Dilan and Sydney's Ashton Gardens Atlanta Wedding

There’s just something special about getting to capture the day of high school sweethearts…especially Dilan and Sydney’s wedding. I had the pleasure of teaching Sydney her freshman year at Norcross High School, and I can still see where she used to sit…right in front of the window in my classroom and beside my desk. She always came in with a sweet smile, and was one of those “dream” students every teacher wishes they could fill their classroom with. Her brother, Cole, was the kicker for Norcross High and my husband got to coach him. Their parents, Tye and Stephanie, are still to this day involved at Norcross—even though both of their children have graduated. Stephanie heads up the hospitality for the football team and coordinates meals for the players and makes sure that they get fed. Tye is an active member of the booster club and is always involved in fundraising for the program. They are one of those families that everyone knows and adores, and they are just really special people…so being able to work with them was truly a joy for me!

While in high school, Sydney was not only a great student—she was a wonderful soccer player…and that is how she met Dilan—also a Norcross High soccer player. They are such a sweet couple and the love that they share is truly special—and was evident throughout their beautiful day on Saturday.

When I first arrived at the bride’s home, the girls were getting ready in the pool house so I got to work on Sydney’s details. Her invitation suite was trimmed with her lavender colors and her hoop earrings perfectly coordinated with her necklace and engagement ring. Her barrette was just gorgeous and looked beautiful nestled in her hair. And y’all—her gown—I’m still swooning over it. She looked every bit the real life Cinderella in her glittery ball gown, veil and shoes. She had a special coin that her grandmother gifted her that was a family heirloom from Lebanon that was pinned into her gown, and her classic bouquet was creamy white with pops of lavender.

Once I finished with the details, I transported Sydney’s dress to Ashton Gardens so that we could get a shot of it on the chapel doors before the guys arrived. As soon as the bus dropped the guys off, we pulled them outside for groomsmen photos. Dilan was a trooper and was all smiles even with the July heat and his coat. He had picked his father, Sydney’s father and brother, his brother-in-law and some close friends as his groomsmen.

When the girls arrived, their hair and make-up was finished and they were dressed in matching lavender robes with their monograms. We photographed them in their robes and then Sydney’s mother, Stephanie, helped her into her glittery gown.

We took the girls out for photos and then shortly before the ceremony brought Dilan over so that he and Sydney could pray together. The guitarist played beautifully as the wedding procession began, and when at last Sydney appeared at the chapel doors on the arm of her father, Tye, Dilan was overcome with emotion. The readings took place in both English and Spanish, and the Bible used belonged to Sydney. She and Dilan exchanged vows and had each prepared something to read to the other. There were a lot of tears during that part of the ceremony…from the bride, groom, their parents, wedding guests and I’ll admitt—even I was getting a little teary behind the camera. Their letters were placed in a wine box which they sealed during the ceremony, and they were pronounced husband and wife at which point Dilan took an extra long time kissing his beautiful wife!

As soon as the ceremony was over, we started on family portraits. The sky was darkening with clouds and we hurried with bridal party photos outside as the wind picked up so we could capture portraits of Dilan and Sydney before the rain. We worked fast and finished right as the lightning began and some thunder sounded. Sydney hurried into the dressing room to have her gown bustled, and she and Dilan floated down the grand staircase when they were introduced to the ballroom.

Following dinner, Dilan and Sydney shared an emotional first dance, and then Sydney danced with her father, Tye and Dilan with his mother, Maribel. When Tye gave the toast, he also had Dilan’s sister translate for some of his family, because he wanted to make sure they all could hear the story of how he knew Dilan was perfect for his daughter. Tye told a sweet, heartfelt story of how when Dilan first asked him what he thought about he and Sydney getting married, Tye wanted Sydney to finish school before they were engaged (which was about a year away) and then know where she was going to grad school before they got married. For a lot of guys to have to wait a year before proposing would seem like a long time…but Dilan had so much respect for Sydney and her family that he did what Tye requested without a second thought. Tye commended Dilan’s parents, Carlos and Maribel, for raising such an honorable son.

Dilan is SO thoughtful that during the wedding reception he actually stopped me to make sure my second photographer and I had been able to find time to eat dinner. I was so surprised and so touched by this—and it just further illustrated what an amazing guy Dilan is!

Some of the most memorable moments from the reception were when Tye and Cole jumped into the circle with Dilan to dance to “I’m too Sexy”, when the DJ played the FSU fight song and the entire ballroom erupted in the familiar chant, and lastly the big surprise that Tye had planned for Dilan at the exit.

Tye planned everything out for the exit…he had a traditional limo lined up at the exit and ready to whisk the happy couple away…except it wasn’t. Around the corner was a low-riding powder blue Chevy Impala with hydraulics. As soon as Dilan and Sydney walked between their guests waving good-bye and Dilan stopped to open the limo door for Sydney, it abruptly pulled away. Dilan stopped and said “Where is it going??” then, around the corner, the Chevy came bumping and bouncing along as guests began to shout, laugh and Dilan’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open…his expression was priceless!! Amid laughing and cheering guests Dilan helped Sydney into the car, and they pulled away to the end of their wedding celebration but the beginning of their happily ever after. Dilan and Sydney, thank you SO much for allowing me the privilege of capturing your beautiful day! You are both so special, and I pray that God will bless your marriage as you start this new chapter in your lives! Congratulations!!

Photographer: Audrey Herron Photography

Second Photographer: Kristal Whitley

Venue: Ashton Gardens

Wedding coordinator: Jazzmyne Wages

Florist: Faith Flowers

Cake: The Baking Grounds Bakery

Hair: Milly Wilson & Daniel Hess, Salon Folie A Deux

Make-up: Rebecca Murphy, Bombshell Creations

Guitarist: Daniel Aguilera

DJ: DJ Louie Productions