07.19.2011 | filed under: weddings

This wedding was a feast for the senses. When Ben & I pulled up to the vineyard, it was like a scene out of a Robert Frost poem. Lush wide open space, white benches, mason jars, quilts…and two little ducks that followed us around everywhere. Laura & Mike infused all the things they love most into their day & every element had a story behind it. They both grew up in the south & wanted to create a little slice of southern heaven for their guests. Mike is an avid gardener, fisherman & hunter, so Laura made sure to have a few surprises up her sleeve for him. The vintage seed packets that she used as place cards for their guests, the boutonniere made of duck feathers, and even the two deer used on their wishing wall were all lovingly chosen as surprises for Mike. I should note that the larger buck “bride” ( named Ramone ) you see below was from Laura’s one & only hunt. Told ya…she’s a southern gal through & through. Don’t you just love a girl who can hunt with the guys & still be drop-dead gorgeous in a wedding dress? If you know Laura, you know..she’s all heart. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff ( as is evidenced by her 4 very large dogs that I met during their engagement session..) and family is very important to her. Mike is without a doubt…the one for her. He loves the fact that she isn’t afraid to hook a giant bass, or four-wheel in the dirt…or ride to their reception in a tractor lift ( yep, she’s fearless ). And Mike? Well…Mike happens to be one of my favorite grooms of all time. He’s one of the few guys I know who isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve ( he’s going to kill me for writing that..but its true ). Just watch the slideshow below & you’ll see what I mean…

There were so many incredible, sigh-inducing moments throughout their day, its tough to pick a favorite…but one does come to mind. After their first look, Laura handed Mike a small recycled egg crate, and said “When my mom first met you, she said you were a good egg..” and he opened the crate to find a little plastic Easter egg. The egg held a tiny frame with a photo of Mike’s grandfather who recently passed away. It was one moment in the thousands I’ve photographed…that I’ll never forget.

So when I got this email from Laura a week ago ( which she allowed me to share ), my heart sank:

“I was just thinking of you today. Your email has just made my 3 weeks!!! Married life has not been what many would consider very normal for Mike and I…Three days after returning from our honeymoon (which was incredible!) I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The scan found an aggressively growing 5 cm. tumor on the interior of my cervix. They were able to move the ovaries to a higher position within my abdomen so my eggs will be most viable which was the most wonderful news because the only reasonable treatment to rid my body of the cancer was to perform a radical hysterectomy which was done last Tuesday. It has all been very surreal and we are still so dumbfounded at all of this.

So it has been a wild ride since we saw you last and I just want to say that I am so appreciative that we had you there to capture such an incredibly special day of our lives. I don’t know if it makes any sense to say that our wedding day now means so much more to me than I ever could have thought it would because in such a short time we have been truly tested as husband and wife. To be able to have those moments from the day that Mike vowed to stand by my side…sheesh…I don’t know if you have ever had a bride full out sob over your pictures but I can almost guarantee it will happen next week-but I promise that they will be the most heartfelt tears of gratitude to you and your brother for giving us the gift of being able to look back on that day. I just wanted to thank you, in advance, and I wanted you to hear it from a very raw place just what an unbelievable gift your talent gives to people.”

After reading this email, I patted away the tears and rattled off a few choice words directed at cancer. Then I flipped through their wedding gallery & was reminded just how fearless Laura is. She & Mike have the kind of love that can endure anything…even cancer. She’s on the road to recovery & I hope these images give her a constant reminder of how truly loved she is.

Laura & Mike..thanks for sharing your day with us. Hugs to you both.

Location- Autumn Creek Vineyards
Dress- Pronovias
Flower on sash- Twigs & Honey
Hair/Makeup- the one & only Megan Snipes with Salon Medusa
Shoes- JCrew
Bridesmaid Dresses- Amsale
Suits & Ties- Jos. A Banks
Flowers- RSVP Events
Design & Coordination- RSVP Events
Pies- all family recipes bakes by Sanctuary House
Bluegrass Band- Hey Rabbit
Reception Band- Another Level
Second shooter- my super talented brother Ben

To see more from Laura & Mike’s day ( including their emotional first look ) click below. Song by The Civil Wars.

Comments: 70    leave a comment

  1. Darling, you capture emotions better than anyone EVER! You are absolutely fantastic. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE as always!

  2. Absolutely stunning. What a beautiful day with so much heart and soul. I love all the creative touches the bride used! Really tied the southern theme together. My prayers are with her as she is on the road to recovery. Fearless definitely seems to fit her. Wow such a beautiful day and beautiful memories you’ve captured. The slideshow had me in tears so if I come in puffy eyed I blame you…You’ve outdone yourself once again love…xoxo

  3. Love this venue and the details… You captured everything beautifully and I know they mean so much to the bride and groom. We are truly blessed to be able to capture such moments in life!

  4. Loved these pictures! What a great weekend. These need to go in a magazine!

  5. Gorgeous! Everthing was perfectly placed and attention to detail couldn’t have been more on point. We loved everything about this wedding – and the love we felt from the couple, definitely shines through the photography. I love the vail blowing in the wind and then hankerchief pictures. Our prayers are with Laura & Mike as they are going through hard times…and we pray for a speedy recovery for Laura.

  6. While reading this, before I ever saw the pictures, I knew these pictures would represent the will wedding I will want someday. I had chills from reading their story, and then tears when reading her email. They are SUCH a cute couple! And I’m so glad you were able to capture them so beauifully! These images are seriously gorgeous! Congratulations to the sweet couple on getting married! And even though I don’t know them, I’ll be praying for Laura so hard. xoxo!

  7. Kellie, Mike and I can’t thank you enough for capturing these special moments for us. You are truly a gift.

  8. These are so amazing! They really capture the beauty of the day and the people involved! I cried like a baby as I watched these beautiful images and then got a good laugh at the picture of me dancing. Great job! I know they will always treasure each of these moments you were able to capture!

  9. Beautiful as always, Kellie and your post with it was amazing! This email she sent you truly made the photos that much more emotional and helps us all to remember what really matters. It’s also crazy how much smaller the world gets every day…my best friend’s sister plays guitar for their band, Hey Rabbit!

  10. Kellie, if this post were any better, my computer would explode. Just sayin’. :)

  11. Laura and Mike you guys have know idea how much i loved having you here at ACV. We have had plenty of weddings here but none that was one of my best friends. This made it truly very special and Mike you are very lucky to have found someone like Laura, i dont have to wish the best to you guys because i know that ya’ll will truly be happy forever no matter what obstacles both of ya’ll have had and will face. Laura The Pics are Beautiful!!!!

  12. Argh… now i’m in tears too! Praying that God’s healing hand will touch you and comfort you, Laura. Kellie, once again, you blow my mind at how good you are. Amazing, amazing work my friend.

  13. These are truly incredible! Although I missed the wedding, these seemed to have captured its entire essence wonderfully. So much love can be seen among all of Mike and Laura’s family and friends and certainly between the two of them. They brought me to tears (of happiness!).

  14. Kellie, your words and your photography moved me to tears! So proud to have been a part of this incredible day.

  15. kellie – these are just stunning! What a wonderful thing the bride and groom have forever and ever! If you don’t get featured for this one, I don’t know what’s wrong with people!

  16. Beautiful pictures and a beautiful couple! These are GREAT!

  17. Absolutely stunning! The pictures capture every moment beautifully!

  18. Such a beautiful wedding! LOVE the his and hers deer! too cute! Amazing job as per usual Kellie!

  19. Some of the best wedding photos ever! Looks like the perfect day!

  20. I love to peek in at Kellie’s work from time to time because it’s so amazing and inspiring. These photos belong in Southern Living or Southern Bride. Any couple fortunate enough to have Kellie capture their special day is blessed right from the start. Amazing woman and artist!

  21. Awesome photos. I especially love the dancing shots and the one of the floating veil.

  22. Incredible! I do believe each of these pictures say much more than a thousand words.

  23. Amazing describes every aspect of this wedding!! So blessed to share in this special day.

  24. Beautiful Pictures of two beautiful people. Thinking of you both with love. Hope to see you both very soon.

  25. What absolutely amazing pictures. You captured every detail and every emotion. And what a beautiful couple!!!

  26. Oh and I also wanted to comment on how perfect the Civil Wars song was for Mike and Laura’s slideshow. Not only do you you have a talent for snapping amazing photography but you also have a great taste in music:)

  27. WOW! These images are amazing as was the entire day! Amazing pictures, awesome couple! Loved the first look photos- they captured such a special moment! Beautiful!

  28. Kellie-your photos are wonderful! It WAS a very special day. Your beautiful work allows us to relive the joy and happiness we felt on that very special day! Jane Williston

  29. Man O MAN!!!!!! Awesome couple…I’m still not sure how Kil landed a girl like Laura…But I’m happy he did!!!!!!!!!! Love you guys!!!!!!!! Sweet pix’s!

  30. What gorgeous pictures of such a beautiful couple! So fortunate to have shared this special day with Laura and Mike – these picture are a fabulous reminder of how extremely unique and special all the hard work that went in to making this such a memorable day in their lives. They’re truly blessed these moments were captured so well with these pictures.

  31. These pictures are gorgeous!! Such a beautiful day for a special couple. Laura and Mike – we are so sad we couldn’t be there to celebrate with you. However, we feel like we were right there just looking through these pictures. Everything was captured…amazing photography!! Love to you both!

  32. These pictures are priceless. I am so impressed by how she was able to capture every detail and the lighting is wonderful. Laura and Mike look so happy and these are photos that they will cherish forever!

  33. Just boohooed watching this slideshow, reading your post, and looking at the pictures. Incredible Kellie! incredible! You told their story so beautifully and captured both of their hearts so sincerely. AMAZING!

  34. Just Beautiful! I especially love the dress by the window.

  35. Beautiful pictures, beautiful day. What a pleasure to witness such joy!

  36. Wow, what an amazing introduction to an amazing couple! Laura and Mike your wedding couldn’t have been more perfect for the two of you! It was perfect! Kellie you did a great job capturing this special day and I have enjoyed looking through these pictures for the 10th time now. :)

  37. Amazing! Love, love, love looking at these!

  38. What amazing photos! It was a beautiful day. The hospitality throughout the weekend was over the top. Laura and Mike, thank you for allowing us to share in your special day and relive it with these wonderful pictures and the outstanding video.

  39. These pics are beautiful! Its amazing how you captured every detail of the evening! Love the video too!

  40. Beautiful pictures! Wish your cousin Taylor and I could have been there.

  41. This pictures are absolutely gorgeous!!! Congrats!! :)

  42. I am utterly speechless! Truly the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen captured by the most talented person I have ever known. I want your job!xoxo

  43. Gorgeous photos…. Almost as beautiful as Laura.
    To me, the whole wedding was sigh-inducing. Everything was so perfectly thought out and you captured it all in such a real and striking way. I LOVE them. Kellie truly does have a gift that keeps on giving. And they captured the essence of Laura and Mike’s love….sweet and fun. Good job, Kellie. We love you Kilpatricks!!!

  44. After being in the wedding business for over 25 years, I have taken and printed more than my fair share of images. This preview of what is to come for the final album is one of the best presentations I have seen in quite sometime. Congratulations to the bride and groom on a job well done and to the photographic team for capturing it so effortlessly.

  45. Wow! What fabulous photographs! You really captured the emotions that day of the beautiful bride Laura and handsome groom Mike. It was a beautiful event in a picturesque place on a gorgeous day. Amazing….

  46. oooh, that first look made me cry! What a beautiful moment – what a beautiful couple. Kellie, you’re wonderful!

  47. What a wonderful selection of photos to capture such an amazing day. Kellie you have a talent that is rare and I think the stars aligned when Laura found you. These photos are such a blessing for Laura and Mike to remember the day they said I DO. :) My favorites are the ones of just Laura and Mike where you can tell he can’t keep his eyes off his beautiful bride!

  48. LOVE their details!! That quilt is beautiful!

  49. What a beautiful day with beautiful pictures to remember everything by !!!! The photos show everything I wanted to see !! Such a beautiful couple inside and out !! If my girls were not already married I would be asking you to take their wedding photos!

  50. Beautiful. Hate that I missed it but know it was an absolutly magical day!!

  51. wow – beautiful!!!

  52. Beautiful day…..beautiful bride and groom! Every detail was thought of to make a perfect wedding.
    The photos catch the spirit! We were blessed to share your day. Be assured of prayers for a full recovery.

  53. Wow!!!!!

  54. Wow! What an inspirational story and couple! I completely felt the emotion in that first look – tear-jerker! You really brought their story to life! These photographs will bring them such joy for years and years. Sending prayers their way! Thanks for all you do!

  55. I have already gone through these a million times, and every time I find a new favorite picture! Kellie, thank you so much for capturing Laura and Mikes true spirit.

  56. The pictures are wonderful. You did a wonderful job capturing the special moments. Laura planned a spectacular day with so many special touches…she is an amazing person.

  57. What a fabulous presentation of such a beautiful wedding. These photos capture the love between Laura and Mike and the love they have for their families and friends. Thank you for sharing with us.

  58. It was a lovely wedding with many special touches that were incredibly unique! Bob and I had a wonderful time and felt blessed to have been invited to celebrate with you! Our thoughts and prayers are with both of you as Laura’s recovery continues!

  59. Though the pictures are incredible,nothing can truly do justice to how beautiful this wedding was!!!! I love my new sister !!!! Can you get me in a few more pictures next time, I looked great!!! Kellie, great job!!

  60. All of the photos catch the wonderful spirit of the day…love and family. Best wishes for a positive recovery for Laura. Barbara

  61. One of my favorites TCW songs with such a beautiful slideshow… Love the peace that you captured of their day and the joy of those who celebrated with them, absolutely beautiful!

  62. what an incredible story!! these photos will be cherished for years and years!!! Prayers for this sweet couple.

  63. Oh my goodness, the frontloader is FANTASTIC!!! Kellie, once again I feel like I know these people; you do such an amazing job of capturing all of the emotion of a wedding day, but it’s so personal. The shot with the groom and his handkerchief is simply perfect.

  64. Heather shared your pictures with me. Awesome! Mr. Kilpatrick you did great! Lots of creative surprises. May God bless you both and keep you in the palm of his hand as you begin your new life as husband and wife.

  65. These pictures really capture the entire awesome event. What beautiful photography of all the details, memories, and fabulous bride and groom!! A great reflection of a terrific time in both our families lives.

  66. Great pictures and video that captured the essence of a wonderful weekend! They really show what a beautiful bride Laura was and how loving a husband Mike will be. Thank you for helping us remember such a fun weekend, and thank you Laura and Mike for allowing us to share this special time with you.

  67. My sweet Laura,
    The pictures are beautiful, just as you are and always have been. You and Mike are in my prayers. Stay strong and keep the faith. CONGRATULATIONS!
    Much love,
    Ann Albini

  68. Gorgeous wedding! Gorgeous couple! What a heart-wrenching story, Laura. My thoughts are with you in your recovery. xo

  69. Kellie, my daughter Kat is getting married September 15 in Chapel Hill. We love your photos. Saw the wedding at BHI his summer and now this one. Really great. I tried emailing you and it bounced. Something wrong with my settings I think. We would love to know pricing if you are available for this date.
    Thanks, Robin Hutchison (919.606.1417)

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