Garden & Gun / Columbia, SC Foodie Travel Guide

When I moved to Augusta a little over 3 years ago, there was one thing I was most excited about: how close I was to such a variety of cities. Augusta sits right on the border of Georgia & South Carolina, meaning I'd be able to easily work, vacation, & eat in cities ranging from Atlanta to Charleston to Savannah to Athens to my most recent adventure: Columbia.

In early July I had the privilege to shoot a Culinary Food Tour of Columbia, SC for Garden & Gun and the Experience Columbia SC. An opportunity to eat & drink my way through the city and capture all the goodness sounds exactly up my alley. Plus, Garden & Gun has always been a favorite publication of mine, so this truly was a dream.

So early July, I loaded up the car with a foodie friend & popped over to Soda City - and what I later learned was called "The Capital of Southern Hospitality." While I may have had significantly more alcohol than soda, it definitely lived up to its claim to Southern Hospitality! Everyone we met was so kind & welcoming, and oh man, the food was good. I absolutely loved hearing the stories behind the restaurants and chefs, their dishes and the impact their making on the Columbia foodie community.

Excited to share a peek at what we experienced & some of our favorite dishes. A huge thank you to Garden & Gun for the opportunity to partner & to the Experience Columbia SC team for such great recommendations full of local flavor. You can find the images in the October/November 2017 issue on stands now, as well as on the G&G website!

Our trip began with a stop at Indah Coffee Company to fuel up for a few days of eating & drinking our way through Columbia, SC. After years of selling coffee at the Soda City Market (more on that later!) on Saturdays, the Indah team opened doors to a brick and mortar location in May. The lavender latte immediately caught my eye, and it was a perfect combination of sweet and floral!

The Indah Coffee Company journey began while owner, Nick, was traveling through Indonesia, where coffee is grown, but traditional methods of preparation were a thing of the past. While the authenticity and freshness of the food scene in his travels were incredible, the coffee culture was not the same. He quickly found himself exploring coffee farms and immersing himself in the process from seed to cup. This journey sparked a hobby of roasting coffee locally in Columbia.

Inspired by the beauty of Indonesia and the coffee process, they named their coffee company “Indah” which means beautiful in Indonesian. They roast all beans in house in small batches to bring about the finest and freshest product possible. Seeing his passion brought to life was such an inspiration - and he even took us to the "back of house" to show us the roasting process! So neat!

Up next was Tallulah, where I immediately did real life heart eyes over the decor & patio with the most glorious light. I may or may not have asked if I could switch the table top from the original one to this clean, white table to really let the freshness of Chef Jones' dishes shine (and those amazingly gorgeous blue floral appetizer plates). We perused the menu over cocktails (I particularly loved the “We Ran Out of Strawberries” featuring vodka, purple basil simple syrup, PAMA liqueur, lemon juice, blood orange bitters and brut rosé) and decided that the Watermelon Tomato Salad was a must: local South Carolina tomatoes, watermelon, feta, vincotto and olive oil. I loved discovering that “vincotto” loosely translates to “cooked wine” and has a similar flavor to a sweet, aged balsamic vinegar.

I also loved discovering that we were in town during prime South Carolina heirloom tomato season... which were also a delicious addition to the Heirloom Tomato & Goat Cheese Quiche. Praise be to the produce Gods! I can't wait to visit these places again in different seasons to see how they incorporate local, seasonal ingredients throughout the year.

After a stop at Sweet Cream Company for Blueberry Crumble & Local Haven Farm Honey ice cream, we opted for a stop at a farm of a different kind: City Roots - South Carolina’s first urban farm. We had already heard about it multiple times since arriving to town that morning because their entirely organic produce & microgreens are used all over town! A gracious host, Co-Owner and Manager, Eric McClam, gave us a tour of the property, starting with the City Roots Farmers Market where I discovered they have a resident Flower Farmer, Brinton Fox, and the most beautiful flower CSA every week during the summer. I wish I could have taken a bouquet home to the hotel! I think they would have made a lovely addition to our room at Aloft! I plan on returning for a visit when Farm to Table Event Company has an event on the property... rumor has it there is a rosé festival... ok yes.

We closed out the first day at Motor Supply Co., where made-from-scratch takes a new life with a daily changing menu of primarily sustainable & locally sourced, or made-in-house ingredients. Make reservations, but arrive early to sit a spell at the bar. Consistently one of my favorite things to do at any restaurant, head barman, Josh Streetman, definitely impressed us with his cocktail creativity. We had been told that he'd whip us up a custom cocktail on the spot if we shared our favorite liquor and flavors with him. We learned that Josh is always up for a good challenge.

"My" cocktail: A combination of dry gin Dolin Blanc, orange bitters, Amontillado Sherry, and peach. And another favorite: a cocktail in honor of the Tasty Tomato Festival at City Roots held in August featuring Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, muddled heirloom tomatoes, basil, lemon and honey in a vintage teacup. He’s known for his wide array of glassware that adds the perfect visual to an already delicious drink.

Then, Chef Fulmer's ability to meld local & international flavors together was pretty amazing. Being in the city of Southern Hospitality, we were intrigued by the “fried chicken,” and loved to hear about Chef’s unique take on an upscale, yet soul-food friendly fried chicken dish. Fulmer removes the bone, as the chicken is roulade then sous vide, and paired with ricotta dumplings, sweet English peas, cherry belle radish, blistered tomatoes, oyster mushrooms and roasted chicken jus. An elegant play on comfort food, and an amazing balance of flavors, this dish hit it out of the park. I was amazed at the variety of flavors in our meal and that he comes up with such a variety every day! When you visit, don’t be afraid to ask the server for the recommendation of the day to experience Wes’ variety of cooking!

It’s no question I love carbs. When I was introduced to Silver Spoon Bake Shop last year by a friend, I knew that we needed to make a stop while in town. Then I discovered Silver Spoon has: Croissant Fridays... and I couldn't have been more excited. My recommendations? Try the almond, brie and jam croissant with a seasonal jam. Ours was a mango, peach and passion fruit jam that balanced sweet and tangy with buttery and flaky. Coming from a girl on a perpetual hunt for the best croissant in the South, I give Silver Spoon two thumbs up! Also: muffin glory (banana chocolate chip muffins, cinnamon pecan coffee cake muffins, and the monkey bread muffins (croissant dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar)) were unreal good.

And finally: oatmeal brown butter sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Anything with brown butter is good in my book. I'm salivating right now.

After a little lunch & margarita flights at Publico, we made our way through Five Points, a cute area of town with restaurants, shops, and culture. Another spot I remembered fondly from a previous visit to Columbia & needed to visit again was The Gourmet Shop: a Columbia "institution." It began as a liquor store in 1977 and later opened a cafe in 1981. Now, a café/store hybrid that has everything from pots and pans to exceptional wines, to famous chicken salad sandwiches and (my favorite!) pimento cheese, we popped over to the patio for some Five Points people watching, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Italian Rum Cake, and a little bubbly.

When in the Carolinas, you must do BBQ... and The War Mouth is the place to go for that and more. The team led by Porter Barron and Rhett Elliott says they are “Celebrating the pleasures of living where we do.” And after dining there, I'm also celebrating the goodness: from deviled eggs to boiled peanuts to cheese straws, cocktails & appetizers are enough for a meal... but then: barbecue.

In fact, when they were renovating the space for the restaurant, they discovered that it used to house the wrought iron workshop that created the grill grates for the yearly South Carolina/Clemson football game barbecue... it was only a matter of time until the space became dedicated to a South Carolina staple again.

We ordered a Half Rack of ribs (with signature South Carolina and War Mouth barbecue sauce) and the Carolina Heritage Barbecue Plate featuring hash and rice, a slice of good ole’ white bread, pickles, slaw, and pork skin. The meat was moist, the slaw crunchy, and homemade pickles with the perfect amount of tang. And rumor has it we must try the pickle plate on our next visit!

We finished out the evening with a stop at River Rat Brewery where the post-work Friday crowd was bustling despite the rain! A sucker for any sour or gose, we had the chance to try the seasonal Top Gose, which hit all my salty beer needs. If you’re not a beer person but still want to enjoy the ambiance (the property is huge, and expanding this year with a rooftop bar!), try the Prosecco & Popsicle cocktail featuring King of Pops.

We kicked off our final day in the city at Drip Coffee on Main Street before a stop at the Soda City Market. As a photographer, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing natural light and big windows inside the shop, and love the difference in ambiance from the Drip in Five Points which is a bit cozier. Get your coffee fix... or if you're not a daily coffee drinker like me and want more of a sweet treat: the Caramel White Mocha Espresso Milkshake, and then mosey through the market!

With everything from food trucks to fresh produce to artisans and entertainment, Soda City Market was bustling with locals and visitors alike (and their dogs too!). I loved how dog-friendly the city was and kept wishing Sophie & Chip could join me for the weekend. We are coming back for sure to experience this 3-day foodie tour of Columbia, and like any true Lauren Carnes vacation, it will include a trip to the Farmers Market. I can't get enough of them... ever.

After making our way through the Market, it was time for everyone’s favorite meal… brunch. We visited Bourbon, a whiskey bar and Cajun-Creole restaurant with a South Carolina twist. Led by restauranteur, Kristian Niemi (also of Farm to Table Event Co) and Head Chef Frank Bradley, Bourbon was a much-anticipated visit (after multiple people made the recommendation we stop in). Upon chatting with Chef Bradley, recommended we try the Biscuit of Champions. And oh man, did it win, or what? A freshly made buttermilk biscuit is topped with house made andouille sausage, crispy fried chicken breast, bourbon smoked bacon, sausage gravy, and a fried egg. Load more sausage gravy on top and get yourself a fork and knife (or tons of napkins) because this champion is too delicious to not get messy. 

Other Bourbon favorites? Try the Booze Berry Biscuits topped with bourbon soaked blueberries and Royal icing, or the Cast Iron Pork and Potato Hash: smoked pork shoulder, roasted sweet and fingerling potatoes, caramelized pearl onions, Cremini mushrooms, crispy Brussels sprouts, and fried eggs. It even comes in its own mini personal cast iron skillet! I'm a sucker for anything mini, so I got a little too excited when it came out.

Finally: brunch isn't brunch without an adult beverage IMHO: y'all, get the Cuppa Joe: Bulleit Bourbon, Drip (yep, the same Drip from earlier!) iced coffee, Amaro di Agnostura, mole bitters and a maple cream float, all served with a smoked salt and sugar rim. Imagine all of your sweet, salty, bourbon caffeine dreams coming true. But I’d expect nothing less coming from a bar that boasts the largest whiskey list in South Carolina.

Our final stop for the culinary tour of Columbia was immediately across the street from Bourbon (and the South Carolina State House!) at the amazing Oak Table. Upon walking in for our time together, their staff offered up some of the most delicious and beautiful food and drink we could have imagined. Beverage Director, Jordan Moore, kept the cocktails coming. She knew the way to my heart with gin cocktails, and came up with a twist on the French 75 that was even better, more local (as in... herbs from their patio!), and incredibly gorgeous. With basil, fennel, mint, sage, tarragon and thyme from The Oak Table’s garden, lemon juice, sugar, green chartreuse, gin and bubbles, this herby twist on a French 75 is delightfully refreshing and pretty, like a little garden in your glass.

Executive Chef Todd Woods dreamed up a Maine Scallop Crudo to start for us featuring Holy Basil, heirloom tomato water, basil seed, local cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. The sweet, smooth texture of the scallops was an amazing complement to the refreshing tomato water, and basil. Not to mention, the dish looked like a work of art! Chef Woods’ presentation definitely impressed!

Focusing on local ingredients and farm fresh produce, the Tartine of Roasted Local Vegetables is quite possibly one of my favorite things I’ve eaten in a while. A perfectly charred piece of bread topped with herbed ricotta, Johnston County ham, fava beans, and a variety of roasted vegetables, this small plate was absolutely gorgeous and so full of flavor. Flavor continued with equally as striking and tasty entrees of the Carolina Heritage Pork Chop and the Handrolled Trofie Pasta. The Pork Chop was on top local Congaree Milling red corn grits, a Cabin Branch Farm cherry tomatoes and compressed peach salad, and a basil vinaigrette. Then the pasta with Cabin Branch Farm basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, South Carolina chanterelles, a pine nut crumble, and grana Padano with a soft egg, was amazing to experience and learn that it can be made vegetarian or vegan! For those not afraid of a runny yolk (yum), imagine breaking into the soft egg to create the most delicious sauce alongside the basil pesto.

We couldn’t close our tour of Columbia without one more dessert, so Chef Woods offered us multiple options, and naturally, we took them all. The goat milk cheesecake with blueberry-balsamic-thyme gel, almond streusel, and sugared blueberries was about as delicious as it looks. The tangy goat cheese cheesecake and balsamic flavors were an ideal contrast to the sweet blueberry and streusel, and Chef’s creativity was much appreciated. Speaking of creativity... Chef Woods doesn't shy away from incorporating local... and unique... flavors in his signature ice creams! They change with the seasons and the dreams of the team, but peach basil ricotta with grilled Watsonia Farms peaches, smoked cinnamon, and blueberry chamomile finished out our meal. Plus, one last surprise - I can’t forget about the most unlikely and delicious of them all: French fry ice cream! It’s exactly as you imagine: sweet, salty, creamy perfection. Picture Wendy's vanilla frosty & fries but 10 times better. Ask for the flavors of the day to see if anything strikes your fancy! Needless to say, we were FULL when we left.

My 3-day Columbia, SC travel itinerary consisted of some of the most delicious & inspired food I've had in quite some time - all with some of the kindest people I've met in a while. That Southern Hospitality shined through, and I couldn't have been more grateful to eat & drink my way through the city for this food tour & photo adventure. A huge thank you to Garden & Gun for the opportunity & the Experience Columbia SC for being a part of making the town such an amazing place to eat & drink! Chip & I are already counting down until we can relive the long weekend getaway to Columbia, SC full of food & drink!

When you make your way to Columbia for your culinary tour, let me know where you go - or better yet, let me know when... and I'll go with you! ;) Cheers, friends!

Covington First United Methodist Church Wedding Photographer | Sarah & Sam

Classic, timeless, Southern beauty full of legacy & excitement - that's what this day was! When Sarah first reached out, she hadn't officially nailed down a venue yet, but knew one thing: she would love to get married at the church she grew up attending in her hometown: the First United Methodist Church in Covington, GA. One look at it online, and I knew why... and then those feelings were confirmed when I arrived on their big day to see the most gorgeous church with big white columns & a beautiful porch... plus lovely light inside & bright colored walls! Add in some blue-grey dresses, men in classic tuxes, and simple white & green florals, and I'm sold! It was absolutely stunning!

Something I absolutely loved hearing about were Sarah's prom picture parties on the porch, Easter photos on the lawn, and games of Sardines throughout the church interiors. She grew up here. How special to add such an amazing new memory to the roster at the church - her and Sam's big day!! The other incredibly special thing about their day - every member of their bridal party was either family... or basically family - and then with cutie kiddos running around, it was no denying that Sarah & Sam value their families so much. And no wonder - because these people were incredibly fun and kind! Sarah, her mom, and I even geeked out over my new camera bag that she saw me share on Instagram Stories a couple weeks ago... it was at that moment that I felt just like a member of their family too. :)

Sarah & Sam, the biggest thank you for letting me hang with your families & friends all day! It was such an honor and so much fun! I loved seeing you two light up together after the anticipation of walking down the aisle... and seeing your beaming faces tearing it up on the dance floor all night! You two are a power couple with the kindest hearts, and I'm so thankful to have captured your big day! Excited to share some of my favorite images with you!

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Ceremony: Covington First United Methodist | Reception: Mill at Yellow River | Coordinator: Yours Truly Weddings & Events | Florist, Catering, Linens, Lighting: Beyond Details | Cake: Baby Cakes | Band: Total Package Band | Hair: Trendsetters Hair Studio | Dress: House of the Bride | Bridesmaids: Dessy from House of the Bride | Minister: Reverend Dr. Douglas Gilreath | Second Shooter: Chelsey Dellinger Photography

Park Tavern at Piedmont Park Wedding Photographer | Geales & Craig

Pure joy - all day long - that's what this wedding was. You may notice a trend in these photos: Geales' adorable grin and Craig looking adoringly at her. And oh my goodness, quite possibly the sweetest first look reaction of all time! Craig made this photographer's heart warm with his tears of joy upon seeing Geales' beauty for the first time.

You may remember, I've known Geales for years. She attended my rival high school and we have always had many mutual friends. I always knew her as the super kind, brilliant one. Our friendship blossomed during our time at UGA in the same sorority where I not only had my super kind, brilliant hunches confirmed, but also that she is: hilarious, beyond athletic, and pretty much wonder woman.

Friends, Craig is Geales in male form. He complements her perfectly, and can even keep up with her on her marathon runs... and that's saying something because Geales qualified for the Boston Marathon without training. I remember our days in the AOPi house where she would go on casual 10 mile runs for fun. Meanwhile, I was likely eating animal crackers in the snack kitchen. ;)

When I first met Craig during our San Francisco engagement photo session, I knew in an instant he was perfect for our Gealesy - and on their wedding day, Geales exclaimed: "I tried to keep my expectations low for this week, but it has been even better than what my highest expectations were!" I have zero doubt that much of that is due to Craig's thoughtfulness & their joy in preparing for marriage!

Geales is originally from the Atlanta suburbs, and Craig attended GA Tech, so it only seemed fitting for them to wed in the ATL, and dance the night away with the Atlanta skyline in the background. And boy, did we DANCE! Their choreographed first dance was quite impressive, as well! From the beautiful florals by Jordan Reed Studio to the day so beautifully coordinated by Shelley Legg of Chancey Charm, it couldn't have been more of a dream. I am so excited to share a peek at their day!

Geales & Craig, there are few greater compliments than dear friends inviting you in to capture their wedding day. You two bring me so much joy as a friend and photographer. Craig, when I began hearing of you, I knew something was special. Geales had never spoken so highly of someone before, and everything and more she shared is absolutely true. After spending time with you, I know equally that you feel the same about her. What joy to watch friends find their true love and celebrate that! I can't wait to visit you in SF again soon and to see how the Lord uses you two in the years to come. All my love to you both!

Planning & Coordination: Shelley Legg for Chancey Charm | Florals: Jordan Reed Studio | Video: Imagine Video Productions | Hair & Makeup: Blend Beauty Group | DJ & Photo Booth: Amp'd Entertainment | Late Night Snack: Honeysuckle Gelato | Second Shooter: Chelsey Dellinger Photography | Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church Atlanta | Reception & Catering: Park Tavern at Piedmont Park

Summerour Studio Wedding Photographer | Jordan & Kyle

Since before I was a wedding photographer, I've always loved this one particular venue in the heart of Atlanta... that basically looks like you're at a Tuscan villa. Summerour Studio beautiful - with amazing vines climbing the walls and the most gorgeous light in the bridal suite. 

When I heard from Jordan about her wedding day and the details, with the amazing Jenny of It Takes Two Events, I knew that Jordan & Kyle's wedding day was going to be nothing short of stunning! And whew, it sure was! From the lush greenery overflowing the stairway for their ceremony, to the amazing courtyard for portraits, to the sweet first look between Jordan & her father, to Kyle's beaming smile every moment he saw his love, it was an amazing day! Also, the cake by For Goodness Cakes was one of the most beautiful cakes I have seen in a long time, especially with Everything and More Events' floral wreath adorning it! I absolutely loved the blue hue to it! Finally, it was quite a dance party with the amazing band: The Free bringing the jams. More than anything, I am SO excited to share all of the images!

Jordan & Kyle, when you're together, you both light up. You beam with joy and excitement, and your graciousness is absolutely noted and so thoughtful. You thanked me multiple times on the wedding day, and all I can say is: thank YOU for the honor of capturing your day. It was perfect! The only thing that could have made it better? Sweet Darla there in person (or in dog, I should say!). Can't wait to see all that's in store for you... and to follow along on your amazing woodworking projects!

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Venue: Summerour Studio | Planner: Jenny of It Takes Two Events | Videography: Justin Peay Productions| Catering: Bold American | Bakery: For Goodness Cakes | Florist: Everything and More Events | Band: The Free | Ceremony Music/Sound: Etude Entertainment | Transportation: Atlantic Limo & Atlanta Vintage Rides | Stationery: Hi Note | Linens: I Do Linens | Draping: Event Drapery | Event Design Rentals: Crush Event Design | Photobooth: Shutterbooth | Hair & Makeup: Formal Faces | Groom's Attire: The Modern Gent | Stage & Estate Table Rentals: Peachtree Tents and Events | Second Shooter: Chelsey Dellinger Photography

Flint Hill Norcross, GA Wedding Photographer | Abby & Kyle

Some days I pinch myself at the sweetness of capturing friend's wedding days. Abby & I were AOPis together at UGA, and when she got engaged, I was so excited to have the chance to shoot her big day. In fact, you may recognize a few ladies (lovely Molly... and even Whitney from before I launched a photography business and she trusted me with her engagement photos! A serious throwback!). As a result, this day felt like I was hanging out with dear friends & part of the family. Not to mention, it was absolutely beautiful. I might have audibly gasped when walking into the getting ready room... a full wall of windows, decor that matched their color palette, and details to make my heart skip a beat! AND their precious golden pup, Doug, made an appearance, so of course I was a happy camper.

Abby & Kyle met in dental school, and in the past year, Kyle has begun a residency in Oral Surgery in Birmingham. While Kyle was reading his letter he wrote to Abby out loud for the talented Kevin of Godeo Films, I just stood there tearing up behind the camera hearing how much these two support each other. As many of you know, residency ain't no joke, and one line of his letter struck me such truth and a reminder of what our duty and joy in marriage is. Kyle mentioned that Abby likely didn't anticipate what was to come with Kyle's residency, yet, she supports him and cheers him on endlessly in those long call days of intern year & they love with their whole hearts. What a beautiful reminder in marriage of the opportunity we have to love and support in and through all things.

One final special element of their day was the both sets of parents were wed years ago that very same weekend! What fun for their families!

Abby & Kyle, you two are an inspiration - from your smarts to your genuine hearts & smiles (you dentists know what's up!), I am so excited to see what's in store for you. Being a part of your day was such an honor! There is no doubt to me that the legacy your parents began your same wedding weekend years ago will continue with such joy, adventure, and puppy cuddles throughout your lives and marriage! 

Venue/Design: Flint Hill | Makeup: Becca Whittinghill| Hair: Mari Matthew Hairstyle Designs | Attire: Wedding Angels | Bride's Gown: Essense of Australia | Video: Godeo Films

Pine Knoll Farms Augusta, GA Wedding Photographer | Lauren & Matthew

Some weddings just amaze you in every way - from the joy of the couple, the calmness and ease of the day, the amazing vendor team (which likely helped with the calmness and ease of the day! ;) ), and the stunning beauty of all the details, Lauren & Matthew's Pine Knoll Farms wedding just outside of Augusta, GA couldn't be more perfect! I originally met Lauren while shooting my dear friend's wedding, so when she reached out for her own wedding and shared the vision for it, I knew it was going to be beyond special.

A few favorite elements? Lauren arrived to the ceremony in a horse drawn carriage in honor of her Pop who walked horses for years, the lovely florals by Cote Designs, Lauren & Matthew's sweet love and their couple's portrait session, the "Love Lock" they added to the Love Lock gate reminiscent of their time together in Paris, those stunning Manolo Blahnik "something blue" shoes, the amazing sunset with the horses roaming in the fields, a dance party that rivaled all others... the love of their day could go on and on! And a huge shoutout to Laurel Avenue for making everything run so, so smoothly! But for now, I'll just let you see for yourself!

And if you want a peek at Lauren's Bridal Portrait Session, you can find it here!

Lauren & Matthew, thank you - for trusting me with your day and your memories. Right from the start I could hear the excitement in your voice, Lauren, about the day and what it held. Your intentional planning and thoughtful demeanor made everyone feel so cared for by you all day long. And Matthew, the way you look at Lauren is beyond sweet. I can't wait to see how you two love and celebrate over the years, because I know one thing for sure: it's going to be a beautiful marriage!

And one final photo right above of my sweet friend/former roommate/former bride, Wendy, & Lauren! So fun having past LCP friends at my weddings!

Venue: Pine Knoll Farms | Planning & Design: Cote Designs Florals & Events | Coordination: Laurel Avenue | Hair & Makeup Artist: Cucumber & Mint | Dress: Anne Barge from House of the Bride | Videography: Kevin Hursh Films | Catering: Berry’s Catering and Floral | Cake: Beyond Usual Cakes | DJ: DJ Sires of Amp'd Entertainment | Second Shooter: Chelsey Dellinger Photography

Pine Knoll Farms Augusta, GA | Lauren Bridals

If you saw Lauren & Matthew's wedding day, you know that this girl has some amazing style! Goodness, it was a gorgeous day... and I got a double dose of the lovely by having the opportunity to capture her Bridal Portrait Session before the big day! 

Venue: Pine Knoll Farms | Florist: Cote Designs Florals & Events | Hair & Makeup Artist: Cucumber & Mint | Dress: Anne Barge from House of the Bride

Augusta, GA Wedding Photographer | Emily & Chandler

These two have been engaged for years... so when the day finally came for them to wed, it couldn't have been a more welcomed celebration! Emily & Chandler are two of the most genuinely kind people you'll meet. You may remember them from their beautiful Hopelands Gardens engagement session in Aiken, SC where we found the most stunning red camellia bush... it felt straight out of a fairytale. Beauty & the Beast to be exact... ;) with subtle nods to the timeless tale of love, Emily & Chandler planned a day full of beauty with a nod to the past & a fairytale inspiration. 

I mean, look at that amazing dress - oh how it flowed - I simply couldn't handle the loveliness of her Sarah Seven her gown from The Sentimentalist! And then something else flowed: the tears from my eyes during Emily & her father's first look... and again during her and Chandler's private, handwritten vows before the ceremony. It was such a special day for these two and their family and friends, and I was honored to capture it. A huge thank you to such an incredible vendor team led by Greg Boulus Events! Find the full list at the end of the blog post, and for now: I'm excited to share some of my favorite images from their day!

Emily & Chandler, thank you for your joy and for inviting me into it... for the way you so sweetly shared your vows privately, but welcomed me into that moment. I cherished the day with you two and am so excited for what the next season holds for you! A tale as old as time, without a doubt!

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Ceremony: Sacred Heart Cultural Center | Reception: The Legends Club | Planning, Design, & Florals: Greg Boulus Events | Ceremony Coordination: Angela Rogers | Bride's Gown: Sarah Seven from The Sentimentalist | Hair & Makeup: Cucumber & Mint | Bridesmaid's Dress: Bill Levkoff | Men's Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Catering: Creative Moments Catering | DJ: M&S Mobile Productions | Second Shooter: Chelsey Dellinger Photography

 

 

255 Milledge, Hardeman-Sams House Wedding Photographer | Allie & Blake

Shooting a friend's wedding is a special, special thing. You have the chance to capture one of the most important days of their lives... and also gush over their beauty and the sweetness of them as a couple! Years ago, during my sorority & public relations agency days, I met Allie. She is a few years younger than me in AOPi, so our friendship really began when she was an intern at the company I worked for. It was a small but mighty team, so Allie and I worked hand-in-hand together on various projects and it was quite fun. She's fun-loving, hilarious, spunky, and beautiful inside and out... and also from Austin, TX which makes her like 1097398 times cooler from the get-go. She also loves to travel like I love to travel... so I love her.

Then she got engaged to Blake and immediately reached out to me to find out if I was available their wedding day. The wedding would be in spring, a shorter engagement, and happened to be Easter weekend, which was perfectly fitting for this couple honoring Him through their relationship and soon-to-be marriage. I couldn't be more honored to have captured it! Blake is in the medical school where Chip attended, and they are getting married at the same timeframe as when Chip and I got married - in spring of his second year, just before the first round of their big medical school test, the "Boards."

I couldn't help but get a little sentimental thinking about the life that is in store for them - one of a long road in medicine, but so much joy in teamwork, and one, without a doubt, of a life well lived. Within just a short while of getting to see them together, I have zero doubt that they are going to make a huge impact on their people and this world and have so much fun doing it! Their wedding at the recently renovated 255 Milledge, Hardeman-Sams House in Athens, GA was absolutely stunning and full of such amazing people! Their friends and family were so wonderful to be around and celebrated them so well!

Plus, I can't even tell you how special it was to see the look in Allie's mom's (and dad's!) eyes when she saw her daughter wearing her very own wedding dress. They had a few alterations done to it, and when Allie slipped into it, her bridal beauty was astounding! What a special "something borrowed" for her! I'm so excited to share a few images from their day!

Allie & Blake, a huge thank you for inviting me in to capture your wedding and to celebrate this time with you two. I am so proud of y'all and prayerful for the adventures to come. Allie, welcome to the medical spouse club - I'm always here for the celebrations and questions! ;) Blake, I loved your thoughtfulness and eagerness to see your beautiful bride walk down the aisle. It was definitely a special moment. I can't wait to see how He uses the two of you to impact His Kingdom! All my love!

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Venue: 255 Milledge Hardeman-Sams House | Wedding Coordinator & Florals: Sheila Rivera Weddings | Cake: Cecilia Villaveces Cakes | Catering: Mama's Boy | DJ: Rob Clark | Makeup Artist: Bombshell Creations | Hair Artist: Kim Finley | Bridesmaid's Dresses: Azazie | Men's Attire: Men's Warehouse | Rentals: Goodwin Events | Second Shooter: Ivey Gibb Photography

Augusta Country Club Wedding Photographer | Patricia & Stewart

It's so hard to believe that wedding season is officially upon us, and this past weekend we kicked off with the most beautiful, classically Southern wedding for Patricia & Stewart. These two and their family and friends are unbelievably kind and thoughtful, not to mention that they know how to throw a dance party! On the most beautiful spring day, we celebrated their "I do's," and I was so honored to capture it all.

Patricia first reached out to me after her roommate, Allison, and I began working together for her wedding day! Then, I discovered that she is also friends with Mary Helen - one of my favorite things about serving as a wedding photographer is getting the chance to befriend my clients and then serve their friends over the years... and see the my former couples on the dance floor again! With friends like Allison & Mary Helen, I knew that I'd love Patricia right away. Once I met her and Stewart together (and later Patricia's mom), I just knew we were with good people.

The wedding day was at Stewart's long-time church, and the country club he's grown up playing golf at - since Patricia's move to Augusta, these places have become "home" for her too - in fact, Stewart even proposed at the Augusta Country Club, so getting to celebrate their day there was so special. With a dream team of vendors from Karin of Cote Designs on florals and event design, the Cucumber & Mint ladies for hair & makeup, and Whitney of House of the Bride as the bridal attendant & official dress beautifier, seeing the day come to life for Patricia & Stewart was such fun. Not to mention that their families are some of the kindest people you'll meet, and full of life!

These two have a way of complementing each other so perfectly - Patricia's fun & humble spirit is the perfect addition to Stewart's family-focused & thoughtful demeanor. And holy cow, they were absolutely a stunning couple... perfectly classic for a beautiful Southern wedding! Augusta definitely showed off for us too with the amazing azaleas in bloom at Augusta University's Summerville campus for photos! I am so excited to share!

Patricia & Stewart, thank you so, so much for the honor to capture your day! I can't imagine a more perfect wedding to kick off my 2017 year with - you two kept me smiling all day long, and I love seeing the love you share! Now, enjoy every second of St. Lucia! Cheers to the Fishers!

Ceremony: St. Mary's Catholic Church | Reception: Augusta Country Club | Floral & Event Design: Cote Designs Florals & Events | Bridal Accompaniment: Whitney of House of the Bride | Bride's Gown: Anne Barge from House of the Bride | Bridesmaid's Dresses: Bill Levkoff from House of the Bride | Hair & Makeup: Cucumber + Mint | Catering & Cake: Augusta Country Club | Band: Complete Desire | Second Shooter: Casto Photography & Cinema