This wedding... this was on my bucket list. I absolutely loved getting to photograph this beautiful and intimate wedding on the beach in Miramar Beach, FL (not far from Destin)!
I first got to meet and shoot with Kirstin back in winter of 2012 when we did a wonderful stylized session that included three beautiful ladies all dressed up in a laundromat and the streets of St. Louis. It was pretty epic. Kirstin is one of my cousin's best friends so it was through her that we got to meet. We next met at the Alice & Co session and was my ever so amazing Mad Hatter. That was also the same day I got to meet Michael when he brought Kirstin the jewelry she'd forgotten at home.
So when it was decided that these two were tying the knot, of course I said heck yeah! The fall prior, we had some pretty epic engagement pictures that included their two darling doggies. Then our Florida adventure - for Bernadette and I - began a couple of days before the wedding.
I rented a little car and we zipped on down, though the drive took a lot longer than we had anticipated. Apparently, Google has no idea of what she speaks as far as drive time! We arrived in Fort Walton, FL on Thursday night and crashed. I was also in the midst of two online summer college courses so I did homework for a lot of the time while Bern drove. We awoke the next morning to thunderstorms and even some flooding starting in areas, but it soon cleared up. We found our way to several beaches that day before finding our couple and wedding party for a quick afternoon meeting and venue look-see. From there, it was off to the accommodations that Kirstin and Michael had made for us and an evening of fun on the beach.
The next day was mostly devoted to the wedding and we started shooting at the townhouse, details of flowers and rings, etc., the girls getting ready and finishing touches, hanging out with chips and wine, doing their nails. First look with the bride's father and pearls given by her mom.
From there it was off to the beach where it was super fun to be able to shoot a wedding without shoes on! Ha! The area for the wedding was perfectly grated by the venue and looked so peaceful. People all around, of course, but most were kind enough to stay out of the way and not intrude. The ceremony began at 645pm and we managed to get everything that needed gotten before it got dark. I am talking the ceremony, shell throwing, family formals and bridal party shots, picture of the couple, cake cutting, and first dance.
It started to really get dark as everyone ate dinner there on the beach but we all enjoyed a nice bonfire. We all had a good laugh, however, not able to see very well at this point over by the buffet table, I grabbed a helping of what I thought were mashed potatoes. At the table, I took a hearty bite... yeah, it was ginger. Why the venue put out such a huge bowl of something that's more like a garnish is beyond me but we all had a good laugh.
With the sun fully down, some of the party even went crab hunting or swimming. By this time, my "job" was technically complete but I wanted to play a bit and managed to get some really nice shots. One of my favorite is of Kirstin and a friend singing along with a song. The bonfire is behind them but someone was recording the performance on their cell phone with the flash on constant which gave me the perfect lighting for the shot.
Bernadette and I went "home" and crashed while the party continued for a little while longer. Early the next morning, we were able to go out to the beach at sunrise. It was so beautiful and we loved it. So very peaceful, too. And the birds do not seem to attack you in Florida like they do in Mississippi! Kirstin and Michael arrived soon thereafter and we grabbed a quick ring shot that we had not been able to get the evening before (long story!) - this was a shot I really wanted to get, so I know I was personally happy to be out so early for it! (I'm not sure what's causing those circular round lines in one of the other nighttime photos - that's not on my original, just the blog for some reason!)
After that it was back to pack up then head home. The drive home took even longer, I believe. Our original plan was to stay the night in Memphis and arrive home on Monday but we decided we both wanted to push home to our families.
The whole thing was really a great experience and I am so glad and honored that Kirstin and Michael wanted to take me along and take a risk on a photographer who'd never done a beach wedding. I did my research beforehand and was ready to go, but there's always that feeling of... I have never done this before... what if!? I can thankfully say we did not have any cases of "what if"! Yes, I would be tickled pink to be able to do this again some day! Thank you so much, Kirstin and Michael, may your marriage be strong and may you be blessed all the days of your life. Oh, and may your baby boy be born healthy and strong!!