greenville south carolina wedding photographer

All About Wedding Cakes

Today’s blog topic is CAKE! There’s no denying that my love of cake comes from my mom, who spent years making wedding cakes in Charlottesville, Virginia. Am I biased about her making the best cakes? Maybe, but there’s no denying how good they are and how much she knows about them. My mom, Maureen, is answering some of the questions you might have about looking for a wedding cake.

My mom made my perfect 7th birthday cake from strawberry cake mix and a cake pan shaped like Ariel. Since my birthday is close to Christmas, there was one year when she made little gingerbread houses for my friends and me to decorate at my birthday party. As the years went by, she began to pursue baking professionally, working for people who trained at some of the best culinary programs in the world and making cakes completely from scratch with the best quality ingredients. Many years after making my Ariel cake, she made a Little Mermaid-inspired wedding cake with a cascade of handmade fondant seashells. She went from working all day on gingerbread houses for my birthday party to spending weeks helping make a huge, award-winning gingerbread house. She is a certified chocolatier and her work was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. We hope this helps you with your cake decisions for your wedding day!

Little Mermaid cake, 2000

Little Mermaid cake, 2000

Little Mermaid cake, 2014

Little Mermaid cake, 2014

What’s your favorite thing about cakes?

My favorite thing about cakes is unlimited flavor combinations and design ideas! It's a privilege to be a part of one of the most exciting days of their life. It's a thrill to work alongside other talented vendors. Delivering a cake is exciting because when I arrive, other exciting things are always happening too. The florist is working their magic, the tables are getting set, the DJ or band is setting up, the smell of the food is in the's just a fun and happy time! You can feel the excitement.

How did you get into doing cakes?

Since I was a little girl, I've always had a love of sweets and baking. 


What’s one thing you think everyone should know when they start thinking about their wedding cake?

I believe a wedding cake should be about the couple's taste and personality. I always suggest they not copy a cake they've seen somewhere else. Use it as an inspiration to come up with something personal to them.

What are some ways a couple can save money on a wedding cake?

The more handmade decorations that are put on a cake, the more the cake will cost. Handmade flowers are very time consuming. A cake frosted with buttercream is less expensive than fondant. A cake done with buttercream can have an smooth finish and fresh flowers and still be quite elegant and more budget friendly. 

Can having different cake and filling flavors add to the cost?

Yes. First, it adds to the cost of the ingredients. Second, it takes more time to scale out three different cake flavors than it does to scale out one flavor in a much larger  quantity. An entire wedding cake of a single flavor can be baked at one time at the same temperature. Different kinds of cake or different flavors may bake at different temperatures or have a different method. This can add quite a bit of time to bake all of the cakes.  Making separate fillings such as curds, ganache, jams, and flavored buttercreams are all delicious, but add to the cost as well.


What should couples consider if they’re having an outdoor wedding?

The type of cake, filling, buttercream, and decorations would have to be taken into consideration for a summer wedding. I would want to make a buttercream cake that is refrigerated as long as possible and delivered to the venue as late as possible. Naked cakes may be a better choice on a hot day and decorated with fresh berries or flowers. Sometimes an option other than a cake is more practical, like pies, cookies, or a dessert bar. Wedding cakes can be kept indoors until it’s time to cut the cake, but it’s always best if the cake stays in one place.

What are some alternatives to wedding cakes? 

I've seen couples who actually do not like cake at all. They've chosen to have pies or a dessert bar.

What’s the biggest misconception about wedding cakes? 

The biggest misconception about wedding cakes is that they have to be a white cake with vanilla buttercream. While that is traditional, most people pick creative flavors and have multiple tiers with different flavors.

What are some unique cake flavors you’ve made?

Cake flavors can be inspired from everywhere! Ice cream flavors, cocktails, childhood desserts that grandma used to make...I’ve done red velvet with strawberry and lavender, an Earl Grey tea chocolate cake, and bananas foster with bananas, vanilla, rum, and caramel. Kathryn (Christine’s sister/Maureen’s daughter) had a whole bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in her 21st birthday cake.

Tori and Michael Reception-5.jpg

What makes cake artists different from each other?

Our couples make us different from each other! When trying to make a cake unique to each couple, we discover new techniques and flavors inspired by them. Some bakers are known for their use of color, painting or airbrushing. Some bakers are known by their creative flavor combinations or sculpted cakes.

What are some trends you see with cakes and what's more classic?

A three tiered round cake is classic although it can be personalized with color, flavors and decorations. Wedding cupcakes have become very popular but still not as popular as the single wedding cake. Naked cakes and tall cakes are the newer trends I've seen.

Where can people learn more about wedding cakes?

I encourage couples to look at as many pictures of cakes as they can from Instagram or Facebook or just by Google. They will start to see a trend in the style that they like that will inspire their own cake unique to them. 


Choosing Your Married Name


It’s actually a pretty big decision and I don’t know why I’ve never read a blog post on it. I never heard anyone talk about this, and I never thought to talk with anyone about it, maybe because everyone has such different views on marriage in general and what different name change options would say about you.  Even when you Google “name change after marriage,” the whole first page is about the process of changing your name and not what to change it to. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have benefitted from reading something like this.

I initially didn’t like the idea of changing my name. This is what I had been called my whole life. I didn’t want to be called something else just because I made the decision to get married. Changing my name would mean having to update everything from my driver’s license to my Amazon shipping information to my paperwork at my job. I really didn’t want to go through all those processes, in addition to having to update pretty much everyone I knew.  The reason I did change my name was because I wanted our eventual family to all be under one name. “The Gows” wouldn’t include me if my last name was Scott or Scott-Gow. People wouldn’t know to associate me with Dan or our future children.  So I eventually decided that I wanted to be a Gow, but what would come between Christine and Gow? 

For other people, there are several factors to consider. I know professors who didn’t change their names so they can still be tied to different works they’ve published. Other professors might marry another professor in the same department and not want to be confused with each other. Some use a hyphenated name. One of my professors made her husband’s last name her middle name instead of the other way around. Some people change their name, but still choose to be known professionally as the name everyone knows. Carrie Underwood, for example, is not known to the public as Carrie Fisher, partially because so many people know her as Carrie Underwood, and partially because she could be confused with Princess Leia.

After deciding what your last name will be, you have to decide what you want your middle name to be. For some people, it’s an easy choice if they don’t like their middle or last name, or if it’s a name that they don’t want to be associated with anymore. I like my middle name and I didn’t like the idea of completely replacing my family name.  Plus, I had Christine Scott Photography going for me, but it would be weird if Scott wasn’t part of my name anymore.  I don’t think I really knew what I wanted my middle name to be until over a month after I was married.

Bowden rehearsal dinner-17.jpg

This brings me to the legal process of name changes, which can vary by state.  In South Carolina, you can change your middle and last name to reflect your spouse’s name after becoming legally married.  Based on those rules, my options were Christine Laureana Scott, Christine Scott Gow, or Christine Laureana Gow (side note: Laureana is pronounced Laurie-Anna and it was my great-grandma’s name).   Somehow, I got away with making “Laureana Scott” my legal middle name without anyone questioning me. I don’t know what my plan would have been if I’d been told that wasn’t allowed or if I didn’t have enough space on the form.

Here’s where it gets complicated: if you don’t go by your first name, you will need a court order to legally change your name to the one everyone calls you.  This applies to people who go by their middle names, their last names, a nickname, or just another name they’ve chosen for themselves.  According to the South Carolina Legislature’s website, “A person who desires to change his name may petition, in writing, a family court judge in the appropriate circuit, setting forth the reason for the change, his age, his place of residence and birth, and the name by which he desires to be known,” as well as a series of background checks and an affidavit.

If monograms or initials are important to you, that’s something you’ll want to think about before making a legal name change. Remember the Big Bang Theory episode where they name their teams “Perpetual Motion Squad” and “Army Ants,” not realizing what the acronyms would be on their shirts?  Or what if your initials don’t spell anything, but your monogram does?  As for initials, I always thought “Christine S” sounded weird, maybe because it was rare for me to need to be distinguished from another Christine, so “Christine S Gow” sounded weird to me too. The only times I see “Christine L Gow” are in places like my bank account.  My signature is “Christine L Gow” because that’s what my credit card says and my signature is on the back.  On a side note, Dan and I recently realized that the “G” looks different in our signatures. His G looks like the one on the General Mills logo and mine looks like the one on the Goody hair accessories logo.

Diana and Andrew Wedding-17.jpg

There are online services that will automate the process for you. I considered this since the DMV here wasn’t open when I wasn’t at work, but I read some negative reviews about the online services and decided I didn’t want to risk my legal name getting messed up.  I read that you’re supposed to go to the social security office before the DMV, so that’s what I did once I had a day off work.  I believe I was required to bring two forms of ID, which can include your driver’s license, your passport, your social security card, and your birth certificate.  I got there right when it opened and there was already a huge line across the front of the building.  I had some photography work to do, so I brought that with me in anticipation of a long wait.  The wait at the social security office was actually longer than the wait at the DMV, but I was able to sit down right away at the social security office.

I hope this has provided some insight to you as you get ready for this big change!

Kimpton Brice Wedding, Savannah, Georgia | Amethyst and Matt

Remember Amethyst and Matt, who had their engagement session in Disney World this past April?   They celebrated their happily ever after on a warm and sunny December day in Savannah, Georgia! 

My day started with a Forrest Gump impersonator chatting with me at breakfast and telling me to congratulate the couple for him, which I think is pretty cool.  The day ended with a sparkler exit along the street with trolley passengers cheering and passing cars honking.  Before the ceremony, I took pictures with Amethyst, her family, and her bridesmaids with ivy and palmetto trees. My second shooter, Shain, took Matt, his family, and the groomsmen to the nearby square with lots of giant oak trees and Spanish moss.  The ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Kimpton Brice Hotel, which faces the Savannah River.

Although this was not a Disney-themed wedding, there had to be Disney references throughout the day, since that’s where Amethyst and Matt met and began their adventures as a couple.  Not only were there some Disney songs carefully placed throughout the day (I especially loved the songs from The Goofy Movie as the wedding party entered the reception), each entrance into the reception space had a Disney quote about love on it.  Like any Disney princess, Amethyst wore a tiara.  Since Beauty and the Beast is one of Amethyst’s favorite Disney movies, Matt had notes and roses given to her throughout the day.  As we took their photos in the square after the ceremony, Matt gave her one more note and a rose.  I only know that part of that note said “I’ll love you until the last petal falls” because Matt pointed out that this rose was artificial, so no petals would fall.

When you’ve spent years working at “the happiest place on earth,” where do you go for your first adventure as a married couple?  Well, “the happiest place on earth” actually refers to several places in different parts of the world, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Here are a few of my favorites from this beautiful wedding day!

Venue: The Kimpton Brice

Videography: Palmetto Digital

DJ: Jus Music

Florals: the couple and their families

The Pines at Sheltowee Wedding: Samantha and Tim

Samantha and Tim's wedding was one of those days that you'd picture if you imagined a peaceful summer wedding in the south.  They were married at the Pines at Sheltowee, under the shade of the trees with the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky right behind them.  

The barn was elegantly rustic on the inside with big windows everywhere to let in plenty of natural light for Samantha's bridal portraits.  Her gown had a beautiful lacy train and she carried a bouquet in a pastel pink and blue palette, while her bridesmaids carried baby's breath.  The reception hall, where Samantha's family served food they made themselves, was decorated with hints of blush.  The clouds rolled in during the wedding ceremony, keeping the sun off of everyone on this 90-degree day.  The rain held off until after the ceremony and it only began sprinkling towards the very end of the bridal party photos.  Luckily, the sun was back out during the golden hour, and you know how I love the way golden hour sun lights up hair like Samantha’s.

Their dog, Tux, walked down the aisle with Tim’s parents and sat quietly for the ceremony and some pictures.  Since Tim is a herpetologist (someone who studies reptiles), his brother and best man mentioned during his speech that he was only allowed to have one room in the new house for critters.  It only made sense for their getaway car to have drawings of some of the many animals he’s worked with. 

I had always imagined that Kentucky would kind of look like West Virginia, where I first started to be conscious of taking “good” pictures of the mountains that would show people who weren’t there exactly how beautiful something could be.  After many years of learning to take better pictures, combining a backdrop like that with the joy of a wedding makes me so happy.  Samantha and Tim’s wedding perfectly combined those two and more.  Here are some of my favorites from this gorgeous Kentucky day!

Venue:  The Pines at Sheltowee

Photographer:  Christine Scott Photography

Dress:  Bridal and Formal, Inc.

Florist:  The Master’s Bouquet

Cake: Root-A-Bakers

Music: Jessika Brust

Tuxes (not including the dog): Men’s Wearhouse

Diana and Andrew's Wedding: Fort Mill and Charlotte

On Thursday, Diana became an alumna of Clemson’s engineering school. On Saturday, she became Andrew’s wife. I did this Clemson couple’s engagement photos on a cold January day in Clemson.  Here are their wedding pictures from a 90-something degree clear day in May!

The wedding ceremony took place in the Fort Mill church Diana grew up in and a priest from Andrew’s church delivered the sermon. Diana wore the same veil that her mother and her mother’s sisters all wore on their wedding days, except Diana added a pretty gold headband to it. And how beautiful are these rings? Diana’s yellow-gold rings look so pretty together!  Diana’s favorite color is gray, so her bridesmaids wore gray, but most of Diana’s accessories were gold and there were hints of blue in their bouquets, with Diana’s rosary wrapped around the bridal bouquet. 

After the ceremony, we found a shaded area by a pond near the church for bride and groom portraits, then crossed the border of the Carolinas to Diana’s aunt’s house in Charlotte for the reception.  Diana and Andrew love the movie Up, so “adventure” was a common theme throughout the reception.  They had a few single-tier cakes from All In, a coffee shop in Clemson where everything tastes amazing, including their cakes.  After a night of line dancing and partner dancing in the backyard, Diana and Andrew walked through a tunnel of their family and friends blowing bubbles that came from champagne bottle-shaped bubble containers, which I thought was adorable, before heading to Asheville for their first adventure as husband and wife. 

Enjoy the photos of this beautiful celebration of love between two sweet people!

Ceremony venue:  St. Phillip Neri Catholic Church, Fort Mill, SC

Reception Venue: Private residence, Charlotte, NC

Photographer: Christine Scott Photography

Florist:  Fresh Blossom

Catering: Famous Toastery of Dilworth

"Never Mind the Great Ideas, Just Life Itself"

When I was a freshman in college, I was part of a play with the theatre department called Hotel Cassiopeia by Charles Mee.  There were many parts of this abstract play and its existential dialogue that pulled at our heartstrings, but one scene stood out to us as we prepared for our final performance, the last time we would all be together onstage, the last time we would play a part in this story, and when the beautiful experience of putting together this show would all come to an end.  Here’s the dialogue from that scene (exactly as it is written):

What sort of future do you see?
what sort of future of humanity and of the world

what new forms

what new visions

this will be the job of the artist

this will be the artist's only job

because the great changes in the world
the changes of consciousness
the changes of our sense of life itself
will not come from the reasoned arguments
of political scientists or philosophers
but from the visions of artists
not by arguing well
but by speaking differently

or is this a promise that has failed, or is failing?
new visions are easy to come up with
but the world goes on ignoring the best of them
the world is littered with so many utopias

so many visions of wondrousness
so many great ideas

and even ideas that were possible at one time or another
beautiful things

or never mind the great ideas
just life itself
the moments of life itself
transporting things
things that will last a moment
and then vanish forever
vanish forever
how does one cherish even what has happened
let alone what might have happened
how does one relish it
how does one relish life itself
it slips through the fingers so quickly

this is where the work comes from
if one is an artist
from the shooting stars
water in a stream
a love
a young girl
a woman
a ballerina on the stage
snow flakes
the lifespan of a butterfly
all gone

The whole script is available for you to read online here.

One of my first photography adventures (and one of my first meetings with Clemson Photography) was to the penthouse of Clemson House.  Clemson House was built as a hotel in the 50s, but was later converted into a dorm.  We needed special permission to go up there and the view was stunning, especially at sunset.  I met Alex, who quickly became my friend and later became my co-president of the club, my roommate, and a trusted fellow photographer.

We've tried to recreate this picture because I was still new to using a DSLR, but he still likes this one the best, and edited it to look a little more vintage.

We've tried to recreate this picture because I was still new to using a DSLR, but he still likes this one the best, and edited it to look a little more vintage.

We went back to the penthouse with the club a few more times.  We somehow all climbed on the actual roof, which was one of my favorite memories of college.

Photo by Madeline Hemmingson

Photo by Madeline Hemmingson

Clemson House Clemson Photography

We played with light after sunset, which was always a good time. 

Playing with the steam from the laundry room coming through the pipe.  Photo by  Alex Stewart

Playing with the steam from the laundry room coming through the pipe.  Photo by Alex Stewart

Same spot, different day.  Photo by  Alex Stewart

Same spot, different day.  Photo by Alex Stewart

Here’s the photo that eventually went on my business card was taken at the penthouse.

Clemson House sunset converse shoes

Clemson House was Dan’s freshman dorm (where he lived when we first started to become friends) and he eventually proposed to me at the penthouse. 

Photo by Michael Scott

Photo by Michael Scott

On our wedding day, we took some time to drive to the main part of campus for some pictures.  We went to Bowman to get Clemson House in the background.  We knew for a while that there were plans to demolish it, but we found out a little before the wedding that the demolition would start within the week after our wedding.  Right before it started storming, we took some wedding pictures with this building that meant so much to us and held so many important memories. 

One day on the honeymoon, not even a week after our wedding, we were just lying on the bed talking.  At some point, one of us was on Facebook and saw a Facebook Live video of the first step of the Clemson House demolition: removing the iconic neon sign.  This was where I met Alex and so many of my photography club friends, and where we climbed on the roof and collaborated on photo ideas we had.  This was where I took so many photos.  This was where Dan proposed to me.  This was where we took some of our wedding photos as the thunder started.  And now we were watching that place go away, and nobody else would get to experience what we did.

We were two of thousands who watched as this iconic part of campus was slowly taken apart.  We saw the Facebook comments rolling in:

“I lived here all 4 years!”

“I was married in the penthouse in 1974.”

“I made some of my best friends on the 4th floor.”

Throughout the day, several Clemson Photography alumni who shared some of those memories with me tagged me in some Instagram posts from our trips up there.  We saw that day that even though our connection to the building was unique, we were far from the only ones who felt such a strong connection to this place.

What was unique, though, was that our engagement was PROBABLY the last reservation made at the penthouse, and we MAY have been in the last photos ever taken of the building before the demolition.

Someday, our grandkids will be showing their kids our wedding pictures in front of a building they never got to see in person, and telling them, “That’s back when Clemson House was still there.  That’s where they got engaged and they think they were the last to reserve the penthouse and the last people to take pictures with it.”  If our descendants are Tigers, that’ll be something they can show their friends.  Future Tigers will see those pictures the same way we look at pictures taken with the “Hollywoodland” letters, Old Man on the Mountain, or the Pont des Arts.  I was in Clemson last week and saw that the windows have been removed from Clemson House.  We’ve been married for four months and our wedding portraits are practically already antiquities.

The thing is, we don’t always know when we take a picture that something in it won’t be there in a year.  It could be a building, a person, a connection, a time in your life, or a feeling.  That’s why it’s so important to have pictures, and that’s why so many of us have the drive to give people the best pictures possible. 

Note: Everything in this blog about Clemson House and my own wedding day was drafted before I actually started shooting weddings myself.  I hadn’t published it yet, but now I have something to add to it.

I was recently a second shooter for a major wedding photography company.  With this company, I’m hired to shoot for the whole day and then upload all my RAW (unedited and uncompressed) files for someone else to edit.  The couple receives their whole gallery within six weeks.  One night, a little under three weeks after that wedding, I got a text from the main shooter:

“Hey Christine, sorry for the late text, but can you check your email?”

Well, that’s a text that normally signifies something important.  I nervously opened my email.

“Hey Christine, do you have any pictures of the guy with the glasses?  He passed away and the couple would like some pictures to be able to show at his funeral.”

I froze when I saw the picture he attached.  It was a picture of the groom standing next to a guy with glasses holding his son, the little boy who’d caught the garter.  I remembered that he’d held his son on his shoulders so he could catch the garter.  The main shooter knew that I had pictures of this guy because he was a groomsman and I’d been assigned to take pictures of them getting ready and take group pictures of them.    I couldn’t even remember this guy’s name, but I apparently had some of the last pictures ever taken of him.  I knew that I’d have a picture of just him and the groom and a picture of him getting ready with the groom.  I looked through my pictures and saw pictures of him dancing with his young daughter at the reception, and then a few of him holding hands with his wife as they danced around their son and daughter.  They just seemed like sweet photo ops at the time I decided to take them, not very different from photos from other wedding receptions, but now they were so much more than that.  These moments were how he would be remembered because there are pictures of them.  

Things happen and it’s sometimes hard to explain to other people what life was like before then, but seeing pictures on a wall or in an album doesn’t always require an explanation. The groomsman’s children are 8 and 4.  They won’t have as many memories of him as they’d like, but they can look back on pictures of him to remember how he smiled or that day they all danced together at the wedding reception.  I won’t be able to show my future children where Dan proposed to me, but they’ll be able to see pictures from that day, and they’ll have a better understanding how perfect of a view that was for a proposal.  This is why I do what I do: of course we want to remember the significant events of life, but the little moments that aren't pre-planned or talked about are just as important to us to remember.

"Never mind the great ideas, just life itself." 

-- Charles Mee, Hotel Cassiopeia