Posted on May 14, 2012

I am doing a lot of second shooting for other Charleston wedding photographers this month. Assistant shooting is a lot of fun.

You’re there to do whatever the main photographer needs you to do, and generally that means you get the honor of being a second pair of eyes; to be able to capture little vignettes going on behind the scenes while the big moments occur.

I am headed out to Daufuskie Island this weekend to assist for McBee Photography, and while I was cleaning out files this morning I found this series from a wedding I shot with her a few months ago at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on King Street. I can literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a Catholic wedding, so I was like a kid in a candy store.

Several of my couples this year have opted for a second photographer in their wedding package as well, and I’m excited to collaborate with other area photographers.  It’s a really great way get more coverage for your wedding day at a very reasonable rate.

sacred heart catholic church charleston sc blue puffy clouds

orange and white bridal bouquet flowers

black lace mantilla

I laughed when I got this. It was the first image I took when I walked in the door of the church. I actually don’t know how to make a tiny infant wave to the camera on command, but how awesome would that be?

Here comes the bride!

wedding guests ready for a party

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Posted on March 12, 2012

Ainsley and Trey got married at Citadel chapel, on a wonderfully warm mid-December day.

The great thing about this affair was that it really did have the feel of two weddings in one.  The Post House in Mount Pleasant, where the rehearsal dinner was held, Summerall Chapel, and the Harbour Club were all already decorated for Christmas, so there was a festive, twinkly-lights vibe. But Ainsley and Ali Fisher at Carolina Food Design also used delicate whites and pale pinks that both complemented the weather and the bride’s fresh-faced,  willowy beauty.

post house mount pleasant

For laughs, the fathers of the bride and groom arrived at the packed North-meets-South rehearsal dinner in Confederate and Union uniforms. So awesome.

confederate re-enactor charleston sc

Ainsley is always looking at Trey adoringly, like this. He does it too! A lot of very sweet head-leaning, with these two.

On to Stuart Laurence salon the next morning for hair.

Hampton Park

These next two are from my second shooter for the day, Bridgit McBee. I love them. Such sweet moments with her grandmother.

monogram wedding cake

wedding white hydrangeas

high maintenance candle wedding

A skillet of cornbread! I loved the all the Southern touches on the midday menu.

wedding cornbread skillet southern

wedding cookies

harbour club charleston sc wedding reception

citadel cadets and bride

wedding groom in uniform

christmas wedding charleston sc

Posted on February 20, 2012

Good afternoon!

First things first, I am so pleased to announce that Karmen and Nazar’s wonderful wedding was featured on The Wedding Row Friday!

Here’s the link:

I loved their wedding so much. Not only because they were really fun and awesome, and got married at the Wentworth Mansion, which is one of my favorite venues, but because Karmen was a DIY bride who really personalized her wedding and a lot of the details. I feel like her wedding had such an individual flair.

And secondly, it was my son’s birthday yesterday! He’s 9.

This kid is so funny and articulate and smart and quirky and BIG! He was born 9 weeks early, and we thought he might be small, but no. He’s tall. Long. Lanky. Solid. We can wear the same shoes. Last summer we bought him a new pair of Rainbow flip flops and I co-opted them.

He likes that messy, skater-y, floppity, Lowcountry hair. Me, I’m more a fan of tidy, preppy, suburban hair. But I try to meet him in the middle.

C.R. has overcome several health issues over his 9 years, and I really admire his ability to own who he is and keep on keepin’ on.

black and white portrait boy

portrait boy laughing

james island photographer

charleston portrait photographer

charleston lifestyle photographer

Posted on February 8, 2012

Jessie and Sean’s wedding was such a laid-back blast.

Every wedding I’ve ever photographed or attended has had some sort of issue or  mini-crisis. Someone’s stuck in traffic, someone doesn’t get along, or the singer belts out the first sentence of the wrong song (ahem-that may have been my own wedding), or a member of the wedding party started drinking straight Scotch at 8:47 am…


These little things are expected, and once a little time has passed, often become some of the most charming and retold memories of the big day.

Jessie and Sean, though, will have to settle for telling their grandchildren that their wedding was Easy Like Sunday Morning.

Because as far as I know, it was.

letter to bride orange ribbon

bride putting on earrings

charleston sc bull street wedding

charleston sweetgrass wedding wreath

bride hugging father

charleston single house bride

charleston wedding grace episcopal church

Staff snuck into the back of the first look images. 🙂

bride and groom first look

bride and groom kissing on stairs

bride and groom glebe street

college of charleston president's house

sunflower wedding

wedding wine

The dance floor was especially rockin’. The DJ told me it was the first time he’d played “Moves Like Jagger” at a wedding, to see how it went over. Like every other song, it got an enthusiastic response.

It *was* pretty chilly, but a smart girl always makes do in a pinch.

bride and Mom hugging

And then they were off, and their beloved guests threw rice. No, I’m totally kidding. Of course they threw sunflower seeds!

Posted on January 30, 2012

A frame for a chilly morning. We lucked out with 70 degree weather on this mid-December day.

bride veil blowing

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Posted on December 16, 2011

Now up: Getting hitched and a party!

bride kissing groom's cheek

Michael Smallwood, looking quite at home backstage.  In addition to being an actor, playwright and director, he’s also a talented writer/reviewer for the Charleston City Paper. Archive search his name; it’s good stuff.

The flower girl threw ticket stubs from a popcorn container. Adorable.

flower girl movie tickets

They were married by College of Charleston theater professor Joy Vandervort-Cobb.



Several of their engagement images were enlarged and made into movie posters. I love the way this one turned out. They decided to get married as they were walking out of the theater after seeing  Away We Go .

movie themed wedding

Such an eminently quotable, iconic movie. (“Lloyd, Lloyd all null and void!”)

Say Anything quote

Just beautiful.

groom red tie

groom dancing with mother

Enter Ronald.

harry potter wedding

dance floor wedding dougie

I just love this. Shortly after this, my husband and assistant found Michael’s grandmother in the lounge, with her feet kicked up, watching BBC news. He joined her for a few minutes before I busted him. 🙂

It’s that time! On to the afterparty. I was so impressed with their wedding party and friends. They all buzzed around and had the whole reception venue cleaned and packed away in maybe 10-15 minutes. Maybe it’s all that practice switching up sets and clothing between acts.

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Posted on December 6, 2011

It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights-

I don’t usually split weddings into multiple posts. But Jillian and Michael’s wedding at the Emmett Robinson Theater was such a shootfest; seriously, backstage alone was a separate quirky, random world just begging to be documented. I prefer short-ish blog posts with an emphasis on the people. But there’s so much I want to share about this wedding, so this is part one:

movie theater wedding

I love this. It reminds me of the slumber party scene in Grease.

bridesmaids in curlers

One of the girls saw me unwrapping these and thought they were mine. Nope- I wish I could shoot a wedding  in non-sensible shoes! Jillian was the one rocking the purple fabulousness.

marilyn monroe makeup bag cerave

bride getting ready backstage

silly bridesmaid

backstage theater

bridesmaids painting nails black

“No, I really am a D. Look at my bra-it’s in the bag over there.”

black bra DD strapless

bride mascara eyeliner

bride putting on dress

simons school of the arts bridal portrait

groom portrait

college of charleston cistern bride and groom wedding portrait

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Posted on November 3, 2011

Karmen and Nazar booked me to photograph their wedding from another state via email, so apart from a brief meeting in person this summer, we didn’t have much time to get to know each other before their big day. However, Karmen and I chatted a lot over email in all the months leading up to the wedding, and so by the time September 24th and their Charleston destination wedding rolled around, I felt like we were practically old friends.

Karmen emailed me shortly after the wedding to say that I was in the background of a lot of their friends’ snapshots, and I was smiling in every frame.

I felt a little dorky, but it’s true. I had a great time.

Who wouldn’t, with Karmen and Nazar, who are just fun and stylish and awesome, and their closest friends and family?

Karmen strung these crystals herself to hang from the tree and reception light fixtures.

Sigh. Killer Choos.

I asked Karmen if she runs. She said no, but her mother and best friend were quick to inform me that she was voted “Best Legs” in high school. Not surprised!

Happy anticipation!

Love this of Nazar and his Mom.

I loved the use of grapes. Very cool.

Mother and daughter, taking a quick symmetrical dance break.

Venue: Getting ready in the Grand Mansion Suite at the Wentworth Mansion, reception at Circa 1886

Officiant: Pamela Dewitt

Cake: Rozebud’s Custom Cakes, Charlotte NC

Flowers: Yia Yang at the Charlotte NC Farmers Market

DJ: Arthur Brouthers

And special thanks to the lovely Tara at Red Shutter Studio for helping me by locating a babysitter for Karmen and Nazar’s good friends so they could party late into the night. Check out their work if you don’t already know it. Awesome!

Posted on August 16, 2011


Rebecca is the sister of my lovely friend Bridgit at McBee Photography .

Like me, Bridgit is a film hobbyist/nerd, and she taught me how to use the twin lens reflex camera I bought recently.

I was honored to be asked to photograph her sister’s wedding, and when I was told the location, I swooned. The Wentworth Mansion  is filled from cupola to gardens with lovely light. Add a lovely couple, and it’s not a bad way to spend an evening.

wentworth mansion suite interior

wedding ceremony under chandelier

nervous groom

wedding reception table settings succulents

Posted on June 22, 2011


Jodi and Justin’s wedding was magical for me because there were so many scenes that I felt like could have been captured in any age at all.

It had this old world understated elegance that I just loved.

And they’re such a great couple. Justin has this fabulous sardonic wit that I just love and appreciate, and not only is Jodi breathtakingly beautiful, but she’s definitely an individual. A quiet, sweet, meditating, cat-loving social worker who-surprise!-loves ambient trance techno music so much that they planned their honeymoon around a Vegas trance concert.

francis marion hotel hallway bride vintage

francis marion hotel balcony bride and groom

Justin carved and burned the chuppah by hand. I love the way they incorporated the Lowcountry element of palmetto roses and spanish moss.

chuppah hand carved burned by groom jewish wedding charleston sc sweetgrass roses spanish moss

bridal party formal portrait francis marion hotel lobby king street charleston

I don’t normally get nervous while I’m shooting, but I was stressed out about getting the glass shot, especially since I don’t use motion-freezing flash during ceremonies. I was so happy to see flying bits of glass when I was reviewing the files!

breaking glass jewish wedding

Justin, pantomiming the enthusiastic tourist bit:

This is Jodi, when I ask her to smile:

And this is Jodi when Justin joins the conversation. I don’t think he even said anything that super-hilarious. She’s just that smitten. 🙂

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copyright 2014 Sally Watts