Rainy summer wedding day at the Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park

It’s great to be getting back into wedding season in the Myrtle Beach area. I was a little worried, earlier this year, that work would be very slow. This summer has actually been very busy with family beach pictures and even a few small weddings. It seems like most of my weddings, for the rest of the year, are going to take place with just some social distancing modifications. Some have had to reduce the number of guests and some have moved the receptions outside to comply with venue requirements. So far, all my weddings have taken place without any issues.

For Rylan and Sarah’s wedding, the 1pm ceremony took place at St. Michaels in Garden City, SC with the reception following at the Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park. The bride chose not to have any getting ready pictures, so I just went directly to the church for location pictures and to take pictures as the groom and guests arrived. The ceremony went great, the minister didn’t mind me taking pictures during most of the ceremony, as long as I was discreet about it. I used my 70-210mm lens so I could get some closeups during the vows, without having to stand in the view of any wedding guests. Church ceremony are really the only time I pull out that really long lens, for almost all pictures at a wedding I’m shooting prime lenses, either an 85mm f1.4 or 35mm f1.4 lens.

After the ceremony, Rylan and Sarah signed the marriage license. In fact, one of my favorite pictures below, was their big smiles as they waited to sign. We then took the family pictures and some pictures of the bridesmaids and groomsmen right there in the church. I was glad we did the family pictures inside, being around 2pm on August 1st, it was extremely hot outside.

After the ceremony, the wedding party was dropped off at the Atalaya Castle. I was really worried about how the pictures would turn out in the extreme afternoon heat and bright sun. However, soon after we started, a thunderstorm began to roll in. We took some wedding party pictures around the Atalaya Castle and then quickly headed to the beach while the sky kept getting darker. One good effect of the storm, it did cool things off and blocked some of the harsh sun. However, it also gave all the pictures a dark and hazy look. I was able to improve the pictures a lot in editing later. Some off-camera flash, as well as the dehaze, highlights and shadow sliders in Lightroom can really save pictures taken on a nasty looking day.

As soon as we finished pictures with the bridal party it began to pour down rain and we hurried back to shelter inside the castle. Thankfully, they had a large tent for everyone to gather under inside the courtyard. As the afternoon went on, the rain stopped and everyone was able to go out on the lawn for dancing. I was even able to take Rylan and Sarah down to the beach for some pictures around sunset time. While we didn’t actually have a pretty sunset on the overcast day, we still got some fun pictures down at the beach. The bottom of Sarah’s wedding dress got completely soaked by the end of the pictures, but I think it was worth it.

I hope you enjoy the pictures below, if you are having a wedding at the Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park let me know. I would be happy to give you some thoughts or suggestions to make things so smoother at the venue.

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