Hey there, fellow lovebirds! Today, I’m so excited to share the beautiful adventure of Aubri and CJ’s intimate Gatlinburg Wedding! Picture this: a tight-knit celebration in a stunning cabin perched high above the Smoky Mountains, accurately named “Mansion in the Sky,” of course. Get ready to fall in love with Aubri & Cj’s super unique details, breathtaking views, & of course the emotions behind all of their memories (& photography) that I was lucky enough to be a part of.
Before we dive in, here’s a little recap of the vendors & contributors for this special day!
Our morning was not your average, chaotic start to a wedding day. Because everything was held inside the cabin, (that we were already staying at), things were much “easier breezier.” Family shared coffee on the balcony, taking in the foggy mountain views, enjoying the peace before all the emotions set in. Aubri shared champagne, tarot readings, & special gifts with her bridesmaids just 2 floors above the men (and Aubri’s almost hubby!)
I started my day by taking time to photograph all the special details like Aubri’s wedding gown, CJ’s Tux and Boots, decor, & of course little personal touches like the dedicated “something blue” police patch Aubri surprised CJ with.
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Once it was time to get ready, Aubri’s (soon to be) sister-in-law, made a special contribution to the wedding day as Aubri’s hair stylist, giving her the most gorgeous half-up-do. Decorating was done by Kimmie’s Rentals, & a beautiful makeup job was done by local, GabsGlamour.
Aubri got on her flowy boho-styled wedding gown, the guys laced their boots & tied their ties, and then it was time for some special first looks with parents. Before we knew it everyone was crying (as expected, and of course, myself included!)
The ceremony took place on the highest balcony of the cabin, offering panoramic views of dreamy Smoky Mountains as the backdrop. But Here’s where things got truly unique, and Aubri’s free-spirited soul really had a chance to shine. As Aubri made her way down the aisle, each guest handed her a flower, creating her bouquet right before our eyes. I’ve photographed countless weddings over the last decade, and this was my first time ever seeing this approach to a bridal bouquet; I absolutely loved it! Surrounded by their nearest and dearest, our beloved couple exchanged heartfelt promises, with CJ’s best friend, Jen, officiating the ceremony.
To seal their union, Aubri and CJ participated in a Celtic rope ceremony, symbolizing their bond and commitment to one another. After their “you may kiss the bride” moment, family and friends showered the newlyweds with dried flower petals. (A once again, unique take on a traditional ceremony grand exit!)
After the ceremony, we did some portraits at the cabin and then ventured down to the road to find our perfect view for wedding portrait magic! I think my exact instructions were, “CJ, just drive in this direction and I’ll tell you when to pull over!” (keeping my eyes out for the best lighting, & best view of the mountains!) With the setting sun hiding behind some foggy clouds, our portraits were nothing short of adventurous magic. They felt intimate, whimsical, and artsy-moody, with the low blue light adding an extra touch of romance to the scene.
The reception was an intimate affair, filled with local barbeque, a whiskey bar, & a loving speech from Aubri’s father. With candles flickering and soft music playing in the background, the atmosphere was the perfect vibe to match Aubri & Cj’s cozy aesthetic. Dessert wasn’t your usual wedding cake, and instead was a 30-lbs pie from Dollywood. As you can tell.. these two are not the most traditional couple! They truly made their wedding everything that was them.
As the night progressed, we transformed the living room into a dance floor, moving furniture aside to make room for Aubri, CJ, and their loved ones to dance the night away. The first dances brought some much-anticipated tears to eyes, and then everyone sighed with relief that maybe.. maybeee… we were done crying for the day – it was party time! With laughter echoing off the walls and favorite hits filling the air, we all danced until we couldn’t anymore!
Here’s where things took a delightful turn – as the evening drew to a close, Aubri decided to take the plunge – quite literally! With an unapologetic and liberating twinkle in her eye, she slipped into the hot tub in her full wedding dress, Campagne bottle in hand, and all. Some chugs of champagne, and a puff or two of a cigar, made for some seriously fun and unique photos that I love so much! I think ending the day with this (literal) visual example of Aubri’s free-spirited heart & willingness to not take things so seriously, was everything their wedding photography needed.
All in all, Aubri and CJ’s wedding was more than just a celebration – it was a true reflection of their wanderlust love and their unique approach to a non-traditional wedding. From the breathtaking views of Gatlinburg to the intimate moments shared with their closest friends and family, every aspect of their day was a perfect representation of their love story. As I look back on their wedding day, I can’t help but feel grateful to have been a part of such a magical celebration, capturing the essence of their love in every photograph, but also getting to create memories with friends I care so deeply about.
So there you have it! Here’s to Aubri and CJ, may your journey together be filled with endless adventures, laughter, and a love that knows no bounds! I love you dearly, and i’m so grateful to call you friends & to have photographed your love story.
Til next time my friends!
with love and kindness,
Wedding Photographer, Muralist, & Live Wedding Painter