Erika + Derek


Pretty Place Chapel wedding photos


Greenville, South Carolina

Do you remember Derek and Erika from their engagement session?  They are good people…fun to be around, fun to work with, and fun to photograph.  They have this one-of-a-kind look in their eyes when they are focused on each other that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.  When they look at each other, you can watch their entire world melt away around them.  You can literally see it happen, and that’s how I instantly knew these two were perfect for each other.  They are the kind of people who you want to sit and enjoy a beer with while they talk about their lives together.  I really wanted their wedding to be the best possible experience for them, because they deserve nothing less.  So it killed me a little to see every wedding photographer’s worst nightmare pop up on the day of their wedding – Overcast skies, and just enough off-and-on rain to muck things up but not enough to be interesting on it’s own.  And with a location like Pretty Place Chapel (AKA Fred W Symmes Chapel), I must admit I was a little bummed for them.

But Erika and Derek’s wedding was full of surprises.  Theirs turned out to be that perfect mix of luck, location, and time that wedding photographers dream of.  Have you ever been to a wedding at Pretty Place Chapel?  The weather is…unpredictable at best.  But the upside to the unpredictability is the chance of seeing something truly spectacular, which is exactly what happened.   Their ceremony literally took place in a cloud.  At points you couldn’t see 20 feet in front of your face.  But instead of being a disaster, it created a completely different dimension to their wedding photos.  And after the ceremony, the clouds finally lifted away just in time for their couple’s photos.  I could not have asked for a better turnout for such a deserving couple.  But enough words, check out some of my favorite photos from their gorgeous Pretty Place Chapel and Green Valley Country Club wedding:

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Pretty Place Chapel wedding photosPretty Place Chapel wedding photosBride and groom portrait at Pretty Place


Their day started and ended at Green Valley Country Club, here in Greenville SC.  If you are looking for a reception venue near Pretty Place Chapel, be prepared for a drive.  I have photographed at Pretty Place several times, and even the closest reception spaces are 30-45 minutes.  I’m used to seeing venues like Victoria Valley Vineyards, the Table Rock Lodge, and Hotel Domestique but this was my first time here at Green Valley Country Club.  I recently moved to this area, and I have to say that I enjoyed having a 4 minute drive home after a 12 hour wedding day.  Green Valley is a beautiful location, though the rain kept us inside most of the day and we weren’t able to explore the grounds as much.  No need though, as the venue is gorgeous enough inside as well.


Green Valley Country Club weddingbride having makeup applied at Green Valley Country Clubbridesmaid doing makeup before weddingGreen Valley country club weddingGreen Valley country club wedding photosBride with yellow wedding shoesvBride getting dressed before weddingflower girl playing with bridesmaid before weddingBride getting ready for wedding at Green Valley Country ClubBridal portraits at Green Valley Country ClubGreen Valley country club weddingGroom getting ready for wedding at Green Valley Country ClubGroom preparing for wedding Green Valley country club wedding photosGroomsmen photos before weddingGreen Valley country club weddingNo Look ceremony before weddingBride and groom holding hands across doorway


Fred Symmes / Pretty Place Chapel will always be one of my favorite wedding venues around.  This was my first time photographing here in inclement weather, and although it was a definitely challenge with this much fog, I think it created an otherworldly mood to the images that cannot be replicated anywhere else.  As you will see, the clouds lifted just in time for Erika and Derek’s couple’s photos.  I could not have asked for a better environment to play around in.


Pretty Place Chapel during stormflower girl running up stairs at Pretty Place ChapelBride walking down the aisle at Pretty Place ChapelPretty Place Chapel Wedding PhotosPretty Place Chapel Wedding PhotosPretty Place Chapel Wedding Photosbride crying at wedding ceremony - Pretty Place Chapelwedding ceremony at Pretty Place ChapelPretty Place chapel wedding during stormWedding ceremony at Pretty Place Chapel during stormPretty Place chapel wedding during stormBeautiful light rays streaming through tress over newly married coupleBride and groom hugging after ceremonyBride with flowers hugging new husbandPretty Place Chapel wedding photosWedding party group at Pretty Place ChapelGroomsmen at wedding holding daughter above headPretty Place Chapel wedding photosWedding photos at Fred W Symmes ChapelBride and groom walking to beautiful mountain viewWedding photos at Fred W Symmes ChapelBride and groom overlooking mountain view at Pretty Place ChapelFred W Symmes Chapel wedding photossilhouette of Bride and groom kissing after wedding


We had a full 20 minutes for couple’s photos, which is a dream come true for me.  Erika and Derek got a ton of couple’s photos – so many more than I could share here.  This makes me happy, and I remember Erika mentioning that the couple’s photos were the most important photos to her.  Sometimes everything aligns perfectly!

After that, we were headed back to Green Valley for the reception.  And as you all know, I love a good reception.  Erika and Derek did not disappoint here.  It’s funny, you never really know a group of people until the party gets started.  I have very happy to see so much action on the dance floor.


Yellow and purple wedding cakeCaricature artist at weddingwedding reception caricaturesBride and groom first dance at Green Valley Country ClubGreen Valley country club wedding receptionBride dances with father at wedding receptionWedding reception at Green Valley Country ClubWedding guests dancing at receptionbride dancing with flower girl at wedding receptionGuests having fun at receptionReception photos at Green Valley Country ClubGroomsmen smoking cigars outside at nightGroomsmen smoking cigars outside at nightGreen Valley Country Club Wedding Reception Photosbride stuffing money into groom's pants at receptionWedding guests singing and dancing at receptionBride and groom dancing at Green Valley ReceptionDancing wedding guests at receptionGreen Valley Country Club wedding photos


And that’s it!  Well sort of, you only get to see about 1/10 of the photos Erika and Derek will receive.  But hopefully it was enough to be able to put yourselves in their shoes for a day.  Congratulations to Erika and Derek on your rainy day wedding at Pretty Place Chapel and Green Valley Country Club!

Special thanks to some of the vendors that helped make this day happen:

Reception venue: Green Valley Country Club
Ceremony Venue: Fred W Symmes / Pretty Place Chapel
Reception DJ: Jerry Peeler
Hair/Makeup: Pink Boutique, Inman SC
Photography: Me
Caricature artists: Caricatures by Catherine
Catering:

And since I’m thinking about it, Catherine congratulates you both as well!

Caricatures by Catherine, Greenville SC