Bridal Session at Petit Jean Mountain // Arkansas Wedding Photographer //Jaycie

Jaycie and I had went back and forth on location ideas in Clinton, AR.  Having never been there I really wasn’t much help to be honest. Originally she had a cute little white chapel in mind.  A few days before our session she mentioned wanting to do her bridal session at Petit Jean Mountain. Excited at the idea, but also nervous because I had never shot there prior and I didn’t know the layout well.  I did a little homework (asked all my Little Rock photographer friends about the area and good spots) and I showed up a tad bit early to scope things out. We were ready and had a plan!

Jaycie arrived with her mom and her future mother in law, at the time, to help her move around in her gorgeous dress.  Petit Jean Mountain is not an ordinary location for a bridal session. Seeing so many bridal sessions on mountain tops, I was thrilled to contribute my art! Literally in the woods, we had to strive to keep her gown clean. Basically she was set up in a location and couldn’t move an inch without assistance!  I’m thankful those momma’s were with us because we needed all the help we could get between the veil, the flowers (by the FAB Magnolia Belle Floral), the train, and figuring out where we were headed! Thankfully CJ’s mom lived close by so she knew where everything was!

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Arkansas Wedding Photographer Erika Dotson Photography

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Thanks so much!

-erika

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mattie and Luke’s Backyard Reception | Intimate Weddings

I’ll be the first to admit I love a good backyard wedding reception! Intimate weddings are some of the best around! Seriously they are usually so laid back and so much fun but also so much sweat and tears have been put into them! Families all come together to help pull off a wonderful night!

Lot’s of these little details were handcrafted and personalized to these two!  Mattie’s sister, Haley, made all the signs! She has the best handwriting! There was a kids table, which I know my kiddos LOVED!  They made the hay bale flower D by spray painting the letter and filling it in with florals. One of my favorite touches was the barb wire vases, such a unique idea!  Then there’s their cake……seriously such a perfect fit!  Those little cake toppers might be the cutest things I’ve ever seen!!!!!

Everyone had a blast on the dance floor! I feel like having a designated dance floor for an intimate backyard wedding like this is a must! It provides a space where your guests will gravitate to dance and get all those candid dancing photos!

Mattie and Luke exited to the ring of a cowbell as they escaped into an old purple Bronco for their get away! They were showered with love and excitement! Thank you guys for allowing me to capture this special moment in your lives! I wish you the best throughout all of eternity!

Part 1: Getting Ready

Part 2: First Look

Part 3: Couple Portraits

Part 4: Ring Ceremony

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Southern Wedding Photographer | Mattie and Luke’s Ring Ceremony

As a southern wedding photographer, often, I’m traveling all over the state to document everyone else’s beginning.  I’m so thankful I was able to be such an important part of Mattie and Luke’s day to capture their story!  It was just so fun to see my entire family fill the roles of wedding party, officiant, parents, etc. too!  Even my four year old and her cousin came running down the aisle during their first kiss yelling “mooooooooom”!!!!!!  Goodness, gracious! So thankful they love our little ones! Pretty sure there were more ring bearers and flower girls than there were bridesmaids and groomsmen!!!!!

For their ring ceremony, they both prepared their own vows.  Luke’s blew everyone in the audience away! Luke’s sister, Tracy, is one of his closest siblings and Mattie’s best friends.  They ended up having her stand beside Luke as his “best sister”.  The bride was able to ride up to the ceremony on her horse, Z, which was such a dream for her!  She planned on having a cowhide runner but there was some confusion and they never got in the correct place, sometimes things like that happen! I feel like it’s ok though because we captured some detail shots on them! 😉

Mattie chose her front yard under the Walnut trees for her ceremony.  When her family first bought the farm they were much smaller.  They decided to build a house beside them and with time and love, they grew to be big and gorgeous southern trees. We had a beautiful August last year, and normally at that time of year they would have had a few walnuts falling on guests, but it stayed cool and rainy most of the month.  Jaime, Mattie’s best friend, played the piano while they braided a three cord strand that hung from the tree to symbolize the intertwining of their marriage with Heavenly Father.  Mattie’s sister in law, Ally, read a part of an LDS talk on marriage. And of course, the ceremony ended with what any southern gentleman would do, a dip kiss!

 

Part 1 – Getting Ready

Part 2 – First Look

Part 3 – Couple Portraits

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Mattie and Luke’s Couple Portraits

Let’s roll right into some couple portraits, they are always my favorite from the entire day! These images were taken right on her parents’ farm. That background with the rolling hills is breathtaking! Easily one of my favorite shots from the entire day was them holding hands, locked into each other’s eyes, walking away from that beautiful background behind them!!! All the heart eyed emojis!!!!!
 
Mattie’s gown was so unique, I’ve never seen anything like it! Of course, if you know Mattie, that’s exactly her. She’s stylish, confident, and not afraid to make a bold statement with her attire! Also, I’ve got to point out that Luke was lookin’ pretty sharp as well! That cowboy hat must have been the finishing touch!
 
When looking at your timeline I like to spend at least 30 minutes capturing your wedding day portraits. Obviously the more the merrier! Keep distances, locations, and transportation in mind when trying to plan this part of your day out.
 
Lastly, often people ask me questions about the portrait part of the day. Usually, people are worried they will look silly or won’t know what to do with their hands. haha It’s my job to make you feel comfortable so don’t worry I’ll help you out! Most importantly, I need you to enjoy each other. The smiles you see are genuine real smiles. I’ll set you up for success and make sure you look your best!

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Mattie and Luke’s First Look

 
As a wedding photographer, I love when my clients express interest in having a first look. A first look happens when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. I’ve had so many couples come back and tell me later that they were so glad they opted for a first look. They were so thankful they had time to themselves before the whirlwind of the day took hold! This is an intimate time with the two of you. You are free to talk, hug, kiss, share letters, exchange gifts, or whatever your heart desires. Make it unique and let your father walk you to your groom, allow your closest family and friends to be a part, or simply the two of you.
 
Here’s Mattie and Luke’s first look, of course, the horse wanted in on the action and that makes this all the more perfect for them!!!! The shot of her reaching out and touching his shoulder, it’s perfect! Then that smile on Luke’s face is genuine! I love it! Mattie takes a step away to show off her gorgeous wedding boots! We followed up with some wonderful portraits and I’m so thankful they chose to do one!
Part 1 – Getting Ready
Part 3 – Couple Portraits

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Mattie and Luke married in the Kansas City Temple last August. They had their ring ceremony at her parent’s private home in Marble, Arkansas. This was a wedding I had been looking forward to for quite some time! Mattie is officially a Dotson! So excited to have her as part of the family!
 
Mattie saw Luke at a track meet, who was there watching his younger brother, Andy, compete. She asked Andy to give him her number and it all started with a text message. But June 17, 2010, was when he asked her to be his girlfriend. He took her to his mom’s classroom late one night. They had the tables pushed back and the computer playing country songs so they could two-step.
 
After 6 years of dating, he took her to go fishing on some family property. They had been at it for awhile when she got her line stuck in a tree and broke the spinner off. He told her to go back to the tackle box and there is a red one in the bottom. So she opened it up to find a ring box on the bottom but she was so confused because he was halfway around the pond! She thought maybe she wasn’t supposed to see it. So she kept yelling “I don’t see a red spinner!” ha ha! He ended up having to walk over there and pulled out the ring box, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him! It was perfect for them!
Let’s start their day with the getting ready images!  I love being able to capture my couple’s from the beginning of the day. Typically I arrive and start capturing details necessary to tell your unique story of your day!

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Check back soon for the rest of their day!

-Erika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashton Campbell | Bridal Portraits at Stone Chapel | Arkansas Wedding Photographer

I had so much fun shooting Ashton Campbell‘s bridal portraits at Stone Chapel!  She is genuinely one of the sweetest people I know and she’s such a joy to be around! She was full of smiles and knew exactly how to work that camera! She brought her best friend along and we roamed all over that venue!  Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farm in Goshen is easily one of my favorite venues in Northwest Arkansas, so I was obviously excited when Ashton told me that’s where her wedding was going to be!  I love that we were able to capture some timeless bridal portraits but also got to play around a bit and run barefoot through the field during that beautiful golden hour!

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Thanks Ashton! I can’t wait to share more wedding images soon!

-erika

 

Kelsey and Weston Engagements | Arkansas Wedding Photographer

Kelsey found me through my friend BJ Matthews of B.Matthews Creative, after he sent my name at the top of his referral list…..thanks BJ! Love you!

I met with Kelsey and Weston at a coffee shop, just like I try to do with all my wedding couples! I met Weston’s daughter there for the first time and she had me hooked, she’s so cute! They expressed at that time they wanted their wedding to be all about uniting them as a family and for their engagement session to be mostly of the three of them.  Done! Their little “K” did so great! It’s hard to take a ton of photos when you are only three!!!!

Updated to add: Check out their wedding day here!

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Thank you so much for choosing me to capture your engagements and your new little family!

-erika

Christmas Mini Sessions | Arkansas Family Photography

I set this up a few weeks ago for some family and close friends!  We all had a blast trudging through marshmallows and sprinkling potato flakes everywhere! My beautiful friends exchanged photos for some much needed house cleaning! Love those girls!  I love Christmas time so so so much! With school being out I’ve been playing mom all day but decided to take a break and share these with the world before Christmas was over!

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-erika

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