When we first met up with Ally & Tyler for their engagement session last summer & found out about their nautical themed wedding, we knew it was going to be nothing short of impressive. Ally even brought that theme to their session with a cute nautical dress. Everything from the table linens to the oar signature board for guests was perfectly done. They had a late afternoon ceremony on the beach followed by the guests throwing bags of miniature beach balls at them upon their departure. Another great meal from Townsend catering and this group was set to party for the night. What a party it was. Thank you to Ally & Tyler for being such another awesome couple!
Ceremony & Reception Venue | Carillon Weddings
Planner | Victoria Volpone & Avis Glenister of Carillon Weddings
Florals & Decor | Nouveau Flowers
Catering | Townsend Catering
Cake | Confections on the Coast
Cinematography | Diva Productions
Reception Music | Paul Kirker with Gulf Talent Services
Pensacola – Destin Photographer:
We first met the Brown family in 2010 when we took their family portraits and have stayed in touch since, so when they contacted us again last month for another session before the military moves them overseas, of course we said yes! When they mentioned that they wanted a relaxed beach photo session involving the other member of their family (aka “the boat”), I think Wes nearly flew out of his chair with excitement. Destin and Pensacola have a wonderful boating community and it’s almost a way of life on the Gulf Coast. When we’re not working, you can find us on the water ourselves, so it was insanely fun to capture that love of boating for another family. It ended up being a little cooler than we expected for a Spring Break week, but the kids bundled up and were a delight to play with while we captured all of their fun at their favorite spots. One thing we love about boating is getting to go to the places that no one else can reach by car, so it gave us plenty of room for silliness. If you are interested in a lifestyle photo session like this for your family, feel free to contact us. We’d love to help!
Destin Bay House Wedding – As much as we love big weddings, it’s often nice to have a quaint, laid back event with wonderful families and lots of pretty details. We were excited to finally photograph a wedding at the Destin Bay House from the moment Jennifer contacted us. It is a beautiful property right in the heart of old Destin on Choctawhatchee Bay, and it’s perfect getting married on the water if you want a green lawn instead of concrete or sand. It’s surrounded by large, mossy, oak trees and lots of pretty placed to photograph. We got our first big cold front of Fall on the morning of this wedding which left us with cold temps and blustery winds, but the house was spacious enough that the guests were all cozy inside.
Venue – Destin Bay House, Destin, Florida
Cake – Sweet For Sirten
Photographer – www.raeleytham.com
Jennifer’s timeline allowed us plenty of time to play with her portraits, so we started in the getting ready room and took these with some beautiful window light. These green bridesmaids dresses were beautiful and a perfect match for the green bouquets!This field was perfect with all of the golden midday sun hitting the foliage. It’s hard to believe this is in the middle of a beach town. Poor Jennifer walked onto that cold, blustery lawn, and you can almost see the chill on her faceThe public park right next to the Destin Bay House is perfect for portraits tooEvery wedding detail was creative and This was our first cake with Sweet for Sirten and it was adorable AND tastyThis is one of Destin’s best features… the sunsets. The dolphins were playing at the end of the pier as it was getting darkWith all the wedding formalities done, they got the party started. Wait for it….Never mind, don’t wait for it… REACHA nice bubbly sendoff “inside” thanks to mother nature, but a great night!
Our new look! That’s right, we’ve been working hard to update our blog and website with a beautiful new brand. We’re not finished yet! You may notice our blog is catching up, but we will not be launching our new site until next week! We will also be merging raeleytham.com/blog with raeleytham.com to bring both the new blog and website together. I’m sure there will be technical glitches along the way, so please stick with us while we get all of this worked out.
- New logos & graphics
- Comment on posts with Facebook
- Updates menus and resources coming soon
For now, enjoy a sneak peek of the coming soon raeleytham.com below while you enjoy the new look of our blog!
Nothing pleases us more than seeing our past wedding clients starting a family of their own, and Rich and Hannalore are no exception. It’s hard to believe that their wedding was four years ago already! When they had friends in town from Ohio this summer, we did a combined maternity and beach session for them and their friends on a beautiful summer afternoon. Congrats to them for the recent birth of their beautiful baby boy!
We had a bridal session with Mandy a couple of months ago, so we’ll start with a few of those. We were so excited the first time we say that beautiful dress.
Mandy and her mom and Grant met with us a while back after they had met with another photographer. I think Mandy’s words to her mom were, “Rae’s gonna have a hard time beating that [other photographer].” I must have impressed them! We had an instant connection and we actually realized we have some mutual friends. Their wedding was incredibly sweet and obviously beautiful thanks to some well-chosen vendors.
One of my favorite parts of the day was the time Mandy spent with her parents while getting ready. There were tears shed by everyone in the room. Another favorite part of the day was scavenging for pretty areas of a concrete jungle!
Venue | Emerald Grande Resort
Catering | Emerald Grande Resort
Flowers and Decor’ | Celestine’s Special Occasions
Cake | Betty Weber
DJ | Paul Kirker of Gulf Talent Services
Can you believe that we have the occasional person who does not hire us because we have not photographed a wedding at their venue before? Yep, it happens. I’m here to reassure all of you that we actually thrive off new venues. Sometimes new locations are the best because it makes us think outside the box rather than just going through the motions of all the previous weddings we’ve shot somewhere else. When we arrive at a wedding, we’re like the police looking for a crime scene. We’re examining the direction of the sun compared to the surroundings, which way the wind is blowing, and looking for those perfect sweet spots for photos. Sometimes, just when we think we’ve got it all worked out, the sky can go from cloudy to sunny or vice-versa and that immediately changes everything. In other words, we adapt to any and everything. Great wedding photos involve so much thought process at times, the actual surroundings are just a small portion of what goes into them. So, moral of the story is to never choose a photographer based on their experience at a particular wedding venue.
I went back and pulled some older wedding pics to show you some of the more extreme examples of how we can take a less than perfect situation at a venue we had never photographed before and manipulate it into something great. These are both venues that are extremely hard to photograph.
We’ll start first with Jenna’s wedding on Pensacola Beach. The plan was to do getting ready photos and portraits at the bride’s hotel before going to an isolated beach location for the wedding. When we arrived, this was our first view of the hotel. Asphalt jungle right? Ok, this may take some creativity…..
The back of the building wasn’t much help either…..brown grass, blue umbrellas, and even a palm tree with the top cut off.
That’s when we found this… A nice little landscaped corner on the front of the building.
With the right lens choice and a little maneuvering, this is what we were able to achieve with that little corner of landscaped heaven.
Here is another venue than can be hard to photograph. This is the Emerald Grande in Destin. It’s a beautiful resort, but it’s also a concrete jungle when it comes to the surroundings.
When our couple stayed here to get dressed and do photos before their beach wedding, we had a few minutes to make the most of the front parking area of the building. This doesn’t look very promising right?
Well, sometimes a little strip of landscaping goes a long way…. See where that light pole is? I’m going to stand there and put our bride a little closer to those two palm trees at the end.
And this was the outcome… she has a portfolio of images that make it look like she was standing in a luscious garden.
This is what we do as professional photographers. We take our experience and skill, and use it to deliver a great portfolio of wedding images. While we can’t guarantee miracles every time, out track record for making things like this work is pretty darn good. This is why we are proud to be who we are, and we hope you will give us the same opportunity for you even if we’ve never photographed your particular venue.
We don’t have to time to blog all of the family sessions we shoot, but we thought this was the perfect time to throw one in the mix. Our friend Lucy was vacationing recently in the Sandestin area, and we had the opportunity to catch up with her and meet her family. You see, Lucy graduated with Wes back in 19xx, (cough cough), and they were friends starting all the way back in the 3rd grade. Yep, they even wore the same marching band uniform at one time along with Rae. We had not seen Lucy since graduating high school, but we were glad to finally catch up and meet this awesome family.
The boys were quite handsome and very entertaining….
Little Ava will have plenty of protection with those two big brothers!
There’s nothing better than than arriving at a wedding and being visually overjoyed with creativity and color schemes. That was the feeling we had as soon as we arrived at Carillon to Lauren & Trevor’s wedding. Lauren chose a pink & yellow wedding color scheme that was fun, modern, & just perfect for the season. This was definitely a FUN group of people who came for a destination wedding from Memphis and brought their southern hospitality with them. I think the phrase “They liked to dance” would be an understatement!
We gave this post a little extra love and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed being there!
Lauren’s mom popped out of her room in that rockin’ pink dress and she got a major round of applause!
Totally in love with these colors… especially the shoes!
Their first dance started out with a fake-out slow song and then transitioned into a fast dance to everyone’s surprise. They repeated that with their parents as well who could boogie down with the best.
Another wonderful meal by Townsend Catering. This very berry salad is one of our faves!
Emily & Jim were married recently at the Sandestin Resort in beautiful South Walton county. This was a destination wedding with many friends and family arriving from Chicago. Emily’s dress was just stunning and was a perfect style for the day. It was a beautiful Spring afternoon and the azaleas at Sandestin were in full bloom providing us amazing color. Enjoy!
Wedding Cake | Yasha Becker
Reception | Sandestin Grand
We strolled around Baytown Wharf for some fun between the ceremony & reception…This crowd definitely knew how to party….
We started our 2011 off with an amazing wedding and an amazing couple. The wedding and reception were at the Cypress Dunes Clubhouse in Santa Rosa Beach. The venue was great, the vendors were fabulous, and the details were amazing. We are THRILLED to share this one with you. Even Kris’ jewelry was lovely. The groom’s mom and her friends are florists and they did such a great job with all the floral details and decor’. The birch bark details were so organic and the handmade cotton guest book fit in so well. Add Classic City Catering and Betty Weber cake to the mix and we were in heaven. The food was delicious….spicy tomato bisque with grilled cheese points, gumbo with dirty rice, oysters on the half shell, baked oysters, and so much more!
One of our favorite Fall weddings was at Carillon Beach with Jaclyn & Jerry. The weather could not have been much for perfect for this grand event in the Meeting House with reception following on the tented lawn. Christina with Nouveau did another amazing job with the bright florals and drapes inside the tent for an elegant almost ballroom feel to the wedding. There were to many guests to fit inside the meeting house, so chairs were added on the outside decks and the french doors were opened to make the ceremony a beautiful indoor/outdoor wedding. I’m just going to let the rest of the photos speak for themselves.
With Rae being 8 months pregnant, we enlisted the help of the fantastic Mary Beth Tyson Photography and the up and coming Michael Newman photography to help us with this wedding. They got some great shots as well that I will be pointing out. Let’s just say that with four photographers, this wedding was covered from head to toe. One of the Great shots Michael took…..Mary Beth found a strategic spot in the front of the Meeting House, and these next two shots are hers…She got one of my favorite shots of the day below….Rae was across from Mary Beth and caught both moms having a good time too..And Wes was in the back… See? It was covered hahaAn amazing Fall sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t let the warm tone fool ya though. It was COLD for this shot. Another shot Mary Beth got of Jaclyn & her father. Love….This photo speaks to me…I love classic cars, and this 1966? Thunderbird getaway car could not have been more perfect…
Kara & Rich chose us based on our website, but as soon as I met them, I KNEW we were a match. I could not have been more right. We had an absolute blast all day long. We walked in the room where the ladies were getting ready and it was immediate energy! The iPod was blaring, the bridesmaids were gorgeous in their jewel-toned dresses, Renee (from Two Fishes) was beautifying Rich’s mom, and Kara’s reality-show-star-friend, Jon (from Shear Genius), was busy fussing over Kara’s perfect hair!
Kara & Rich wanted to party immediately after the ceremony, so we had a first look session and it was perfect. I am pretty sure Rich was blown away by the sight of his bride. She was stunning. After wrangling the wedding party for some pre-ceremony photos, we headed to the beautiful ceremony site at the Western Lake Park. After a tear-filled ceremony and some quick family photos, we stole the crazy couple for some pretty golden light photos.
Not long after the reception began at the Bait House Pool Deck, Jon whisked Kara to the locker room for a wardrobe change and a completely fresh hair style. Jon really is a great friend to Kara and he wanted to make sure she was perfect for her day. At the end of the night, Kara & Rich jumped aboard the Watercolor boat and sailed into the darkness.
Ceremony Venue: Western Lake Park at the Watercolor Resort
Reception Venue: Bait House Pool Deck at the Watercolor Resort
Coordinator: Cheryl Walton of Watercolor Resort
Makeup and hair : Renee of Two Fishes Artistry and Emily of Two Fishes Artistry
Bride’s Hair: Jon Steinick
Flowers and Decor: Fishers Flowers
Cake: Cakes by Tanis
Band: Meet the Press
We love being able to capture that first look with just the two of them….Kara was just gorgeous… They are SO good together…Of course we had some fun too!Jon was having a great time too…Love, love, love bright colors on days like this!Here are some of the day’s details…Beautiful spot for a first dance…Fake moustaches came out towards the end of the night and Kara’s mom knew how to use it!They were whisked away at the end of the night on the lake boat….Check out those teal shoes!
Most people book us because of our beautiful photography, Lindsey’s mom contacted us because of my cool name. ha! Her mom had a list of photographers to contact, but she started with us because Lindsey’s name is Lindsey Rae. All the cool people have Rae as their middle name, you know. The fact that they loved our work was just icing on the cake for them! We LOVE this family. Lindsey and her mom are some of the kindest people we have ever met. We started the day at the Sandestin Grand with some pre-ceremony photos and it’s such a lovely place for photos! We ended the night there too and boy was it a night. Those groomsmen were crazy. The favors were chocolate cigars and homemade pickles….mmmm….it was a pregnant lady’s dream! We are excited to show such beautiful images that were made possible because of great vendors.
Dress | Blue by Enzoni
Shoes | Kate Spade
Wedding Cake | Yasha Becker
Florals | Celestine’s
Video | Jason Avery Films
Reception | Sandestin Grand
Ceremony | Destin First United Methodist
Love, love, love this dress and shoes. Celestine’s did an amazing job on the florals as always. This bouquet was simply elegant..The sign-in table in the church courtyard was under a tree with these beautiful, dainty flowers strung from above…Just….. WowBeautiful cake by Yasha Becker….The Groom’s cake and chocolate wedding favors were cigar themed which was a great discussion topic…The dance floor was hopping! Wes got this great shot during the toast…The sun set shortly after their ceremony, so we had to make use of some cool lighting techniques for night shots. These ended up being some of our all time favorites…A little bling bling…Some groomsman karaoke…..And then some aggressive bouquet and garter catching ended the night on a great note!
We have been itching…. ITCHING to show these for about 3 weeks now. Lauren and Marc tied the knot this past weekend, so we can finally post some of her beautiful bridal session photos. These were actually taken on two different days in two completely different locations, the last with her horse Warrior. We’ll have a quick preview of their wedding soon, so enjoy these for now!
Dress| Bridal Loft Pensacola
The first session was photographed in South Walton County at some of their amazing venues:
This session was photographed on her parent’s farm. It was a brilliantly sunny afternoon and the lighting was amazing….. Warrior was a little grouchy, but Lauren comforted him very well.
Ginny & Brad were our New Year’s Day couple for 2010 at beautiful Carillon. The weather started out cold and dreary, but the sun made an appearance right as we were starting their photos and it became a crisp, cold afternoon with the most brilliant light we could have asked for. We always love our Carillon clients and these two were no exception. Their wedding was featured on the always classy Southern Weddings Blog last month. In case you missed it, take a look HERE.
Venue | Carillon Weddings
Planner | Victoria Volpone of Carillon Weddings
Makeup | Renee of Two Fishes Artistry
Florals & Decor | Nouveau Flowers
Catering | Townsend Catering
Cake | Confections on the Coast
Sarah and Trey were married this past December at the First United Methodist Church in Ft. Walton with reception following at Kelly Plantation. You might remember these Auburn Grads from their Auburn engagement session we did last year! We love these two and are happy that they just moved to Pensacola after their wedding.
Planner and Coordinator | It’s A Shore Thing
Florals and Decor | Celestine’s Special Occasions
Reception Venue | Kelly Plantation
Catering | Celestine’s Special Occasions
Cake | Confections on the Coast
There was lots of Auburn happening around this wedding! Hmmmm…. What could Trey be doing with that shoe? We’ll get back to that. One of my favorite ring shots from 09′How can you not love these blue shoes?
Sarah was just stunning… How about a formal photo? Or two….. Ah yes, the shoes. Trey was full force Auburn! Their first born…. CUTE dog! Some reception details…. Lot’s of red for the season! I really love this cake. Classic, beautiful, and it tasted really good! Of course this was a masterpiece as well! You’ll recognize this Auburn building from their engagement session. They left in a vintage Ford and it was a great way to end the evening!
Rae and I spent last week in the beautiful city of Las Vegas, NV at the annual WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) conference & trade show. This was out third time attending this event in the last 4 years, and we always look forward to seeing all the new gadgets the photography industry has to offer while attending seminars from other motivational photographers. We had two prints in the international print competition this year that scored high enough to win awards of excellence which you will see below. We had a really great time as usual and cannot wait to implement some of the new equipment we purchased and some new techniques we learned. Here’s a little photo tour:
First off, let me verify that I am a big nerd and I always book the plane seat with the Grand Canyon view when flying to Vegas (yes, I actually know the flight path to Vegas). Here’s a shot of Lake Mead I thought was pretty cool…
and here is part of the Grand Canyon from 35,000 feet. You can see snow in the higher elevations towards the top. I really loved this too. Puffy little clouds were covering the Arizona desert. This is why I am always willing to fight for a window seat 🙂 This is just one of the two trade shows at WPPI. Lots of stuff to play with and purchase at discount! This is the wall where our winning prints were displayed. Baby Natalie on the bottom left (Rae-Portrait Division) and our lovely bride Sarah from 2009 on the top right (Wes-Photojournalism Division) as she was relaxing before walking down the aisle with her dad. Here are the actual photos: We also spent some time at night as we always have touring the Streets of Vegas looking for photo opportunities….There’s always a volcano erupting or a water show somewhere!
This is the newest development you may have seen commercials about for the Las Vegas City Center with the Aria Hotel. This was just started on our first visit 4 years ago and it is MASSIVE. I always love the Caesar’s Palace Hotel lobby as well…. No comment necessary on this one…..I think her words were “Look, I’m a picture”. We did however manage a cute head shot from our friend Mrs. Patsy Brown.