A Colorful Sunset Wedding with Fireworks in Whittier, North Carolina
This is a lovely story and photoshoot of a sunset wedding with Fireworks in Whittier, North Carolina.
A short brief about the couple:
MJ and Jordan live in St. Petersburg, FL. MJ works in Animal Health Sales and Jordan is a private yacht captain. They met 5 years ago at a Jack Johnson concert! They both love the western North Carolina area and have vacationed there every year since they started dating. Which was part of the reason they decided to do a destination wedding and get married in Whittier, NC. Having all of their friends and family together in their favorite place at one time is something they will never forget!
How & why did you choose the venue and location?
We heard about The Parker Mill, a new wedding venue, from Jordan’s cousins who own a local BBQ restaurant (that catered the wedding) and decided to book the venue based on website/reviews only and we were not disappointed!! The first time we saw the venue was at our engagement shoot after we had already booked it. – MJ
What were the theme and vibe? Why?
Rustic, BBQ, Country.
They figured if they were going to have people come from all over the place to WNC they really wanted to capture the vibe of The Carolinas.
How did they choose their suppliers?
The venue provided vendor recommendations and MJ and Jordan looked at Instagram and google reviews to decide which vendors to book and which aligned most with what they envisioned for their wedding! Victoria, the photographer, is one of the venues recommended photographers.
Did they DIY? If so, where did you go for inspiration and tutorials?
Nope. Part of the reason they chose the Parker Mill is that they have a huge decor closet. Since it was a destination wedding this was exactly what they needed so they didn’t have to travel with a bunch of wedding decors that they would only use once! It would have been next to impossible to travel with a baby AND with decorations from Florida to North Carolina.
How did the planning work? Who helped? How long did it take to plan? How did they organize & schedule? Any things they wish they did or didn’t do?
They (the venue) did the planning. They (the couple) hired Avail Weddings as a day of coordinator and they offered a lot of help on the timeline as the day got closer!
“Really the whole night was perfect! I really wish I could relive it one more time. I wouldn’t change a thing!” – MJ
They booked the wedding venue after they had welcomed their daughter Emerson into the world. The most important thing to Jordan and MJ was that Emerson could walk down the aisle as their flower girl.
So they booked the venue about a year and a half out so she would be old enough to do that. It did not disappoint as she walked down the aisle into her dad’s arms right before MJ came down the aisle. It was so cute listening to her say, “DADA” over and over again during the ceremony..
Advice for future couples?
“I questioned whether or not we should have done a destination wedding. It was far/expensive for people to travel, but after our wedding, all of our guests raved about the mountain views and the beautiful venue!
“They said it was the most amazing wedding they had ever been to!! If you are questioning doing a destination wedding… do it! People will make it to your wedding and it will end up being a vacation for them too !”- MJ
“Trust your vendors. & be honest with them about what you want/need. The groom was ready to be done with the formal photographs and join the party (hey – it’s understandable) and the timeline had fireworks happening originally after dark, but that would mean one more time that the photographer (me) had to pull them away from their party.
As it turned out the videographer team was also leaving before dark, so we convinced them to do sunset firework pictures (I showed them a photo of full daytime sunlight fireworks photos). Not only did it turn out magically BUT it let them get back to the dance floor faster and with one less interruption.”- Victoria
We’d also like to hear from the Photographer about how it was to shoot the wedding, the challenges, techniques used, the backdrops, etc.
For the firework pictures I had to lay down on the ground (this is almost always a thing unless the fireworks are being launched a mile down the road). The flash was set to light the couple up without overpowering the fireworks themselves.
It was really important to me to be able to see them, the fireworks, and the sunset color. I hadn’t been at Parker Mill when fireworks were launched so I wasn’t 100% sure where they’d go up (some launched lower than others) but I knew I would need a wide lens, to test my flash, to be ready to drop to the ground once I could see where they were exploding and to yell over the fireworks and crowd instructions like, “NOW LOOK AT THEM. CUDDLE UP. OKAY KISS AGAIN.”
We also talked about the ways they’d pose while watching them ahead of time and started them off snuggled up. I was so excited with how these turned out because 1. I told them to trust me so the pressure was on and 2. Firework pictures are about a minute and a half of craziness (all from my back on the ground).