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Charleston wedding + family photographer here! Welcome to my blog, a journal where I share all-the-pretty details, stories, and even a few tips. Stay a while and say hello!

Hi, I'm Jen.

Old Wide Awake Plantation Wedding in Charleston

Mar 4, 2022

Oh the romance and southern charm of an Old Wide Awake Plantation Wedding here in Charleston. Sarah and Ethan chose this incredible venue to host their outdoor ceremony and reception. I first met Sarah when she inquired about my husband’s live wedding paintings. (Check out his work here!) I had just launched Jen Keys Photography and shared with her that Ben and I LOVED being able to paint AND photograph together. It’s not often that the stars align for both of our schedules, but when it does … it’s really so, so special for us both!

An Old Wide Awake Plantation Wedding First Look at the Park

I will always be Team First Look … IF it’s what the couple feel is best for their day! Sarah and Ethan chose to do their First Look at the Old Wide Awake Plantation Park. The park is located just down the street and is absolutely breathtaking with the huge Oaks dripping with Spanish Moss! It was such a beautiful moment.

The beauty of having a First Look is that it allows for freedom in the wedding photography timeline to do really, really fun extras … like … portraits with their dogs!

Yes! Include your dogs in the wedding day for incredible portraits!

Sarah and Ethan brought their dogs, Goose and Gracie, along during their Engagement Session as a practice run for the wedding day! (Genius Idea!) But where they really struck gold was hiring their dog trainer, Meagan Giarratano of Au Pair for Paws, for both the engagement session and wedding day!

Meagan is truly a dog whisperer. She made my job, photographing a couple and TWO dogs an absolute breeze. She timed it so the pups were perfectly tired out, brought treats, gave them cues right above my camera as I was shooting … it was quite possibly one of the easiest portrait sessions! And there wasn’t a bit of dirt on Sarah’s dress when we finished shooting their portraits! Meagan is so amazing that if/when Ben and I ever decide to get a puppy, she will be the first person we call!

There wasn’t a dry eye during the ceremony.

I cried. So hard. And so did all the guests sitting around me as we all were taking in the love and beauty of Sarah and Ethan’s ceremony. I would be remiss not to share that the weight of the current events unfolding in the world leading up to their wedding day certainly added to the depth of the moment. The love between these two is truly the real deal! And I counted it such an honor to capture every second of it!

They danced their hearts out.

Old Wide Awake Plantation allows for not only a gorgeous ceremony backdrop, but also an incredible evening for food, toasts, music, and dancing! Sarah and Ethan’s family and friends had an absolute BLAST! Lee from Direct My Day created and designed such a gorgeous reception space. My favorite detail was the greenery that framed and draped around the entire tent. It was so beautiful with the twinkle lights strung and candles along the tables! It was such a perfect evening!

“Do what you love, but call it work.” Jordan Davis

… A line taken straight from the chorus of Sarah and Ethan’s First Dance song, “Buy Dirt.” Their First Dance song was the sweetest! So many great one liners in it. Ben and I feel so lucky that we both get to do what we love, paint and photograph, and call it work! At the end of the day, we’ve had so much fun, it honestly does not feel like work.

It really comes down to the heart of our “why.” There’s honestly nothing more rewarding than both of us being able to capture a couple’s wedding day, knowing that they will get to treasure their wedding painting and photographs for lifetime to come! We couldn’t be happier for Sarah and Ethan and hope their photos and painting will season with meaning year after year after year.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of my favorites from their day …


Creative Team:

Ceremony + Reception Venue: Old Wide Awake Plantation, Hollywood, SC
Planner: Direct My Day, Lee
Photographer: Jen Keys Photography
Live Wedding Painter: Ben Keys, Wed on Canvas
Music: Will Friend and DJ Michael Peifer
Gown: Allure Bridals via Bridals By Jodi
Florals: Creech’s Florist
Catering: Crazy Dutchman Catering
Rentals: Simply Elegant Rentals
Transportation: Lowcountry Valet
Hair + Makeup: Alter Image Bridal Hair + Makeup
Rings: Diamonds Direct
Lighting: McKenzie Event Lighting


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Love is all you need.  Love, and a great Rosé.
CHARLESTON, SC Wedding, Branding, & Family Photographer

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