I had the extreme pleasure of photographing Belinda's bridal portraits at the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve (the locals call it Briarwood) in northeast Natchitoches parish in Saline, Louisiana.
Let me give you a bit of the history of the place. Miss Caroline Dormon was a botanist, horticulturist, ornithologist, historian, archeologist, preservationist, naturalist, conservationist, and author . She worked to preserve Louisiana's native wildflowers on a piece of land that remains nearly as wild and untouched as when Miss Dormon was alive. Soon after, she started working for the Louisiana Forestry Service, and in fact, she was the first woman to do so. She actually worked with the US Forest Service to designate Kisatche National Forest as well... a national forest. It's still the only national forest in Louisiana. She did so much for our state while she was alive, and her legacy lives on in not just Briarwood, but Hodges Gardens and other similar locations, which she had a hand in the design and development.
It's kind of weird that a word like "beautiful" doesn't cut it to explain to you just how magnificent this place is. There are a few simple cabins that dot the landscape here or there, there's an education building and a small gift shop, but other than that, it's straight woods. I personally counted at least three ponds.
The preserve now holds functions such as nature walks, picnics and plant sales for its donors.
When I was invited by my fellow Cane River Photographic Society member and Belinda's now-husband, Jonas, to photograph B's bridals, OH BOY! was I ever excited.
Jonas had a handy list of locations he wanted to see reflected in the portraits in mind, we were chauffeured around by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in one of their speedy golf carts around the preserve with my sister, Allison, playing assistant for the day. I'm glad he had a list or we would have been there twice as long! Everything is so beautiful there and we had a wonderful time exploring the place!
In honor of their wedding yesterday, here are a few of the photos from Belinda's bridal session, featuring an heirloom brooch bouquet and an absolute stunner of a gown from Azarue's.