As we walked into the cabin the day before the wedding, Zach and I were immediately greeted by several members of Danna and Tyler's families, two adorable dogs and one of the most incredible mountainside getaways I have ever seen. Danna's mom, Denna, led the team in the kitchen, getting dinner ready for all thirty or so people - each one gathered together under one roof to celebrate Danna and Tyler. The large cabin was filled floor to ceiling with the sounds of laughter and video games, excited energy and of course, love.
Gatlinburg is a special place. There's just something about the fresh mountain air that makes you feel more alive, somehow. Danna and Tyler had shared with me months before that they chose Gatlinburg because they had never been there and wanted to celebrate some place new. Do they have good taste or what?
Danna and Tyler were married on a Friday. The morning was peaceful and calm as I photographed Danna's beautiful open back, ivory and flowing dress, the mountain tops just over my shoulder. As soon as I was done photographing the details we met up with the girls at About You Salon and Day Spa in Gatlinburg. Excitement filled the salon as each girl sat in the swiveling chairs, laughing and chatting as they prepared for the big day ahead. The final touch was Danna's whimsical headband, which was absolutely gorgeous and matched the wedding colors perfectly. We headed back to the cabin so that the girls could get dressed. Danna's sister, Shaelyn, did her makeup and the rest of the girls gathered around to help her get into her dress. Danna's youngest sister, Alana (their flower girl) watched in awe of her older sister, and even let Danna put a little bit of mascara on her!
As the girls finished getting ready in the cabin, Zach and I took Danna down the road a bit for some bridal portraits. Big clouds started rolling in so we decided to get in the car. No sooner than we did, the skies opened up and the rain absolutely poured down over the Smoky Mountains. As the rain fell we drove just down the street to Serenity Falls - the location for the wedding. The further we drove, the harder the rain fell. Luckily, Danna's grandparents had rented a cabin right next to the falls and Danna's dad bravely ushered us all inside with an umbrella. As the hour passed everyone started to arrive and soon the small cabin was filled with family, everyone doing what they could to help get things ready for the wedding.
Before long, Tyler arrived and he shared a first look with Danna on the front porch of the cabin. They had written letters to one another and took a few private moments to read them together. Next it was time for the ceremony. We all huddled out on the deck, the waterfall raging just feet away - as Danna and Tyler said "I do." It might sound crazy, but if you know Danna and Tyler you know that they are incredibly in love and excited to spend their lives together - so as they stood there next to that waterfall, I couldn't help but see the similarities between its raging waters and their love for one another. Both strong, both powerful and most of all - both unstoppable. Not to mention that even though it rained like crazy, it didn't matter one bit. Danna and Tyler were still all smiles all day. They were surrounded by their families and loved ones - the day was absolutley perfect.
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Cornwell - you two are awesome!