Jamie & Courtney – Knoxville Same Sex Wedding

I love this family & I am so excited to share Jamie & Courtney’s Knoxville same sex wedding!  This couple has been with me almost my entire wedding photography journey. I photographed their engagement, maternity, birth, newborn, and baby photos, all before marriage equality was the law of the land. The day that same sex marriage was legalized country-wide, I celebrated for everyone but deep down I could not WAIT to photograph this wedding.

In 2014, Courtney wrote in Freedom to Marry about their journey:

If families like ours were to leave Knoxville, we may never see the change that is so needed in states like Tennessee. It’s important to be able to share our lives with the members of our community. It’s important for the three of us to hold hands and make the case that we should be respected as a family in this state where we live. It’s important to show people who aren’t quite on board with the freedom to marry that we are no different than other neighbors, family members, and co-workers. 

It’s time for my typical love story to become even more typical. The next time I tell my story, I want Jamie and I to be able to stand proudly and track our life journey together: We met, we fell in love, we had a baby, we got married – and we were treated the same as all other families in Tennessee. 

If that doesn’t punch you in the gut, you have no soul. Jamie & Courtney’s wedding is featured in Catalyst Wedding Magazine Volume Four! In print & available at bookstores! How cool & crazy is that?

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Knoxville Same Sex Wedding

Jamie & Courtney’s relaxed backyard wedding was a testament to the power of friends & family. Everyone came together to create their day from the bouquet, the property, the decorations, etc. When I arrived that afternoon, everyone was working hard. The day was extremely kid friendly with lots of yard games & their adorable daughter Sophia stealing the spotlight most of the time. Oh, and Courtney was 8 months pregnant! Enjoy :)

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Michelle & Joanna – Day One for Same Sex Marriage in Alabama

Two years ago, a decision by a federal judge meant that gay marriage legally began in Alabama. When I heard news, I jumped in my car & drove down to Huntsville to volunteer to photograph couples eloping at the courthouse. It was an incredible moment to witness with my camera & everyone was in such a festive mood! There were donations of wedding cake and bouquets, and a ton of volunteers showed up to donate their photography, videography, officiating, and more.

One of the weddings I photographed was that of Michelle & Joanne. They were unique because they showed up with a CROWD of people. Most of those getting married at the Huntsville courthouse were struggling to just get out of work to go elope, but Michelle & Joanne showed up in matching outfits and with a huge group of admirers. How? With such short notice? I have no clue but the joy that surrounding everyone was so palpable. You just knew this wedding was a long time coming. It was a honor to photograph Michelle & Joanna’s wedding on day one for same sex marriage in Alabama. They were just one of 43 couples to get married in Huntsville on February 9th, 2015.

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Knoxville Same Sex Friendly Wedding Vendors

It’s been a little over a year since the Supreme Court ruling made marriage equality a right for all same sex couples across the country. June 26, 2015 changed the lives of so many couples, families, and LGBTQ allies. It also changed the lives of many wedding vendors, specifically those of us that live in the Bible Belt.

I committed to happily & openly photographing same sex couples, families, and weddings many years ago.  The June 26, 2015 ruling gave me the opportunity to photograph even more same sex weddings because local couples were no longer forced to leave Tennessee to be legally wed. For many wedding vendors who had no previously worked with same sex couples, it was time to make a decision.

In a perfect world, a directory of same sex friendly wedding vendors would be pointless. Being in the wedding industry, it’s been impossible to avoid stories of bakers refusing to bake cakes or venues backing out of wedding contracts. Over & over again when I chat with my clients, they tell me about the awkward interactions or upsetting situations they find themselves in. I can’t imagine what it would be like to navigate the stresses of wedding planning while trying to figure out if a vendor might refuse you service. I sincerely can’t wait for a time when all couples feel welcome everywhere.

To combat a little bit of the stress, I’ve created a list of Knoxville same sex friendly wedding vendors. These vendors have expressed desire to serve same sex clients openly & happily. They are ready for you to inquire with them.

This is in no way a comprehensive list. If someone isn’t on this list, it does not mean they don’t serve the LGBTQ community. I am not compiling a list of vendors who do not serve gay couples either. I prefer to share & celebrate those who do.

If you are a wedding professional in the Knoxville area who would like to be added to this list of Knoxville same sex friendly wedding vendors, please contact me. If you are on the fence on whether or not you should publicly serve same sex clients, I would love to share my experiences with you. Check out this wonderful list of ways you can become a better LGBTQ allied vendor by the incredible Kelly Prizel.

All photos provided by yours truly. Special thanks to Shaun Cox of a DIY Wedding Affair for compiling a list for Chattanooga weddings & inspiring me to create one for Knoxville.

Happy wedding planning!

KNOXVILLE SAME SEX FRIENDLY WEDDING VENDORS

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VENUES

Heartland Meadows – Knoxville – events@heartlandmeadows.com
The Knoxville Zoo – Knoxville- ahackney@zooknoxville.org
Dara’s Garden – Knoxville – sales@darasgarden.com
Club Leconte – Knoxville – patricia.johnson@clubcorp.com
The Historic Bleak House – Knoxville – historicbleakhouse@gmail.com
The Hilton – Knoxville – nthreadgill@hiltonknoxville.com
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame – Knoxville – dhart@wbhof.com
The Volunteer Princess – Knoxville – volunteercruises@bellsouth.net
Elizabeth Claire’s – Clinton – elizabethclaires@me.com
Smith Event Centers – Maryville – info@smithvenues.com
Idle Hour Farm & Retreat – Rogersville – idlehourfarmandretreat@gmail.com 
Bluff Mountain Inn – Sevierville – info@bluffmountaininn.com

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OFFICIANTS

Celebrations by Celeste – celebrationsbyceleste@gmail.com
Sevier County Weddings – thomas@seviercountyweddings.com
Universal Wedding Officiants –  universalweddingofficiant@gmail.com
Judith Douglas – shortredhair@msn.com

DJs

Patrick Michael Weddings – michael@patrickmichaelweddings.com
Good Sounds Entertainment –  hkinney@goodsoundsentertainment.com
Side-by-Side Entertainment – jeff_dj@charter.net
Brian S. Graham Entertainment –  brian@knoxvillewedding.com

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VIDEOGRAPHER

Casey & Kristin – hello@caseyandkristin.com
Ryan’s Production – ryansproduction@mac.com
Midnight Magic Studios – info@midnightmagicvideo.com
NuWave Productions – daniel@nuwaveprod.com

PHOTOGRAPHER

Alex Bee Photo – alex@alexbeephoto.com 

Erin Morrison Photography – erinmorrisonphotography@gmail.com
Break the Mold Photo – breakthemoldphoto@gmail.com

MAKEUP & HAIR

Beauty by Blair – beautybyblair@yahoo.com

WEDDING PLANNING

Southern Bliss Weddings – southernblisswed@gmail.com
Absolute Wedding Perfection
– angie_froemel@yahoo.com
Premiere Events –  eventstn@att.net

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FLORALS

Melissa Timm Designs – melissa@melissatimmdesigns.com
Flower Shop, Inc. – info@flowershopinc.com
The Fleurella – esme@thefleurella.com

CATERER

Holly’s Gourmet Market  – hambright610@gmail.com

BAKERY

Sugarbuzz Bakers – connie@sugarbuzzbakers.com
Art of Cakes – artofcakesbakery@gmail.com

MISC.

Unique Setting Rentals – Mismatched China & Tabletop Rentals – uniquesettingsrentals@gmail.com
Sarah Brobst Designs – Custom Brooch Bouquets and Wedding Jewelry – lilysjb@hotmail.com
Sweven Vintage & Rustic Rentals – swevenrentals@gmail.com
Wallace Paper Company – Invitations & Other Paper Goods – hello@wallacepaperco.com
Robyn James Ensembles – Musician – robyn@robynjames.com

Memories In A Flash Photo Booth – betsy@memoriestn.com
Regal Carriages – Vintage Car Transportation – steve@regalcarriagesknox.com

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If you are a wedding professional in the Knoxville area who would like to be added to this list of Knoxville same sex friendly wedding vendors, please contact me.

All photographs by Alex Bee Photo

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jamie & courtney are engaged!

It rained their entire engagement session, but that didn’t stop us from having a grand ole’ time! Jamie & Courtney’s joy together is pretty freaking contagious & I couldn’t stop smiling while editing these photos. Aren’t they the cutest?

p.s. I’m convinced I found the holy grail of beautiful fall colors this year.

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