creative direction

rylee + andrew


There is so much I love about this wedding I don't know where to start!  First and foremost, I love Rylee. She is so incredibly kind, gentle, humble, talented, generous, innocent, and sincere. Like, the most. Of all those things. She is so wonderful to be around and work with and our aesthetic aligns very naturally so when she got engaged I was so excited to get to help her with her wedding.

Rylee is so creative and as a wedding photographer, she has had a lot of experience with weddings already and knew a lot about what she did and didn't want but we went ahead and did a Creative Session anyway...

Joy sat me down for a creative session & blew my mind as she gracefully & magically pulled my desires for the dress & the wedding out of my heart and put them onto paper.  During my creative session I remember saying “I think I want the wedding to feel like this scene in my head: A group of family & friends attending a baptism at a fountain in an Italian city & then together celebrating the baptism over dinner at a family’s small garden in the village.” It sounded weird saying it out loud, but that vision embodied the refreshing, life-filled, warm, intimate celebration I imagined our wedding to be.

We both knew from the beginning that we wanted everything in the wedding to be extremely delicate and natural and humble and fine. When we couldn't find the perfect dress we decided to make it. We put together our favorite elements from all the dresses we liked best and combined that with what was most flattering for her body. Then enlisted the help of dressmaker Cheryl Taylor which proved to be invaluable.  Over several months of several fittings, Cheryl sourced the most beautiful antique scalloped gauzy laces from all over the world and the dress evolved into the most perfect hand-stitched, hand-dyed, delicate silk creation. Cheryl also provided us with the 100 year old scalloped wax bud tiara and equally old lily of the valley Brussels lace veil.


So then, of course, we had to make some little lace slippers to match... 


And then we made a dress for her sister (her only bridesmaid)...


And here is her little lily of the valley bouquet tied in silk...


Oh gosh...I could go on forever about this wedding...SO many amazing details. ..I'm afraid I'd exceed my word and image limit for an acceptable blog length. But what really made everything so perfect was how very intimate and genuine it was. 

I always dreamed of getting married in my parents backyard. The week before the wedding, by dad surprised me with something so special to me. The ceremony structure that surrounded us as we said our vows was made by my dad with branches from a tree which used to hold our childhood tire swing before it fell the month before our wedding. My Italian grandmother and aunt made the delicious feast, while Caitlin made the perfect little panna cottas for dessert. My sister and I made the hypertufa pots for each table and Katie potted beautiful, unruly arrangements in them--which I proudly still nurture & keep today! The candles were a therapeutic project my sister and I took on; making them tall, thin, and perfectly imperfect. And my dad, who gave the most of all, built our long wooden dinner tables and hand laid century-old bricks for a patio for us to eat on--both of these tasks being completely new to him.

In case you still can't get enough, you can read more on the Once Wed posts Part I and Part II, and you can see the full size images here in my portfolio. AND (maybe I got a little carried away but...) I just put together a little out-takes reel (all the extra pretty images are Tec's and the rest are from people's Instagrams). Even though it was a small wedding, we had an exceptional crew and I thought it'd be fun for you to see all the hands that went into pulling this off...


Creative Direction + Styling: Joy Thigpen | Photographer: Tec Petaja | Planner: Ginny Au | Flowers: Joy Thigpen with assistance by Cloth of Gold | Gown, tiara, veil, and shoes: Cheryl Taylor | Paper & Calligraphy: Meagan Tidwell |  Pana Cotta: Caitlin Van Horn | Hair: Joanna Ballentine | Makeup: Brittany Massey | Assistants: Nina Mullins and Mandy Busby | Wholesale Flowers: Fifty Flowers | Everything else: Friends and Family

(Rylee's quotes lifted from the Once Wed posts)