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53 Church St
Mountain Brook, AL, 35213
United States

205-834-8252

Arden Ward Upton, known for her keen eye and southern style. Has curated gifts  for wedding, lifestyle and original art. Arden has worked as a photographer for over a decade photographing some of the South's most exclusive weddings as well as weddings all over the world. During her time as a photographer she has developed a distinctive look and style that is shared on this site and with her customers throughout the years. Arden is also known for her fine art photography available in limited signed editions.

Blog

Real Wedding: Claire and John

Arden Ward Upton

Weddings are celebrations, parties filled with laughter, dancing, and love. Each couple is different though, and they all celebrate in different ways. Claire and John? They were party animals! And wow - was this one fun wedding and reception! There was never any doubt about that though as this couple was one for the books: sweet, kind, and a whole lot of good time! Claire had incorporated many beautiful details from the rich red bouquet, the garland wreath above their nuptials, the deer antlers on the groom's cake, and of course, the glow stick accessories at the reception! DJ CoCo played house music, they inflated a giant whale pool toy, brought out the broomsticks turned make-shift guitars - add it all up, and it makes for one unforgettable wedding! 

Ellen Hunter NYC

Arden Ward Upton

Ellen Hunter, designer and creator of Ellen Hunter NYC, specializes in unique one-of-a-kind hair accessories. Reminiscent of ancient Greece, the flexible wreathes, combs, and headbands have become celebrity and fashionista favorites across the globe. Beyoncé, Carrie Underwood, Nicole Richie, and Nicky Hilton have all been spotted featuring pieces from the collection. Several of our brides here at Arden Photography have displayed the designs as they walked down the aisle.

Ellen Hunter got her start close to our home here, at the University of Alabama where she studied apparel design. She began creating the pieces in her dorm room for friends and family. Upon graduating, Ellen moved to Manhattan to work in the fashion and wedding industry at Nicole Miller. “While I loved what I was doing there, I still felt the need to create,” comments Hunter. She struck out on her own, and Ellen Hunter NYC was born.

Her company has since expanded, and will be offering new products in 2015 featuring jewelry, beaded sashes, and belts. Ellen’s passion of working with clients to create unique and meaningful pieces is on going. She can be spotted at the prestigious retailers where her product is launched in stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Kleinfeld Bridal, and Gus Mayer where we caught up with her to try on the exclusive pieces for ourselves. 

Ellen gave us a one-on-one demonstration and tutorial on how to style her Mollie combs, personal favorites of ours! 

After seeing all the quick and easy ways to style these combs, I had to get them!

Be sure to check out her website www.ellenhunternyc.com - they make for beautiful Christmas gifts or as an addition to your New Year's party dress!

Favorite Wedding Favors

Arden Ward Upton

Providing gifts to guests at a wedding has been tradition for centuries and has varied across cultures and populations. Originally related to European wealth and extravagance, the gifts were fashioned of small boxes made of precious metals and gemstones. Other cultures believed the bridegroom to be a coming of good luck, and the gifts were thought to be lucky as they were presented by the couple. 

Today, the wedding favors often extend on the theme of the weddings and vary greatly in what they might be as they are considered a portrayal of the couple's personality. Koozies are common due to their useful nature both at the wedding and afterwards. Take-home sweets and recipes in jars are also gaining in popularity. Personally, I have to say, those succulents are a favorite! 

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Borrowed and Blue Feature: Arden Photography

Arden Ward Upton

Recently, Borrowed and Blue asked for our opinion on our favorite location to shoot engagement portraits. Of course we said Windwood Equestrian! Check out the full article to see some exclusive Windwood engagement portraits, and other great local photo spots! 

5 Locations for Beautiful Birmingham Engagement Photos


Expert Advice: The Scent of a Woman

Arden Ward Upton

My mother used to say that a real woman needs a signature scent, something she can always be recognized by, a fragrance that will remind people of her, even if someone else is wearing the scent. 

I love this ideology. It is so reminiscent of Old Hollywood, when women never left the house without a good shade of lipstick, their heels, and a beautiful fabric hat. This was the dawning of the era of the celebrity fragrance endorsement. 

No one can forget the infamous words of the iconic Marilyn Monroe when after being asked what she wore to bed, giggled, smiled demurely and whispered in her breathy voice, "Why, only Chanel No. 5 of course!" No doubt that was the chart topping Christmas gift that year. The unforgettable Elizabeth Taylor created the fragrance White Diamonds though it is rumored that her personal signature scent was actually Bal A Versailles by Jean Desprez. 

A few of my favorite scents are Un Jardin en Mediterranée by HermèsCleopatra by Tocca and Vintage Gardenia by Jo Malone (click the links to find out more information)

Tips to Leave Your Scent Lingering: 

Spray your scent on your bed pillows, or your man's so he is reminded of you and will drift to sleep with sweet dreams of the two of you. Spritz any cards, letters, or invites you are sending out. Your friends and family will begin to relate the scent to you without even realizing it! Spray the perfume in your hair when you are getting ready in the morning. The scent will stay with you all day, and will linger in your wake as you walk away! 

Need some help discovering what your signature scent should be? Try this quiz to find out which fragrance tones suit you best: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/best-perfume-scent-quiz

Let Them Eat Cake

Arden Ward Upton

As a wedding guest, I cannot wait to try the cake - more so than free alcohol, good catering, and cute groomsmen. Cheesecakes, cupcakes, red velvet, or traditional - I want a piece of each! As a photographer, I cannot wait to see the cake. It gives great insight into the couple and their style. A beautiful wedding cake often imitates a beautiful wedding.

The cake is such an important part of the ceremony and generally draws attention like a prince on a throne. It is part of many different wedding customs, and has been tradition for hundreds of years, dating back to Medieval times. Different from the sugary confections today, fruit cakes or a stack of warm bread buns were favored instead. 

The cake cutting has a long history itself. First, it was an activity the bride herself did to symbolize the loss of her innocence. Now, it is a ritual performed by both bride and groom to represent the first activity as a married couple. It also symbolizes the couple's agreement to provide for one another. 

Cake charms, though not largely popular anymore, have a long history. Charms were once baked into the wedding cake to embody different meanings as well. For example, a horseshoe signifies good luck, an anchor means adventure, a heart is true love, and a wish bone means a wish come true. If you opt to bake charms into your cake be sure to warn your guests before they dive right in!

Another tradition that has really taken hold is that of saving the top tier of the cake in order to eat on the one-year anniversary. If you want to go all out and truly relive the blissful memories of your wedding day, play dress up! Pull out your wedding dress, have your hubby don his suit, and go to town on those last few pieces of wedding cake - be sure to whisper sweet nothings to each other ;) 

We've seen so many variations on wedding cakes. Everything from the "less is more" to the downright extravagant. No matter what the design, as long as the cake is delicious then it is a total wedding win! 

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The Groom's Cake: A Retro Tradition

Arden Ward Upton

For the most part, the wedding is all about the bride. The groom just needs to show up, look presentable, and say "I do." We often forget that it is important for him too, and whether he admits it or not, he has totally envisioned that big day as well. And while he might not have a lot of say in where the drapes should hang or what the programs should look like, he has complete and absolute control over one thing - the groom's cake. 

Time for a history lesson:

Do you know where this tradition started? 

It actually began in Victorian England in the 19th century. There were three cakes present at the receptions - a bride's cake, a groom's cake, and the wedding cake that was served to the guests. Traditionally, it was a fruit cake (whew thank goodness that has changed, right!?). The tradition stayed put here in the American south where it has gone in and out of fashion in multiple cycles. In the last few years, the groom's cake has seen a comeback - and it is bigger and better than ever!

Some brides like to surprise their grooms with a cake that represents something important to him. But I think, when it comes down to it, let the groom choose the groom's cake! It is the one thing that represents his personality entirely on a day that is so important to both bride and groom. Alma maters, hobbies, and favorite foods are pretty typical in this arena (speaking of arenas - check out that LSU cake!). Many couples are opting to serve the groom's cake at the rehearsal dinner, giving it the whole spotlight for one night so it isn't fighting for attention at the wedding. 

Many might think it is a superfluous and unnecessary expense. What do you think? Axe the idea entirely, or let the groom have one thing that is all his? Would you surprise the groom or would you let him choose what he wants? 

Interesting Info: 

Legend has it that after boxing up individual slices for the guests, if an unmarried woman places her piece beneath her pillow she will dream of her future husband! 

Getting Married in the Rain

Arden Ward Upton

You did all your research on the weather for the date of your wedding. You checked forecast trends as far back as 25 years ago to see what the likelihood of precipitation chances are. Your thumbs got blisters from hitting refresh on your phone's weather app, and you sent up tiny prayers for a clear sunny day - but there it is. That first tiny raindrop just hit your cheek, and it might as well be a biblical flood as far as you're concerned. So what's a girl to do?

Dance in the rain! 

Embrace it! A bride and groom huddled together under an umbrella makes for romantic intimate photo magic! Break out those galoshes, wellies, and rain boots (they're the same thing, but I love those words), grab a festive umbrella, layer a rain coat over your dress, and laugh about it! Because those photos are going to be better than you will have ever dreamt! 

Here are a few favorite #tbt images (including photos from mine and William's semi-wet wedding) of rainy wedding days we adore! Tell me - would you cash in on that wedding insurance and reschedule your big day for a sunnier one? Do you think it's always a good idea to have a backup plan - somewhere to move the ceremony indoors, or rental tents just in case? Let me know!