intimate fall wedding in the smokey mountains of tennessee

Benny, we're not in Chicago anymore! 
I'm at a loss for words as I sit here and attempt to tell a brief, blog version, synopsis of Cori and Darin's wedding day. Obviously, you can tell, we weren't in Chicago. Or Illinois for that matter! 

I suppose I'll start with how I landed up with a booking in Tennessee because usually that's the first question I get! Cori and Darin are Chicago residents! They wanted a destination wedding and when they approached me, a Chicago photographer, it was simply for Chicago engagement photos. We did their session around the popular city scapes to really give them the city vibe since it was clearly not going to look anything like that for their wedding photos. When we met up, it was obvious that Cori and I are pretty much the same person. She grew up in the town I went to college, we are both dog moms (to a similar breed dog) and she is just as obsessed with Bravo as I am! After their engagement session was such a hit, we started chatting about what it would look like for me to travel to Tennessee to also capture the wedding day. 

So here we are, in Tennessee! Their wedding venue, The Magnolia, sits atop the Smokey Mountains just above Pigeon Forge. I followed their IG immediately so I could become familiar with the looks and photos that were coming out of the space. BUT. It just didn't do it justice. After a very (very) scary drive up the mountain that this Midwest girl was not prepared for, we arrived to the top, white knuckles and all, and I took in the breathtaking views that would provide the backdrop to The James' wedding day.

I could write a full article about the wedding itself, but instead, I'll point out some of my favorite memories of this day. Cori and Darin both had a special first look with their parent. I've never done a first look with a groom and his mother, but I might have to add it to my wedding guide as a suggestion because it was such a sweet moment! During their ceremony, they opted to have grandma be the flower girl and she ATE IT UP! It was so adorable! 

Cori and Darin had a station dinner set-up for their reception and kept it super casual for guests to graze food the whole evening. They lit some fire pits on the main floor and let the night sky be the most epic way to celebrate.

I'm so so excited to show these images off! Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. James!

Vendor Team: 
Venue: The Magnolia
Planning, Florals, Catering & DJ: Margaret Claire Wedding and Events
Photography: Photography by Lauryn
Videography: Studio Motion Films
Beauty: SB Bridal
Wedding Gown: Valentini
Men's Attire: Men's Warehouse
Bar: Single Barrel Events



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