Chris + Shannon’s Wedding // Huntsville Botanical Garden // Huntsville, AL
Chris + Shannon’s Wedding Day
This past October, Chris and Shannon had a beautiful garden wedding at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Here are a few of my favorite moments from their special day!
For wedding day tips, be sure to check out Chris & Shannon’s post-wedding Q&A section at the bottom.
Shannon and her bridesmaids were so excited to get the day started and ready to put on their dresses but first we needed a few PJ shots!
Shannon’s mom, Paula, and sister, Kate, helped her into her wedding dress. Having a few special family members help during this part is a great way to get more candids with those who are closest to the Bride. This is always a special time and will definitely make lasting memories.
Once she was ready, Shannon decided to do a reveal to her bridesmaids. I am such a fan of curating moments like this and letting them unfold naturally.
We also did a first look with Shannon’s dad and I absolutely love his reaction (or should I say, his ‘many reactions’)!
Finally, it was time for the first look with Chris and Shannon. I don’t think any of us could have been more excited! If you look closely, you may be able to see a few tears in Chris’ eyes!
They decided to exchange gifts after their first look which worked out beautifully!
Once Nala, their ‘fur-baby’, arrived I had to figure out a way to get and keep her attention. Apparently, Nala LOVES her frisbee so all I had to say is, “where’s your frisbee?!?” and she looked at me with the cutest expression (seriously, isn’t she the cutest?!?)! It’s always so much fun working with pets and I know these pictures are extra special because of how much they adore Nala!
Chris and Shannon had an AMAZING wedding party! Not only did they listen well but they were 100% committed the whole time (which means they were willing to do anything I ask)!
Family pictures were next and they were as smooth and seamless as everything else that day. Both Chris and Shannon have wonderful families and it was such an honor to work with them!
After family pictures, Pat (Shannon’s grandfather) pulled out the cutest picture of Shannon from when she was a kid. We past it around and it really was such a sweet moment. I can tell Shannon and Pat have a wonderful bond and he is incredibly proud of his grand daughter.
We were now getting close to ceremony time so it was time to go back into hiding. This was the perfect time for one last group prayer.
It was finally time for Chris and Shannon’s ceremony. The look on Chris’ face as Shannon walked toward him down the aisle was absolutely priceless.
They read their own vows to one another (which adds such a personal touch to every ceremony) and then exchanged rings!
After the ceremony we snuck away and did a few more pictures of just Shannon & Chris (I’m a huge advocate of golden-hour/sunset pictures with the bride & groom- it’s perfect for giving your guests time to migrate from the ceremony site to the reception area)!
At the reception, Anna from Old Frond Co had decorated the main arch way with beautiful flower arrangements! It was the perfect touch for an elegant entryway!
Chris and Shannon opted for going straight from their introduction to the cake cutting and then to the first dances (this freed up a large chunk of time toward the end of the reception for just dancing and spending time with their friends & families)!
As you can tell, everyone danced the night away and had a wonderful time! We snuck off one more time, right before the special exit (only for a few minutes) for a few romantic night shots!
I asked Chris & Shannon for a few helpful wedding planning tips (in hopes of passing along some information to future couples)! Here are their answers:
Q: What was your favorite part of the wedding day? A: During our first look, Chris started crying before he even turned around. It was so sweet, and I loved getting to show him my dress that I had been hiding for so long. We also wrote our own vows, but decided not to share them with each other before the wedding day. It was so special to finally get to hear them during the ceremony.
Q: Did you enjoy the experience of doing a first look at your wedding? Do you have any advice for couples who are on the fence about doing one? A: Do it! I was anxious all morning and just wanted to see Chris. As soon as we had our first look, I felt so relaxed and loved getting to spend the day hanging out with him. We had lots of time to take pictures before the ceremony and were so glad we could just relax and enjoy our reception.
Q: Can you talk about the theme/feel you were going for when planning your wedding? And do you think you achieved it? A: The theme I was going for was a fun, casual, garden wedding. When looking for a venue, I wanted somewhere that was naturally beautiful that we wouldn’t need to decorate much. The gardens were also the perfect background for our pictures and ceremony. Our garden wedding was everything I hoped!
Q: Starting the wedding planning process is pretty overwhelming, do you have any tips for staying organized and within budget? A: Everything will cost more than you think, so decide early what matters most to you and make sure those things are set up first. Look into wedding coordinators to stay organized. Our day of wedding coordinator gave us a book to help us keep up with everything during the planning process and took care of everything on the wedding day.
Q: What advice do you have for soon-to-be brides? A: Focus on what will make your wedding day fun and special. There are many things I spent time planning, but didn’t even notice on the day of the wedding. We decided it was important to us to have a really good wedding cake, get to take pictures with our dog, and to write our own vows. These were all memorable moments for us on our wedding day. Plan a relaxing day for yourself and make sure you have plenty of time enjoy the friends and family you have invited.