Tips for choosing a wedding photographer

We know we run a wedding venue, but every aspect of your day will be covered by your photographer. They’ll be by your side, asking us questions, and taking advantage of all that Spring Lake has to offer as a wedding venue. We’ve met all kinds of amazing (and not so amazing..ssshhh) photographers. We’ve even seen a few be flown in from all over the country to photograph Spring Lake weddings.

We know exactly what you need to look for in a wedding photographer for your Georgia vintage wedding. Here’s our list top ten tips to choosing the perfect wedding photographer.

10. Start looking early. Just like your dream wedding venue (ahem), dream photographers only have so many available wedding days in the year. And the good ones get booked early. So start your search right after you reserve your wedding venue (770.377.6962).

9. Choose a wedding photographer with good communication skills. You have no idea how important communication is on wedding day until you have a vendor with poor communication skills. You want to make sure that you and your photographer are on the same page from day one. That means everything from dates and times to details in your contract.

8. Choose a wedding photographer that fits your budget. While we know your venue and photographer are probably at the top of your list of priorities, we’re still not big advocates of starting out your marriage in the hole financially (that’s part of the reason we make our wedding packages as affordable as possible!). If you’re looking for your dream photographer on a tight budget, consider a Sunday wedding. Or another  good option for finding a less expensive but still awesome photographer is to look for a talented photographer that is just starting out. Don’t forget that you can also shift your budget around to accommodate the photographer of your dreams. Remember, you’ll need a venue for space to create the wedding of your dream. You’ll need a photographer to capture the memories you want to remember forever.

Photography by Paris Mountain Photography

7. Find a photographer that knows how to capture details. You’re probably spending a lot of time making your wedding day gorgeous from the table decorations to your shoe selection, and you want to remember all that gorgeousness 20 years from now.

6. Choose a professional wedding photographer. We know your best friend’s brother just got a fancy new camera or your Uncle Bob has been taking pictures of the local sports teams for ages. Wedding photography is it’s own segment of photography for a reason. A wedding day is full of specific details and things to be on the lookout for (like that quiet kiss between you and your groom during dinner) that only a professional will know to watch for.

Join us next time for our top five tips!!

Tips for a stress free wedding day

We’ve seen it all in way of weddings over the last few years. We’ve seen broken high heels, late-starting wedding ceremonies, and missing grooms. So, in hopes of a perfectly smooth wedding day for you (and wedding season for us ;) ), we’re dishing out our favorite tips to a smooth wedding day.

If you’re having an outdoor wedding our #1 tip is to…(drumroll please)…wear flats! Yep, that’s right. Or wedges if you need the height for you dress (or the kiss ;) ). Heels, while adorable, will sink into the grass and make it hard to walk around on wedding day. And if you’re planning on wearing a thick, puffy dress, you probably don’t want any more difficulty walking than absolutely necessary on wedding day. Flats or wedges will give you the surface area you need to stay on top of the ground instead of sinking in.

#2. Bring an adorable (or clear) umbrella. That’s right. We know you’re watching the forecast and even if there’s no forecast for rain, you just never know what you might need an umbrella for. An umbrella can shield your amazing hairdo from the breeze on a summer afternoon, or provide the shade you need to keep your makeup from melting while you’re waiting on your wedding photos to be taken. It could also be a prop for your photos. A gorgeous neutral umbrella on a sunny afternoon adds some open shade (that your photographer will probably loooove) and add some variety to your photos. And of course, the obvious use, it can keep you dry on a rainy wedding day. We know you’re wishing for the best (and we are too!), but it does rain on Saturdays and Sundays in Georgia. We promise. The good news is that some of the most beautiful wedding days here at Spring Lake happened on rainy days.

Photography by Beloved Photography

#3. Bring chalk. It helps soak up all kinds of spills on wedding dresses. The chalk soaks up the bad stuff and masks that white dress in the event you got a little messy with the pre-ceremony drinks or make some awesome moves on the dance floor. Or, there’s always that chance that the flower girl (or maid of honor) touches your dress with dirty fingers right before your photos. You just never know. That’s why you bring a stick of chalk.

#4. Pick the right venue. Your venue plays such a huge role on your wedding day, you want to make sure you go with the right one. You want a venue that is versatile and can give you the style of wedding you’ve always dreamed of. You also want to choose a facility that you know will be available and helpful on your wedding day in the event something comes up (because it always does). If you’re wondering how Spring Lake can fit into all this, just take a look at our reviews. Our couples and families absolutely adore our venue and the Spring Lake team (AKA Renty). Reviews don’t lie. ;) And, in the end, your heart knows just the perfect venue for you, so go with that one.

How to book our vintage wedding venue

Psst! Have you heard? We have a few dates still available for 2014. Yep, that’s right. You could totally have your dream wedding here at Spring Lake this year!! We think our packages are amazingly affordable (we have a heart for you guys!), and we love getting to know you through the wedding planning process. That’s why we want to make it easy for you to book your wedding date. Here’s how it works…

You found us! That was step one and you’ve already got that part complete. Congratulations! You even have step two complete, too: checking out all the helpful information we have on the blog. Bet you didn’t think you were so far along in the process already, did you?

Now you’re wanting to know all the details. When is this venue available? And, (let’s be honest) most importantly, how much does this amazing wedding venue cost? Guess what? All that information is right here at your fingertips. You can have a look at our wedding packages by having a look at our “Pricing” page. It’s a pretty simple setup. You decide if you want to get married on Saturday or Sunday, and then you pick if you want bbq (Lakeside), chicken (Willow Tree), or steak (Willow Tree). Then, the only thing left to do is pick a month.

Photography by Tin Can Photography
You can see when our barn wedding venue is available by checking out our calendar right there on the contact page. We try to keep it as up to date as possible, but you can confirm your date is actually available (and get all the latest information) by giving Renty a call. She’s in charge of this amazing venue and she knows everything! She’s really nice, to boot! She’ll hook you up with a tour of the place. And if you like it, she’ll give you all the information on our policies and make sure you’re all taken care of with the contract and all. You’ll need to pay an $800 non-refundable deposit to hold your date. Then, just a month before your wedding, you send over the balance on your account and we’ll be ready and waiting for you!

We love rolling out the red, er, green carpets for our guests and their families. Just let us know what we can do to make your day go even more smoothly and we’ll do what we can to help! Have a question about the booking process? No problem! You can ask us on Facebook, send us a message, or give Renty a call (770.377.6962). Talk to you soon!

Spring Vintage Wedding Planning

Wanting a spring wedding? We have some dates available for 2014 (May 17th, June 7th, September 21st or October 12th)! Call Renty to claim one before they’re all gone!! 770.377.6269


Spring is already springing! It’s the perfect time of year to be planning your spring vintage wedding. Spring brings delicate lacy flowers, and bright green sprigs of happy new growth. It’s the perfect pairing for your delicate lacy wedding dress and decorations from an era gone by.

You know that vintage goodness we’re talking about. Clean, classic, but detailed mason jars wrapped in lace softly lit with a tea light. And soft, beautiful flowers welcoming your guests to your country reception. Your bridesmaids adorned in flowing mint dresses with coral flowers. Buckets of Baby’s Breath lining the aisle and your grandma’s vintage bible adorned with lace and a rose. Yeah, that’s the goodness we’re talking about.

And since it could still be a bit chilly out in the shade, you probably want to find a beautiful long sleeved top to adorn your gorgeous wedding dress. We especially love this one we saw on Martha Stewart Weddings. It’s the perfect amount of cover up and flair of vintage you could want for your spring vintage wedding. We love accessories like this that only add to your wedding day ensemble.

We’ve seen so many fun vintage ideas at our venue over the years. One of our favorites is using a little red wagon for the ring bearer and flower girl. It always gets “oohs” and “aahs” from the guests and is adorable every time. You just never know what the little ones are going to do when they take the spotlight. An extra special touch is to let your ring bearer wear an englishman’s hat.

And while we’re talking springtime, we can’t help but mention the flowers that are coming into season right now. Tulips are an obvious given with Easter right around the corner, but there are also daffodils (don’t they remind you of Willy Wonka’s candy land teacups?), lilacs, and daisies on the casual side. If you’re wanting something a bit more formal there are orchids, anemones, and peonies. You can’t get any more springtime-wedding-ish than gorgeous spring flowers.

Looking for more vintage wedding inspiration? Hop on over to check out our boards on Pinterest! We’ve got all kinds of ideas pinned that we just know will be amazing at your Spring Lake wedding. We want your wedding to be YOUR wedding, complete with the beauty and sentimental meaning you always dreamed of. We’re here to help make that happen. See you there!

Lakeside Wedding Gazebo

If you’ve been reading our blog over the past few months, you’ve probably seen photos of our screened in gazebo. We think it’s a perfect space to use on your wedding day. It’s right on the water. It is next to the ceremony location. You can see it from the reception barn. You can see the reception barn from it (meaning no one will miss the cake cutting. ;) ). The boys (and men) can fish off the front. You can use it for photos. The possibilities are endless. We’re going to talk today about how to incorporate it into your wedding.

There are immediately three uses of the gazebo that come to mind. The first idea is to use it as a bar. We’ve got you all set up already with a dry bar area inside. It doesn’t take up the entire space, but it’s just the right size bar to serve up those pre-ceremony (or post ceremony) lemonades and sweet teas for your guests in the heat of summer, or to serve beer to the guys when they want to sneak away during the reception. Since it’s screened in, it provides a nice breezy, shaded area for them to hang out. And when there’s no breeze, you can create your own with the ceiling fan inside. It’s a great place to kick back and relax with lots of comfortable seating and an incredible view of the lake. You’ll probably have to send someone down there to get the guys if you do let them sneak off during the reception; they might night want to come back to the party!

The second idea is to use it for photos. Our photographers never cease to amaze us with the creativity of photos in and around the gazebo. We’ve seen all kinds of ideas. From fishing off the dock, couples swinging in the swing, or there’s the old standby of couples kissing from the dock with the gorgeous lake and field in the background (still amazing every time). One of our favorites is seeing couples dangling their feet from the dock. It’s so casual and romantic, it’s just like something you’d see in a movie. It’s also a great vantage point for your photographer to take photos of you out on the lake in our canoe. And the screen door provides a layering element your photographer will love using.

Photography by Morning Light by Michelle Ladreau

And finally. One of our favorite ideas. How to use the gazebo in your ceremony. One of the things that makes our venue unique is our ceremony location. It’s remote enough to feel like you’re getting married in a field facing a lake, but close enough to the reception barn to get ready and walk a few yards to the ceremony. But that walk can be a challenge to the bride who wants to surprise her groom. One solution is to hide the groom in the gazebo. He has a comfortable space to wait while the guests arrive without being seen, and can easily walk to his position at the cedar arch. You can even keep him hidden until the bride gets near the ceremony location (in a hidden spot), and the let him come out at the last minute to peek at his bride just as she begins walking down the aisle. Or, if you’re truly dedicated to the idea of your guests seeing the bride at the very last moment, is to hide the bride in the gazebo (before all the guests arrive) until she is ready to walk down the aisle.

We love our gazebo and the versatility it provides to our couples. Do you have a plan for how to incorporate the gazebo into your wedding? Or did you use it for your wedding? We’re starting the conversation on Facebook! Meet us there!

Real Southern Wedding at Spring Lake Events

Today we’re going to showcase a real wedding that happened at Spring Lake this year! There is beauty in realness. You can see what our venue looks like in it’s entirety (almost). You can see opportunities you’ll have to decorate or make your wedding special. And, on top of all that, you can have a view from a photographer’s perspective, and see some amazing photos you can actually get at your wedding.

This wedding was photographed by Morning Light by Michelle Landreau.

You’ve spent time, effort and hard-earned money to get that dress, and to reserve our venue. Now it’s time to show it off! Our venue has earned just the perfect touch of rustic-ness to contrast that gorgeous vintage wedding dress of yours. That’s why we love these two dress photos.

What a breath of fresh air, right? And ever since our What is a First Look blog post, you’ve been wondering what a first look actually looks like at Spring Lake when you don’t want to see your groom before the ceremony. We have the perfect spot for it!

Are you engaged to a “man’s man?” Would you let him fish on wedding day if he promised to let your photographer get a photo of it? We love making our guests feel at at home on their wedding day.

Our place just looks like home. It’s a mix between that barn on great-grandpa’s farm and the lakeside pavilion where your family always had those summertime outside barbeque reunions. The best part is, we made our place especially for your wedding day.

You want a place to hide your groom and the rest of the guys. Our screened-in pavilion is the perfect place for it!

And what about a fairytale horse-drawn carriage entrance to your wedding ceremony? Yes! You can even do that here! We love how the horse and carriage reflects off the lake.

We’ve mentioned our willow tree framed cedar arch before, but you can really see it in action during this lakeside ceremony. We looove the tulle lining the aisle. The bunches almost look like two rows of flower girl attendants lining the way for the bride.

We also know you’re looking for a venue with lots of amazing magazine-worthy photo ops. We’ve got ‘em!

See? We told you. What about this soft, beautiful pastoral scene?



Pardon us while we pick ourselves up off the floor after those four amazing photos. On to the party in the reception barn!

And to mingle with the guests playing corn-hole out on the lawn

After the sun goes down, the party keeps going! We love the outdoor lighting surrounding our reception barn!

We even have a perfect rustic photo booth built right in! ;)

And how about a picture-perfect exit to top the night!

We hope you enjoyed a view at a real wedding here at Spring Lake! We love sharing our gorgeous vintage wedding venue with couples and their families!

How to begin planning a wedding

In light of the new year (and resolutions), let’s talk about getting started wedding planning. If you’re like most girls (or couples), you aren’t quite sure where to begin. You’ve been dreaming of your fairy tale wedding all your life and you want to make sure every detail falls perfectly into place. You have a Pinterest board full of your favorite vintage details, elegant cakes, and ballroom dresses (and lace dresses, and bohemian dresses, and….), but where to go from here?

We think a great place to start is with a basic timeline/checklist. Like this one from Lauren Conrad. Did you notice the first thing on the list isn’t your dress or even mason jars? It’s your venue. Yep. That’s right. It’s because the best ones are already booked, so you need to get in touch with Renty pronto (770.377.6962). You’ll schedule a time to come over for a tour of our venue (we’re betting you’ll fall in love immediately). You’ll get to see our lake, rustic wedding barn, cedar arch, and how perfectly we’ve got this place decked out for your wedding. When you walk through the venue, you’ll probably have all kinds of ideas on how to make our venue your own custom wedding (think: vintage, rustic, country, elegant, green) wedding venue. You’ll think of some color choices that go with your season and blend seamlessly with our venue. And you’ll love all the Pinterest-worthy details scattered throughout our property.
If your date is available or flexible, and you’re ready to book the day of your tour, you can go ahead and take care of that with Renty. Then you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you have the most important reservation of your wedding taken care of. From there, you’ll want to head back to Pinterest and pin all the awesome wedding ideas you love. Then, you’ll have an idea of the type of vendors you want to hire. You probably don’t want to hire a photographer that specializes in ballroom photography if you’re going to get out on a farm for your wedding day. And you’ll want to look for a hair stylist that knows how to keep your ‘do looking amazing, even in an outdoor setting.

The best news is that if your purchase one of our packages, you can have most of everything taken care of. We’ll take care of not only your venue, but your food & drinks, and even your flowers! You only need to think about what you and your party will wear, your cake, and any special decorations or ceremony elements. But don’t think that booking a package will limit you! We’ve seen everything from crazy groom’s cakes that look like lifelike tree slices to a bride riding in on a horse drawn carriage. Your possibilities will be endless at Spring Lake, but we’ve got the early part of your planning process covered. ;)

Weddings Old and New

We had an incredible year here at Spring Lake in 2013!!! All in thanks to our wonderful couples and their families! We just love sharing our beautiful place with sweet young couples on one of the most important days of their life. We’ve shared amazing sunsets together, watched you dance your first and last dances, and even got to watch you cast off on your first boat (er, canoe) ride. We’ve seen the panic on your face when you realize you forgot your garter belt and the relief when you saw your maid of honor had an extra for just a day like that. We’ve been at the helm, watching and waiting for just the moment to show you we care by going that extra step that you never expected. We’ve even given you some industry secrets based on years of experience in the wedding industry. It’s been such an amazing year for us. We hope it’s been an amazing year for you, too.

We’ve shared our venue with some famous people. Added a canoe. Added some vintage pews to our collection. Been showcased in a music album cover. Shown up in The Knot. Been featured in Here Comes the Guide and Occasions Magazine. And that’s just some of the cool things we can remember off the top of our head!

Photography by Amy Zumwalt

If you’re one of our 2014 brides, hang on tight! We have an awesome year planned! Almost all of our weekends are filled up (so if you’re wishing to be one of our 2014 brides, check out our calendar pronto ASAP!) with what we know will be incredibly amazing weddings. We’re more prepared than ever to make your wedding day the gorgeous day you always dreamed of. We even have some fun things in the works to make this year even more exciting! (Stay tuned!)

And while we’re expectantly waiting on the gorgeousness of 2014, we’re already booking for 2015. So if you’re just getting engaged over the holidays (eeekk!!! Congratulations!!!!), you want to go ahead and give Renty a call ASAP (770.377.6962). As soon as the weather starts picking up again in a couple of months, she’ll be completely booked with tours and couples booking their favorite dates. So, just to be on the safe side…you should probably go ahead and get on her busy calendar.

Here’s to a year filled with magazine appearances, gorgeous photographs, stunning dresses, and love overflowing!!

Christmas Traditions

While we’re enjoying this holiday season at Springlake, we wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas too. This time of year is so special, not only do you to spend time with friends and family, but we get to celebrate the best gift of all, love. In a weird way it reminds us of weddings, but we don’t have to talk about that today. If you’re away from friends and family, we hope that you have someone special to spend the season with, and lots of phone calls to connect with the people you love.

If it’s your first Christmas as a married couple, we know you exactly what you’re going through. Your first Christmas together is special and can be stressful, with all the traveling to two families. You get the hang of it one year and then it’ll be smooth sailing from there.

Beginning new holiday traditions can be a lot of fun, too. You’ve probably heard of elf on the shelf. It’s a fun holiday tradition where you move the else around every day at December, just to make sure you remember that Santa is watching out for you. It’s great fun to play with kids, that happy new newlywed couple can enjoy it too. Or you could start a tradition for just the two of you that your family can grow into. You can get fun holiday pajamas, popcorn,  candy bars and your favorite holiday movie. When Christmas eve comes and it’s quiet in the house, you have a plan of something fun to do. One of our favorites is White Christmas. It’s a classic that I’ll give you the warm and fuzzies, and you can marvel at the multifaceted talent of years gone by. Or you could go with a more recent classic like Home Alone. This is even a fun gift you can give your in-laws or your extended families as you’re traveling this holiday season.

Photography by Nathan and Natosha Photography

Another fun favorite family tradition is setting cookies out for Santa. While there aren’t any weddings happening at SpringLake this month, Christmas weddings are always a hit. If you’re having a Christmas wedding, Christmas cookies would be awesome favors. And if you’re just looking for a thoughtful, inexpensive gift, this is the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Just drop them into some parchment paper, tie them with some ribbon and drop them in a decorative cup or jar. The dough freezes really well, so if you have a few different events to go to, you can always just freeze it and bake them straight from the freezer.

Here we go!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Must Have Mom)
  • 2C Flour
  • ½ Tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¾ C Melted, Unsalted Butter
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • ½ C White Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 2 C Chocolate Chips
  1. In a mixer or medium mixing bowl beat eggs then add sugars, butter, vanilla, baking soda, salt and flour.
  2. Mix until combined.
  3. Add chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Form balls with your hands or use a cookie dropper.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-14 min until golden brown on edges.
  7. For best results I bake them on parchment paper.
  8. Store in a glass covered dish to keep them crisp and chewy!
  9. If freezing dough:
  10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop dough balls onto sheet.
  11. Freeze dough on the cookie sheet in the freezer until completely frozen.
  12. Once completely frozen remove balls from cookie sheet and put into a gallon freezer bag.
  13. When you freeze them this way and store in a bag aftwerwards it keeps them from sticking together and allows you to pull out as many or as few as you want at one time!
  14. Remove balls from the freezer and bake according to directions above. No need to thaw them, cook straight from the freezer. Cooking time may need to be lengthened when dough is frozen.

Wedding Day Planning

We know you’re probably stockpiling all the things you need for your wedding day. All the decorations, your wedding dress with all its accessories, the special elements for your ceremony, and all the paper goods you need to mail out to your guests. And when the day gets here, we want to make sure you have everything you need for a wedding day in our amazing valley we call Spring Lake.

The most important thing you’ll want is yourself, and your groom. Make sure he and your wedding party have the address and directions to our venue. Just to be sure, you might want to print out directions from a common location (like your house or Atlanta) in case someone looses a signal on the way to the venue. You never know, but better safe than sorry. And you’ll also want to be sure you have all the getting ready details covered: dress, necklace, earrings, makeup (or makeup artist), shoes, comfy shoes for the reception if you’d like, etc. And for your groom, be sure he has the necessities covered like an undershirt and his suit (guys tend to forget things like that). Oh, and socks. Guys are known to forget the socks to go with their suits. We definitely don’t want him marching down the aisle in white sneaker socks!!

For your ceremony you want to make sure you have any sentimental pieces for your ceremony (like a wrap for your bouquet) together. And you’ll want to make sure you have an extra copy of any paperwork your officiant might need from you (like a copy of your vows) even if you’ve emailed it to them.

Photography by Kiss The Bride Photography

Are you bringing your own reception decor? We’re thinking place cards, table decorations, and decor for your reception tables (like menu placards). Flowers are included in our wedding packages, but if you want special reception flowers for your tables, you’re welcome to bring them. We’ve seen all kinds of flowers for table settings, from daises in simple bud vases to elaborate settings with birdhouses, lanterns and wooden chargers. Want a tip to save some packing room for your table settings? You can use your bridesmaids’ bouquets to decorate special tables at your reception.

And the last thing you want to think about are the special events and your exit. By special events, we’re talking the bouquet toss, garter toss, and the cake cutting. You’ll want to make sure you have your tossing garter and bouquets (if you’re using duplicate versions) and a mask for your guy if you want him blindfolded when digging around for the garter. And if you’re bringing special utensils for the cake cutting, be sure to pack those (and in the meantime, don’t forget the cake!!).

This definitely isn’t a comprehensive list, but it should get the juices flowing. :) And even if you’re using an outside wedding coordinator or wedding planner, you’ll probably be getting these things together for him or her, too. Hopefully, you’re one step closer to being ready for that big day!