sowell Farms is a beautiful venue to get married!

K&J-58.jpg
sowell-farms-wedding-64.jpg
sowell-farms-wedding-58.jpg
K&J-6.jpg



The Barn at Water Oaks Farm

If you have your heart set on a barn wedding then look no further! Located just a little outside of Pensacola and Winner of Finest Venue in 2019, this rustic/country venue is a grand facility with endless possibilities. Immediately upon entering through the front barn doors, your eyes are greeted with a gorgeous chandelier, hanging in all its glory above you. Antique settees are placed around the inside, begging for a photo op with the bride! There is a lovely outdoor area facing a big, beautiful field, perfect for an outdoor ceremony. (It’s also covered, so you can kiss those “What do I do if it rains?” fears good-bye!) The reception area is extremely spacious and gorgeous, with fabric draping from the ceiling and romantic lighting setting the tone of the evening. You might even have an old carriage or two to admire in the very back! If you go through the back barn doors there is a covered porch area with a barrel tables and a bar, perfect for your guests to mingle during cocktail hour. Off to the side of the barn, there are old white bunkers that scream to be used as a unique and rustic backdrop for formals of the bride and groom. There are so many options and ways to be creative here, both for wedding couples and vendors alike! This breathtaking venue is definitely worth the drive, so be sure you check it out!

styled-wateroaks-27.jpg
styled-wateroaks-38.jpg
styled-wateroaks-51.jpg
styled-wateroaks-17.jpg
styled-wateroaks-54.jpg

Morgan & Bryant's Holland Farms Wedding

Morgan & Bryant's Holland Farms Wedding

I've said this before, but I'll say it as many times as I want! One of my favorite things to witness during a wedding is the groom's expression upon seeing his bride. Bryant teared up when he saw Morgan walking toward him

5 Tips For Lighting Wedding Receptions

5 Tips For Lighting Wedding Receptions

Because frankly, where the light is may not matter, if that's not where the parties going on

Kirsten & Josh's Engagement Photography in Pensacola, FL

Kirsten & Josh's Engagement Photography in Pensacola, FL

Trying to dodge mosquitoes the size of baseballs, we made our way to this giant trailer that Josh got a little too cozy with. It was actually pretty hilarious!