filed in

Castleton Farms || John & Courtney Fulkerson

A UT Vols Wedding at Castleton Farms

This blog post is probably going to feel more scattered than normal. I have SO many unrelated things to share from this UT Vols wedding day. So, let’s just dive right in!

  1. I had no reason to meet John Fulkerson before now. I watched him play basketball plenty of times, but meeting him was not something that ever happened. When I met him in person, I learned how hilarious this guy is. If he ever wanted to take up stand-up comedy, he totally could! Let me give you an example of one of these times. John and Courtney did not do a first look. They did, however, write and read letters to one another. So, we record Courtney reading hers. She gets emotional, and it’s a really sweet moment. We go downstairs to let John read his letter from Courtney. He sits down, and we get a few photos/videos of him beginning to open it. Then, we set up to let him officially read it out loud. It’s a serious moment, and he reads, “John, I really hate the photographer and videographer we chose for our wedding.” We LOST it. The videographer, me, my second shooter, and John all were cracking up so hard. You’ll see those photos below when he has the letter in his hand, and he’s laughing really hard at the camera. That is just a small example of the humor we experienced all day long at this UT Vols wedding.
  2. You may have seen my reel this past Monday where I already shared this quote, but it was so good I need to share it again. Before John and Courtney’s wedding day, I did not realize how high profile it would be. I didn’t realize how many famous people would be there other than John himself. Well, there were a lot. Before the ceremony began, the officiant came out and made a statement. He first told people to put away their phones (which I’m always thankful when they do this), but then he said something I had never heard before. He said, “There are some really well known people here who have a lot of money. There are some really normal people here who have a normal amount of money. Our goal today is to make the normal people feel like a million bucks and make the millionaires feel like they are just normal.” I love that so so so much that I decided right then and there that this is how I want to make people feel when I interact with them. I want the normal people to feel like their absolute best selves and the famous people to feel totally normal when they are with me!
  3. Instead of having a flower girl, Courtney asked her grandmother to walk down the aisle and toss petals. It was ADORABLE and worked so much better than the traditional flower girl because she actually used all her petals and really covered the aisle with them instead of just dropping one here and there along the way.
  4. The ceremony had to be pushed until later in the evening, due to some weather issues. Since Courtney and John didn’t do a first look, we had about 25 minutes to get all of the bride and groom portraits from their day. These photos were the most important to Courtney, and although we only had 25 minutes, we worked FAST. One of the things that helped me work faster though was John picking Courtney up and carrying her from spot to spot. I’m not kidding. Courtney’s dress was very fitted, which made it extra challenging for her to walk up stairs. The staircase you have to climb to get out of the vineyard at Castleton is pretty large. What would have taken Courtney a hot minute to get up took John 10 seconds to pick her up and get to the top. Later, we were shooting with some really beautiful crape myrtle trees, and the quickest route to get from where we were to the next spot was through the grass. The grass was soaking wet from the torrential downpour that came earlier so John just swept her off her feet and carried her to the next spot. It was really precious and also made for some really pretty photos. When you see the photos of John carrying Courtney below, they’re candid action shots.
  5. Last but not least. The weather. The only reason I’m adding this one in here is because it is a true testament as to why you hire really great, seasoned professionals for your wedding day. This UT Vols wedding was no different. The weather was challenging. The morning of Courtney and John’s wedding, the forecast showed one small pop up storm scheduled to hit around 1-2pm. A couple hours into the morning that storm broke up, and the radar showed NOTHING. All of a sudden, we heard thunder. So, I pulled out my phone. Another storm had formed, and it was set to hit us right when portraits began then end at 6pm. At least the ceremony could proceed as planned. When we realized this, it was about 2pm so we bumped up the timeline in an effort to get a couple portraits done early before the rain hit. We didn’t quite make it so we did what we could under the porch and pushed everything else until after the ceremony. Right before I went to start on groomsmen photos, the power went out. The whole property was without power. While that didn’t affect my ability to get portraits of the groom with each groomsman on the porch and the groom with his family, it did affect the bridesmaids being able to touch up hair and makeup or the toilets being able to be flushed. Later, it also made playing music at the cocktail hour difficult. As the Castleton team ran around getting generators going at various spots on the property and calling the electric company doing everything they could to convince them to come fix the issue ASAP, we continued to watch the rain extend further and further into the evening. Now not stopping until 6:30pm. I’ve never been a wedding coordinator before, but I can tell you this is not an ideal situation. It is SO stressful, and weather in East Tennessee is so unpredictable. I am SO impressed with how Castleton handled everything though. Danyelle, the leader of the team, switched the ceremony and cocktail hour so that when guests arrived at 5:30ish for the 6pm scheduled ceremony, they went into the Carriage House for cocktail hour. When she made this decision, the Castleton team had exactly 45 minutes to get the Carriage House set up for a cocktail hour. The catering team had 45 minutes to get appetizers started early enough that they would be able to serve them at 5:30 instead of the original plan of 6:30. If Courtney and John had not hired such amazing vendors, this would have NEVER worked out. Right before the rain stopped, the power came back on, woohoo!!! Then at 6pm, the rain finally stopped, and the Castleton team got to work drying off chairs, fixing any damaged decor, shuttling people from the Carriage House down to the Vineyard, getting the DJ all set up for the ceremony, and prepping the wedding party and family to get ready for the ceremony. By the time the ceremony ended, we had about 40 minutes until sunset. I rushed through family, I rushed through all the wedding party photos we didn’t get to beforehand, and then started bride and groom portraits 25 minutes until sunset. All the while, the guests ate dinner since they had already enjoyed a cocktail hour. I could never say thank you enough for this group of vendors. What could have totally messed everything up, didn’t, and it actually turned out really great despite the massive storm that came through for 3 hours right smack dab in the middle of the everything.

See how it was kind of all over the place? This UT Vols wedding was so much fun and honestly had some of the most amazing people at it. The wedding party was hilarious, the families were so kind and precious, and the guests partied the night away.

I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel. I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!

Vendors used by Courtney & John:

Second Photographer: SkyLights Photography

Venue: Castleton Farms

Videographer: Milestone Pictures

Florist: Samuel Franklin

Cake: All About Design Cakes

DJ: Legacy Sound

Hair & Makeup: Whitney Evans Beauty

Wedding Dress: Lillian Ruth Bride

Groom’s Attire: John H. Daniel

Marquee Letters: Event Lit

Caterer: All Occasion Catering

Ice Cream Truck: Mayfield Dairy

Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Reception Treat: Chick-fil-A

See more from Amanda May Photos:

Wedding Planning 101: Personal Vows

Branding Session at Highlight Studio

Lifestyle Session

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Guide

A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline, and we know it's easy to feel like a hot mess! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day.