Mejia-Jones 

photography

These past few days have been amazing. The weather here at Hilton Head Island, SC has been nothing short of perfect. The warm air, the cool ocean breeze, and the ocean water was exactly what I needed. Bethany and I had never been to Hilton Head so we were excited to take a trip here. However, this trip was strictly business.

I’ve known Ben and Bryanna for almost two years now. They are a videography team in the wedding industry. They are also one of the sweetest couples that I have the pleasure of knowing. A couple of weeks ago Ben called me and said, “Michelle, it’s time.” I knew EXACTLY what he meant and I got soooo excited. Ben and Bryanna inspire me on so many levels. Not only are they building their lives together but they are also young entrepreneurs building their business. They were doing both of these things all while going to school full time. That’s a lot to juggle. I’m so proud of everything they have accomplished together, including their graduation last week from college.

This trip to Hilton Head Island, SC was not only a vacation to celebrate their graduation, it was also a trip to celebrate their love story.  Ben and Bryanna have been together for seven years. Bryanna looked forward to celebrating their anniversary with a nice dinner and a walk on the beach.  While Bryanna got ready for dinner, their friends and family were busy setting up the giant heart in the sand.  They used rose petals to line the heart and had picture frames with images of Ben and Bryanna throughout the years.  A love note was propped up against the picture frame and the ring was hidden underneath a starfish.  Ben and Bryanna arrived on the beach and began to walk towards the heart.  Bryanna loved seeing  all of the pictures of them and as she bent down to pick up the love letter Ben bent down to secretly grab the ring.  He told her to turn around to face him and when she was finished reading the letter Ben got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.  Bryanna’s reaction was that of happy tears and big smiles and she sweetly responded with a YES!

Ben and Bryanna, I am so honored to have been a part of this special moment in your lives.  I’m grateful for the friendship that we’ve built over the years and I can’t wait for your wedding day!  I’m wishing you so much love and happiness for the rest of your lives together.  Congratulations!


The forecast on Sunday called for a hot mess.  I got an alert on my phone that read, “Severe thunderstorms, hail, and possible tornados expected.”  Yikes!!  Not the best weather to go on a garden tour.  So I put on my raincoat and rain boots and set out for that day’s adventure.  My mom and I have been going on the Atlanta Botanical Garden Tour for the past 10 years and we’ve never let a little rain (or a monsoon) stop us from seeing all of the houses on the tour.  The ABG tour offers a glimpse into the private gardens of some of Atlanta’s most beautiful homes.  The Mother’s Day tour covers both Saturday and Sunday and has between 8 and 13 homes to see.  We always find it fun to challenge ourselves to see all of the homes on the list in one day if we can, lol.  This is my favorite part because I have often driven by a home and wondered what it looked like on the inside or around the back.  Now don’t lie….you know you’re just as nosey as I am, lol.  These are million dollar homes y’all and the landscape architects are simply amazing at their craft.  From simple and clean landscaping to lush and dense woods these homes on the garden tour offer so much diversity and inspiration.

This year’s tour did not disappoint us.  Our first stop was a house that had a French feel to it.  The entrance of the home was gated and as you walked through the gates you were met with a gravel driveway beautifully lined with trees that guided you to the front of the house.   As you walked around towards the back of the house there were two separate garden areas, one was a sculpted garden and one was an herb garden.  Both led you towards the backyard which was my favorite part of the house.  You walked down several stone steps, that were surrounded by low hanging branches, to get to the in ground pool.  To the left of the pool area was a large privacy wall made of hedges.  There, stood a stunning glass greenhouse which housed the largest agave plant I had ever seen.  As we came back through the hedge wall we walked past the sculpted garden, which was directly across from the pool.  As we started to exit the garden we walked through a small but very impressive vineyard.  I thought this was so cool because it shows that you don’t have to have a lot of land to have your own vineyard.  As we walked down the gravel entrance to leave the house I remember thinking how much I loved that garden.  It reminded me of the trip to France that I took with my mother and it made me love spending the day with her even more.

You would think that this Mother’s Day tradition would get old, but this tour really is a lot of fun and it gives us the opportunity to spend quality time together and bond over our love for plants and gardens.  I don’t know about you but I am always looking to improve our home and I love getting ideas from other home and gardens.  My love for gardening comes from my mother and her love for gardening.  She used to show me how to take care of the earth in order to get the plants to grow.  She taught me the names of all of her favorite plants and later on in life when I worked at Home Depot I learned so much more about gardening.  Her passion for gardening really cultivated my love for it as well….you see what I did there??? Cultivated my love, lol.  It’s true though!  I really do enjoy watching my baby plants grow into bright and beautiful mature plants.  There is something really satisfying about not killing them, lol.

For those of you who love spending time with your mom walking around the garden of a complete stranger’s home without getting the police called on you for trespassing, check out this Mother’s Day activity for next year.  It might just be the start of a new tradition.

 




 

Brittney and Justin’s wedding at The Mill at Yellow River in Porterdale, GA in March was as beautiful and fun as I had hoped.  The Mill at Yellow River sits in the quaint little town of Porterdale, GA where if you didn’t know that it was there you’d drive right past it.  The old twine mill has been transformed from its neglected bones to a fully restored live and work space, which houses this beautiful wedding venue.  The Mill at Yellow River offers an industrial feel while maintaining its charm with a full lush garden and patio.  One of its unique and most popular features is the beautiful and rocky terrain of the Yellow River.  When Brittney, Justin, and I met last year and toured the venue we were so excited about the potential for amazing photos on the rocks.   However, on their wedding day in March we were unable to get down to the rocks due to the large amount of rain the town had received over the past few weeks.  That didn’t stop us from getting some beautiful photos by the river.

Justin and Brittney met like most other couples these days, on a dating website.  Their first date was as relaxed and laid back as they are.  They met up on a Wednesday in the middle of a horrible Florida thunderstorm.  Brittney thought Justin was tall and handsome and Justin thought Brittney was cute.  They bonded over Brittney’s horrible bowling skills and by the time the date was over Justin stole a sweet kiss from her.  Needless to say, they were the perfect match.

After four and a half years together Justin knew it was time to propose.  You couldn’t write a movie with a more perfect plot line. In April of 2016 while visiting Justin’s family in New Jersey, Justin told his mom he wanted to propose. Once back in Florida he called Brittney’s mom and asked for her blessing. So began months of intrigue and secrecy. Justin and Brittney’s mom came up with a plot for Justin to propose on their cruise over the Thanksgiving holiday. Brittney’s mom even had Brittney pick out her own engagement ring without noticing by sending photos back and forth on Pinterest. The night before the two departed on the cruise Justin went to go “hang out” with his family while Brittney packed at which point he gave his grandmother the ring to hide until the big day. He also gave his mom the letters and photos from Brittney’s family who could not go on the cruise. On Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016, the group got together to take formal family photos. During the photos Justin stopped the photographer, got on one knee and popped the question. The entire proposal was caught on video by a secret camera man.

The wedding day started out with the girls arriving at the venue with their hair and makeup already done.  This small act on the bride’s part actually gives me more time to take more photos of what matters to her.   Brittney and her bridesmaids were so cute in their matching shirts.  The love and laughter that filled that room was incredible.  After that it was time for Brittney to put her dress on, which she looked amazing in.  Brittney has such an infectious smile that makes you want to be her best friend.   Debbie, my second shooter, had such a good time with the guys.  They were so relaxed and really enjoyed their time hanging out before it was time for Justin and Brittney’s First Look.  Justin gave each of his groomsmen a box which contained a personalized flask, a can of Coke, and a mini bottle of Jack Daniels.  How awesome is that!?!

When it was time for Brittney and Justin’s First Look we chose a cute garden near the river, tucked away for privacy.  I don’t think Justin really knew what to expect but when he turned around and saw Brittney in her dress for the first time he had the biggest smile on his face.  It was so obvious that he was madly in love with her.

The ceremony took place on the lawn facing the Yellow River.  They had so many friends and family there to witness their proclamation of love.  However, watching them and the way they looked at each other the whole time it was like they were the only two that existed in the whole world at that moment in time.  They wrote their own vows which were so beautiful and heartfelt that they literally left everyone in tears.

After the ceremony we took bridal party and family portraits on the lawn before the partying began.  When the sun was beginning to set we quickly went back outside for some gorgeous golden hour portraits by the river.  The golden sun light backlighting them as they stared at each other longingly, was simply magical.  I highly recommend sunset portraits.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Brittney and Justin spent the rest of the evening dancing and visiting with all of their guests.  Justin even had a sweet moment with his Grandmother, whom they didn’t think would be able to attend.  They slowed danced with each other and she sweetly looked up at him and placed her hand on his cheek.  Without saying a word you knew that she was so proud of him and happy for him that he found happiness.  It was the perfect moment, which had everyone in the room in tears.

After a fun filled reception Justin and Brittney were surrounded by sparklers as they walked to their Corvette, Justin’s dream car.  The car was a last minute surprise by Justin’s family.  These two were probably more excited about the getaway car than the honeymoon.  Just joking, but they were pretty stoked.

Justin and Brittney, you two are the perfect match.  Y’all are funny, love the outdoors, go along with each other’s hobbies, and have weathered so many storms together.  You two are rock solid and I know that God made you for each other.  You both deserve nothing but the best and I wish you both a lifetime of car shows, hikes, snuggles with Finn, and lots of new adventures together.

Cheers to so many fun things ahead for you both!!

 

I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite pictures from their perfect day.

 

 

Barbara and Andrew’s Atlanta BeltLine engagement session was a much-needed distraction for them that day.  Barbara suffered a loss that week, which she took pretty hard, but they were still up for taking pictures.  I like to think their session helped them forget about the earlier events, even if it was just for a little bit.  I’d been looking forward to Barbara and Andrew’s engagement session for weeks because I’d never been to the BeltLine before that day.   If you’re unfamiliar with the Atlanta BeltLine, it’s a 22-mile transportation route filled with numerous trails and parks.   This unique city attraction actually sits on the old Atlanta train tracks that used to encircle the city.  You can find out more about the Atlanta BeltLine here.

Barbara and Andrew are such a cool couple.  When I first met them at a local cafe we talked about how they met, what they’re passionate about, and all of the good wedding day details.  I learned that Barbara and Andrew love the outdoors, in fact, they met on a group backpacking outing.  How cool is that?!  So naturally we decided to do their engagement session at a few of their favorite parks and trails in Atlanta.  The weather that day was beautiful, a tad bit chilly at times but the sun was shining, which made for beautiful pictures.  The natural light glow, which happens near sunset, is what dreams are made of.   We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

The way these two met is a story I hope they share often.  They were on a backpacking trip with an outdoor club. The first three days they spent together involved no showers, no plumbing, and no electricity.  They rode up and back together from the mountain with this other guy who would NOT stop talking. When Barbara dropped Andrew off at his truck, they shared a moment of eye contact.  However, they hadn’t exchanged numbers.  Three days later, he friended her on Facebook and she took a very cool 24 hrs. to respond.   It was then that he asked Barbara out on a date.

On their first date Barbara and Andrew met at a local pub where they ate, drank beer, and got to know each other.  Barbara said her first impression of him was that he was kind, whereas Andrew just wanted to ride in the car with her–which gave him more time with her.  Aren’t they the cutest?  After two years of dating Andrew proposed to Barbara in the quiet and intimate setting of their home.  These two lovebirds complement each other so much, which couldn’t have been more apparent than during their engagement session.  We started off at one of their favorite trails at Piedmont Park where the cherry blossom and tulip magnolia trees put on the most beautiful display of pink and white blossoms.  We then headed over to the Historic Forth Ward Skatepark, which if you’ve never been there either then it’s a must see for parks around Atlanta.  It was such an eclectic part of the city which lent the perfectly graffitied backdrop for Andrew and Barbara’s portraits.  I had such a good time with them that evening.  They showed me so many really cool spots that I had never been to before, but by far one of the coolest moments for me was where we ended our session.  They took me to the same pub where they had their first date!

Barbara and Andrew, you two are such a fun couple and I am looking forward your big day in November.  To see the way you two love each other is the biggest reason why I love being a wedding and engagement photographer.  The sweet nuzzles, the tight embraces, the flirtatious stares you two share with each other give me all the feels and make me excited about capturing your wedding day.  Although Andrew is quiet and a bit shy at times, his love for you screams loudly and I pray that it never quiets.  So, here’s to many more adventures together and one unforgettable wedding day.

Hey there!  Happy Monday!  I’d like to share what I’ve been up to lately.  Earlier this year I teamed up with Brianna Marie Photography to offer and host a styled shoot each month.  It’s been a whirlwind to say the least, but it’s been totally worth it.  I’ve learned so much about how to create something beautiful through a collaborative effort with other creatives and it’s been so amazing.  However, the more shoots we host the more I’m finding myself looking for something more.

One of the reasons photographers participate in a styled shoot is to build their portfolio and my reasons for hosting them were no different.  Brianna and I quickly realized that we were doing an injustice to the creative community if we weren’t offering some sort of education along with our shoots.  So, on our journey to offer more to our peers we created Styled – An Informational Brunch, which kicked off this past Saturday!  This idea was a bit scary and a little stressful, but we went for it!  And, it was such a success!!  We had an awesome panel of amazingly talented wedding industry creatives, who graciously shared their knowledge with our participants.

This event was exactly what we needed to kick start our new journey of educating our peers and making sure the priority is community and not competition.  So, with all of this being said, I’m so excited to announce that we are already working on the next Styled – An Informational Workshop, which is coming in June.  I admit that it hasn’t been easy and at times I’ve wondered why we should continue pushing to be greater, but God knows our purpose and this is what he has called on me to do.  To use my talents and my ability to connect with others, and to help others grow and succeed in life.  So, if you’re at a point in your career where you feel stuck or scared to start something new, know that God already knows you can do it and that he’s giving you the opportunity to be brave.  So, do it!  Make waves my friend.  It’s going to be big, and beautiful!!!  Have a great week everyone!