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Hope Taylor is a photographer specializing in senior portraits serving both Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.


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Our Wedding Day | Getting Ready Hope & Hayden


I don’t even know where to start with this post…because the getting ready portion of our wedding day was one of my FAVORITE parts. You would think it would be the ceremony or first looks or dances…but spending the entire morning with all of my favorite girls was so, so special to me. It was also an EARLY morning and my bridesmaids were SO sweet about it! Absolute angels!! So, here’s the diary-style recap:

I woke up on our wedding morning bright and early at 5am (!!!) I had a slumber party in our King-size hotel bed with two of my bridesmaids: Erika and Morgan. I remember waking up and basically screaming “IT’S CORONATION DAY!!!” like the scene from the Frozen movie – hahaha!!! Despite the fact that I only slept about 4 hours and it was still pitch-black dark outside…I was SO full of energy. We prepped everything the night before, so I threw on some cozy clothes, grabbed my bag and headed to the lobby where I met up with my mom, Hayden’s mom and the rest of the bridesmaids. We got on the trolley to head to Hewitt Oaks at 5:30am (WHEWWW) and we all had on eye gel patches and caffeine in hand. But I’m so grateful for such an amazing group of friends that didn’t complain a single time about the early start time!!!

We had a 30-min trolley ride over to the venue where we sang along to Taylor Swift and kept our energy UP! Our trolley driver was also so, so sweet. We arrived at the venue by 6am and it was SO exciting to start to see everything transforming into OUR wedding day! Typically, brides at Hewitt Oaks get ready in the super cute “bridal cottage” on property…but I did something a little different. We weren’t using the chapel space for our wedding (since our ceremony was outdoors), so I asked if we could transform it into our getting ready space. The walls are COVERED with windows so it was full of natural light (and ya’ll know that was my #1 priority as a photographer!) and it just had a little more space since we’d be spending so much time getting ready there. The team at Hewitt was AMAZING and draped the walls with white curtains, set up furniture for us and transformed it into the most beautiful space for us to get ready! I also had gift bags for my bridesmaids all set-up upon arrival with their own matching PJs and slippers, so we all changed into our “cuter” getting ready outfits (haha!) and started getting ready for the BEST DAY EVER!

Pausing here to insert some iPhone photos from the morning! We arrived at the venue around 6am, but our photography coverage with Lauren didn’t start until noon…so there were some sweet memories captured on our phones that I don’t want to forget!! 🙂 This first one cracks me up because I have NO IDEA why my face looks like that…but this photo was taken before 5:30am and my mom was holding like 5 dresses and wouldn’t let me help her HAHAHA

Very blurry selfie on the trolley…note all the coffee in hand hahaha

Made it to Hewitt!!!

HAHAHA, when I packed for the wedding I made SURE to have a small cooler of Peach Celsius. They’re my favorite!!!

The ONLY hiccup from our entire wedding day was my poor my little sister (aka my lil muffin) – she ended up having to go to the ER during hair and makeup because we thought she was passing a kidney stone (which is a super common side effect of her seizure medications). It was my WORST nightmare to see her leave and not know if she’d be back in time…but more on that later 😉 Spoiler: she didn’t miss a thing!

I held onto my Stanley cup for dear life the entire morning LOL. If I was going to be one thing, it was a hydrated bride!!!

Okay, now to the OFFICIAL photos from Lauren!! But, first, a few more moments I don’t ever want to forget from this part of our day:

My gift to my mom: It took me MONTHS to decide what to get my mom as a gift for our wedding day. She was my Matron of Honor and there is nothing in the world that could sum up how much she means to me or how special it was to have her standing by my side at our wedding. I knew the only hard part of our wedding day for her would be that her amazing mom, my Mimi, is no longer with us and wouldn’t be there to witness it. I ended up deciding on a necklace that has my birth stone, her birth stone and Mimi’s front and center. I decided to gift it to her privately instead of on camera…and I’m so glad we got to share that special moment together. It was my first round of tears of the day (spoiler: they kept coming!)

Hayden’s gift to me: Speaking of my amazing Mimi, I knew that Hayden’s wedding gift to me was going to include an heirloom diamond that got passed down to me. But, I had no idea what it would be! He had the most stunning, delicate bracelet made for me that is truly the most stunning piece of jewelry I’ve ever seen. Another super emotional moment for my mom and I…and I will wear it for the rest of my life!

First look with my bridesmaids: I actually didn’t even plan on doing this!!! All of my bridesmaids had seen my dress before, but I decided spur-of-the-moment that I wanted to have a quiet moment with my mom to get dressed. So, all of my bridesmaids stepped out and we ended up doing a first look that was SO SWEET! Their reactions are some of my favorite photos 🙂

First look with my dad: BRING BACK THE TEARS. I knew my dad and I would both be an absolute wreck, but I cried like a little baby. I got him a tie patch with a photo of us from when I was a baby and he was in the Coast Guard. As a toddler, I used to say “laaaaaast time” when I wanted him to push me on the swing one more time, or play one more game, or tell me one more bedtime story. So, I thought it was appropriate for the patch to say “last time” before we took our last walk together down the aisle before I was a wife. We were both a sobbing mess!

Our amazing hair and makeup team: I’ve raved about them already, but Grace and Tori were truly the heartbeat of our entire wedding morning. Their energy and humor kept the happy vibes going ALL morning long, and everyone was THRILLED with their hair and makeup. They truly could not have been more incredible, and I am so lucky to consider them friends. They are the best of the best!!!!

And another shout out to our full, amazing vendor team:

Planner | Social Graces Events

Venue, Florals, Catering, Rental Production | Hewitt Oaks

Photography | Lauren Fair

Videography | Mark Yeattes

Rentals | Amazing Events

Hair and Makeup | The Beauty Tribe

Invitation Suite | Empress Stationery

Band | The Midnight City Band

Wedding Cake | Sugar Whisk

Transportation | Old Savannah Tours

Wedding Dress | Berta at Anjolique Bridal

Jewelry | SJ Bailey Co.

Bridesmaid Pajamas | Bon Viviann

Bridal Robe | Pallas Couture

Groom Suit | Silver Lining Clothiers

Engagement Ring | Heidi Gibson Designs

Wedding Bans | Olive Ave.

Welcome Party & Accommodations | The Alida Hotel

This was clearly in the middle of a very excited happy dance!!!

We stepped out to take these before my poor sister had to leave for the ER. After these photos, she was gone for about 2 hours and it was the hardest 2 hours of my wedding not knowing if she would be back.

My favorite little muffin!

Drying my tears before putting on THE DRESS!!!

Absolutely LOVE this photo!!!

I have this one framed in our house!!! My absolute best friend.

First look reactions!!! Goodness gracious I love these girls!

We turned around to find the moms cozied up together in the SWEETEST moment!

First look with my dad!!!

As we finished the first look with my dad…I turned around and my SISTER WAS BACK!!!!! She literally walked in, casually still had her hospital bracelet on and had already changed into her bridesmaids dress. She got pain medicine and felt like a new person…I was SO. HAPPY!!!

We re-took some bridesmaid photos since she was BACK!!! 🙂

Now for the BOYS!!! One of my favorite parts of getting our wedding gallery back was getting to scroll through and see how their morning went because I had NO idea 🙂 They got ready at our favorite, The Alida Hotel, and didn’t shuttle over to the venue until about 1pm!

OW OW!!! Hottie tottie!

His grandad’s watch and tie…so special to us.

This was my letter to him on our wedding morning that revealed my wedding gift: a private chef’s tasting on the first night of our honeymoon. I had no idea it made him so emotional until I saw this photo! SO special to me.

Brothers!!! ICYMI in our welcome party post, we had no idea that Hayden’s older brother, Ryan, would be able to attend our wedding until 3 DAYS before. He was deployed in Italy and was able to join us at the absolute last second. It was so special!

Putting final touches on his vows that we exchanged during our first look…which is coming to the blog TOMORROW 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, you may also love:

Our Wedding Day | The Details 

Our Wedding Weekend | The Rehearsal Dinner & Welcome Party

Hayden & Hope | Our Engagement Photos


hi, y'all!

I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!



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