AMW Studios | Modern & Dynamic Asheville Wedding Photographers » Asheville & Destination Wedding Photography for Adventurous Couples

waterrock knob sunrise pintopinterest I’ve got to brag on our kids a bit… I feel like we’re the luckiest parents in the world to have such easy-going, “up for adventuring” kiddos! These two were piled into the car pre-dawn (like 4:00 in the morning) so that we could head towards The Great Smokies for some sunrise photos at Waterrock Knob. They slept a bit, munched on clementines and breakfast bars, and rocked out to music. When we finally made it up to the trail head parking lot for Waterrock Knob… Aydon and Piper jumped out of the car happily, ready to watch the sunrise. I poorly misjudged just how cold it would be at 6000′, even in the middle of July! But the kids were troopers and huddled under towels (we brought them so we could swim… ha!) while mom went crazy with the camera. A love for outdoor, adventure and landscape photography is what originally made me pick up a camera. Being Asheville wedding photographers certainly keeps us busy, but a huge goal this year is to take the kids on more adventures and share more images of us enjoying ourselves in the outdoors! So bear with me as I share some of my favorites from our recent outdoor family adventure! waterrock knob ridge backlight by sunrise pintopinterest looking towards the great smoky mountains from waterrock knob pintopinterest If you haven’t been to Waterrock Knob, go! It has such pretty views. The photo above was taken from the parking lot (while our kids warmed up in the car right next to us :)! blue ridge parkway adventure photopintopinterest It was fun to see the light change as the sun came up over the ridge! So pretty! blue ridge parkway adventure photography pintopinterest Devils Courthouse photograph by asheville wedding and adventure photographerpintopinterest As a teenager this was one of my favorite places to go. I’d pack a lunch and head up to the top for a scenic meal. asheville lifestyle and adventure photographer pintopinterest Piper and Aydon were very excited to run outside once it was light enough! asheville lifestyle portrait photographer in the mountainspintopinterest graveyard fields outside asheville nc pintopinterest little feet hiking in graveyard fieldspintopinterest We headed to Graveyard Fields for some blueberry picking and a little walk along the river. asheville lifestyle family photographerpintopinterest asheville family and lifestyle photo in the mountainspintopinterest Getting a serious photo of Aydon is next to impossible…so silly will have to do!! graveyard fields stream adventuring pintopinterest asheville lifestyle and family pictures in the mountainspintopinterest Piper insists on being barefoot everywhere we go now… asheville portrait photographerpintopinterest Love this portrait of our beautiful girl! Did you know that AMW Studios can be hired to document your next family adventure? We specialize in creating dynamic, fun portraits of the whole family. Think you might want to have us join you in the outdoors – hiking, swimming, apple picking? Contact us about Asheville adventure portrait sessions!
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asheville wedding bride and groom portrait with vintage red carpintopinterest This past weekend Matt and I traveled to New England to photograph Jordan and Joe’s wedding at a gorgeous venue called Longfellows Wayside Inn. The Wayside Inn is definitely your quintessential New England venue, complete with a beautiful chapel for couples to get married in, if they choose! We were also lucky because the Inn has so many awesome locations for bride and groom portraits! What fun we had with these two!! Thank you guys so much for having us there to capture your wedding day! asheville wedding photographer detailspintopinterest Jordan’s wedding details were very classic and simply gorgeous, right down to her sparkly Jimmy Choo’s! asheville bride during getting ready pintopinterest Love this one of Jordan about to retrieve her dress from the window! asheville wedding bride getting into dresspintopinterest beautiful asheville bridal portrait pintopinterest Gorgeous, Jordan – doesn’t she make a stunning bride?! beautiful asheville bridal portraits pintopinterest classic and elegant pink wedding details pintopinterest asheville grooms portraits with vintage red carpintopinterest Matt got to have some pre-wedding ceremony fun with Joe and his guys! asheville grooms portraits in barpintopinterest bridal portrait for asheville wedding pintopinterest pink wedding flowerspintopinterest beautiful bride and bridesmaids portraits during asheville wedding pintopinterest The gardens at The Wayside Inn were beautiful and were the perfect backdrop for some pre-ceremony portraits! beautiful bride and her dad pintopinterest sweet ride to their asheville wedding ceremony pintopinterest asheville wedding photographer ceremony pintopinterest I love how excited Jordan looks to see Joe as she walks down the aisle! bride and groom hold hands during asheville wedding ceremonypintopinterest asheville wedding ceremony  a quiet momentpintopinterest Love these in-between moments during the wedding day…. asheville wedding ceremony first kisspintopinterest walking to a gristmill for portraits during asheville weddingpintopinterest After the wedding ceremony we all walked over to the gristmill for some portraits! gorgeous sparkly Jimmy Choo shoes for bride pintopinterest asheville wedding photographer bridal portraitpintopinterest Love this one of Jordan! Pretty lady… bride and flower girl hold hands pintopinterest The flower girl and ring bearer ran to join Jordan… love these moments! beautiful german shepherd with  bride and groompintopinterest Jaxxie is Jordan and Joe’s beautiful German shepherd who just had to join us for some outdoor portraits!!! asheville wedding party with german shepherd pintopinterest gorgeous german shepherd stole the show for this asheville weddingpintopinterest Love this one of Jax with the wedding party… She kind of stole the show, huh? asheville bride with her dogpintopinterest I mean – really?! Between Jordan and Jax, could the picture get any cuter?! bride and groom pose with their german shepherd pintopinterest Good looking family! asheville wedding portraits with bride and groom pintopinterest asheville bride and groom pose with gorgeous red vintage car pintopinterest beautiful asheville wedding details pintopinterest Jordan and Joe’s reception had lots of little personal details! asheville tented wedding first  dancepintopinterest I’m not sure if this first dance dip was planned, but it sure got some great reactions from the wedding party! gorgeous asheville wedding first dance pintopinterest gorgeous bride and groom portraits in asheville pintopinterest Jordan and Joe let us steal them away for a few portraits during dinner! fun asheville wedding portrait with bride and groom pintopinterest fun and sassy asheville wedding portrait pintopinterest gorgeous bride and groom portrait under willow treepintopinterest asheville bride and groom kiss under willow treepintopinterest father daughter dance during asheville wedding pintopinterest Love this image of Jordan and her father during their father-daughter dance! gorgeous end of the night photo pintopinterest Matt does it again… Love this end-of-the-night photo of Jordan and Joe with the gorgeous Wayside Inn lit up behind them!

AMW Studios is currently booking Asheville + destination weddings, engagement and family sessions for 2016 and 2017! Planning an Asheville wedding? We’d love to hear more about your wedding plans!! In addition to being Asheville wedding photographers, we also photograph weddings in Boone, Blowing Rock, Cashiers, The Great Smoky Mountains and beyond!! Let us know where you’re getting married, we’d love to tell your story!
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So today’s topic covers a pretty common question asked of many wedding photographers: “Have you photographed a wedding at my venue before?” We are asked this very often. And, while some of the time we happily are able to share galleries of past weddings photographed at said venue, much of the time our answer is “No, but we’d love to!!” I’m here to reassure you that this shouldn’t matter…it doesn’t matter… This is why…

Any photographer who is a true professional, whether they’ve shot at a venue before or not, will scout your venue as well as speak with the venue coordinator to pinpoint the best backdrops, suites and views. From our end, on your wedding day, we always show up an hour early so that we have time to pick out favorite locations for first look, and family/wedding party pictures, as well as a few awesome locations to take couples’ portraits!!

Note… All of the images shown in this post are images from weddings where it was our first time at these venues. ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-5pintopinterest gorgeous tent with star lit up at night during luxury destination weddingpintopinterest ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-70pintopinterest Just for fun, if you do a quick search on Google for Asheville wedding venues and click on “Borrowed + Blue” or “The Knot’s directory of venues”… You will find over 100 gorgeous wedding venues all within 25 miles of downtown Asheville. That’s a lot of venues and all within a very small radius of Asheville!!! That doesn’t even include other popular wedding locations in western NC such as Cashiers/Highlands, the Great Smokies, Boone/Blowing Rock and beyond! Are you overwhelmed? I am!!!

Even with over 150 weddings under our belts, we haven’t worked at them all and probably never will! I think it would be difficult, if not impossible to find a photographer who has worked at every venue! We love photographing Asheville weddings but we also specialize in destination weddings, these destination weddings have brought us up and down the beautiful east coast and beyond! We’ve traveled as far as the Dominican Republic and Mexico to document amazing weddings in brand new locations and we always look forward to our next destination wedding!

disneyweddingslideshow-51pintopinterest hard rock punta cana destination wedding on beachpintopinterest Now, if we have not photographed a wedding at your venue…Does that mean we’re incapable of creating amazing images the first time we work at a venue? Absolutely not!!! And this is why….

From our perspective, a venue is a venue. Some have high ceilings; some don’t… We’ve photographed wedding receptions that don’t have ceilings at all (think – receptions on the beach or in a gorgeous field under the stars)!!!
Some have walls of windows with great natural light. Other’s are darker with lot’s of bold colors and a lack of natural lighting. Some have significant physical restrictions on where photographs can be taken (a good question for your venue’s coordinator before booking). Most venues that we work at allow you to roam freely. Because photography is all about the understanding of light and how it behaves, a competent professional photographer will be able to apply that knowledge wherever your wedding is. I promise! bride and groom canoeing during their adventure weddingpintopinterest atlantic dance hall decorated for a disney world wedding receptionpintopinterest asheville wedding photographerpintopinterest For us as artists, we love the adventure of photographing at new venues! Discovery gets our creative juices flowing, making the experience more exciting and adventurous for you. Even with venues that we have shot at numerous times before our goal is to always come back with a completely new set of images!

So you might be thinking, what does matter then?! I will be featuring a post soon with tips on choosing the right photographer, so much of it has to do with going with your gut!

To get you started… Here are just a few questions that you should be asking prospective wedding photographers:
    How many weddings have you photographed?
    Do you carry liability insurance?
    Tell me about your experience with off camera lighting?
    What kinds of relationships do you have with staff at venues where you’ve previously worked?
    Do you have back up gear?
    What happens if you’re physically unable to photograph my wedding?
    What is your timeline for image delivery and do I receive personal rights to my images?
ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-53pintopinterest ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-43pintopinterest ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-35pintopinterest
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Biltmore estate asheville engagement sessionpintopinterest I hope you guys enjoyed last weeks post where I shared some of our top tips for newly engaged couples planning their Asheville wedding or destination wedding. I’ve very excited to share this next post, only my second in this new wedding blog series! We’re going to talk about what to wear for your engagement session, styling tips, what to avoid and more!

engaged couple poses for engagement photo in front of Biltmore Mansionpintopinterest Let’s start with our top tips to look your best for your Asheville engagement photos… adorable couple poses in red tulips during their spring engagement sessionpintopinterest Be Yourself!
This is probably the most important tip, so even if you skip all the others… Do yourself a favor and read this one! Your engagement session is a time to showcase you, your fiance and your love for each other! Don’t try to be someone you’re not! Choose an outfit that showcases the best YOU! Our favorite photos from engagement sessions happen when the couple look and feel like themselves!

If you’ve only worn heels that one time at a friends wedding and it ended with a lot of pain… Don’t choose to wear a pair of 4″ heels for your engagement session… Maybe opt for an adorable set of flats instead… If boots are your thing, rock a set of those!

If you’ve never worn a dress in your life and believe you’re never to old to climb tree’s… Maybe opt for a nice pair of jeans and a blouse.

Most importantly, have fun (we’ve had couples tell us how much fun they had together shopping for their e-session outfits!) and choose clothes that make you feel great about yourself!

young engaged couple goofing off during mountaintop engagement sessionpintopinterest Compliment Each Other!
We love it when each partner has their own style! We encourage coordination rather than matching! Try wearing complimentary colors or variations of the same hue but include different pops of color in your individual outfits. Wearing a similar level of formality is highly recommended as well!!

I know I mentioned this above but have fun choosing outfits, go shopping together and try lots of stuff on… Make it a mini date and if you’re shopping in the Asheville area, reward yourselves with a beer at one of the awesome, local breweries (there’s plenty to choose from)! One of our personal favorites is Sierra Nevada just 20 minutes outside downtown Asheville. asheville engagement photo in the mistpintopinterest couple laughing fall engagement in Ashevillepintopinterest Location Location Location
This goes without saying… Keep your location in mind when selecting your outfits. If we’re headed to a park with lots of greenery or for a hike in the woods… You may want to stay away from greens and browns instead opt for pops of color that will make you stand out such as cream, purple, yellow…

I love contrasts and breaking rules… There is nothing more gorgeous than a long flowing dress and heels against the background of mountain peaks! But… bring some flats to put on while we’re traveling from one location to the other!

Lastly, keep the weather in mind and dress accordingly! Also, keep in mind that if we’re headed up to the mountains above Asheville (Max patch or Roan Mountain it will be about 15 degree’s cooler! Maybe bring a blanket to cuddle up together when it gets cold… Props can bring a fun editorial aspect to the shoot and help to tell a story! asheville nc adventurous sunrise mountain engagement photopintopinterest AMWStudios-58pintopinterest Don’t Forget the Details
It’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest impact!! For girls; choose jewelry that compliments your engagement ring, keep in mind – flowy clothing almost always looks better than clingy or tight clothing, pick shoes you love… For guys; take the extra time to iron your shirt, don’t forget to remove the wallet or cell phone from your pockets, leave your baseball cap at home.

Accessories such as a hat, sunglasses or a favorites scarf can be great to incorporate into the session

While I’m big on incorporating patterns into e-sessions, try to keep any branding on your clothing to a minimum. two dogs with owners during boston engagement sessionpintopinterest Oh and YES – Dogs or Horses are welcome (and encourages) to join in on engagement session fun!

Colors Colors Everywhere!
Don’t be afraid of color!!
Have fun playing off the location!

Even if you can’t bring yourself to ditch your favorite black dress, try to add pops of color here and there… Shoes and accessories like a jacket or a scarf is a great way to add color! AMWStudiosEngagementPortrait-29pintopinterest One last tip, ladies this is for you!! Even if you don’t normally wear makeup; a little bit of foundation, mascara and lip gloss will go a long way to enhance your natural beauty for your asheville engagement session! This is a great time to coordinate a trial with your hair and makeup artist!!!

In case you’d like some more inspiration, here is a link to on of our Pinterest board’s where we’ve pinned some of our favorite outfit ideas!!!

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ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-43pintopinterest Hello Ladies (and Gentlemen)! If you’re reading this you’re probably recently engaged… Congratulations, this is such an exciting time for you, enjoy it!!!! This is my very first post of many to come in our brand new blog series called Wedding Tip Wednesday! For all you recently engaged couples and those in the process of planning their Asheville or Destination Wedding this weekly column will be for you!! My goal is to share helpful tips, some involving questions that are frequently asked by newly engaged couples and others that are lesser known! I’m hoping to get some awesome wedding vendors who are local to Asheville + The Carolinas to weigh in on questions that come up within their specialty! I hope you’re as excited as I am!

My article today is centered around some tips on what to do right after getting engaged! We want to help you make the most of your engagement, you should be able to sit back, relax and enjoy planning a day that’s all about celebrating the love you have for each other! Here are some steps to take right after your engagement to get the ball rolling…

Share the News

This is a super exciting time and one of the first things you’re going to want to do is share the news with your friends and family!!! Just one tip when it comes to this… Tell the people closest to you in person, or if that’s not a option because they live on the other side of the world, at least pick up the phone and share the good news!! They will love hearing it from you personally rather than from a Facebook post you’ve shared with the world.

isla mujeres wedding portrait on oceanside cliffpintopinterest Start Dreaming

This is arguably one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding… Grab a favorite glass of wine or a beer, sit down together and start chatting about the vision you have for your wedding day (or weekend+ if you’re planning a destination wedding! One of the first things to figure out is what you envision the experience to be like (for you and your guests… This goes beyond the color scheme, flowers, decor or even a pretty venue… When you picture waking up on your wedding day, how does the day start? Are you relaxing in the morning with close friends and family.. maybe partaking in a fun activity before the wedding festivities begin; such as golf, visiting a nearby waterfall (lots of those in the Asheville area), laying on the beach (not so many of those around Asheville, maybe a destination wedding in Costa Rica?), ziplining or a wine tour? Think about where your guests are traveling from, does it make sense to keep everything local or are you dreaming of a destination wedding! Make sure you and your fiance are on the same page, this will same potential stress later on in the planning process 🙂

stunning fairytale wedding candlespintopinterest Come Up With a Budget

This is a fairly important thing to do early on… This is probably the least fun part of the wedding planning process!! This will play a huge roll when selecting your wedding vendors and more! As you put together your guest list and begin looking at venues having a budget already in place is vital. This isn’t to say that you can’t reevaluate and choose to put a little more money into something that is really important to you, the key will be to prioritize and be practical!

ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-7pintopinterest Create a Guest List Having a guest list is vital before you head out to look at venues or meet with caterers. Sit down together one night over a drink (or two) and come up with a list. First, create your dream list, think of everyone you would want to celebrate with you on your wedding day, write down all the names. Be realistic about the number of guests you can/want to invite…Your budget will play a roll in the number of guests you end up inviting.

ashevilleweddingphotographer-galleries-2015-53pintopinterest Choose a Venue + Set a Date

Now that you’ve sat down together and come up with some dream wedding ideas, you have your guest list (or at least a rough idea of how many people will attend), you also have a budget. These two things will help you on your search for the perfect venue! So now you need to go back to that first step I brought up… Pull out those notes you took during those dreaming/brainstorming session…What kind of wedding are you hoping to create?

Are you adventurous and outdoorsy? Does the idea of having your favorite family and friends gathered together for a whole weekend of fun appeal to you? If so then a summer camp wedding (check out Case and Dan’s gorgeous destination summer camp wedding for some inspiration! If you’re planning a wedding here in the Asheville or Western NC area, you’re in luck, there are so many summer camps here to choose from! One of my favorite weddings from last season took place just outside of Asheville, in Flat Rock, NC… Check out Megan and Andrew’s wedding at Camp Ton a Wandah


Maybe white sandy beaches is your thing and you’re hoping to plan fabulous, relaxing and fun destination wedding? One of our couples, LaShawn and Cedric, knew right away that their dream was to get married somewhere exotic.. surrounded by 80 of their closest friends and family… Check out their gorgeous destination wedding at Hardrock Hotel in the Dominican Republic

hard rock punta cana destination wedding on beachpintopinterest Now it’s time to start looking for venue’s who will help you create your dream wedding!

If you’re planning an Asheville wedding, here are a couple of our favorite local venues… Hopefully this will help you get your search started!

The Biltmore Estate is the first place to look when planning a luxury asheville wedding… The staff at the Biltmore will treat you like royalty and you will be able to sit back and enjoy celebrating your wedding!

If getting married on a working farm in the gorgeous blue ridge mountains appeals to you… Think horses, barns and gorgeous fields… Look no further than gorgeous Claxton Farm when looking to plan an elegant farm wedding in Asheville

What about a private house in the mountains just west of Asheville… If a mountain getaway is your thing, check out the beautiful Hawksdene House for your Asheville mountain wedding

Venues tend to book quite early, the popular ones even up to 18-24 months in advance… If you’ve done your research and have your heart set on a particular venue don’t delay contacting them and setting up a walk through. Make sure you take photos and have some questions lined up for the venue manager. One of my upcoming wedding tip Wednesday posts will be a list of questions and things to consider when selecting your venue!

luxury destination wedding photospintopinterest Put Together a Kick Ass Vendor Team

Once you have your location and the date set (hooray!!), it’s time to start choosing the rest of the vendors who are going to help you create your dream wedding. Many vendors book a year+ out (if not more.. heck we’ve booked weddings up to 24 months out!) so when it comes to choosing your florist, photographer, wedding planner and more… Have fun contacting people, stay organized, asked questions… Don’t just select vendors based on their gorgeous work, make sure your personalities jive. Your wedding team will spend a lot of time with you on the wedding day as well as planning sessions leading up too.. You should enjoy hanging out with them!!!

There are so many directories with lists of local vendors ready to help to create an amazing wedding… However, don’t under estimate the power of referrals. Ask your venue for a list of their favorite industry professionals. Wedding planners will also be able to give you recommendations! Even us photographers will be able to assist you in finding other professionals who will help you create a fabulous day… I find myself constantly passing along names of florists, make up artists and more to our couples! Feel free to reach out, we’re happy to pass along names of asheville wedding vendors we’ve worked with!

Biltmore estate wisteria silhouette of engaged couplepintopinterest Don’t Forget to Celebrate + Take Engagement Photo’s

We know this is a super exciting time and you are eager to plan out all the details of your wedding! Don’t forget to take breaks from planning, this is vital if you want to continue to enjoy the planning process! Make sure you have evenings with your fiance where you crack open a beer (or sip a glass of wine) and you don’t say word wedding… even once 🙂 You can do it!!

A lot of magazines or blogs tend to stress that you take engagement photos right after you get engaged… There is absolutely nothing wrong with this however I would highly recommend using the photographer who will be photographing your wedding for your engagement session! Many times an engagement session is included in a wedding collection. We treat our engagement sessions as a way to get to know our couples, it’s always a blast and we usually try to end our sessions over a beer (or some sort of yummy drink)! I know it’s not always possible to use the same photographer for both! You’d be surprised how often photographers travel for photo sessions or in the case of a destination wedding sometimes we’ll set up a session for a couple days before the wedding once we’ve arrived at the venue… it’s a great excuse to see more of the surrounding land and get some unique photo’s! Whatever you choose, have fun choosing outfits and pick a special location to take photos! If you don’t have a particular location in mind, ask your photographer! We absolutely love outdoor, mountain adventure engagement sessions (like this one here and have a list of favorite locations in the Asheville area that we can’t wait to take couples too 🙂 asheville nc adventurous sunrise mountain engagement photopintopinterest I hope this blog post was slightly helpful or maybe at least just entertaining?!!! Stay tuned for next weeks informational post!! gorgeous sunset light for asheville barn wedding photo of couple at sunsetpintopinterest Happy Planning!!!

Ariel + Matt
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