I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the Paschal family for several years now. Lindsey and I met in college through both our major in education and our sorority, and quickly formed a long-lasting friendship. Over time I began to meet other members of Lindsey’s family, including her younger sister Allison. The first time I met Allison I was instantly enchanted with her confidence and the way she lit up a room. During Lindsey’s wedding season in 2017, I got to know Allison even more and really grew to adore her. After I moved to Charlotte in 2016, I visited Allison in Columbia at her job and we spent a long time talking about dating, career goals, and all the things the future might bring for us. Little did we know, Allison had quite the adventure ahead of her.
When Allison’s mom reached out to me about Allison’s upcoming engagement, I could hardly contain my excitement. My job as a photographer is always a ton of fun, but getting to capture friends and family is always a little extra special. Allison’s mom quickly secured a wedding date with me and once Eli had proposed, Allison had the best surprise of having her photograph already booked! We exchanged a ton of texts discussing how excited we were for her upcoming nuptials and the modern glam vision she had for her wedding day. Needless to say, Allison and I both agreed that June 5th couldn’t get here fast enough.
The Welcome Dinner
Allison and Eli knew they wanted their wedding day to be intimate and private, but that they’d like the opportunity to still have friends and family gather together for well wishes and lots of hugs. With both of their families living in various states across the country, a welcome dinner in Allison’s hometown of Aiken, South Carolina seemed a perfect solution. If you’ve never been to The Willcox, you’ll have to put it on your list to visit. This hotel/restaurant/venue combo perfectly embodies the classic southern charm that Aiken is so well known for. This Friday evening was full of lots of sunshine, hugs, laughs, and good wine. Allison and Eli celebrated their upcoming day by the pool with lots of their loved ones gathered together and you could truly feel the love in the air. Throw in a meal full of southern classics like shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles and it was truly a dinner full of welcome and love.
With smaller, intimate weddings, timelines are usually a bit more relaxed which leaves time for early morning exploration. Aiken is a city that I’ve always found classic and inspiring and having the opportunity to wander around on the morning of Eli and Allison’s wedding was such a treat. I took my film camera with me while I explored around the downtown area and got to catch a glimpse of the famous Aiken horse statues, lots of Magnolia, and all the southern architecture.
Allison knew she wanted the morning of her wedding day to be calm and relaxing, and what better way to assure that than getting ready in your childhood home. Being a beauty expert, Allison got herself and her mom ready while I photographed her incredibly stunning details. Y’all know I love my flat-lays, and between Eli and Allison’s welcome boxes for friends and family and all of their personal touches to their wedding day style, these details were some of my absolute favorites of 2021. While we waited out a quick downpour, we captured Allison’s mom helping her get dressed and a first look with her dad. These moments with parents are always so special on a wedding day, especially when they get to take place where the bride grew up.
I’m no stranger to southern weather. I know it is temperamental, unpredictable, and often very fickle. So when the clouds gathered and the rain came pouring down as we were about to leave for photos, I felt no stress. On wedding days I have a philosophy that I don’t fear the weather, the weather fears me. I assured Allison and her mom that we should proceed to Eli and Allison’s first look spot as planned, because even if the rain only let up for five minutes I could capture some beautiful moments. Sure enough, we waited for ten minutes and the car and the rain stopped, and I got to photograph Eli seeing Allison for the first time, bridal portraits of Allison, intimate photos of the soon to be Mr. and Mrs., and photos with their families. Weather can definitely be something that weighs heavily on you on our wedding day, but I always tell couples to trust their photographers and remember that at the end of the day memories will have been captured and they will still be married.
The rest of the evening was an intimate gathering celebrating all the love between Allison and Eli. While the storms did gather and force their outdoor ceremony indoors, these two said I-Do in the happiest of spirits. The Willcox was truly showing off with the most stunning reception set-up inside their library, and Allison’s reaction to the display is one of my favorite photos from the day. I’m a firm believer that there are few things more romantic than a candle lit dinner with loved ones and the Underwood’s reception was a perfect example of that. Their evening was spent sipping champagne, nibbling on cake, hearing toasts from dads and brothers, and soaking in every moment with their families. The Underwood wedding was truly such a special experience and a wedding I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my career. To Allison and Eli, your love for each other and those in your family is truly an inspiration and being a part of your big weekend was the honor of a lifetime. Cheers to your life as Mr. and Mrs. and all your adventures to come!
Venue and Planning: The Willcox | https://thewillcox.com/
Florals: Tammy Dyson Designs | https://dysondesigns.net/
Cake: Kyndra’s Cakes | https://kyndrascakes.com/
Custom Champagne Bottle: https://www.instagram.com/adaltondesigns/
Videography: Austen Haney Visuals | https://austenhaneyvisuals.com/
Bridal Gown: The Poinsett Bride | https://www.thepoinsettbride.com/