And so the day arrives…
Lauren and Daniel’s wedding weekend started with rehearsal on Friday. Laura and I drove up about mid-afternoon and checked into the lovely cottage Stephen had reserved for us near Hendersonville, then headed on over to Brevard for the rehearsal.
Lauren had selected Rainbow Lake as her wedding venue. The resort features several rustic cottages surrounding a small lake, in between Brevard and Rosman. There is a small island with a gazebo, obviously set up for the ceremony. A short white wooden bridge connects to the mainland. There is also a pavilion for receptions.
Houston and I were there with our cameras, not so much to document the rehearsals as to get a feel for the lighting conditions. As the participants arrived, I snapped a few shots. It looked like the ceremony would be backlit, so I knew I’d have to account for that.
As a performer, I always think of a “rehearsal” as a very structured activity. Therefore it always strikes me as odd at how loosely things go at a wedding rehearsal, unless you’ve got a dictatorial wedding director. It’s been that way at every wedding where I’ve been a participant. It’s a joyous time, and there should lots of laughter and cutting up. Somehow things always seem to come together.
The rehearsal dinner was in the pavilion, with barbecue catered from Sadler’s Creek BBQ, beer, and boiled peanuts. Of course, there was cake and an embarrassing slide show, all in good fun. So far it was a great gathering of family and friends, and that would continue throughout the weekend.
We were joined at our cottage by Houston and Lynda. By the time we made the trek from the venue to Hendersonville we were dead tired. No late night joking and martinis, just to bed and crash.
The next morning Houston and Lynda headed out to do some errands in Hendersonville, while Laura and I found breakfast at the Dixie Diner nearby. A valuable lesson was learned – never order the buffet at 10:00 am. While the food was tasty, the eggs were cold.
We didn’t have much time to linger. We were headed back to the venue by 1:00 so that we could do pre-wedding photo shoots with the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
We got to Rainbow Lake and started gather everyone. First up were the groomsmen. Stephen had found a farm a few miles down the road with a campground operated by an ex-CIA guy. He said there were barns and camouflaged half-ton trucks that would make perfect backdrops for the photos. We first shot a few photos around the lake, then headed toward the farm.
Houston and I found the farm and talked with Kells Hogan, the ex-CIA dude, and made sure it was OK to take the photos. He turned out to be a great guy, and gave us the run of the grounds for photos. Soon the guys arrived, and started to arrange them, first around a half-ton, then in front of one of the old barns.
It was getting dangerously close to wedding time, and the bridesmaids had not yet arrived. The groomsmen had already arrived, with personalized groomsmen gifts to befit their attire. I left Stephen and Houston to finish up the photography with the bridesmaids while I headed back to Rainbow Lake to set up the GoPro and take photos of guests arriving.
Everyone made it back to the venue in plenty of time. Houston and I took our places and started snapping away.
As for the wedding itself, and concerns during the rehearsal quickly vanished. Lauren was absolutely beautiful, as was her sister, Kelsey, as maid of honor. Both Stephen and Cynthia conducted the service, and it had to be one of the best I’ve attended. Truth be told, though, I was paying more attention to getting the right photos than to the service. At least Laura made me put down the camera and take part in the communion service.
The service passed quickly. Here’s an even quicker time-lapse of the event, taken from the GoPro camera.
The reception was great, with lots of friends and family. We ran around trying to get photos of everyone, then photos of the traditional events – cake cutting, toasts, first dance, etc., etc. Finally we ran out of steam. I put down the big camera and switched over to my little Panasonic. Every now and then I’d look around and the camera was gone. Someone (often Stephen or Laura) had picked it up to snap a few photos. Between all of the photographers there, I think we got a few good shots.
We partied late into the night. A great time was had by all. Both Houston and I were exhausted, and I knew Stephen and Cynthia were dead tired. We stayed a bit to help clean up the reception, then headed back to the cottage.
It was a blast pretending to be a wedding photographer, but it’s not something I’d want to do as a full-time job. Lauren was very relaxed and the whole thing was low-pressure, but I can just imagine trying to deal with some “bridezillas.” I know I missed lost of shots and setups that professional would include, but I still think I we got some nice shots for her. Obviously I have posted the best ones here, but we have saved some for Lauren to share at the appropriate time.
Sunday was a recovery day. We got up and checked some of the photos, but then Houston and Lynda had to head back and check on animals. Laura and I lingered a bit. I took a few photos of the interior of our cottage before leaving. The cabin had been neglected, and the owners had restored it and listed it on the AirBnB website for rental. They had recovered the grounds from a kudzu invasion, and had restored a larger fire-damaged house next door for their residence. The cottage was outfitted with antiques, and was a great place to stay, apart from some flaky electricity.
At the end of the road with the cabin was a gem and mineral mine, and we decided to check it out before we headed out of town.
You could buy buckets of dirt and run them through the on-site sluices to try to find treasures. The buckets were heavily salted. This was more of a tourist trap than one of the places you might find near Franklin, NC, but it was still fun. We didn’t get any buckets, but we did find some nice pieces that Laura liked.
After visiting the mineral shop, we headed on into town and had lunch in Hendersonville, then it was back to Greenville and home. It had been a great wedding weekend.