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Spotlight of My Top 2016 Wedding Vendors in the Midlands & Upstate, | Best Wedding Vendors in SC (Columbia, Lexington, West Columbia, Rock Hill, and surrounding areas)

Dec 9, 2016

Weddings

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I photographed my last wedding of 2016 last weekend and I am celebrating!! Saying it has been a wonderful year is a huge understatement. I quit my job to be a full time photographer 6 months ago, and I am overwhelmed by the blessing this business has been to me.

I had the honor and privilege of working with so many awesome vendors this year, and I want to share the ones that really stood out to me as being phenomenal. These people and businesses are true go-getters with the biggest hearts. They love what they do and they are good at it. Enjoy, and be sure to leave them some love below if you think they’re as great as I do!

Please note: this is not a comprehensive list of my recommended vendors. There are many, many vendors that I LOVE working with that didn’t get mentioned in this post. This particular list is a spotlight of vendors that I worked with at weddings this 2016 year.

 


 

#1 Venue: Hightower Hall

I always tell brides that the very first thing they should do after they get engaged is figure out their venue. It will shape EVERYTHING about your wedding day, and affects every other vendor involved in the wedding. It’s so important to pick a venue that helps everything run smoothly, has gorgeous backdrops and pretty light for the different events in your timeline (cake cutting, portraits, ceremony, etc.), and that reflects who you are as people and as a couple. My first time photographing at Hightower Hall was amazing! I got to do Katherine’s bridal portraits there, which was an awesome way to scope the place out before the wedding day, and then with the beautiful weather we had the day of the wedding…this venue was perfection. The outdoor ceremony was lined with trees where the sunlight poured in at all the right places, and the tall ceilings and pretty window light inside was just as magical. This historic house sits in Brattonsville and is filled with timeless treasures and memories. It is located in McConnells, SC in the upstate, and is the perfect little spot for a sweet celebration of love. <3

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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/katherine-richmond-wed
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook

#2 Coordinator / Planner: Alisha Millwood, Amazing Moment Weddings

Alisha Millwood is fabulous to work with. She does such a good job taking care of each of her couples, and also of other vendors at weddings. She is always a huge help rounding up families for portraits, stealing the bride and group for an extra few shots at sunset, and at the particular wedding shown in the image below, she even went and grabbed one of my lenses for me during the ceremony. She is an absolute doll and a pleasure to work with! You will NOT regret hiring a wedding planner, and Alisha and her team do a fabulous job!

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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/john-amanda-wed
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook | instagram

#3 Second Shooter: Olivia White

I had three different second shooters helping me this year, and they are all getting a shout out, because they are all FAB-U-LOUS. First up is Lorin Fairweather of Lorin Marie Photography. Lorin was one of my first photographer friends ever and was such an encouragement to me when I was still only doing photography part time. She lights up a room with her sweet personality and is always¬†so fun to be around. I am SO thankful for all of her help this year, and don’t know what I would have done without her! Second is Meredith Jamison of Meredith Jamison Photography. I actually met Meredith a few years ago at a bridal show when I was a bride! We connected this year and she quickly became one of my¬†dearest photographer friends. We second shot a few times together this year, which is always so fun because our personalities go really well together and our strengths compliment each other. Lastly, and my pick of “2016 fav second shooter,” is Olivia White.¬†I went to college with Olivia and I met her when I hired her to photograph me and Tyler on campus our freshman year of college. (I should blog those images for you guys some time. We look like such babies!) She studied photography in college, but decided to quit photography for a while and pursue other things. Right now she¬†really focuses on painting pet portraits (see links below), but also decided to pick up photography again a little bit here and there. Let me tell you why she is so awesome and how she can be an encouragement to you (especially if you’re a new photographer): she second shot with me using equipment that most snobby photographers¬†would look at and say isn’t “professional grade equipment.” When I asked her to second shoot with me, even she hesitated because of her equipment and second-guessed the work she could produce with it (despite being very qualified as a photographer…I mean, the girl has been photographing people and producing art a lot longer than I have). Here’s the kicker: she. frieking. rocks. Her images are some of my favorites EVER.¬†She really takes being a second shooter to the next level, because she uses each moment to get shots that are more creative and more special than most people would think about. I could tell when culling through her images that she was always looking for a second persepctive, a different composition, or a new emotion at each point in the wedding day. She really helped me fill in gaps and tell the story in a beautiful way (like a true artist)! I say all of this (sorry this is so long!) to point out that it isn’t the camera, or the lens, or the equipment that makes someone a good photographer. It is the story that they tell with the images they take, and the art they produce that makes all the difference.¬†Both images below were taken by her and were¬†some of my most favorite shots from this wedding day. (Among others that she took!‚ÄĒI’m only posting two of them in an attempt to keep this post a reasonable length!)¬†She¬†was so great to work with!

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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/katherine-richmond-wed
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook | instagram

#4 Videographer: Thomas, 326 Films

A lot of photographers dislike working with videographers because you have to fight for “the shot.” I’m pretty laid back, and most of the time having a few extra people following the bride and groom around doesn’t really bother me. BUT‚ÄĒI did work with a videographer or two this year that wasn’t so easy to work with, and that makes me apprecaite this pick even more! I met Thomas for the first time at Brian + Courtney’s wedding¬†and he was a dream! He was so kind and gracious, and we both stayed out of each other’s way all day without struggle. I haven’t seen the final product from their wedding yet, but I’ve reached out to him to get a link to the video¬†so I can post it here for you guys. I would absolutely LOVE to work with him again because he was so great.¬†As I’m writing this, I also just remembered that he even let me borrow 4 of his rechargeable batteries near the end of the night so I wouldn’t have to walk all the way back to my car to get mine.¬†Such a gentlemen! Be sure to check him out at the links below if you’re still looking for a videographer. (P.S. That’s him in the corner there beside my sweet second shooter, Lorin.)
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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/brian-courtney-wed
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook

#5 Florist: Tupelo Grove

I am a sucker for beautiful flowers and when I walked around at the Springdale House where Tupelo Grove had decorated, I was blown away! Their attention to detail was incredible. (See: greenery hanging from light fixtures below where I hung the dress.) They did such an incredible job on this wedding not only with their attention to detail, but also in making two really bold colors (purple and orange) look good together. The two pictures I’ve included below don’t do justice to the work they did, so you HAVE to click the link under the second picture to go look at the entire wedding. The bridal bouquet was gorgeous, along with the boutineers, the greenery on the railings…it was all so stunning! Definitely my favorite floral artistry of the year, although Kevin Lear on Main was a close second! (See Courtney + Brian’s wedding above.)
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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/trey-leah-wed
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook

#6 Catering: Springdale House & Gardens

Karly, do you know that the Springdale House is a venue…? Yes, I do, BUT they also cook their own food, and friends…it. is. good!! I had two weddings back-to-back there this year (crazy, right?! A Saturday and Sunday wedding at the same venue!), and the first night when I sat down to eat, I texted my husband and told him I just had the best mac and cheese ever. (I’m not a huge mac and cheese lover so this was a big deal.) I bragged to him about how I get to eat awesome food all the time at weddings (including cake!), and noted that I needed to find out who catered the wedding. The next night when I sat down to eat, I realized it was the same mac and cheese again, plus a bunch of new things, and y’all…everything was so good!!! I am such a picky eater, and was so impressed by how good their food was. If you’re getting married at the Springdale House, you can rest assured that whatever is on the menu…it’s going to be tasty!
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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/trey-leah-wed
Learn more about this vendor: facebook

#7 Cake: Glaze’n Specialty Cakes and Bakery

Oh, friends. Let the food talk continue. When I say that this cake, the one right there on the left with all the yummy fruit, was the best cake ever, I mean: this cake was the BEST CAKE EVER. As in, my birthday is in January and I expect my husband to order this exact cake for me (with candles added of course).¬†I don’t LOVE cake. Anyone who knows me, knows I much prefer a warm cookie, and cake just really isn’t my thing…but I always taste the cake at every wedding if I get an opportunity to, and I am so glad I tasted this one! (Lucky me, I actually got to take a huge piece home with me.) It was so flavorful, fresh, moist…everything a cake should be. Not to mention, it’s absolutely beautiful. Glaze’n Specialty Cakes & Bakery outdid themselves with¬†this one, and they will for sure be hearing from me next month! Definitley check them out if you’re on the hunt for your perfect wedding cake!
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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/brad-nicole-wed
Learn more about this vendor: facebook

#8 Invitations / Paper Goods: Elli

My final wedding of 2016 had my favorite paper goods! This little invitation suite was so cute and colorful and matched the theme of the wedding perfectly. They came from a vendor I’ve never heard of before, so that’s always fun! I love learning about new companies and businesses, and Elli will definitely be added to my full vendor list. The attention to detail on the invites was great and each piece looked so beautiful together. I’ve linked their website, Facebook, and Instagram below if you’re interested in checking them out for yourself.

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More images from this wedding coming soon.
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook | instagram

#9 DJ / Band / Entertainment: Stevie Mac Music

Picking a favorite DJ was hard. I worked with a lot of really good ones this year, but I ended up choosing Stevie Mac Music as my favorite. During the ceremony and dinner, he played live and did an awesome job. Each song choice was perfect and he is super talented. Later on in the night, he changed things up and pulled out the party music (DJ style). I loved that they had both styles at the wedding, and he did a perfect job setting the mood and keeping the party going the entire night.¬†The link I had for his website is down, so I will have to update this post when I get an updated link. He is out of Myrtle Beach, but told me he travels to Columbia often for weddings. (P.S. I know by pairing these two images together it seems like the little boy is unhappy with the music, but that’s not what is going on here. He was actually having a great time, with just a¬†mild meltdown. Haha, I pulled this image straight from the blog post…view more at the link below.)

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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/john-amanda-wed

#10 Wedding Dress: Elegant Bridals

Ok, this vendor isn’t exactly in South Carolina, but Amber looked so much like a true princess in her dress that making the trip to Augusta, Georgia totally seems worth it! I’m a little biased though, because I got my own wedding dress out of state too (in North Carolina!). I can’t speak from experience about the service you’ll get at Elegant Bridals, because I’ve never been there, but after browsing their website it seems like a pretty good place to go for your wedding gown! They have a ton of great awards and honors from different people in the industry. (Just letting you know in case the beautiful dress below doesn’t speak for itself…) The details and fabric were absolutely stunning. More images of her in it are on the blog at the link under the second image!

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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/hall-amber-wed
Learn more about this vendor: website | facebook | instagram

#11 Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Banks

I don’t even think I need to explain why I picked this as my favorite groomsmen attire for the year. It was 100% unique and so perfect! I also loved¬†how they used it to dress up a pair of jeans. I am a huge believer in wearing what makes you comfortable, especailly on your wedding day. (I remember when I first tried on wedding dresses, I was shocked at how extremely uncomfortable almost all of them were.) Matt¬†got this vest/jacket combo from the Jos. A. Banks in Charleston, and it’s a winner in my book! I just love the look.
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More photos from this wedding coming soon.
Learn more about this vendor: website

#12 Hair: Crystal, Bella Nova Hair Designs

Having the perfect hair¬†style was my number one stress for my wedding day. I could NOT decide how I wanted to wear it. So, as I was looking at all of my brides from this year and trying to decide on the best hair style, I knew immediately that Crystal from Bella Nova should be my top pick. When I walked in the room and saw Amanda, she looked absolutely stunning. Her hair style looked like it came straight out of a¬†magazine and fit her so perfectly. I loved how simple, elegant, and natural it looked. On top of doing a great job on Amanda’s hair, Crystal was also¬†such a sweetheart to work with, and that’s always a plus!
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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/john-amanda-wed
Learn more about this vendor: facebook

#13 Makeup: Courtney Smith, Southern Charm Boutique

Courtney’s makeup always, always looks good, so it’s no wonder she’s getting the top pick for makeup artist! I fell in love with Amber’s makeup on her wedding day‚ÄĒit was the perfect balance of natural and pazazz‚ÄĒevery girl’s wedding-day makeup dream. Her highlight was on fleek, but wasn’t overly done and her eyes looked gorgeous! I also have to give a huge shoutout to Jamie of Eyebrow Junkie Makeup Artistry as a close second because that girl is a rockstar.

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View more photos from this wedding: http://bit.ly/hall-amber-wed
Learn more about this vendor: facebook

 


 

I’ll wrap it up with (some behind the scenes shots of me and) a big thank you to everyone on this list and everyone not on this list who made such a big impact in my life this year. I am beyond blessed to have a career where I am constantly surrounded by people who love each other, and I am even more blessed to have so many friends in the industry who believe in lifting each other up. I love each and every client who has hired me, each and every vendor who has worked with me, and each and every friend who has liked/commented/shared my work this year. You guys are true gems and I don’t take you for granted for a second. Blessings and cheers to a wonderful 2017!

Still looking for a photographer for your 2017 or 2018 wedding? I know a good one. (:

>>Click here to get in touch

 

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My passion is in documenting the lives of our families well (mine and yours), and teaching you how to do it too. Follow along as I share photography tips, inspiration, and beautiful portraits.

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  1. And we love working with you! You know that you have a special part of my heart! Thank you for this honor!
    Alisha

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