The day I met Samantha and Sue, I knew their wedding would be something special. As we chatted about their upcoming plans last fall over a cup of coffee at Ugly Mugs in East Nashville, they opened their hearts to me in a way that made me immediately feel at home. Nine months later, I can safely say that “at home” is how everyone felt on May 4. Samantha and Sue showed how grateful they were to everyone present in the circle of love as they exchanged their wedding vows at the Cafe at Thistle Farms.
As with many couples, Samantha and Sue have a synergy together that is greater than the two parts. Sue’s manner quiet and thoughtful, Samantha has a big-hearted southern charm that is 100% the genuine article. But together, they share strong mutual respect, an abiding commitment, and lively sense of humor, that perfectly melds the unique facets of their personalities together.
One of this couple’s passions is hiking and the outdoors. So we opted to do their engagement session on the trails in Percy Warner Park, where they often enjoy weekend time. As we sat down to discuss wedding planning, I soon learned that another passion was support for women’s issues. So it came as no surprise that they chose Thistle Farms as a very meaningful venue to witness their union and vows. If you’re not familiar with Thistle Farms, check out its amazing story on its website. Its mission is to empower women who have survived trafficking, prostitution, and addiction who deserve a second chance at life. Samantha and Sue couple wholeheartedly believe in this mission and they were so happy to have it be a part of their day.
Traditions, old and new
This wedding day turned out to be one of the most emotional, love-filled days I’ve ever witnessed. The outpouring of love from family and friends was palpable! We began with photos of Samantha at home with her dogs (because dogs are family!) and then I went to photograph Sue getting ready a few blocks away. The emotions started early that day, as a special gift surprise awaited Sue once I arrived.
In Korea, where Sue is from, the bride is presented with a pair of carved wedding ducks, which symbolize harmony in the home. (You can read about the full tradition here.) Samantha had secretly arranged to have a pair of wedding ducks custom carved for their wedding, so that Sue would carry a piece of her Korean heritage forward into the marriage. Her happy tears upon opening this thoughtful gift and reading the letter from her bride were the first of many that day!
Wedding vows (and awesome food) at Thistle Farms
The ceremony at the Cafe at Thistle Farms was intimate and heartfelt. Roughly 60 guests formed a circle of love surrounding the couple. Each bride read hand-written wedding vows that brought smile and tears to everyone present. Afterward, Samantha and Sue treated everyone to an amazing Thistle Farms meal! Served family style, the farm-to-table meal was sumptuous and filling. After enjoying all the amazing choices of salads and entrees, guests were invited to nibble on cheese danishes from Sweet 16th Bakery!
To say that love was in the air on these brides’ wedding day is an understatement. Joy infused every single moment! And did it rain? Yes! Did that stop us from stepping out and doing sweet romantic portraits? Of course not! We snagged some intimate, romantic post-ceremony photos out on the terrace, bathed in beautiful, misty, diffused afternoon light. Later, just before the night was ending, I tried something new–and luckily, Samantha and Sue trusted their photographer! Though the rain was pouring, I asked them to step outside, in the dark, next to the street, to create some romantic, rainy backlit photos with a bubble umbrella! This shot is not necessarily the easiest thing to pull off, but I am so glad we gave it a try! The result captures the romantic atmosphere as well as an authentic feeling of their wedding day! I also love that the Thistle Farms logo glows just above them like a sweet good luck beacon!
Love, rain or shine
I am so happy to share these highlights and can’t wait to deliver this entire wedding gallery very soon. And I can’t wait to hear about their fabulous honeymoon trip to Rome, as well! The circle of love that surrounds this couple is truly something special. Congratulations all over again, Samantha and Sue!