Green Kangaroo

A team effort at the Biltmore Estate by Michael Oppenheim

I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Rachel Mertz and Daniel King at the Biltmore Estate on June 20, 2009.  It has been previously featured on Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book blog (   SMP did a great job of highlighting a lot of the details from their wedding.  But I’ve been meaning to revisit this wedding on my blog in an effort to emphasize the talented team of photographers (and friends)  I was able to bring together for Rachel and Dan’s wedding and to give credit to some of talented wedding vendors whose efforts may not have been recognized in SMP’s write-up. I had an amazing crew for the eight hours or so that we shot the day of the wedding.   Kelly Cubbin was my associate shooter, and Jenny Trest and Daniel Taylor assisted us and shot a bit when time permitted.  Kelly got her start as wedding photographer in Chicago working with wedding photographer,  Emily Dewan.  When not behind the camera,  she also does marketing for my good friend Steven McBride and  owns Appalachian Craft Brewery with her husband Andy.  If you need beer for your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner she would be the perfect person to contact.   Daniel is a photographer, McBride's  first assistant and "studio" manager,  and a Photoshop guru.  He has assisted me and a variety of other photographers over the years.  Jenny is a wonderful photographer specializing in pet photography (especially dogs) and also works as a freelance assistant and is now getting her nursing degree while still doing photography on the side!  Go Jenny!  Cory Barlow, my regular assistant, was out of town the weekend of the wedding, but upon his return was  invaluable in the post-production of the final images.  If you know of anyone in the need of assistance with digital workflow, digital retouching, photo assisting on assignments, someone to build you a computer from bare bones, or are in the market for some incredible fine-art photography feel free to contact him directly or visit his website.  You would be hard-pressed to find such great people to surround yourself with.  Just ask Rachel and Dan!

For the majority of the weddings I shoot I am the exclusive photographer and usually bring one assistant who helps me with lighting, dowloading and managing image files, and every once in awhile provides additional photography.   But there are times when my wedding clients want two photographers to capture their wedding day.  Usually this is requested because of the size and scope of the wedding or because of the logistics of where the bride and groom are getting ready or where they need to be at different times. This was the case with Rachel and Dan.  I was able to provide two photographers and two assistants.    I started photographing Rachel and her contingent at the Residences at Biltmore while Kelly met the guys at a different hotel, stopping in Biltmore Village at one of the fanciest McDonald’s you are likely to see (this McDonald's has a grand piano and tapestries on the wall), before heading onto the Estate.  When I arrived at the hotel, Scott Thompson, make-up artist extraordinaire and all-around great guy (check out his new shop called MakeUp in the Grove Arcade and Sante, a  wine bar that he co-owns with some other great folks) was already busy at work!  His work speaks for itself.

Nicole Riley, wedding coordinator at Verge Events and Nicole Bloom, Senior Catering Sales Manager at the Biltmore Estate, did an amazing job bringing all the design elements together for both the ceremony and  the reception at Deerpark.  They were exceptionally organized and professional as their wedding coordinators.  I know that Rachel and Dan were so grateful that Nicole Riley encouraged them to get away during the cocktail hour to get shots in front of the Biltmore House.  As strange as it may sound, even though I was there snapping away with my camera, the mini-portrait session during the cocktail hour afforded them time to be with one another and catch a breather before rejoining the guests for the reception back at Deerpark.   I think their personalities and love for one another really shine in those photos!

Audrey Kirsch and her team from Blossoms at Biltmore Park created exquisite bouquets, flower arrangements, table arrangements, and other décor details.  Green Kangaroo provided the stationery that was used on all the tables (table cards, menu, invitations, etc.).  Again, you can see more samples of the flowers and stationery on the SMP Little Black Book blog that I provided a link to earlier.

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If I’ve overlooked the efforts of other vendors please don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll give you a shout out!

Again, thanks to everyone!  If you are planning a large, complex wedding at the Biltmore Estate or anywhere else for that matter, be assured that I have the experience, the resources, and the “team” to get the best images possible at your wedding!