Occasionally, I receive wedding inquiries from couples getting married in Tennessee. Even though I’ve relocated to Arizona (for now– thanks military life lol), I still travel back to TN frequently to see my friends and family. When Crystal initially reached out to me, I wasn’t available for her date. But, after trying to balance a hectic family schedule, she and Michael decided to change their date. Crystal reached back out to me and I was available. She was so happy to able to have me as her photographer and knew I was just as excited as she was!
Crystal and Michael met each other in high school. They dated briefly but grew apart when Michael transferred to another school. 20 years later, they reconnected. It didn’t take long for them to discover that the romantic spark was still there and stronger than ever. After realizing how incredibly happy they made each other, they both wished they would have stayed together all those years ago.
On their dedicated monthly date night, Michael picked up Crystal with flowers in hand– a gift that he regularly brought her. Before they left, Crystal wanted to put the flowers in water. As she was arranging them in a vase, Michael said he had stumbled on a song that he wanted her to hear. Crystal loves going to concerts and they both love music. The song “Should Coulda” began to play, perfectly summing up how Michael and Crystal feel about their years apart. Michael gave her a big hug. “I could tell something was off… like he was nervous or something. He was shaking,” Crystal told me, “So I asked him what the deal was.” That’s when Michael got down on one knee. After 6 years of dating, “I finally asked her to be my wife,” Michael said.
Flowers were the main inspiration for the wedding’s color palette. Crystal’s favorite flower is the sunflower. When she was googling wedding bouquet ideas, she found one that added in purple wildflowers. Her youngest daughter and flower girl, Sadie, loves purple so she was immediately drawn to it.
Crystal knew before she ever went dress shopping that she wanted a lacey wedding dress. She felt that the classic lace texture really fit their day’s theme and and what she envisioned her day looking like. “Michael loves seeing the tattoos I have on my back shoulders.” So the low, open back really sealed the deal. When the seamstress who did Crystal’s alterations asked if it was vintage, she knew she made the right choice.
As we were finishing up Crystal’s portraits in the woods, her mom walked down to us, carrying a few small boxes. Michael had given her a couple of surprise gifts to deliver to Crystal and her youngest daughter Sadie. It was so sweet watching them read their individual cards and showing their new pieces of jewelry to each other.
Michael and Crystal’s ringbearer Tripp was more than a little nervous and extremely shy, too. Michael took him aside for a few minutes to pass along some special items that would make this job as “ring security” a bit easier. After holstering his new toy gun, a pair of handcuffs, and a sheriff’s badge, he walked away confident and excited to be a part of the ceremony.
The farm belongs to Michael’s uncle. It’s a gorgeous piece of land with a tobacco barn, tons of trees, a small stream, and cows mooing off in the fields. “When we dated in high school I, of course, dreamt of our wedding day,” Crystal admitted. “My vision then was to have the ceremony in a field on top of a hill. So we are pretty close to what I pictured!” It was the perfect outdoor rustic setting for Crystal’s wedding day dreams! I might have considered chaining myself to a tree just so I never had to leave…
After a short hayride down the hill, I got off the trailer and immediately fell in love with their ceremony setting.
The autumn colors and falling leaves had a powerful effect on me while I was back in Tennessee. I was in this unbreakable giddy mood the whole time I was there. I’m sure that’s why Crystal and Michael were so drawn to have their wedding in October. Despite high rain chances right in the middle of the day, we had nothing but sunshine on the farm. The glow coming through the trees was beyond beautiful.
Crystal and Michael were juggling a lot of tasks on the wedding day. They were leading the charge in transforming the farm into their wedding day dreams. Their morning was chaotic, pulling them in a bunch of different directions and making them responsible for countless decisions. Portrait time is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day. It’s when most of the chaos of the day has subsided and the couple is finally alone. It’s when they really get to soak up the fact that they just married the love of their life and are about to head to an incredible party.
The reception was held at the Fredonia Community Center only a few miles away from their farm wedding in Clarksville. On the way over there, Michael and Crystal made a quick pitstop at a nearby chapel. Apart from their GORGEOUS portraits in the fall leaves, my favorite moment from their wedding day was their special entrance into the reception. Michael really personalized the motorcycle… Even down to the type of cans trailing behind them! She had no idea that he had decorated it for them. Crystal is all about her coffee and Michael prefers energy drinks for his caffeine source. I saw each of them with their favorite drinks throughout the entire morning. So, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw the cans strung together.
After they got off the bike, Michael and Crystal walked up the steps into the community center, excited to kick off the party.
Everyone got a boost of sugar-induced energy and hit the dance floor!
The party was winding down a bit earlier than planned. Since Crystal and Michael had some unplanned spare time, I wanted to set up a nighttime photo– something I don’t always get the chance to do. Photographing in the dark is pretty different than my typical photography style, but I totally enjoy the challenge. Since spending time riding is so important to them, I immediately started thinking about how I could incorporate the motorcycle. Purple was a main wedding color and I knew it would really pop against all the chrome accents on the bike. I love how everything came together!
The morning after the wedding, these newlyweds hopped on a plane to South Dakota for their honeymoon. They’re spending an entire week alone in a secluded cabin in the mountains! Crystal and Michael, thank you so much for inviting me in to be a part of your incredible day. I’m so happy your paths finally merged again. I know you’ll both make up for lost time and cherish every moment that you get to share together!
I started my wedding photography business in Clarksville and love the chance to travel back! Check out this teal-inspired summer wedding at Freedom Point!
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Tucson, Arizona.
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