Despite the continuing humidity, the days are growing shorter, and the air slightly crisper, especially in the mornings. Fall’s in the air, and so is unmistakable, genuine love.
Over the weekend, we had the honor of photographing Rachel and Alfred’s classic romantic affair at the celebrated Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. This wedding was one I had been looking forward to for a long time. As most of you know, I’m a sucker for timeless Atlanta landmarks, especially those rich in history. Callanwolde was originally the home of Charles Howard Candler, an American businessman and author most notably known for succeeding his father, Asa Candler, as president of the Coca-Cola Company. Built between 1917 and 1921, the gorgeous mansion is considered a simple, yet more contemporary approach to late Gothic Revival-style architecture. Callanwolde continued to be used as the Candler family home until 1959. Since the late 50s, it has served as the First Christian Church of Atlanta’s educational program and an artist studio, and is currently a non-profit community fine arts center. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center offers workshops and classes in literary, performing and visual arts as well as special events like concerts, art exhibitions, fundraisers and weddings. And man, what a lovely venue to celebrate love and new life.
Prior to the wedding ceremony, Rachel and Alfred opted out of a first look, but did express their wish to pray together without seeing each other. This was something both of them wanted to experience as well as have documented. I found an area in Callanwolde where they could both hold hands and pray, but not be able to see one another. I placed Alfred first, and then brought Rachel down. He extended his left hand, and she held it with her right. As soon as the two made a connection, Alfred started to cry and pulled away to wipe his tears. However, it wasn’t long before the pair reconnected, holding hands and crying as they prayed and shared their love for one another. I can’t put into words how special and touching it was to witness such a scared moment with unadulterated emotions. It was one of the most beautiful wedding moments I’ve ever photographed. I’ll never forget it.
Family and friends gathered downstairs in the main room by the grand staircase where the beautiful couple recited vows and declared their love. There was a unique addition included in Rachel and Alfred’s nuptials—the love letter and wine box ceremony. Tucked away in a locked wooden box was a bottle of wine and two sealed love letters written by the bride and groom. As mentioned during the ceremony, the box will serve as a continuous reminder of Rachel and Alfred’s love and commitment to each other. And on their fifth wedding anniversary, they will open the box, relishing in the delicious wine and reading each other’s heartfelt letters. However, if there should come a time when the couple experiences struggles in their marriage, they can open the box, which will remind them of the reasons they chose one another. Such a romantic sentiment!
Following the ceremony, we photographed the bride and groom in Callanwolde’s lush garden and on the patio and veranda. My favorite shooting location at this enchanted venue was the main ballroom. Rachel and Alfred danced in front of large windows with dramatic curtains and lots of mirrors. It was truly a fairytale. As was the reception.
Amongst the warm company and endless exchanges of affection, there were elements of pure magic. Literally. The couple hired a magician, who performed many magic tricks, including a straightjacket escape. I thought this was such an entertaining and extraordinary element to a reception. There was lots of dancing and laughter and all around enjoyment until Rachel and Alfred’s whimsical bubble exit.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.
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