I don’t even know where to properly begin in telling the story of the wedding of Emily Moore and Severin Knudsen. To describe their documentary as amazing is not nearly enough – its amazing, rootsy, artisan, soulful, and the most unique of the unique. Celebrated at The Sunny Pointe Guest House in Jane Lew, WV on June 18, 2011, the nuptials of this couple will forever remain one of my favorite projects of my career! I knew immediately upon photographing Emily and Severin’s fall engagement session that we had a special working magic – add to that a backdrop of gorgeous Appalachian farmland, a grand old vintage home, handcrafted details, and an assembly of wonderful guests and you have a wedding amongst weddings!
Emily and Severin’s weekend event was a destination wedding for many of their guests who traveled to historic Jane Lew to celebrate with the couple. Emily is a West Virginia native, while Severin hails from beautiful Oregon. I LOVE Emily’s short, vintage style dress which she discovered in Los Angeles – I feel like it totally sets the tone for a fun, non-fussy look that is a throwback in time. Topped off with a sassy birdcage veil, it is perfection! And the dress shot!!!! I have been shooting professionally now for over a decade and to my best knowledge, I am the original creator of the “dress in the tree” photograph. After shooting this image for the first time at a Kentucky wedding back in 2004, I have been flattered to see it shot by other photographers all over the land – I myself love the opportunity to dangle dresses from branches! But this shot…. as I was shooting it, I got absolute chills and knew that I was upping my own ante. Emily’s dress shots are THE dress shots!!!
The ladies and I had a wonderful time with preparations at Emily’s parents’ home. Emily’s mom and aunts prepared a scrumptious brunch – the crabcakes are the best that I have had this side of Baltimore!! After hair and makeup were complete, we all headed back to Sunny Pointe for dressing and then the magical first look between bride and groom on the front lawn. Severin was dashing in his simple suit with vest and tie and the initial moments between the couple were priceless….
Emily and Severin said their vows in front of an old, rustic barn that sits on the 600 acres of Sunny Pointe. I was especially thrilled that the couple let the surroundings speak for themselves without overdecorating/embellishing. The understated cool of this wedding is golden – crisp wildflowers, nature all around, mason jars, burlap overlays on reception tables under a simple white tent…. Mix and match vintage china is so much fun to photograph, especially for those of us who just adore the “perfectly imperfect!” Instead of traditional wedding cake, Em and Sev opted for various pies – the details and personalization on the pies were art alone and the taste – heavenly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If a person lacked self control, she might find herself eating at least several of these pies in a single setting! Hats off to the pie makers!!!! Another detail that I really enjoyed was “The Loving Cup”, an heirloom piece used for weddings in Severin’s family. His mother brought the lovely loving cup all of the way from Oregon and the shot of the couple’s first drink from it is too fun!! One of my favorite bands, The Wild Rumpus, provided music for the night – these guys are awesome and no one at the reception stood still! I love dancing to The Wild Rumpus when I am shooting – they should be present at all Melissa Perella weddings!!!!
Now we come to the part which really made this photographer smile and jump up and click her heels: Emily and Severin are those really cool kind of people who love to get creative and are open to suggestions not of the norm. Those of you who know me and follow my work know that animals often end up in my wedding documentaries. My Snowshoe and Canaan storybook albums almost always have a deer peeping out somewhere, and dogs, birds, turtles, and horses are not to be unexpected. Needless to say, when I saw the rustic chicken coop at Sunny Pointe filled with striking red hens and a handsome white rooster, I was in love. Naturally, I hopped into the lot and took some beauty shots of my new feathered friends. But when Em and Sev were enthusiastic to jump into the chicken filled lot after the ceremony, I knew that I struck wedding gold!!!!!!!! How many couples have wedding portraits surrounded by chickens?!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!
In closing, I must send a special shout out to Katie Hanlon and the team from Bridgeport Conference Center – everything was divine and the food was so good that it defies written description. The wild mushroom streudel was delectable and in my perfect world, I would eat it daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!! It was so fun to finally meet and work with Katie in person – she and I have enjoyed a long standing e-mail relationship from her days of editing at WV Weddings!
Emily and Severin are now embarking upon not only newlywed life, but medical school (Emily) and veterinary school (Severin) in Charlottesville, VA. They are going to bring so many wonderful, caring traits to their professions – best wishes in every single journey and adventure that the two of you have together!