Jim and Mara held their Elopement Ceremony at The Red Horse Inn located in Landrum, South Carolina on a beautiful sunny, summer day in June! When Mara contacted me back in April to see if I would be available to photograph their elopement, I had never even heard of this gorgeous venue before. I quickly found out though, that The Red Horse Inn is such a hidden treasure that is right here in our very own South Carolina, with beautiful mountain views and countryside all around it! (And it’s only about a 35 minute drive from my home! I can foresee a future get-away weekend here with my hubby perhaps?! 🙂 I can definitely see why Jim and Mara thought this would be the perfect venue for their intimate elopement and a perfect place to share this special day at with their family and friends.
When I arrived at The Red Horse Inn, I first drove up to the main Inn, featured above. Seeing these beautiful views got me so excited for the bride and groom portraits I would be able to photograph here! I then drove down the road and around to where all the individual cottages were located, and found my way to the one where Jim and Mara were getting ready at, The Grainary Cottage. And don’t let the “cottage” name fool you, these cottages were certainly very modernly designed, with beautiful decor and amenities to enjoy. I began taking photos of all the special wedding day details, and Mara finishing getting ready, along with a few shots of Jim finishing getting ready too.
Even though I had not met Mara or Jim in person before their wedding day, I felt as if I already knew them some because of what Mara had shared with me when we began talking about me being their photographer. When I asked if there was anything else she wanted me to know about her and her fiance on my Pre-Booking questionnaire, this is what Mara shared . . .
“Jim and I met through his sister (Shannon) who is my best friend 23+ years ago. Jim and I are both 54 years old. We both have been married previously. Jim has two grown sons and I have two grown sons as well. Through God’s timing and grace he brought us together and something magical happened. We began dating in August of 2016 and knew immediately we had found in each other a completeness we both had always longed for in a partner. We both are totally consumed, happy and in love with each other.”
Wow!! After reading this description about them, I was totally convinced that this couple would be a perfect fit as a Lainey Bug Photography couple!! What wedding photographer would not want to photograph a couple who feels this way about each other?? I was definitely so honored that they chose me to capture their special and meaningful day! And even though they were having a shorter Elopement style wedding, they still valued photography and the memories that only photographs will help them remember from their day, and made it a priority to hire a professional wedding photographer. For that, I am so grateful!!
Another thing that Mara and Jim valued was having enough time to be able to focus on gorgeous Bride and Groom portraits, so they chose to book my 3-hour Elopement Collection. This gave us enough time for some quick finishing-getting-ready photos, and also time for them to share a First Look between the two of them. A First Look allows a couple a private moment where they can see each other and enjoy just the two of them, before the ceremony begins. This also allows for more time for Bride and Groom portraits, which is exactly what I LOVE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE MOST!! Even more evidence that I was a good fit for them as their photographer! Here are some special moments from Jim and Mara’s FIRST LOOK.
After I give the couple some private moments to themselves to just enjoy together, I then usually move into helping direct my couple into some poses that I think help to show their love for each other and their relationship. Each couple I photograph does a different take on the poses that I put them into, because they are uniquely them! I feel like a couple’s relationship and interaction shines through, even in the posed shots because I allow them to just be themselves. Just like all of the couples I photograph on their wedding days, I encouraged Jim and Mara to just enjoy the moment they were experiencing right then and to “take in each other.” I think you can agree with me, that they truly enjoyed the moments and that made for some of the most beautiful Bride and Groom Portraits ever. I hope these will be some of the ones that they choose to print on large wall canvases to hang around their home to remind them of this special day and the love they felt!
After the Bride and Groom Portrait time, it was time to get ready for the ceremony! Because it was a small, intimate gathering of family and friends, many people had already began to gather inside the Inn, and everyone visited and mingled with each other for a little bit before the ceremony. Mara remembered to pin on Jim’s boutineir before the ceremony, and the minister even had a few moments to get Jim and Mara to sign their marriage license, so that was all taken care of ahead of time! Although The Red Horse Inn has several options for ceremony locations, one inside and two outside I believe, Mara and Jim chose to hold their ceremony inside. And I think all in attendance, including them, would agree that was a good decision for how hot and sunny this June day turned out to be! The Inn had a beautiful room for the ceremony where the mountain views could be seen out the windows and the natural light flowed in beautifully.
It was now time for the Ceremony to begin, and all of Jim and Mara’s guests took their seats. Even though Jim had already seen his bride before and been able to spend most of the day together, you could tell he still was taken aback with how beautiful his bride was walking towards him and the special moment that signified.
When Mara described to me what their Elopement would be like she said, “We want to have a simple, small but elegant wedding with our immediate family to share our moment. Our ceremony will have most of the traditional aspects but very laid back.”
I think she achieved exactly what she was hoping with this beautiful, simple, and elegant wedding ceremony!
After the ceremony was complete, it was time for family photos. I know Jim and Mara were both so thankful that their family who had gathered to share in their special day were there to celebrate with them.
Then it was back into the beautiful Red Horse Inn for the cake cutting, the heartfelt toast (made by Jim’s sister and Mara’s best friend, Shannon), and more mingling and visiting with all who had come to share this day with them.
And then before their time was finished, Jim pulled Mara out into the middle of the room to dance with her and sing along to “I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You,” by Foreigner. This truly was one of the sweetest moments between the two of them, and once again they just took in each other and enjoyed it. It was a perfect way to end their day!
When I agreed to photograph Jim and Mara’s Elopement, I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much! Up until this point in my photography business, I have mainly done longer wedding days for my couples. But this shorter, more intimate time photographing an Elopement at one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in a long time, The Red Horse Inn, and seeing the love between a couple so thankful to be together, has really inspired and excited me to photograph more Elopements and Intimate Weddings! Just because you are having a shorter wedding day, doesn’t mean you should sacrifice professional photos on your important day. I have even decided to create a whole new Intimate Collections Page for those couples desiring shorter photography packages. You can check out these Intimate Collections here.
And please contact me if you or anyone you know might be interested in one of these Photography Collections. I hope to see many more Lainey Bug Photography Elopements and Intimate Weddings like this in the future! And of course I hope that I’ll get the opportunity to photograph more at the stunning Red Horse Inn as well!
Congratulations again to Mara and Jim on your marriage. Thank you for giving me the honor and privilege to capture your most special day in photo memories. I wish you both the very best!
Here are Jim and Mara’s awesome Vendors:
Venue: The Red Horse Inn – Landrum, South Carolina
Florist: Lake Murray Florist
Wedding Cake: Publix
Wedding Dress Store: Jo-Lin’s Bridal & Formal
Wedding Dress Design: Casablanca
Makeup Artist: Haleigh Looney (Bride’s Niece)
Photographer: Weddings by Lainey Bug Photography – – Jill Brisken