A Very Captivating Church Wedding For Two Handsome Grooms

I shared one of the photos from this wedding on instagram before I had even seen it. I LOVE how happy these two are and the venue is absolutely amazing (seriously I want to shoot there). I asked Bethany to see the entire thing and fell even more in love with it. You will as well, I'm sure of it.

Vendors

Venue: the Grand Carousel at the Children's Museum of Memphis | Event Planner & Flowers: E.L.M. Design | Catering: Another Roadside Attraction | Photography: Bethany Reid Visuals | Table Linens: Elegant Chair Solutions | Tuxedos: Memphis Tuxedo | Music: The Memphis String Quartet, with Scott Moore on trumpet | DJ: Deep Blu Entertainment | Carousel Cookies by Ruthie McLain | Rentals: Mahaffey Tent

From The Couple

What was the most important thing to you while planning?

Compromise. We both had strong opinions about what we thought we wanted the wedding to be, so we had to communicate a lot about those expectations. Communication was so important, knowing in the end, we both wanted the day to feel special for each other and all our family and friends.

How did you find your vendors?

We asked around, a lot. Hearing from friends about their experience with vendors was so helpful, and we really did compare several before making final decisions. The Grand Carousel Folks were incredibly easy to work with, and met us multiple times to work through the kinks.

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What creative touches did you use throughout your wedding?

We held our reception at the Grand Carousel, so we wanted a unique wedding favor for folks to take with them as they left. We had a dear friend volunteer to make 400 iced carousel horse cookies which was amazingly generous, and they tasted good too!

We also had a full choir sing at our wedding reception. For our entrance to the reception and first dance, the 35 members of the choir gathered near the dance floor and sang “Somewhere” from West Side Story accompanied by the Memphis String Quartet. It was very moving, especially as a gay couple, who have not always had the right to marry. “There’s a place for us,” really meant something to us and our friends.

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Did you forego any of the traditional aspects of weddings?

We didn’t have a traditional wedding party, with groomsmen and attendants. Instead, we included the entire congregation as part of our wedding party. We walked down the aisle together and felt loved by the whole church.

What was your favorite part of the day?

We both agreed, just before walking down the aisle, in the back of the church. We had a few moments to take it all in. The church was full, the flowers were stunning, the music was soaring, and we stood there waiting with each other. It really was a perfect moment, and one we won’t forget

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From The Photographer

How did you prepare your clients for your style of shooting and the harsh light?

I had the pleasure of working with one of the grooms, Eric, at a previous event where he was the florist and received images of his arrangements afterwards. This was great because he was already familiar with my favor of deep shadows/contrast in my work and hands off, documentative style.

From our first meeting, I was sure to inquire about the lighting in their church and we even toured it at the same time of day close to the wedding date to get a feel of exactly how the lighting would be. Since flashes were not permitted in the church during the ceremony, I was sure to inform them of how the images would be affected in that type of situation.

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What techniques did you use that were out of the norm?

I opted to really get creative with perspective and embrace shadows. Photography was permitted in certain areas of the church at different parts of the ceremony, and ideally the camera was seen as little as possible. I ended up shooting most of the vows from behind an organ and through a little door off the side of the platform. We re-enacted a couple of the special moments immediately after the guests were dismissed. Secondly, our timeline had us shooting couple portraits right at high noon. I embraced the shadow and harsh sunlight for the requested red door shots, and then moved us to shooting the rest in the shadows to avoid overexposure.

Do you have any advice for other photographers or vendors when it comes to weddings?

Don't be afraid to push your creativity and have some confidence in your abilities, especially if it is accommodating the needs of your client! Just be sure to ask questions up front and PREPARE for as much as you can. I was a little intimidated about the preferences of the church regarding photography, but was sure to ask questions and get a game plan before the wedding, and it paid off.

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The joy and genuine happiness of the grooms and the mom (I assume) in the blue dress is overwhelming. It actually made me a little teary!

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