This particular wedding story has well, a story behind it. I actually met Kevin a few years back when I traveled to Sarasota Florida to shoot his sister, Cristin’s wedding. Never in my wild dreams believe I would have the opportunity to make another 15hr drive to shoot a wedding for the same family. Cristin’s wedding you see, was my longest road trip ever, And to this day, still ranks as #1 in my wedding trip travels, I mean it was after all a trip to Sarasota, Florida. My biggest obstacle for Kevin’s wedding was finding a shooter whom I could travel with, and also provide the skills and talent needed since the Lavelle’s were trusting me on this most auspicious occasion. Since all of my local friends were unavailable, I decided to hire locally. Enter Cuong Dinh. Super enthusiastic, and the hardest working person I have ever met in all my years making wedding films. Now that I had everything in place, it was time to hit the road. I loaded up my van with my gear, and headed south to Dallas, TX.
I decided to split my travel up into two days. I would stop in Little Rock, AK as my first waypoint. In the meantime, I would also make this trip about stopping at amazing places to eat! a visit to www.flavortownusa.com gave me all the info I would need for some great food on the way! My first stop was in downtown Nashville at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. A small place located in the middle of downtown. The place was packed, tables were full! The man who entered the restaurant after me had noticed my tags, and struck up a conversation since he had family in Lexington, KY. Once we made our way through the line, he paid for my lunch after hearing the journey I was on. Great way to start a trip, and always fun meeting new people. After lunch, the miles were adding up, and I was slowly becoming a fan of country music. Darius Rucker’s distinctive voice on Pandora just seemed to fit with this trip. After a while, I arrived in Little Rock, not too far from downtown. Checked in, and made my way to the river market area. This was also my first trip with my new 5D Mark III, and I was anxious to see how it performed. I quickly loved it!
Next day , off to Dallas. More miles, more country music. I arrived in Dallas and checked into the Hilton Anatole, just 2 miles from the ceremony and reception site. No sooner did I get there, than I was off to downtown to visit some historic landmarks, mainly the book depository and the grassy knoll, and of course a spot off my DDD list, Pepe and Mitos mexican restaurant! Lunch was first, and Pepe and Mitos was located off a side street in Dallas. Easily the best Mexican food I have ever had! Next, I headed downtown, parked the van, and camera in hand, took a walk. Standing on one of the most historic landmarks was quite fascinating. I elected not to take a tour since I had to meet up with Kevin and Jennifer later that evening to shoot some love story broll.
Overall I spent a week in Dallas, TX. on the fourth day, I made my way to Fort Worth, TX to get additional footage to use for the film. I definitely wanted something easily identifiable as Texas locale, and I was not disappointed! I shot some great stuff at the Fort Worth Stockyards, had an amazing chili cheeseburger downtown, and regrettably did NOT purchase a pair of boots. Probably my biggest regret the entire trip. I drove back to Dallas, and got back to work editing in some of the footage we shot into the montage for the rehearsal dinner video to be shown the next night, which was going to be a complete surprise to Jen!
Rehearsal time! I finally get to meet Cuong, and he is exactly how I pictured him during our phone conversations. We hit it off immediately! I let him do his thing, and we had a blast shooting rehearsal. Footage looked spectacular. The wedding day started bright and early. My first location was the spa and gym at the Anatole. I had shot all the interviews with them earlier in the week, so with that out of the way, I was able to focus on details and some quick day of Q & A. The ladies were excited, and the energy was positive. Jen was very emotional and I knew what I was getting. Cuong was with Kevin and the guys at Kevin’s house. Once all the prep work was done, we were to rendezvous at Arlington Hall, site for the ceremony and reception. Once there, we got to meet Johnny and Michele of Paper Antler. An amazing photography couple who gave up their apartment and decided to live on the road shooting 50 weddings in 50 states. I have become a huge fan of their work, and the adventure they have undertaken! I could continue to provide detail after detail of this amazing journey with two fabulous people and families, but I’d like to sum it all up by saying this was one of the best weddings I’ve ever shot, traveling over 14hrs, and working with a complete stranger. It just worked, effortlessly. The biggest challenge of course was having to edit all of it together. The films I did for Kevin and his sister Cristin, were also my jumping off pointst into how my style has now evolved into narrative story telling.