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Dear Future Brides and Grooms, and Anyone That Goes To Weddings Ever,

Sparkler exits are my favorite. They can be really pretty, or they can be a nightmare if a smidge of common sense and safety aren’t used. Here’s a few observations I’ve made over the last twelve years of watching people burn the crap out of each other and themselves.

  1. If someone is too intoxicated to drive, they’re too intoxicated to be responsible for a source of flame to light their sparkler with. Designate a Responsible Lighter Person to be in charge of the lighter, otherwise while you’re inside hugging grandma goodbye, Larry from Denver that smells like vodka and bad choices will be having his own dance party while lighting everyone’s sparklers outside. It happens a lot.
  2. Most brides have hair spray in their hair. It’s flammable. When you’re trying to be funny with your hammered frat buddies by putting the sparkler super close to the bride to selfie, I’m about five feet away getting ready to tackle you to the ground like a well dressed linebacker. It’s in my contract. Keep your sparklers up in the air, away from people and things. It makes for better light for the photos, and a less dramatic end to the reception for you.
  3. Get the long sparklers, at least 20″. It’ll give you time to run through the Drunken Path of Flame at least twice, and in case Larry from Denver is somehow able to overpower the Designated Lighter Person and steal the lighter, it’ll give you extra time for all those people that get lit too soon. #SeeWhatIDidThere
  4. Have a metal bucket of water, or sand, or WeddingWire awards to put the used sparklers in afterwards. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of people standing around with burning hot wires in their hands, and your venue/yard/beach will be full of them afterwards.
  5. Do not, under any circumstances, try to light a handful of sparklers all at once. It makes a sparkler bomb. Yes, that’s a thing. Do not bundle them together trying to save time, then extend one just a little higher and light it like a fuse. They will not all light slowly and peacefully like little bundles of happiness. They will ignite all at once, violently and with a white-hot ball of flame that will melt the skin off of your hands, and I’ve watched it happen.

Start lighting from the middle of the lines, and either have guests turn and light each other’s sparklers, or have the Designated Lighter Person do it.

And someone call an Uber for Larry.

xo

 

Dear Kristen and Jason,

Thanks for a perfect day, an amazing first look with each other, and for the non-stop laughter. I heart you and such. #DontMakeItAwkward

 

My dearest Bay House,

Have you been working out? Planking? You’re beautiful, never change. #OhHay

 

Huge props to my sister from another mister, Erin Hadaway – Your wedding coordinating skills and ninja-like reflexes are legendary. Your clients are lucky to have you. Fist bump.

To the only man who truly does light up my life and everyone else’s at receptions and always keeps the party rocking into the night, Mr. Vaughn VanAmburg DJ.

To Tammy with the Eventful Planner for the amazing food.

To the DIY family crew that put the flowers together from Sam’s – Well played, seriously. Gorgeous work.

To Michelle Brown and Jessica Sirten with Teensy Treats / Sweet for Sirten for the most ridiculously gorgeous sight ever to grace my formerly fluffeh kid eyes that wasn’t a wedding cake. Gorgeous and absolutely delicious work as always.

To Destin Water Taxi for the super cool arrival of groomsmen by boat.

To my friend, Tara Russo with Powder and Paint 30A for the gorgeous hair and make up artistry.

And lastly but not leastly, my videographer friend, Jana with Milestones Studios for the beautiful film work.

 

Well played, everyone.

 

Well played.

 

It’s a bit of a surreal concept to me that I’m able to be close friends in this industry with artists and creatives that are sincerely inspiring to me as a photographer.

 

And it’s also a bit unnerving when you get to spend some time photographing them and hoping you don’t completely suck in the process. #goals

Someone once told me the best thing you can do for your own creativity is spend time around those who inspire you. And while her talent with all things weddings speaks for itself, her landscape work currently hangs in two places in my house. You can check it out here if you’d like –  Landscape Prints

Sincere thanks to my dear friend, Kacie Quesenberry, for sledding down from Montana and hanging out for a few days, for starting the landslide of portrait projects that came to life after this shoot, and for being a ridiculously talented inspiration.

 

 

 

Samantha and Ben were married at Old Christ Church in downtown Pensacola, Florida. An absolutely gorgeous day from start to finish, with more laughter than you could shake a stick at.

 

Seriously. People tried it. Couldn’t do it. #awkward

 

Sincere thanks to my unfairly talented friend, Mr. Heyward McKenzie with Culinary Catering 365, for always making freakishly amazing food whenever we work together, to my dear friend Janet Marie of Florida Dream Weddings for masterfully coordinating this beautiful shindig, to Ian the Scottish DJ with 1st Class Sounds, to Meg “The Manager” Burke for her ridiculous talent and for shooting this with me, to Publix for still blowing my mind and making consistently amazing wedding cakes, to Jackie with Southern Floral Traditions for the gorgeous flowers, to New World Inn for a bridal suite completely bathed in gorgeous natural light, and to Palafox Wharf for a great reception space and all of the towels to dry off my completely soaked self after trying to save a reception tent from the wind and rain. #yolo

To Sammie and Ben, thanks for letting me be a part of your day, and for being completely wonderful to work with!

B

 

 

 

I love huge trees.

 

I especially love huge trees with Spanish moss, and Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida has one of the prettiest trees I’ve ever seen in person.

Throw in a sleepy puppy, a ridiculous amounts of laughter and love, a perfect first look, Chris being blindfolded and manhandled during the reception, and all in all it was a perfect day.

 

Hilary and Chris – thanks for letting me shoot your wedding, and thanks for all the crazy amounts of love and friendship. Here’s to new adventures above and below the waves.

 

Meg “The Manager” Burke – thanks for all of the crazy talent that you bring to both my clients and your own, and thanks for shooting this with me. #FistBump #BaDaLaDaLaDaLah

 

 

 

B

 

Santa Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong PhotographySanta Rosa Beach Wedding, Eden Gardens State Park / Brett Birdsong Photography

 

 

 

Sincere thanks to Meg “The Manager” Burke for shooting this wedding with me. Amazing work as always, my friend. #fistbump