Our Wedding | Cassie & Michael Cardwell
The weekend before our wedding, Mike and I took a quick little trip to Huntsville with the pups to check everything out and have some quality time together.
I know we probably sound like crazy dog people, but it really meant a lot to get to bring them there and walk around this spot that we would say our vows to each other at in less than a week.
We decided against bringing them to our wedding to avoid complete chaos, so having this relaxed little hike together was our way of including them.
The following week, with our cars filled to the brim, we headed to Guntersville, AL to the Airbnb that we rented for the weekend.
We rolled in about an hour ahead of my family, just around sunset. We poked around our airbnb checking everything out and eventually settled in on the back porch to watch the sun go down over the lake.
Once my family got there, we played pool and arcade games and honestly just hung out. It was so nice and relaxed. Having the house for the weekend meant that we had the whole weekend to visit and celebrate.
We spent the majority of the morning together; we kayaked on the lake for a bit, drank our coffee together, at breakfast, brushed our teeth and just hung out most of the day before we got dressed.
I really thought Kevin might think I was crazy when I asked if he would mind taking some photos of us getting ready and brushing our teeth together, but he was all about it.
We knew from the get-go that we wanted this. We wanted to do a first look so we could spend the day together. It seemed silly to me to not get to see each other until the evening, and by then, all of our family and friends would be there for us to visit with. Looking back, this was the best decision that we made for ourselves. It made our day SO easy and laid back, and it felt like I truly got to take in every moment with Michael.
Getting ready with my mom and sisters was such a special part of the day. Spending quiet time with them, just us girls, laughing and being silly.
My sister Camile helped me with my hair and make-up, making me feel more beautiful than ever.
While we were getting ready, Chloe gave me a poem she had written about Michael and I. Reading it instantly brought me to tears.
Even though Cassie and I hung out all morning, as I got dressed in my suit, it started to feel real. I really wanted to see Cassie in her dress, but first I had to open my wedding gift from her. As I saw the XPAN, I was in shock! It’s a camera I’ve always wanted, and never thought I would own one.
What makes the XPAN so special, is that while it shoots normal everyday 35mm film, the frame it covers is almost 2x as wide as your standard camera. Just like my previous Widelux, it produces a cinematic widescreen image that feels more like a still from a movie than a standard 4:3 photo ratio. Having the cinematic image from a camera like the XPAN is so different than shooting a normal camera, you have to take in the full scene, and not just the item you’re focusing on.
When we first met and went to the Japanese Tea Garden, I had brought my Widelux with me and we got a shot of the Tea House that hangs in our house. Cameras like the XPAN and the Widelux will always be special to me and to us.
We had WAY too much fun at Indochino customizing Michael’s suit. Most of that time was spent thinking of all the dumb pop-culture references we could have sewn on the inside of his jacket but none of them really had anything to do with our wedding.
We ended up deciding to inscribe this instead.
”A love returned in full.”
It’s the definition of redemancy; a word we had stumbled across while brainstorming what we wanted for our business in the upcoming years and what we wanted our photos to convey. The phrase stuck with us, and we felt it was perfect definition of what we have found in each other.
All too often during a wedding day when we’re working together, there comes a time when the Bride has to put down her bouquet for some photos, so I take it so that Cassie has her hands free to direct. This usually results in a photo of me holding the bouquet.
This time, it was one my mom made.
It was an encompassing feeling to see all of the people we hold dearest in our hearts together. Some catching up, hugging, and some meeting for the very first time. Nothing really compares to having everyone in one place; our place. A little corner of the woods in Alabama that feels a lot like home.
From the moment we got engaged, the number one question I got was, “but who is photographing your wedding?!” Which, at first, was a hard question to answer since we know so so SO many talented photographers. But when we really sat down and finally started to plan our wedding and truly weigh our options, there was no question on who would tell our story the way it happened, with attention to detail and moments and our love. it had to be Kevin.
Kevin Lowery creates literal magic.
Every photo he took at on our wedding day left me actually literally completely and utterly speechless. Kevin captured everything, every moment of the day every feeling we have, all of it in his photos. I can never thank him enough for documenting our day and giving us these tangible memories.
Because of him, we will always have this day. We will always be able to come back to this.
I honestly just couldn’t bare the thought of not taking a single photo on our wedding day. Photography is how we met, it’s our biggest passion, and it’s a part of us.
We took Michael’s Mamiya Universal to the teahouse, a camera he lugged around for an entire year for a 365 project, so I could take a photo of him with it on our wedding day.
It may not technically be the best photo, but in my heart it’s my favorite photo I have ever taken.
I hear a lot of people say their wedding was the “best day ever'“ and I always wondered how much truth was behind it.
Working in the wedding industry, we see it all. I mean, like all of it.
The stress, the planning, the bumps along the way…
But I can honestly say without a doubt that our wedding was perfect. Everything about it. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
I loved the intimacy and the small ceremony we chose, that we had the entire day together, and that we chose to cut some of the traditions that normally happen at weddings that we didn’t feel were us. It made time for us to really spend time together and with our families and friends and to fully be present during our day.
I look back and I cherish this day, and these photos, more than I could ever put into words.