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 that work would be very slow this year. This summer has been jam-packed with family beach pictures and even small weddings. It seems like most of my weddings, for the rest of the year, will 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 1 pm 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 close-ups during the vows without having to stand in view of any wedding guests. Church ceremonies are the only time I pull out that 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 2 pm on August 1st, it was sweltering 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 images 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 could dance on the lawn. I even took Rylan and Sarah down to the beach for some pictures around sunset time. While we didn’t 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 smoother at the venue.

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