I always like to make a blog post when I photograph a wedding at a new location. This was my first time visiting The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation near Charleston, SC. This lovely venue has a large, rustic barn-style reception hall with hanging lights, exposed wooden beams on the vaulted ceiling, and wood planks on the ceiling and walls. It also has a large lawn and fence overlooking a lake and fountain. A boardwalk leads out to a large gazebo on the lake. It was a great place for sunset pictures after the ceremony.
I first met Brigette and Preston, the bride and groom, when I took pictures with their family in 2021. They were pleased with the family photos, so they contacted me about doing their wedding as well. The wedding party was getting ready at a hotel in Charleston, so I met them there for some getting-ready pictures. Finding good angles for photos in a hotel room is always tricky, but I got some great shots of Brigette with her grandmother putting on her necklace and her mom helping with the veil. The guys were getting ready in the room next door so I could walk back and forth and take pictures with everyone.
My unusual photography setup for pictures inside the Church
The ceremony was held at the nearby Christ Episcopal Church in Mt. Pleasant. The photo restrictions made this ceremony a little more complex than most. I was not allowed to make shutter-click sounds or move past the seated guests when taking pictures, and of course, no flash, which I expected. Most churches let me stand towards the front while the family, wedding party, and bride walk down the aisle, so this was more restrictive than I’m used to. I’m always okay with whatever restrictions I’m given. It’s a photographer’s job to be ready for any situation.
I usually use an 85mm lens for pictures as everyone walks down the aisle to focus on my subject and separate them from the guests. Instead, I used a 35mm wide lens and got some nice shots as everyone walked through the doors. I also switched to a long zoom lens on one of my other cameras to take close-ups of the vows, exchanging of rings, and first kiss from all the way in the back. Modern cameras also do well with a silent shutter in most situations. I did some test shots before the ceremony to ensure there was no banding or other issues. With lots of natural light, there were no issues at all.
Reception at The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation
After the ceremony, everyone hopped on a bus to the reception location at The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation. The bridesmaids were a little shy with the pictures, but I got them to take fun shots together. As you can see, the groomsmen were not. The groom was a bodybuilder and had a lot of fun flexing and posing with the guys. They even had friendship bracelets to show off the pictures 😂. Preston tried to do some pushups with Brigette on his back. He did one, and then she fell backward off of him, and everyone had a good laugh about it.
After dinner and the first dances, I took the bride and groom out for pictures at sunset by the lake. It’s always tricky when I’m at a new location because I have to figure out the best angles and backgrounds for the pictures. I especially liked the ones of Brigette and Preston leaning against the fence with the beautiful blur you get from my 85mm lens. When we were out on the lakeside gazebo, pretty rim lighting from the setting sun gave a glow around the bride and groom. Next time I do a wedding here, I will already know some great spots and can look and see if there are any more.
The rest of the evening was a lot of fun dancing. It’s always great working with DJ Wayne and his wife from Happily Ever After Entertainment. It’s nice to work with someone familiar when I’m at an unfamiliar location. He always likes getting everyone together for a fun group shot on the dance. It helps get everyone out on the dance floor and ready to party. If you are planning a wedding at The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation, please let me know. I would be happy to help you with the planning.