The Pavillion at Carleen Bright Arboretum – Waco, TX Summer Wedding Venue
My, oh my!! Whitney found me (Kensey Nall Photography – hi!) on Google several months ago and reached out to me online. We met for breakfast a week later and we knew it was going to be a great fit.
She’s a little quiet, but her authenticity shines through like a diamond in the rough. I, an undercover shy girl, identified with her right away. If you’ve seen me behind a camera, you’d never guess I’m actually super introverted because I feel most comfortable when I have a camera in my hands. But, this isn’t about me. This is about Whitney and Michael’s incredible summer wedding in Waco, TX.
The Best of Waco TX Wedding Venues – Carleen Bright Arboretum
Cake – Kakes by Kat
Florist – Karen Lochridge w/ Forget Me Not Flowers
Catering – Tony’s Backyard BBQ (AMAZING)
Wedding Dress – Lillies Bridal in Lubbock, TX
Hair and Makeup – Courtney Yarbrough
Engagement ring – Jared
Groom’s Wedding Band – Barnes Jewelry
Ring Dish – The Painted Press on Etsy
Photography – Kensey Nall Photography
When I finally met Michael, I thought “how did these two get so lucky?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very lucky wife, but we’re a situation where opposites attract. Whitney and Michael are made from the same mold. They’re gentle, kind, genuine, and have a tangible love for God.
Let’s start with these gorgeous details. I bring a lot of my own little touches, but Whitney and Michael thought of everything. That little ring dish is my favorite thing ever. It was about 105 degrees and like, 50% humidity that day. For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to set up shop for details OUTSIDE. I was wrapping up details, pretty much seeing stars (entirely my fault), and wanted to get a few images of The Bible and their wedding rings. My husband found Corinthians for me for the image below. Then I had this thought that I wanted the veil to be in the foreground of the cover of The Bible. I tried holding it, but that wasn’t working out. Garrott had already gone back inside. So I did what any rational wedding photographer would do and put the veil over my head and body while hovering over this setup I created. Just in time, this perfect breeze came through and swept the veil over just enough.
P.S. It’s my own veil I bring to weddings. I’m not just up in my brides’ veils actin’ crazy.
Ok, details are done and I was super proud of myself. I LOVE a good details session because it’s kind of my creative warmup. I can focus my energy and get my vibes right. It sounds a little weird, but I feel the energy from the box of details my couple has thoughtfully curated and put together ever so carefully. I do my best to send all of my good energy back into these delicate little details.
Of course, we had to pop some bubbly to beat that crazy heat. Then we rushed back inside to the cover of the air conditioner (which worked like a champ, might I add).
I had already seen Whitney’s dress (I had tried the same one on at the same boutique before my wedding! It was definitely her dress) so I kind of knew what to expect. But, she floored everyone with her elegant beauty in that dress! It suited her so well; elegant, classy, and beautifully unique. Be sure to make an appointment at Lillie’s Bridal in Lubbock, TX if you’re looking for a wedding dress in West Texas!
If you haven’t learned this about me yet, you don’t know that father-daughter first looks are one of my favorite moments of the day. I lost my own dad when I was kid, so I get a little emotional anyway. But more than that, I just feel so much love and happiness when a dad gets to see his little girl for the first time in her wedding dress. The reactions dads have are seriously the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen, time and time again.
I’ll say it again: If you’re looking at Waco TX wedding venues, The Pavillion at Carleen Bright Arboretum is your place. As you can see, it is absolutely beautiful. The layout is a photographer’s dream with the bridal suite going to a side patio out of sight from peering eyes. I often have to scour the property for a place to do first looks to keep the bride out of sight, but this Waco, TX wedding venue totally solved that problem for me!
Shuffling down the balcony past all the windows was a different story, but we made it work with a shield of bridesmaids!
We got about five minutes into this and someone yelled “MICHAEL IS ON HIS WAY”! Well, we can’t let Michael see Whitney, so what do we do outside the cover of the bridal suite? We communicate that’s what. We relayed the message to keep Michael in the entrance of the building, but not in the area with all of the windows. I later found out that the message got lost in translation and about six different people ended up telling him to do different things. Buuut, hey, we avoided the worst.
Look at this guy! My talented husband got these great shots of Michael getting ready. He should’ve made sure the coast was clear before letting them drive over from the house!! Jk, jk!
Finally, time for the first look! More than first looks with dad, a first look with your future spouse is what dreams are made out of. Imagine your honey… standing there in front of hundreds of people, knowing that the reaction to you his going what everyone is waiting for. You’ve dreamed of it for years. You have an image in your head, and you may have gone as far as I did and said “you better cry when you see me!” But, then think about this (I didn’t and I wish I had)… your honey sees you for the first time, ready for your wedding, and there is no one else peering into his or her soul for “that” reaction. It allows so much more room for a comfortable, genuine reaction. Michael’s reaction was SO sweet! I loved every moment of this first look, despite it being 105 degrees!
After they had some uninhibited time together, I set them up for some couple’s portraits. This little shady spot was perfect (aside from some tiny little ants that were super curious about Whitney’s dress), so we stayed there to avoid the sun beaming down on us.
We did the final preparations for the ceremony, AKA shots and prayers.
And, finally, here comes the bride!
I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said this ceremony didn’t make me tear up. Michael and Whitney’s moment by themselves immediately following made those tears roll. I simply don’t have words.
Family formals in the heat aren’t a ton of fun, but we made it!
Yes, those fans were on! I’m taking spray bottles with fans next time.
I’m telling you – TEAR JERKER!
Give me all the sunset photos!
Time to party!
These cats had GLOW STICKS on top of their already awesome reception. Friggin. Blast. We were also charmed with the twin uncles performing some jigs that were pretty jammable! And of course, I got to see their reaction to the sneak peek I gave them before they dug into their cake.
And finally, their private dance and bubble send-off!
AMAZING WEDDING! I’m so thankful I was able to be a part of this incredibly special day of theirs. I’m also stoked to have these two terrific people as new friends!
Best wishes to the Mr. and Mrs!
For an amazing Waco TX wedding venue, check out The Pavillion at Carleen Bright Arboretum!
If you need a wedding photographer in Waco, TX or anywhere else in the world, check out my website here:
I LOVE seeing happy and stress-free couples, so even if I’m not your wedding photographer, I’m always happy to help! Contact me today for a free custom quote or just some plain ole advice!
- Whitney + Michael, 7.8.22
"Choosing Kensey to be our photographer for our wedding and engagement photos, was the best wedding decision we made! When planning for our wedding, we made a decision that photos were going to be our top priority since they last a lifetime and beyond.My family was blown away by how good Kensey was and kept asking me how I found her. It was definitely a blessing that I will be thankful for for a lifetime!"
"Kensey’s passion and dedication for making your wedding vision come to life is absolutely incredible."
- Kailey + Jared, 7.23.22
"Kensey was amazing from day one! I hired her to be the photographer for my daughter's engagement photos. We were so impressed that we booked her immediately for the wedding. She went above and beyond to make us happy and that is saying a lot considering we have such a big family! She went with the flow and anything we threw her direction she did with a smile on her face. She helped make my daughter's day the most perfect day and now we have the memories to prove it. Don't hesitate to book Kensey! Book her now!!"
"She went above and beyond to make us happy..."
- Kirsty + Collin, 12.3.21
My husband and I were so happy with Kensey. She is very professional, yet personable and fun! She’s invested in her couples and does everything she can to meet every need. She even had a sewing kit when my husbands button popped off of his jacket and held onto my shawl just in case I needed it during the wedding since it was a little chilly out! She is so easy to communicate with and captured so many amazing moments. We’re so happy with our photos and will cherish them for a lifetime.
"She’s invested in her couples and does everything she can to meet every need."