701 Whaley Wedding Photos | Columbia, SC


701 Whaley Wedding Photo

Columbia Wedding Photos at 701 Whaley

Sierra + Michael

Columbia, SC

Every now and then I like to shake things up with the intro photo. I usually like to lead with some big, dramatic, artsy couple’s photo as an attention-getter, but weddings are more complex than that. Some weddings are more subtle, and sometimes it makes more sense to lead with something a little more representative than the norm. Sierra and Michael’s 701 Whaley wedding in Columbia SC certainly was, and that photo above is very telling about their relationship.

It is no secret that I love telling people that every wedding (like every couple) is different and unique. I also love telling people that I don’t like to force photos that don’t make sense for a couple. While this is just a part of my candid approach, it is also a pet peeve of mine when I see a wedding photographer trying to force some big, elaborate posed photo just for the sake of having it. They rarely look good because they are forced…the photographer doesn’t stop to think about the couple themselves and are solely focused on grabbing that portfolio moneyshot.

The photo above is not forced in any way…it is a true representation of the love these two have for each other, and it is something that cannot be planned or re-created. It is truly organic, and it is my favorite photo from this wedding…including the dramatic couple’s photos we did later. But there’s a lot more to the story, so let’s get started and I’ll fill you in on the details as we go! Let’s start right at the beginning, with Sierra getting ready on-site at 701 Whaley:


Bride getting ready for wedding at 701 Whaley
bride having hairspray applied while getting ready for wedding ceremony
701 whaley getting ready photos
Bridal hair and makeup photos at 701 Whaley
Bride laughing while getting hair and makeup done for wedding
Bride getting dressed at 701 Whaley in columbia sc
701 Whaley wedding photos
Bride putting on veil while smiling
701 Whaley wedding photographers
bridal portrait at 701 Whaley
Father of the bride crying after seeing bride in wedding dress

Wedding Ceremony at 701 Whaley

Now, to set the stage, this was a large wedding. 701 Whaley is a huge wedding venue with lots of rooms to use, and every one of them was filled throughout the day. In some of the ceremony photos, you will see guests lined up, standing room only. There is a love of love out there for these two, and it showed! And if you take one look at Michael’s reaction when seeing Sierra for the first time, you will understand why.

Now usually when I capture an emotional reaction like this at a wedding ceremony, it is only there for a split second….But this time was different. Michael could not keep his composure after seeing Sierra for a while…more than 5 minutes in fact. This was a first for me, and while there are many photos taken here that I didn’t have space for in this blog, they all tell the same thing: This is the happiest day of this couple’s lives.


701 Whaley wedding ceremony photos
groom crying after seeing bride for the first time at wedding
groom cries at wedding ceremony
701 Whaley wedding ceremony photography
Wedding ceremony at 701 Whaley
701 Whaley wedding ceremony photos
Bride blushes in front of groom at wedding ceremony
Groomsmen congratulating groom while walking at 701 Whaley
Bridesmaid group photo at 701 Whaley after wedding

Wedding Reception at 701 Whaley

So let’s talk about the reception for a minute. Remember how I mentioned it was a big wedding? Well big weddings have big receptions, and this one was no different. Luckily 701 Whaley has a huge main hall room that fit everything, but also lucky was the fact that they had an incredible wedding planner that has a knack for decorating spaces like these. Everything was setup perfectly, color coordinated to a theme, and matched perfectly with the style of the reception venue itself. I am so glad I had time set aside to photograph this setup before everyone came pouring in.

The reception itself was a wild ride from start to finish. There was a lot going on, and between the dancing, toasts, and cake cutting, there was always something for a wedding photographer to photograph. It was a great time for everyone, and a perfect ending to a wedding full of meaning and moments.


701 Whaley Wedding reception decorations
Large wedding reception decorations and setup
701 Whaley wedding reception
Table decorations at reception at 701 Whaley in Columbia Sc
Wedding cake and candle at 701 Whaley
701 Whaley Wedding photos
701 Whaley wedding photography
Bride and groom dancing in sunlight at 701 Whaley after wedding ceremony
Silhouette of bride and groom dancing along at 701 Whaley
701 Whaley wedding photographers
701 Whaley reception setup
Wedding guests taking a cell phone photo of the wedding cake at wedding reception
Beautiful wedding cake by Gardenias Custom Cakes
Wedding reception at 701 Whaley
Wedding reception uplighting at 701 Whaley
Bride and groom being introduced to wedding reception
701 Whaley wedding reception photos
Bride and groom's first dance at wedding reception
bride dancing with her father at wedding reception
Columbia SC wedding photographers
Night wedding photos at 701 Whaley
701 Whaley night wedding photos

I always love to bring my couples out for additional wedding photos at night whenever it’s possible, but I never force it. I don’t force it because I want to stay true to the couple I am photographing, and this is how I allow their personalities to really show in their wedding photography. So again, nothing big and dramatic was needed here – All we needed was to put the two of them together and let nature run it’s course. Anything else would have been a disservice to them and their wedding day. And once we were done, it was time for the real party to begin:


Wedding toasts by wedding party at 701 Whaley
Groom laughing and reacting to wedding toasts
Reception toast photos
701 Whaley wedding photographers
Child dancing at wedding reception
Wedding guests dancing at 701 Whaley Reception
Wedding reception dancing photos
Kids dancing and having fun on dance floor at wedding reception
Bride and groom dancing together at wedding reception
wedding guests at 701 Whaley wedding reception
701 Whaley Wedding reception photos
701 Whaley Reception photography
Sparkler exit after wedding at 701 Whaley

That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed looking through Sierra and Michael’s 701 Whaley Wedding photos. These two were incredible together and I loved working with them. I hope I get the chance to photograph another columbia SC wedding here soon!

The wedding vendors here definitely need a shoutout for helping make this wedding possible:

Venue: 701 Whaley, Columbia SC
Wedding planning / coordinating: Larger than Life Events
Videography: Reel Weddings
Wedding Cake: Gardenia’s Custom Cakes

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