What Happens When Free People Designs Your Wedding Backdrop?
  Hidden in the heart of Glen St. Mary, Florida sits a charming historic cabin and nursery turned wedding venue surrounded by sky high pine trees and acres upon acres of forest greenery. This picturesque venue was home...
by The Venue Report


Hidden in the heart of Glen St. Mary, Florida sits a charming historic cabin and nursery turned wedding venue surrounded by sky high pine trees and acres upon acres of forest greenery. This picturesque venue was home to Chris and Nikki Sirmans on their special day and we are all heart eyes over their location of choice. If you ever wanted to get married in the woods, these images will definitely solidify your heart's desire. 

We recently partnered with Florida native and photographer, Kelly Martucci to share the inside scoop on the venue, the wedding and inside tips on how to capture the best "non-traditional" wedding imagery. Cuz' that's what the cool kids are doing now, right? Right! 

Photography by Kelly Martucci



Tell us a little bit about the couple and the big day!

Kelly: Chris and Nikki have been together for four years, engaged since November 2016. It was an absolute whirlwind romance to say the least, meeting each other at a time where neither were looking for a significant other. Magnetic connection at its finest. The entire day was focused around celebrating their love and sharing it with others at a venue fit for an extravagant garden party. 



More and more wedding photography is evolving from the typical bride and groom photos you would expect to editorial like imagery. Any tips for creating/scouting the perfect environment and/or tips for capturing moments that don't look like a classic wedding portrait? 

Kelly: I always want to shoot the couples photos outside using  natural light. I try to find a cool spot within the venue that compliments what they are wearing, flowers etc. (this comes from the fashion photographer in me!) As far as posing I typically just tell the couple to act natural with each other and then adjust them. This way you can capture them in an authentic way and you as the photographer can get a creative shot in your own style! 



Where was the wedding and reception located? 

Kelly: The Glen Venue in Glen St. Mary, Florida. West of Jacksonville, Florida 



Why did you/the couple choose this location and venue?

Nikki (The Bride): Chris and I had a list of venues we wanted to peruse. This was the first on our list, as it had been suggested by a close friend of ours. We didn't have to look anywhere else after admiring the fresh greenery, and being welcomed so humbly by the owners. It was the type of place where you gasp as you come down the drive. Each corner has a plethora of life and just smelled of new beginnings. 



Any tips about shooting here / must shoot spots?

Kelly: The owners of the property had unbelievable customer service. One of the owners took me around  in a golf cart to see the land and to scout out locations before the bride and groom were ready.  I was able to find the best spots that fit my shooting style beforehand and spots I thought were best for the couple during the first look and portrait photos. When it was time to actually shoot, she drove us all again back to the locations I selected and she also added amazing suggestions. The bride loved the abandon green house and it was on the top of her list to shoot.It was such a rad spot. Since it was abandon it wasn't the easiest location to shoot in but we found our spots in and around it! My favorite spot was just shooting in the middle of the tall trees. The gorgeous greenery  complicated the couple so well. My tips would be to take advantage of amazing customer service and to take in consideration timing since the photo spots are not near the ceremony location.



Are there any standout features of the property that are can't miss photo ops?

Kelly: I would say the abandon greenhouse was a stand out just because it isn't something you would normally have your hands on during a wedding or any shoot for that matter! Usually at a wedding venue I just find a pretty spot outside or solid white wall to shoot against but having the greenhouse really made these photos stand out! 




Photography by Kelly Martucci | Venue: The Glen Venue 


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