Ever been to a wedding and thought, “Wow, this is so them?” That’s what I was thinking all day long at Cayce and Karl’s Evins Mill wedding in Smithville, TN.
From the autumn florals, outdoorsy venue, and pre-ceremony hike to a waterfall, every detail of Cayce and Karl’s wedding day fit perfectly into their love story. These are the kinds of weddings I live for, the kind that make me feel so fortunate to do what I do. I’m so excited to share these images with you, and if you’re planning an out-of-the-box wedding of your own, I’d love to be part of it!
EVINS MILL WEDDING VENUE
Evins Mill is a resort venue tucked into the green hills east of Nashville in Smithville, Tennessee. You can trace the property’s history back to the mid-1800s, but Evins Mill as we now know it was established in 1939 as a retreat and event venue. The original owner, Edgar Evins, even hosted his daughter’s wedding reception there!
Now, Evins Mill hosts weddings, events, and intimate getaways on their luscious property. You can book a room overlooking the creek, dine at their lodge restaurant, and hike through the Tennessee forest to your heart’s content.
Knowing Cayce and Karl now, it’s really no wonder why they threw their wedding in an actual woodland wonderland. After meeting at a Garth Brooks concert, the two of them went rock climbing for their first date. They’ve been going on adventures together ever since!
While I know for a fact Evins Mill is stunning year-round, I just love the way it looked for Cayce and Karl’s November wedding. The golden leaves and autumn light were *to die for. (*Just wait until you see their waterfall photos!)
GETTING READY IN THE CABIN AT EVINS MILL
I started the day admiring the grounds and photographing the bride and groom getting ready. Cayce got dressed in a cabin with her mother and grandmother, sharing stories and enjoying a slow start to the day. I also got a few photos of Cayce’s dress in the morning sun on the terrace.
Cayce lives up north, but her mother lives down south, so the two met in the middle in Louisville, KY, to go dress shopping. Cayce fell in love with this sleek, modern gown from Rebecca’s Bridal, and I adore the way she styled it.
Fun fact: I’m no stranger to Rebecca’s Bridal! I’ve shot their dresses before (including this gorgeous ceremony gown), and **I’ve even worn one of their dresses. Surprise! That’s where I got my prom dress! Small world!
Another touching detail from Cayce’s ensemble were these gold and pearl earrings. These originally belonged to Cayce’s great-grandmother, a survivor of Nazi Germany. She kept these earrings hidden in the floorboards for years and snuck them out when she escaped. They’ve been passed down in the family ever since! Cayce’s grandmother told the story as she helped Cayce put them on. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget.
When I finally found the guys, they were relaxing on the patio at the lodge restaurant. Karl’s dad helped him tie his tie, and then he popped on his cute moose tie clip and cuff links. While they might not have quite the same backstory as Cayce’s earrings, I still loved the personal touch. Both of them truly made their wedding looks their own.
THE FIRST LOOK AND A HIKE TO A WATERFALL
There’s something incredibly sweet about a super simple first look. Cayce and Karl met in front of this wall of greenery, Cayce tapped him on the shoulder, and the two of them immediately embraced. The moment was real and honest, and you could just feel how happy the two of them were to be getting married. (And I love the bridesmaids peeking through the window. Those are good friends!) Cayce and Karl enjoyed each other for a few minutes, and then we set out on our hike.
When I say I’m always down for an adventure, I mean it. And it’s a good thing I am, because the hike down to the waterfall was not easy! We decided the best way to get Cayce there was to poke some holes in a trash bag, have her step in, and then bundle her train up around her waist. It wasn’t perfect, but we made it work! I like to remind my brides that their wedding dress, while special, is still a party dress. Live in it! We’ll protect it as best we can, but sometimes the memories are worth a few tiny stains.
After twenty-five minutes of sloshing down muddy hills, clinging to ropes, and huffing and puffing our way into the canyon, we finally arrived at the base of the waterfall. It might not look it in the photos, but this thing is huge. I positioned Cayce and Karl about one hundred feet from the base, and we were still yelling over the roar of the water. Cayce kicked off her hiking boots, de-stuffed her dress, and shared some sweet moments with her groom in one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Safe to say it was worth the trek.
BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS AT AN EVINS MILL WEDDING
After hiking back up to the resort, we met up with the bridal party for some portraits and group shots. As if an old mill and waterfall aren’t enough, Evins Mill also features this quiet pond and grove of trees that made for the perfect bridal party photos.
Both Cayce and Karl kept their parties small, and they added some of their personal flair to their friends’ attire. Karl’s groomsmen matched him in these cobalt suits (a poppy twist on the traditional navy!), and Cayce’s bridesmaids wore long, draped gowns with beaded collars. None of it was traditional, but it came together so well.
Before the ceremony, I whisked the happy couple away for a few more portraits by the dam and on this bridge over the creek. Again, you just can’t beat that light!
SWEET WEDDING CEREMONY AT EVINS MILL
Cayce and Karl invited about one hundred guests, but they truly made every one of them feel special on their wedding day. Evins Mill features several ceremony locations, but Cayce and Karl (outdoor buffs that they are) opted to get married alongside the old mill on a wall crisscrossed by vines. They set out blankets for their guests (it was November, remember?) and lined the walkway with florals and candles so everyone knew where to go. Since all their guests were staying on site, everyone was relaxed, happy, and chatty before they even sat down for the ceremony.
Cayce was escorted down the aisle by both of her parents (which I love!), and she and Karl exchanged their vows beneath a gorgeous floral installation from Southerly Flower Farm. Sarah Erwin, owner of Southerly, came in from Chattanooga to bring Cayce’s floral dreams to life. Let me tell you, I was obsessed. From the bouquet to the massive floral installation to the small accents around the venue, Sarah knocked it out of the park. Just looking back on the these photos – with the dried flowers, golden leaves, and delicate prairie grasses – makes me drool.
As with every other detail of the day, Cayce and Karl’s ceremony felt perfectly them. Cayce’s mother shared a reading, the couple (and several of the guests) shed a few tears during the vows, and they were pronounced husband and wife with a smiley, giddy smooch. What more could you ask for?
LODGE RECEPTION AT EVINS MILL WEDDING
After the ceremony, we all hopped over to the lodge for the reception. Southerly Flower Farm carried the same floral notes from the ceremony site into the reception with rustic bouquets on the head table and baby’s breath bud vases throughout, a subtle nod to the baby’s breath in Cayce’s hair. To make the reception even more them, Cayce and Karl commissioned a canoeing theme cake from The Sweet Shop. Seriously, how cute is that?!
After the speeches and first dance (and after I stole a few snuggles from Grandma’s little dog), everyone tore it up on the dance floor into the early hours of the morning. This reception was a party, and I’m so glad I got to share in the celebration!
Special thanks to all the vendors who helped make Cayce and Karl’s day so beautiful!
Venue- Evins Mill
Caterer- Evins Mill
Florals- Sarah Erwin (Southerly Flower Farm)
Dress- Rebecca’s Bridal Boutique
Suit- King Brother’s
Makeup- Nicole Ross (Crown & Glory)
Cake- The Sweet Shop
Rentals- Hollywood Rentals (Chattanooga, TN)
If you want to make your wedding your own, let’s talk! I love helping my couples plan out-of-the-box weddings and elopements that perfectly match their style. Nothing is too ‘out there!’