Madison and Chris’ Tennessee elopement was the epitome of perfection. Between the weather and the company, it was a gorgeous Chattanooga day created just for M&C. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few hiccups, but these two bobbed and weaved with the best of ’em!
Kacey Musgraves is one of Madison’s favorite country artists and they’ve dubbed the song Golden Hour as their song. When Kacey began playing Golden Hour, Chris got down on one knee and proposed to Madison. Talk about perfect.
Madison reached out to me after I photographed her sister’s downtown Tampa elopement. She knew that they wanted all the mountain vibes, but were unsure about where they wanted to be. After some thought, M+C decided on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
As we started to plan their Chattanooga elopement, there were three things that M&C had to have:
Which are the three things that I specialize in, so yay!
M+C wanted a ceremony location that was super accessible, but provided those just-hiked-a-14er views. After scrolling Instagram and Google maps, I found this perfectly secluded location that only locals frequent – Naked Rock. Unfortunately, this spot had some logistical issues that were unavoidable. After going back and forth on the location, M+C decided to find a badass AirBnB with the same epic views.
We saved Naked Rock and Sunset Rock for bride and groom portraits where we could spend some extra time without worrying about guest logistics.
The few days leading up to M+C’s elopement, Hurricane Ian decided to rip through Florida leaving tons of devastation, rain, and wind in it’s path. It was forecasted that Ian would make landfall the same day as our flight was scheduled to take off from Orlando. Not making the flight or being at M+C’s elopement was not an option. I decided to cancel our flights and road trip up to Tennessee a day before the storm hit. When shit hits the fan, you got to figure out how to adapt haha.
On elopement day, I met up with Chris and the groomsmen at Scout’s barbershop. This was a traditional barbershop that had all the works with a refreshing beer to top it all off.
Once we were done at the barbershop, I headed to Madison who was getting ready at their modern AirBnB. There was this amazing sitting room that overlooked the valley and served as a perfect backdrop to Madison putting on her dress, jewelry, and shoes. It was also perfectly intimate for Madison to have a first look with her dad. *Tearjerker*
One of Chris’ best friends married them on the back patio of the AirBnB overlooking the valley below. Chris popped champagne and everyone joined in on a toast to the newlyweds. It was that classic, intimate type of vow exchange that dreams are made of.
One of my favorite moments from this elopement was when we were headed to Sunset Rock for portraits. Sunset Rock has exactly 10 parking spaces. Ten. As you might guess from the name, it’s a popular spot for sunset. Unless you’re there three hours early, it’ll be super difficult to snag a spot. To add to that, the streets are lined with million-dollar homes that have no parking signs plastered all over their yards (as one should when they don’t want tourist parking on their perfectly manicured lawn).
So I did what any reasonable elopement photographer would do when shit hits the fan for their bride and groom’s perfect sunset portraits – we started manifesting a spot to open up. And when that didn’t immediately work, I parked sketchily on the side of the road and started writing out a sign that said “JUST MARRIED – DOING PORTRAITS – PLEASE CALL XXX-XXX-XXXX” Ya’ll – I am not kidding when I wrote out the last digit of my phone number, A FREAKIN SPOT OPENED UP. But not just one – three spots opened up! It was like when Moses parted the Red Seas. Moral of the story – when three people manifest something great to happen. The universe comes through.
After portraits, we all took a break and headed to dinner. Afterwards, the plan was to do a bar crawl around Chattanooga with a stop at one of the top-rated breweries Odd Story. It just so happened that the weekend of M&C’s wedding, Odd Story was closed to move to another location. So we pivoted and had the best freakin’ time at the Moxy bar. There were tons of games for adults and kids, as well as this gorgeous back patio that was the stage for M+C’s first dance.
Through it all, M+C had the most perfect elopement day and didn’t let a single hiccup ruin their day. This is one of the things I love most about my elopement couples – there’s flex, there’s grace, and there’s an undying love for going with the flow and letting whatever happens happens because at the end of the day, they’re celebrating their wedding day the exact way they want. With that, congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins!
Inspired by M+C’s Tennessee elope and ready to start planning? Reach out and let’s get this party started!