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After meeting with Iulia and John last spring, I had many months to look forward to the romantic Boone Hall wedding anniversary session that Iulia wanted to bring to fruition. Iulia is Russian and has been in New York for a while, teaching dance at a Fred Astaire studio. I asked her to recount the story she told me as we wandered Boone Hall Plantation, and her charming e-mailed version follows.



“My husband came to learn how to dance so that when he will go out he will be able to attract more women, because women always like to dance. And there is not that many guys out there knowing what they are doing. So he googled Fred Astaire Dance Studio and this is how it began.”

“I was not his teacher from the beginning; his teacher got sick one day and I substituted. After that I have never switched my dance partner again.:-)We danced for couple months and we decided to be friends, but we both knew there was so much more than that. We have been together for a little more then five years now. Two years ago, during our dance class, John proposed to me in the middle of it, saying that this is our second beginning at the same place. We got engaged on April 7th, and a few days later, we got married at the court.”
“We did not have a wedding, and for the family and friends, we have decided to have our vow exchange ceremony on our fifth wedding anniversary, so they all will be able to celebrate it with us. Different couples do it their own way, but we both always knew, that once we have decided to be together, we wouldn’t be a couple who is engaged for a year or two.”
“As for wedding pictures we had a gorgeous photo shoot at Lyndhurst Castle at Tarrytown, New York. I was wearing a long raspberry wedding dress. We had so much fun that day, but also wanted to do it more traditionally. I am a very romantic person, so John had found this unbelievably beautiful plantation, and he took me there one weekend, probably by seeing how happy I am there, and how I completely fell in love with the place, he offered to do second year anniversary wedding shoot, and it was such a great time together! Everything was simple, but so unusual at the same time. We both felt like we were getting married again.”


Romantic anniversary photos at Boone Hall near Charleston © Carolina Photosmith084-Romantic-Boone-Hall-wedding-anniversary-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-083-Romantic-Boone-Hall-wedding-anniversary-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-storyboard002“Thank you so much Jennifer so making it so special to us! We both love the photos, and now we have so many warm and happy memories from Boone Hall Plantation.

XOXO, Iulia”
Iulia and John, thanks so much for choosing me to document your dreamy anniversary session!

082-Romantic-Boone-Hall-wedding-anniversary-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-078-Romantic-Boone-Hall-wedding-anniversary-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-071-Romantic-Boone-Hall-wedding-anniversary-photography © Carolina Photosmith-Romantic Boone Hall cotton dock wedding anniversary photos for a Russian ballroom dancer and her husband. © Carolina Photosmith
086-Romantic-Boone-Hall-wedding-anniversary-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-If you like this love story, I hope you’ll recommend this post and share this site with anyone in need of beautiful photos in a lush location. Thanks for checking out my work.

  • Joanne Snider - To know them is to love them! Jen, You have captured their love and devotion to each other in such a beautiful way. Thank you to my sweet and special friends Iulia and John for sharing them with me…xxoo JoanneReplyCancel

    • Jen - Thanks for your note, Joanne! I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with them.ReplyCancel


Back in July, while I was on vacation with twenty family members in Ormond Beach, Florida, I came in from the beach to make a juicy tomato sandwich and got a call from Russell in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was planning a special getaway weekend, which a historic Charleston proposal to his girlfriend Michelle! I was happy to collude with him on the details and plot our meeting during a bustling afternoon along the Charleston waterfront. Since we’d never met and I needed to be stealthy, we told each other what colors we’d be wearing so we could know that we were in the right place before he dropped to one knee.

Funny thing — he decided to wear something else, so I was looking through the crowds and trying to minimize suspicious texting. Once we spotted each other, I followed them out to the pier by Waterfront Park. It was a gorgeous day, and the park was packed with visitors, some of whom, like Russ and Michelle, were visiting Charleston for the first time. If I’d had another pair of hands, I would have made a video of everyone cheering when they realized that Russell was proposing. It was so sweet to hear strangers applauding and cheering! As it is, I took some photos to document the afternoon of their historic Charleston proposal. Cheers, y’all!

057-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-058-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-059-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-060-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-061-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-062-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-063-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-064-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-065-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-066-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-067-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-070-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-068-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-069-Historic-Charleston-surprise-proposal-engagement-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-After they got engaged, and Russell produced the Sharpie pen to take this fun shot, the couple headed to Circa 1886 for a celebratory dinner. If you like surprises and a guy who gets on one knee to present a beautiful engagement ring to his lady, I hope you’ll recommend this post and share my name with your friends who are getting engaged soon. Here’s another favorite proposal session, high above the city on a helicopter. Reach out using the links below, and follow me on Instagram. Thanks, y’all!


  • Alyssa - How cute!!! I love proposal photography!ReplyCancel

    • Jen - Thank you, Alyssa! It’s always fun to be in on a secret :-)ReplyCancel

  • Mercedes - Awww! I may have squealed a little looking at these. Such a darling couple! Congrats! And beautiful photos. <3!ReplyCancel



Whoa. Where to even begin with this one? Once upon a time, a charming couple booked a new industrial venue in a renovated historical building. Planning ensued for the third wedding ever to take place at the Cedar Room in the Cigar Factory. Matt and Tracy hired me. We had fun making engagement portraits. Fast forward many months later, and their wedding week was finally here! The rain started a few days before October 3. The day before their scheduled wedding, my kids stayed home because school was canceled for tidal flooding that coincided with inches of rain. I deemed it the Venetian Holiday. (Turned out we received 26 inches of rain in Mount Pleasant in five days.) As I headed downtown for Tracy and Matt’s rehearsal, Jim Cantore was broadcasting from further down East Bay Street, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together. An ominous sign, for sure, to have the Weather Channel set up shop in Charleston, where dozens of weddings were scheduled to take place that weekend.

The rehearsal went well, including the amended plan to move the ceremony indoors, in case of rain. It poured for hours. And then more hours. People blamed Hurricane Joaquin, which stayed well offshore, but coupled with a perfect storm of other factors, the fire hose never stopped. We woke up Saturday morning to find the city of Charleston had just been shut down by authorities. The most hospitable place in the country had barricaded entry onto the peninsula. Dizzying graphics preceded meteorologists talking excitedly about rising flood levels, power outages, stalled cars and the once-in-a-thousand-years weather disaster we were experiencing. Tracy and her family were in a condo looking out over King Street. Matt and his family were on James Island. With police forbidding people to come or go from downtown, the wedding was eventually canceled. Not only would they not marry on this day; Matt and Tracy couldn’t even see each other.

Later that afternoon, there was finally a break in the rain. Options were bandied about. The Cigar Factory offered to roll with the plan on Monday, but that was when the couple planned to fly off to their sundrenched honeymoon, and guests would have already departed. Matt’s parents decided instead to host the wedding at their home on Sunday. The next morning, planner Mike Winship and I agreed to detour around downtown and follow each other to James Island so we’d be together if we ran into any problems. At a red light, the Cakes by Kasarda truck pulled up beside me. Our little wedding vendor caravan was heading to the Cruse’s house to see this cute couple get married and celebrate the flood fete! They secured another caterer, and my second-shooter was already booked for Sunday, so I flew solo, which was fine, knowing it might be tight quarters. The florist, Pretty Petals, was stuck in Summerville, but a tag-team effort ensure made sure her beautiful florals made it to James Island.


What an absolutely fantastic day! The house accommodated all the wedding activities better than I could have dreamed, and the Cruses seemed so relaxed despite having given over every inch of their home to friends, family and vendors. Their nice neighbor barely winced when a tree from the Cruse’s yard had fallen across his driveway earlier. Everyone was happy and relaxed as Event Haus and the caterers arrived, and DJ Elementz set up for the most epic garage dance party ever. Okay, I’ll stop gushing. See for yourself. Matt and Tracy could launch a craft lemonade empire with two lemons and their brilliant smiles (especially if their families were on the board of directors)!

Historic Charleston wedding in Cedar Room canceled due to flood. The day after, Matt and Tracy wed at his parentsTracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith007Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith009Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith010Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith011Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith012Gillian Wade at Charleston I Do made the girls their most gorgeous, and Tracy found her perfect dress at Gown Boutique of Charleston.Bride, sister and mom at this gorgeous at-home Charleston wedding the day after the epic flooding. © Carolina PhotosmithTracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith-002Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-PhotosmithTracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-PhotosmithTracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith013Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith014So this happened while we are all snuggled in ready for the ceremony. Tracy walked down the stairs and right down the aisle, beating Matt to the altar! See his brother pointing back at the man of the hour?Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith015Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith016Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith017

Their original wedding venue may have magnificent windows, but the Cruse’s living room with palm and pond views was perfect!Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith028



Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith020Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith021Some people light a unity candle or blend sand to signify their coming together. Matt and Tracy blended craft beers!Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith022Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith023Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith024Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith025Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith026Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith027Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith030Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith031Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith033Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith062Beautiful florals by Pretty Petals in Summerville, SC, for this jubilant at-home Charleston wedding. © Carolina PhotosmithTracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith063

Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith034Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith035You wouldn’t have believed how pristine the garage was. Reception on the lower level!Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith036Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith037Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith038I’m not big on props, but I couldn’t resist throwing in some life jackets for a portrait.Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith039Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith040Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith041Seriously, have you ever seen newlyweds so blissfully happy on their rainy wedding day?Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith042Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith043Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith044Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith045Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith046Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith047Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith048The whole crowd surprised the couple with a choreographed bit of Uptown Funk. Tracy couldn’t believe it!Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith049Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith050Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith051Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith052Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith053Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith054Like many brides who can’t make it happen at traditional wedding venues, Tracy wanted her dog to be part of the fun. With the change of venue, she got a portrait and a dance with her furry friend! And how wonderful is the following photo? Tracy’s dad toasted all four of the couple’s grandmothers in attendance.Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith055Love this shot of Matt refusing to dance to the Biebs.Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith056Close (to the original wedding day), but no Cigar Factory. But Matt did manage to smoke a cigar. And Tracy, who always dreamed of a barefoot wedding (she despises heels), actually got to splash shoeless in puddles in her gown! Way to roll with it, y’all.Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith060Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith057Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith058Tracy-Matt-Charleston-Wedding-At-Home-After-the-Flood-by-Carolina-Photosmith059Weather, schmeather. These gracious families rallied, and hosted a fun, stylish wedding befitting Tracy and Matt after shifting gears and embracing spontaneity. Kudos to everyone involved (links in copy above)! I hope you’ll recommend this post and leave a comment below. If you know of anyone looking for a wedding photographer with a sunny outlook and her own floatation devices, please encourage them to contact me (to the right of the Jeep below). Thanks, y’all!

  • alexbee - you. are. the. BEST! This is amazing!!ReplyCancel

    • Jen - Thanks, Alex! I am merely the documentarian of amazingness. It was such a pleasure to see all this come together so perfectly.ReplyCancel

  • Mercedes - Seriously awesome wedding. Carolina Photosmith does it *again*!ReplyCancel

  • Joan - Enjoyed looking at these wonderful wedding pictures.
    Lots of happiness to the bride and groom, whom I have never met.ReplyCancel

In case you had the pleasure of being off the grid and missed the Marty McFly and DeLorean references, yesterday was Back to the Future day. As for today, it’s a momentous one to share the final installment of the Verhagen’s Tie the Knot trilogy, a gorgeous DeBordieu wedding. What an honor it was to photograph all three of Tim and Karen’s children on their wedding days! Their family is gracious, relaxed and stylish, just like the families joined together by their children’s marriages.

Andrew spent many summer vacations at DeBordieu frolicking outdoors with Shelley, who grew up in the serene community near Georgetown, SC. When I photographed their engagement session around DeBordieu, their love of quiet marshes, gentle waves and soaking up the sun together was evident. They took me on a woodsy path where they walk their dog, then we drove to the pristine beach on the south end where Andrew proposed months earlier (after setting up a camera to video the surprise!), and finally we hopped on their boat for a sunset cruise with the dog. So relaxed and fun!

But today’s post is all about their beautiful wedding day, which began at their family homes before moving to Duncan Methodist Church in Georgetown and wrapped with an elegant oyster-themed reception at the DeBordieu Club. I really enjoyed watching Shelley and her three sisters in their element at their parents’ house, exchanging thoughtful gifts in their perfect blue-hued dresses.


DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-002DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-001DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-003DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-010This sums up the typical scene of where the girls prep all morning and where the guys break from bonding over beers to throw on their tuxes.DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-009DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-006The oyster theme was carried out in the nifty cuff links Shelley gave Andrew.DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-004DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-007DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-008DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-011DeBordieu-wedding-photography-by-Carolina-Photosmith-012Like many men who don’t sport bow ties on a regular basis, Shelley’s dad referred to a YouTube tutorial to skillfully finesse his ensemble.
Elegant wedding reception at the DeBordieu Club, Georgetown, SC. Wedding photography by Carolina Photosmith of Charleston.054-Georgetown-SC-wedding-followed-by-elegant-oyster-themed-DeBordieu-Club-reception-by-Carolina-Photosmith-055-Georgetown-SC-wedding-followed-by-elegant-oyster-themed-DeBordieu-Club-reception-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Elegant Georgetown wedding and DeBordieu club reception by Charleston photographer Carolina Photosmith

Many thanks to the Harpers and Verhagens for having me along and for making this day such a pleasure to photograph with my friend Katie Capo. Kelly at the DeBordieu Club is always a delight to work with! And here’s the scoop on the other vendors they chose:

Shelley’s gown: Alfred Angelo at Amanda’s Collection in Conway, SC
Andrew’s midnight blue tux: Alton Lane (groomsmen wore their own black tuxes)
Bow ties and cummerbunds: Brooks Brothers
Bridesmaid dresses:  Ann Taylor
Cake: Incredible Edibles
Flowers: Alford’s Florist
Band: Risse (booked through East Coast Entertainment)

You can check out Andrew’s siblings’ weddings here also. Liz married Andrew at DeBordieu in 2011, and we shot her gorgeous bridal portrait session at Atalaya. Michael married Sonia in Charleston in a magnificent cathedral, and their reception was at Lowndes Grove.

Thanks for recommending or sharing this wedding post. I hope you’ll tell your friends to consider Carolina Photosmith when they’re searching for a wedding photographer or someone to document their family fun.


If you’ve been dreaming of ambling downtown streets in your wedding gown, you’re not alone! Some brides (and their moms) prefer they not risk getting a speck of city life on their hemlines before the big day, but a leisurely stroll around historic Charleston in wedding finery can be time well spent, especially with a train spotter to help you keep the lace and tulle off the cobblestones.

I had so much fun with Sarah, who married Eric, the man of her dreams, a few days ago. I met her at Elysium Salon on Market Street, where Meg was wrapping Sarah’s hair and makeup run-through. I helped her into her gown, she slipped on walking shoes (not to be confused with the Jimmy Choo’s she was saving for her wedding day), and off we went. Thanks to Sarah’s Aunt Susie, who served as her wedding planner, but also our florist and chauffeur for portrait day.

Sarah found her gorgeous gown at Fabulous Frocks.

Walkabout with Sarah for her historic Charleston bridal portrait. © Carolina Photosmith007-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-008-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-009-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-010-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-011-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-012-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-013-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-014-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-015-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-016-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-017-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-018-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-019-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-020-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-021-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-022-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-023-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-024-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-025-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-026-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-027-Sarah-historic-Charleston-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-

Fall is here, and it’s a gorgeous day for strolling, in a wedding gown or your regular-human clothes. I hope you’ll recommend this post, and thanks for sharing my name with friends in need of a photographer. I’m grateful for fun clients and the opportunity to document special days! Oh, and if you haven’t seen Sarah and Eric’s engagement photos, continue your field trip with a beach visit.

  • alexbee - so stunning & full of character! What a great amount of variety. Obsessed with her pretty veil.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - Thanks, Alex! We covered some ground on our walk, but Charleston backdrops offer so much variety!ReplyCancel