Woodruff Fontaine |Ali & Sean| Memphis Wedding Photography
adjective The definition of elegant tells us it is the quality of being graceful and stylish.
Close your eyes to think for a second and ask yourself this;
when was the last time I used elegant to describe anything?
Was it more than likely the boutique you passed in the city, or
maybe the restaurant that you'd had a first date at?
Maybe a new piece of jewelry?
Surely we've all described someone at some point as elegant, but it's not always commonplace to do so.
Why is it that we rarely use the word to describe someone?
If you can't answer the question immediately, don't worry. It took some serious thought from us on the matter.
The reason most of us don't use elegant to describe others isn't because the word sounds out of place, its actually really simple why.
As English speakers, we reserve Elegant for someone who truly lives and acts in a graceful manner.
Simply put, Elegance seems to be reserved for someone extraordinarily charming, and full of grace. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Hey, it's not my rule! English can be quite strange sometimes! *shrug*
Once we'd finished shooting Ali and Sean's wedding at the Woodruff fontaine house, we were floating on cloud 9. It was an indescribably beautiful rainy day that filled us both to the brim with emotion. So Naturally, it took us weeks to put into words how we felt about it. How do we find any adjective to describe Ali and Sean's wedding? How do we find any adjective to describe Ali and Sean?
After trying to simplify our list of hundreds of words, we landed on and agreed on the one word that described these two together. A word that seems to follow them like a sweet purfume.
The windshield wipers smeared rain accross our windshield on our drive to the Woodruff Fontaine house. It had been a rainy morning, and up until this point, we'd prayed at least twice for the rain clouds to come another day. To no avail the rain kept on at steady drizzle. The type of rain that almost makes you wish for actual rain drops. The House is in the historic Victorian Village, downtown Memphis. As we turned onto the weeping tree lined Adams avenue, it stood there just as it has since 1871. The Victorian had been a family built home, and the curators here take great pride in preserving its classic luster .The trees in the front of the house hung heavy from the rain,and against the grey sky, a first impression seemed to paint a portrait of gloom. Although there was something charming about it all. We were completely speechless at the way the grey and deep greens seemed to accentuate each other. Couple that with the historic wonder of this place, and you had the backdrop for a romantic elegant celebration. Rain or no rain, a timeless stage was set for Ali and Sean's love for each other.
We found Ali upstairs in the bridal Suite with her sister and her two best friends. There, Ali sat criss-crossed facing a large mirror propped against a wall. A pair of old window's light stripped the dark from the room. The room was classic, with exposed brick and updated track lights giving a dim ambiance. We watched and captured as Ali put final touches on her make up, and hand wrote her vows to her betrothed.
An intimate moment that were so, so glad have captured.
We stepped across the hall to where Sean was getting ready. We noticed that he had a calmness to him, and wasn't shy about our cameras in the least. As he tightened his cuff links, and debonair bowtie, we asked him to look out the window and imagine the day to come. As handsome as he is, it was easy to capture an authentic expression. Nothing pressed or posed. Just poised and confident.
Back across the hallway, Ali and her mom we just getting her dress on. Her dress, a one of kind classic Crepe dress shown in the natural light of room, allowed your mind to wander to a time past. Her Mom zipped her dress up, and at the same time, they both turned to face a full length mirror in the corner of the suite. Here she stood with her Mom over her shoulder, now a beautiful bride. Her Mom hugged her around the shoulders as they both swelled with excitement.
Ali chose an armchair in front of the one of the large windows to put her shoes on. As she sat up, her Mom had a gift in her hand.
"I've been waiting to give this to you your whole life." Mom said with a soft tone filled with emotion.
"Awe, what is it?" Ali asked while their eyes met with a shared smile.
Ali unwrapped the paper carefully to reveal a picture frame.
In it was a picture of Ali from when she was a little girl. In the photo, little blonde Ali was posed in a wedding dress, bouquet and all, smiling heart heart out.
"You said 'Look Mommy, I'm a bride'." Mom had Ali recall.
"Awe! Thank you, Mom!"
Every heart in the room, now melted. The photo was passed around with audible "aweeee"s and "how sweet!" Everyone was ready now more than ever to see Ali say "I Do".
We finished getting ready by taking some portraits of her by the window. The natural light from the overcast grey sky gave us the best opportunity to capture Ali's beauty. An even soft light flowed through the window like a breeze, and cut shadow better than direct sunlight could've ever offered. She wore a locket with the names of grandparents written inside, and carried a darling handcrafted clutch that would make Audrey Hepburn burn with envy. Not every bride wants a bouquet, and this was an amazing substitute. It added so much glamour and simple elegance to her. It's always the small details that count for so much!
This wedding was a very intimate affair. Whoever coined the term "The bigger the better" should have been part of A&S's wedding. They would've never said it, we promise. Only relatives and the closest friends had been honored to be at their wedding. The ceremony was held in a quaint room behind the Mansion. Fairy lights painted the room with a warm tone while the windows allowed the room to fill with white light. Ali had told us that her and Sean were starting their lives together, so they'd walk down the aisle together.
Gah we're melting over here!
As the guests took their seats, Ali was escorted by Sean into the room. They walked down the aisle with an excited gate. At the front of the room they stood over fawning guests as they read their vows to each other. Sweet and true their vows were, and not a dry eye in the room.
I'm not crying, you're crying...
They then exchanged rings. Smooth, simple gold bands. The perfect circle. Never beginning, never ending.
When it came time, Sean pulled Ali in to seal their paths together.
Just as they came in, they left together.
When the mansion was built, the family had also built a play house in the rear for their children. When you think of play house, you think of a 10x10 box with a door, don't you? Well, The story goes, that when the house fell into disrepair some years ago and the curators purchased the property, they refinished the Gingerbread house.
AKA The Playhouse
This playhouse is the most outrageously adorable structure you've bout' ever laid your eyes on. The best part about the playhouse is that it's large enough to double as a reception hall. Yes, a very small one mind you, but when we say that it is a slice of heaven hidden in the concrete mess that is Memphis, Believe us!
With a divine table spread set, the party funneled in through the door and took their places at the table. Food, laughs, the sharing of childhood photos was at the spearhead of the celebration. Ali's mom and dad sat chatting and laughing while Sean's brother laid his charm on the other guests. A wonderful celebration at the most intimate and sweet level.
The cake (baked by the groom himself!) was cut and shared, and champagne to toast. Sweet words were shared before all the guests gathered with their umbrellas outside with a handful of rose pedals. As the newly wed couple passed through the doorway, all of the guests tossed their pedals over head. Ali and Sean passed through them on their way to forever together.
The experience of this wedding was absolutely captivating. The stunning elegance, the uniqueness of these two and the timelessness of the Woodruff Fontaine house will be a wedding we wont soon forget.
Ali and Sean, thank you for letting us be your artists.
Thank you for letting us fall in love with your love.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Rick & Shelby