a lifestyle, motherhood, & running blog


Our Wedding: Bridal Portraits... on a Carousel!

{Warning! Complete & total picture overload ahead for you. Sorry. Can't help it. I love these pictures!}

My first location and date choice for bridal portraits didn't quite pan out the way it was supposed to.
It rained. A lot. My shoes didn't arrive in time. I didn't have my jewelry picked out. I wasn't ready at all for those portraits and it was kind of a relief when the forecast called for 100% chance of rain. Outdoor bridal portraits just don't happen in the rain.
On to the second location option... which actually turned out better than I could have ever hoped.

I decided to go with the Botanical Garden at Riverbanks Zoo and it was the perfect choice on so many levels. It was local {first location choice was 2 hours away} and meaningful. Not only is the zoo one of my favorite places in Columbia but the gardens are where Patrick proposed.

To say that taking the bridal portraits here was quite an adventure would be an understatement. There was one point in time where we thought that it was going to be a complete disaster & were contemplating rescheduling {which would have been a nightmare}. However, one of the guys at the zoo totally stepped up and helped us turn the experience around. I could not be more grateful to all that he did to help us out!

The talented Jessica Roberts worked her magic {along with Amy at Metropolis Salon who did my hair and make up} and my bridal portraits came out even better than I could have ever hoped! I absolutely love them all. I have been dying to share these with y'all for about two months now and I'm so glad that I finally can!

{this shot was the winning shot & ended up being blown up to portrait size/framed}

Who doesn't love a wrought iron gate with a gorgeous garden in the background?

Jessica got some great detail shots of my bouquet, the back of my dress, the lace detail, and of the jeweled belt we had added onto the dress after the fact.

This veil was uncooperative about 97% of the time. I'm impressed that we were able to wrangle it for some decent pictures.

I had to get a shot in the exact spot where Patrick proposed... with a picture from the proposal making a guest appearance.

But then we took the bridal portrait session to the next level: we headed into the actual zoo and to the carousel.

So yes, I had completely unconventional engagement pictures taken in a brewery and went even more unconventional and had bridal portraits taken on a carousel in the middle of a zoo. Both were all kinds of perfect if you ask me!

Taking these pictures were absolutely hysterical. C'mon. I'm sitting in a peacock.

... and on an elephant.

I seriously thought my mom was going to have a heart attack when she saw me trying to climb up on this thing in my wedding dress.

Here are a few "behind the scenes, for the blog!" shots that Jessica took while we were there. I'm so glad that she captured some of these moments, too.

Dress - Fabulous Frocks in Charleston, SC
Shoes - Pink Eyelet Jack Rogers {no longer sold}
Earrings - Hand Picked {no longer sold}
Photographer - Jessica Roberts Photography 
Location - Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden
& special thanks to Andy {the Director of the Botanical Gardens} who was a huge, huge help to us while we were there. So much that we needed to get a picture with him when it was all said and done:


  1. Gorgeous photos!! Definitely seems like a great place to take photos- you have the more classic look in the beginning and also some fun shots- love the one on the elephant!

    xo, Kristina
    Medicine & Manicures

  2. OMG Chesson! These turned out stunning! I LOVE the carousel pictures, so fun! You are gorgeous! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  3. So gorgeous, girl!!! Your dress was absolutely perfect and I love the idea of taking the portraits on a Carousel! ~Hannah

  4. Beautiful! Your dress is stunning and I love those carousel photos. I love that you had your photos done at such a meaningful place!

  5. The carousel is without a doubt one of the most unique places I've ever seen someone take photos - I love them!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  6. You look gorgeous!! I love the detail shots of your dress, so beautiful!

  7. Bridal portraits at a zoo?! And on a carousel?! You're living my dream, girl!!! Plus, let's be real--you look absolutely gorgeous :)

  8. Absolutely GORGEOUS! Love your dress and bouquet! I also love the picture from y'all's engagement spot! So sweet and meaningful. We had an engagement picture made in the spot where Matthew proposed and then on our wedding day we had a picture made there as well. I love having all three pictures in the same spot, so special to me!!

  9. I LOVE THEM ALL! You look absolutely stunning!

  10. GORGEOUS! They are amazing and I LOVE the carousel pictures!

  11. Oh my goodness Chesson you look absolutely stunning!!! I love your bridal portraits & the unique location you chose!

  12. Gorgeous!!! I love how you picked a location that was so special to you - these shots are amazing!

  13. i wish i had heard of bridal portraits when i got married - i love them! the behind the scenes ones are my favourite. i can't believe the zoo was your second choice! they are all perfect. what lovely memories!

  14. Wow, all of these are beautiful! I've never heard of bridal portraits! Did you do them before or after the wedding. Love the behind the scenes photos! Looked like a great day!

    Ashley // A Cute Angle // acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

  15. Beautiful! I love all the meaning behind the location and I think they are all perfect and I can't believe you had to hold them secret for so long. That would have killed me. Jess at Just Jess

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