I had been looking forward to Ben and Mia’s wedding for what felt like years. The wild thing about this couple is that I’ve watched Mia turn into a beautiful young woman before my eyes. The very first session I did with her was her high shool senior photos. Then, Ben hired me to photograph him proposing to Mia, which was when I first met him. And then we got to this day. Despite Mia not being a very emotional person, it was a highly emotional day for the rest of us as we watched she and Ben enjoyed their stunning Powell Gardens wedding. If you’ve never experienced Powell Gardens, which is a non-profit public garden just outside of Kansas City, put it on your list of must-dos immediately.
I always love capturing the events leading up to the big moments. So I use the time when the couples and their wedding parties are getting ready to shoot details from the day. In fact, I always try to find a great spot within the location to capture the dress. At Powell Gardens, that was the Chapel Study, which is right by the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel. The Chapel Study is a quaint, but beautiful location where both parties were able to get ready ahead of the wedding.
The Chapel Study is filled with rustic woods and gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows that gave me the perfect amount of light for these shots, even though it ended up being a chilly, drizzly day for Ben and Mia. Still, I got the exact shots I wanted to capture on their day.
The lighting was perfect, allowing me to capture these moody, yet stunning photos of Mia getting ready. Mia found her dress from J. Lynn Bridal in Lawrence, Kan., which is a gorgeous boutique shop downtown that I cannot recommend enough. The dress looked like it was specially made for Mia. And the details in it were absolutely stunning.
And Ben was every bit as handsome. His tux came from Jim’s Formal Wear, who partners with J. Lynn Bridal. I cannot encourage my grooms enough to go with a company like Jim’s, which offers outstanding attention to details with their fitted tuxes and formal wear. They are one of the top options that I’ve seen in my years as a wedding photographer.
Ben’s groomsmen had these incredible black suits that looked so good. But let’s not forget who the real star was that day: Ben. He commented several times that he already felt like he and Mia were married. It was just time to make it official.
I’m always a huge fan of the first look. It’s often an emotional, nerve wracking time for the couple. Ben was just ready to see his bride, for the ceremony to be done, and for their life together as husband and wife to begin.
They were so cute when they finally got to see each other for the first time. Ben lights up every time he talks about Mia, and her calm demeanor just helped ease those pre-wedding jitters.
I have to start off by saying that the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel is an incredible spot to hold a wedding. The history of the chapel is very cool: it was built in 1996 by architect E. Fay Jones, who was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s top apprentices. This chapel is one of 12 that Jones built, including the famous Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs, Ark. These chapels are gorgeous as they stand alone in the natural beauty of their surroundings.
There was so much light in the chapel that I really relied heavily on my camera skills. Also big shout-out to my second shooter here for nailing this image. If you peak right past Mia’s shoulder on the left you an see me getting a different angle. I could have edited myself out, but I had to make sure I showed up in one pic because I told them I refuse to not be part of the family by now! But talk about a gorgeous place to shoot! I cannot recommend a Powell Gardens wedding enough. It is a breathtaking location, no matter the time of year.
I loved converting my color images to black and white with Ben and Mia’s wedding, because it created such a timeless look for this wedding. Between the wood, the light, and this couple that I adore, I was in heaven shooting in this location.
With so much light shining in on them, I had to find the right spots to capture those big moments. And the outcome was seriously just the chef’s kiss. So perfect.
We did go back after the ceremony was over to capture a quiet moment with just the couple. I’m so glad we did this. When you pay for the space and it’s as stunning as a Powell Gardens wedding tends to be, you should definitely take advantage of the space with your photographer.
We hung close to the chapel afterwards so we could get additional shots of the wedding party in front of the chapel. With the glass and natural wood, plus the deep colors that the bridal party wore, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation to shoot in. It was a chilly day, too, but this group nailed it.
There wasn’t much sun to work with, so instead of doing my golden hour shots I normally do with my couples, we headed out to explore Powell Gardens a bit. The event team at the gardens was incredible. They escorted us from location to location to get the perfect shots.
And while sometimes the perfect shot is around the botanical gardens, sometimes we just have to use that veil and let the couple snuggle in together where the location doesn’t matter. Still, a destination like Powell Gardens just ensures you’ll capture something magical.
The reception for Ben and Mia’s Powell Gardens wedding was held at the Grand Hall. The hall features a conservatory filled with organic greens, which was so pretty and relaxing. Plus, their wedding date happened to coincide with Powell Gardens’ Dark Forest event, where they partnered with Quixotic, a Kansas City art collective that focuses on immersive experiences. As Dark Forest was bumping with music and technology in the woods outside, we were feeling the vibe inside and enjoying its drama from a distance while we celebrated Ben and Mia.
My team and I always get so emotional when we see the moms of the couple tear up. Call it having young kids in our lives, but we can’t help but go crazy when we see moms get emotional over their adult kids starting this chapter of their lives.
I absolutely love love. And with engagement season officially in full force, I have my books open and ready to welcome a happy new couple into them! Get in touch if you or someone you know gets engaged this holiday season. I’d love to help you start planning and organizing for that big day.