When I first met Tanner, he was in middle school and a ball boy for his father’s football team at Norcross High School. My husband has taught and coached at Norcross since 2003, and so I saw Tanner at every coach’s party, and every Friday night football game. He always had a smile on his face and was outgoing and sweet. A few years later, he enrolled at Norcross High and played football for his dad. I was teaching at Norcross with my husband at the time, and when Tanner was a junior he took my British Literature class. He was one of my best students—always made me laugh and would go out of his way to help me with anything in the classroom. I remember going to one coach’s party when Tanner’s friend from school and church, Laura Beth, had been recruited to babysit all of the coach’s kids. That was the first time I met her. She had a smile that would light up a room and striking blue eyes. Laura Beth’s mother was a teacher at the church preschool and my daughter was in her class that year.
Once Tanner and Laura Beth started dating, she was a regular at the Friday night games and was always supportive of Tanner, who by then was coaching at Norcross alongside his father and brother. A few months later, when Tanner called me to ask if I would hide in a vineyard and capture their engagement, I was thrilled! After all, they had known one another since birth, had been in the same church nursery, Sunday school class, and had gone to school together.
You hear stories of high school sweethearts, but theirs was a story of childhood sweethearts...and their wedding day was just gorgeous. Their wedding took place on July 7th at Empire Mills in Madison, Georgia. The brick refurbishedcotton mill became visible through a grove of trees and stood in the middle of a field alongside an old railroad track. Laura Beth was just stunning in her lace robe and reminded me of the classic 1930’s movie stars. Her bridesmaids wore white robes with green leaves, and we shot some photos in front of the old stable and livery where the light was just beautiful. Tanner and his groomsmen were situated in a neat corner of the mill complete with a loft and a leather sectional, and he looked so handsome in his navy tux! By that time the wind was picking up a bit promising an afternoon shower, but it made for some great natural, wind tousled shots!
Laura Beth’s mother, future mother-in-law, family friend and bridesmaids prayed over her before we headed out for an emotional first look with her father and brother, and then we got her bridal portraits in before it started to sprinkle! The ceremony was God-centered and beautiful, and the massive crystal chandelier that was the focal point of the room was breathtaking. Tanner and Laura Beth didn’t see one another before the ceremony, so it was especially important for my second shooter and I to capture their faces. Tanner’s face lit up and his mouth dropped open when Laura Beth stepped through the door, and she was every inch the stunning, classic, southern bride. They exchanged vows, had communion, and when the officiant pronounced them husband and wife, Tanner dipped his bride for a kiss.
It rained during the ceremony, but I’m pretty sure it was a God thing that it stopped right at the end and we were able to get in bridal party shots and Tanner and Laura Beth’s portraits without using the clear umbrellas we brought just in case! After their sweet husband and wife dance, Laura Beth and her father Ted surprised everyone by breaking out in the middle of a slow dance with some fun, choreographed moves that had everyone laughing and smiling!
It was even more amazing they were able to dance as they had planned, because Laura Beth’s father was injured the day before moving things for the wedding. The dinner spread was just amazing, and their beautiful cake sat next to an arrangement of their mother’s and grandmother’s cake toppers from generations before them. It was truly a beautiful celebration of two special individuals who have known one another their entire lives....what an amazing story they have to have never known life without one another present somehow...whether as a friend, a significant other and now forever more a spouse.
Congratulations Tanner and Laura Beth! I’m SO thankful and honored I was able to capture your beautiful love story from proposal to engagement to wedding—may God bless you and your lives together!