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Bailey and Brian recently married at Founders Hall on a perfect autumn day. A few weeks prior to the wedding, Bailey and I met at the Legare-Waring House, also at Charlestowne Landing, and wandered from room to perfect room shooting some portraits. I highly recommend brides opt for a bridal portrait session for several reasons: it’s the perfect time to give your hair and makeup a run-through, a leisurely session enables brides to relax and soak up the it’s-almost-time bliss, and you can add some portraits to the album even if you aren’t planning on displaying one at the reception. Best of all, the dress rehearsal gives you another reason to revel in your success having found the perfect gown. And I have known a few brides to make changes to their bouquet, jewelry or makeup after seeing the portraits. Practice makes perfect!

I think you’ll agree that Bailey didn’t need much practice though. Lovely!

Natural Charleston Bride in Lowcountry Setting at Charlestowne Landing

If music is the song of love, play on. Shakespeare and a bride at Legare-Waring House.

Bridal session at Charleston's Legare-Waring House at Charlestowne Landing

Charleston bridal portrait at Legare-Waring House by Carolina Photosmith

Carolina bridal portrait with ponds and fronds at Charlestowne Landing

Swoonworthy bridal portraits by Carolina Photosmith

Carolina bride beneath the oaks at Legare Waring House in Charleston

Charleston bride beneath the oaks at Charlestowne Landing

Lowcountry bride amid greens and oaks, with mint in the bouquet, perfect for iced tea!

Lowcountry bridal portrait with ponds and fronds

Charleston Bride Grins by Wrought Iron Gate

Timeless bridal portraiture in the Carolina Lowcountry


Charleston is a magical place to live. Conde Nast recently rated Charleston as the top city in the US and the third best travel destination in the world. Yeah, In The World. We have beaches with temperate water, history dripping like moss off the sturdy oaks, world-class cuisine (whether you dine out or cook local produce and seafood at home), sleepy tidal creeks where you can paddle with dolphins or reel in redfish, and one of the largest historic districts in the country. Our easy pace has even been known to inspire non-Southerners to utter “y’all” in the proper context. I dare say the only thing we lack is deciduous trees. In fact, since we can’t count on cooler air arriving by October, my trusty autumn signal is the persistent knocking on the roof as pecans fall from the trees.

That’s one of the reasons this family session was so fun. (Oops, maybe the segway implies this family is nutty, but I was rambling about my fondness for fall.) Obviously the AKF (adorable kid factor) was off the charts, but it was also fun to shoot in a little green space that felt autumnal — like a pumpkin spice latte with plenty of crunchy leaves underfoot.

Fun fall family photography by Charleston photographer Carolina Photosmith

Baby Ross frolics outdoors at nine months by Carolina Photosmith

Sisters sport Matilda Jane by Mount Pleasant photographer Jennifer Hudson Smith

Three kids, two tree huggers, one almost-walker by Carolina Photosmith, family photographer

Golden autumn hues and fun family photography in Mount Pleasant, SC

Family fun beneath the sycamore trees by Carolina Photosmith

Sisters in the Leaves. Carolina Photosmith captures fun.

I have a few spots left if your zany clan needs to bedeck your walls with holiday merriment. Contact me to book your family session.


With visions of autumnal amusement in New York, I packed our bags, and we hopped an early nonstop to Gotham City for a special girls weekend in NYC. We met our cousins, who flew in from NC, to join us for a weekend heavy on memories and light on sleep. Alicia, the curly girly pictured several times below, took a similar trip a couple of years ago with her older daughter, so she had insight to add to our ideas. Our whirlwind itinerary included dumping our luggage at Hotel Belleclaire on the Upper West Side and walking a couple of blocks to the American Museum of Natural History. It would have been easy to spend the whole weekend taking in the amazing exhibits, but the unusually warm day beckoned us outdoors to frolic in Central Park.

Little Girls in the Big Apple, Arriving at the Hotel Belleclaire

Arriving at the American Museum of Natural History on an unusually warm October day

Antiquities and biodiversity at the Museum of Natural History in NYC

BW images of galleries in American Museum of Natural History

Rock Climbing in Central Park with two seven-year-olds

So much for Autumn in New York. Central Park on a 90-degree October day.

Subway breezes just like Marilyn in NYC

After a quick clothing change, we hopped the subway to Rockefeller Center, where our 6:10 pm tickets proved to be the perfect time to watch the day’s light fade and all the lights come up. Top of the Rock was a definite highlight – especially if you can time your visit to watch the sunset. After dinner, we hit Times Square for quality Saturday night people watching, a jaunt to M&M World and the last ferris wheel ride of night at Toys R Us. Our heads hit our pillows at midnight, and we were all grateful for a quality snooze.

Subway trains are loud!

Big City Lights at Radio City and in the Rock Center elevator

Dusk and Sunset from the Top of Rockefeller Center. Worth the trip!

Rock Center guard floats in the night; girls delight in Times Square lights

Top-notch parenting is sugar fix and ferris wheel just before midnight.

Day Two, rise and shine! Tavia and Cidney prepped themselves and their American Girls for another fun-filled day, which started with sidewalk sustenance at Isabella’s. Yummy brunch and a perfect morning for dining al fresco. Hopped the subway and headed to the Staten Island Ferry terminal for a free harbor cruise, breezy vitamin D and breathtaking views of Lady Liberty.
The girls prep their American Girls for Day 2 in NYC

Sunday brunch at Isabellas on the Upper West Side

Glorious fall day for cruise on Staten Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty views

  • Sally Watts - Adorable! I love that first image with the dinosaur skeleton and the Seven Yeah Itch inspired shot. Love the little hints of street photography too. I’d love to see more of those! Love Cyd’s Eiffel Tower shirt too. (Is it Crewcuts? Looks like their stuff.) Clearly you guys had a total blast. You’re such an awesome Mom Jen!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks, Sally! Yep, street photography was something I wanted to shoot but didn’t happen. Tough keeping tabs — and hands — on giddy kids running down sidewalks and twirling around Times Square at midnight! Next trip though. And hopefully those protesters will have relinquished the Brooklyn Bridge by then.ReplyCancel

  • Heather J - How awesome, your girls look like they have a blast! I bet they’re gonna remember this forever.ReplyCancel

  • Shyann - So much fun!! Makes me want to go to NY!! I love all the museum shots!ReplyCancel

  • Brian Kraft - What a great journal of what looks like a really fun and memorable time! Super stuff!ReplyCancel

  • michele bowman - love these. fabulous memories of what looks like a super-fun trip!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Gillett - Jen, what an amazing trip! Love how fun it all looks, the smile for m&ms, and all the happy memories you captured. Definitely something your daughter will always remember. Love that!ReplyCancel

Okay, longest blog post ever. Huge family, huge fun. Gorgeous location, stunning bride, hilarious groom. Corn fields, dramatic skies, a first look, passing the peace, delicious food and unbelievable dance action. I loved it and hope you will, too! Another heartfelt congratulations to Rob and Vanessa. The Lavin Specktacular lived up to — and exceeded! — the hype. And her bridal portrait session at home (and with Sam’s horse) only added to the photo bliss.

Production details: stellar event coordination by Maria and Kelly at Ritzy Bee, breathtaking florals by Holly Heider Chapple and the amazing Chesapeake Bay wedding venue is Love Point at Kent Island, where they even managed to keep it from raining on this parade.

Wedding morning preparations in Annapolis hotel

Wedding morning essentials include makeup, hair spray and custom M&Ms

Bridesmaid and flower girl prep for Vanessa's wedding day at Love Point

Rock and Roll on her wedding morning by Carolina Photosmith

This bride is adorably glee-filled even while brushing her teeth amid maiden chaos.

Bride tears up while reading wedding day letter from the groom, and sis tends her tears.

Groom preps by watching football and doing a bit of ironing.

Bride is dressed and ready to catch limo to Love Point at Kent Island

Wedding party boards the bus for transport to Love Point

Bride's limo arrives at Love Point at Kent Island on the Chesapeake Bay

Gotta love the bride and groom's first look, a private moment before the ceremony

First looks are full of sweetness. Mom and sis take in the moment.

First look enables bride and groom to enjoy a few special minutes together before the aisle walk.

Supersize wedding parties can make formal shots challenging, but I like herding cats!
Family wedding photo in a field on a stormy afternoon.
Wedding Party, supersize, dramatic skies by Carolina Photosmith
Something blue. A gaggle of gorgeous bridesmaids!

Wedding formals in a cornfield beneath a stormy sky by Carolina Photosmith

The bride's favorite girls at Love Point at Kent Island by Carolina Photosmith

A groom and his groomsmen enjoy a Guinness toast before the ceremony

Is it time yet? Ceremony is about to start at Love Point.

Bride is ready, and guests are in place. It's time! by Charleston wedding photographer Carolina Photosmith

Dad and daughter down the aisle, outdoors on the Chesapeake

Readings and Passing the Peace at outdoor wedding ceremony on the Chesapeake Bay

Rob and Vanessa marry at Love Point at Kent Island on the Chesapeake

Recessional at waterfront outdoor wedding. Timeless wedding photography by Carolina Photosmith

Horseshoes make for fab wedding details by DC event planners Ritzy Bee

Dahlias, roses, peonies and something blue by DC florist Holly Heider Chapple

Newlyweds on the Chesapeake Bay at Love Point by Carolina Photosmith

Family photos with the newlyweds by the Chesapeake Bay

Ritzy Bee events styled this Sperry Tent with farm tables, china, candlelight and flowers

Time for dinner on the bay under the big top. Wedding tent by Sperry.

Newlyweds are received in the dinner tent for first dance.

Rob and Vanessa had some awesome first dance moves!

Toasts and hugs beneath the big top by Carolina Photosmith

Awesome wedding moments as the newlyweds hug their parents on the dance floor

Olga, the groom's mom, rocks! by Carolina Photosmith

Everyone danced for hours. Carolina Photosmith shoots the best parties!

Everyone danced for hours. Carolina Photosmith shoots the best parties!
We need more cowbell! By Carolina Photosmith
Break for Champagne and Cake before more dancing!
Rob, Vanessa and friends danced the night away at their awesome reception!

The Lavin Specktacular is a wrap! Big top fun complete!

Newlyweds wrap up their evening with a kiss on the dance floor

Jennifer H. Smith is based in Charleston, SC and is ready to document your wedding day. See more of my wedding photography here.

  • Samantha - It’s just so fabulous! So fun to relive it through such beautiful and personal photos.
    Jen, you’ve aced 2 for 2 in Lavin weddings this year – thank you for making sure the memories last forever!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks so much, Sam! Lavin weddings are the best. Love your huge clan and Rob’s wonderful bunch. Such great energy, and between your brothers and the groomsmen every lady gets a full dance card.ReplyCancel

  • James - Amazing work and i am loving the layout of your blog, very neat!ReplyCancel

  • Kat Forsyth - Eeek, such pretty pretty outside shots! And those clouds – awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - Love the shot of the two of them exiting the ceremony. Great smiles!ReplyCancel

  • Karen - These are sooo gorgeous! I love the dancing shots the most. So fun!ReplyCancel

  • Sachin Khona - Lovely work Carolina!ReplyCancel

  • ALMA - Lovely wedding set!ReplyCancel

  • Mercedes - This is such a pretty wedding!ReplyCancel

  • Kyle - Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry…and he really WAS! It shows!ReplyCancel

  • Tyler Branch - rad location. and awesome way of working with the light.ReplyCancel

  • RedSphere Wedding Photographer - Gorgeous! Love all the emotions you captured!ReplyCancel

  • Sally Watts - Wonderful! I love the bride’s serene beauty. I particularly like the getting ready black and whites-so pretty! And toothbrush shot-MJ contender! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kat - The getting ready photos and the portraits are gorgeous. They had a HUGE wedding party so I loved how you set those up.ReplyCancel

With evening temperatures dipping into the 40s, it seems fall has finally arrived. Fortunately, there’s a nearby green space where the browning sycamore leaves made it look like fall, even when it was still steamy. Loved this session with these adorable sisters sporting their funkytwirly Matilda Jane ensembles! A full post including their precious baby brother and handsome parents is coming soon.

To see more faceless portraits, check out the full Faceless Friday gallery. In addition to shooting fun families in the great outdoors, I document swoonworthy weddings and other milestones (like a new freckle, first steps or a lost tooth). Contact me to deck your walls with new photos!

Faceless Friday #30 | Leaf Peepers by Carolina Photosmith