Leah didn’t spend a lot of time obsessing about the details of her hypothetical wedding when she was a little girl, but once she met Danner, she started to imagine how it all might look, the dress in particular. What Leah saw in her mind’s eye was something lacy, classy, and fairly traditional, and she recruited her mom to give some help in the search. As it turned out, her mom nailed it. On their initial trip out to search for dresses—they went to White on Daniel Island in SC—Leah’s mom promptly produced a dress she’d found in her research and…voila. In this case, the first time was the charm. Leah tried on a few other dresses, but nothing else compared. What made the moment all the more special for Leah was that her mom, her sister, and her mother-in-law were all there to share in the find.
Leah says of the dress, which was by Anne Barge: “It had the lacy, traditional, and classy look I love, but I thought it represented me in that it had a little modern twist and flair to it so it wasn’t totally traditional or anything I had seen before.” She especially loved the back of the dress, which had a deep V, lacy flowering, and beautiful buttoning. And once she tried on the veil, she was sold.
Of course, a dress isn’t the only item on a bride’s to-do list. To highlight the love she and Danner feel for their families, Leah took lace from her mother and mother-in-laws wedding dresses and wrapped it around her bouquet. That the lace from all three dresses was nearly identical was a pleasant surprise. On her right hand, she wore a blue ring in memory of her grandfather—her something blue.
The location for the bridal portrait was The Duke Mansion, which Leah loves because it’s the epitome of Southern, and she knew it would represent her roots so well. She loves the garden area, and knew the surroundings would look beautiful in photographs. They did look beautiful, and so did Leah.
Hair and Make-up: Lindsey Reagan Thorne
Floral Design: Lily Greenthumbs
Dress: Strasbourg by Anne Barge
Location: The Duke Mansion
You can check out images from Leah and Danner’s romantic engagement session HERE.
Trotter is the perfect name for this little slice of sunshine. I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot this lovely family before, so I knew Trotter was an incredibly sweet little boy, but it was still such a shock to have him hold a door open for me not too long into our shoot. A two year old—I couldn’t believe it. And yes, he may have fallen into a shrub halfway through his door holding, but that only allowed me to help him up and return the favor. During the shoot, Trotter did every little thing I asked him to do, and he did it happily. When we weren’t actively shooting, he sat with his mom and sang songs, which was so adorable to watch. Such a joyous little boy.
Having young kids of my own, I’m always fascinated to hear about how other people’s children are developing, and about the kinds of people they’re turning into. Trotter sounds like he’s growing into the best kind of kid. His mom, Haniya, says that Trotter loves to help out—he holds doors, carries groceries, and helps with the laundry. He’s also sensitive to other people’s feelings and always checks to make sure that everyone is happy, and that they’re okay if they hurt themselves. He’s into airplanes and flying, and he loves to watch planes land and take off. Haniya remembers how thrilled Trotter was when, during their last trip, Trotter was invited into the cockpit and was simply delighted to be in there with the pilot and co-pilot.
Like all young humans, Trotter is busy hitting milestones and developing skills. He’s got fantastic verbal abilities and is always picking up new words. He also loves to swim and to go for walks, and he gets a kick out of jumping on the trampoline with his mom and dad. Basically, Trotter is the sweetest and most adorable little boy I could imagine meeting, and I can’t wait to photograph his next portrait session.
Funny things happen in fraternity houses, but those funny things don’t usually end up in marriage. The exception that proves the rule: Leah and Danner. When Leah was a senior at Wofford, she called out to a friend at a party…except it wasn’t her friend to whom she was shouting at all. It was Danner. He told Leah his name, but in all the noise and hubbub of the night, she didn’t quite get it, so she ended up putting him in her phone as “Someone.” When she got a text the next night from “Someone” asking her to a formal, she declined, but a week later she gave in and Leah and Danner have been together ever since.
When Danner proposed, Leah suspected the ask was coming at some point in the near future, but she was still caught by surprise, mostly because she didn’t think Danner had found a chance to ask Leah’s parents for her hand in marriage. Turns out, he had. The weekend before, Danner had made a secret trip up to Charlotte for a covert dinner with Leah’s parents, so when he and Leah returned to Charlotte a week later, it was game on. The plan was to attend a Charlotte Knights game that evening, so there was some time to kill after the two arrived in town. Danner kept asking Leah to go out with him to walk the dog, and she kept saying no because of the heat. Finally, she gave in, and Danner popped the question in a field near Leah’s parents’ house. This was the same field we returned to for the engagement session.
It wasn’t a particularly beautiful field, but it held so much meaning for Leah and Danner. Long before Danner was in the picture, Leah walked her dogs with her family in that field. Once Danner was in her life, they grew closer walking the dogs together in the field, discussing the direction of their lives and their potential future together. I don’t think Danner could have chosen a better spot to pop the question.
Like so many of the best couples, Leah and Danner balance each other out. He’s carefree and happy, and she’s a worrier, so she loves having him there to remind her to enjoy the small things in life. I loved every minute of working with these two beautiful people, and I can’t wait to hear about where life takes them.
Talk about a set-up. When Anna and Graham were seniors at Wake Forest, some of their mutual friends were so convinced they’d be a perfect match that they organized an entire party just to get Anna and Graham in the same room. Apparently, it took Graham a good half hour to make his move, and people were starting to get a little concerned… But everything went according to plan, and a few years later, Graham proposed—a sweet story unto itself.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, Anna and Graham drove to South Carolina to see his parents. While they waited for Graham’s parents to get ready for a brunch they were all going to attend, Graham and Anna decided to tool around the island for a while and eventually ended up at a beautiful landing on the sound with Civil War ruins in the background. Anna recalls seeing that there was a photographer at the landing shooting photos, but didn’t think too much of it, but when Graham proposed, the whole thing was caught on film. Just a few minutes after the proposal, Graham’s family arrived on the scene. But the real kicker was that Graham had also arranged for Anna’s parents, sister, brother, and sister-in-law to be there, and they drove up just behind Graham’s family.
On October 28th, Anna and Graham will tie the knot at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Charlotte. Father Frank O’Rourke will do the honors, a dream of Anna’s since she was a child. Once the ceremony is complete, the party will move over to Myers Park Country Club, where Anna and her family are members, and where Anna’s dad got to know Graham on the course.
This engagement session was so much fun, and that was in spite of the fact that Anna showed up to the shoot with a pretty mean case of pneumonia. One of the first things she told me was: “I should be okay as long as you don’t make me laugh.” Um…
These two are such wonderful people, and I can’t wait to shoot their wedding in October. Just a few short months left, you two!
Location: Wing Haven Gardens
Make-up Artist: Woo Skincare and Cosmetics
Hair: Mandi Murrow of Bentala Salon
I loved Meredith and John the moment I met them. It’s always so gratifying to spend time with a couple so obviously in love, and when I showed up to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park to photograph their engagement session, that’s exactly what I discovered—two people who treated one another tenderly and with a ridiculous amount of affection. They were also fun, and they had brought along their handsome little pup Tucker to the shoot. I’m pleased to say that Tucker now has a little canine brother, Gatsby, in the fold, and a new human brother arriving in just a few short weeks.
That Meredith and John’s engagement shoot was in Atlanta also allowed me to take a trip down memory lane. I went to grad school there at The Creative Circus, and lived in a little house in Virginia Highlands, which abuts Piedmont Park. I’d also brought along my 12 week-old daughter, and she spent the duration of the shoot being wheeled around the park by my good friend Molly. All in all, a whirlwind, but the good kind.
John and Meredith met in that most modern of ways: online. After texting back and forth for a few weeks, they met up at Mellow Mushroom, ate some pizza and drank a few beers, and realized that there might just be something there worth exploring. Meredith loved that John could handle himself in any conversation, and that he was always polite and caring. John was blown away to have met someone who loved her family so much, and to whom he could speak so easily. In his typically thoughtful way, John proposed to Meredith during a trip they took to Boston, and even flew in her best friend from Washington, D.C. to celebrate with them.
Everything about Meredith and John’s wedding was intended to honor the people in their lives whom they loved most, especially their parents and grandparents, who had given them both such beautiful examples of marriage to learn from. The wedding ceremony site was St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte, where Meredith’s grandparents had been founding members. The reception took place at Carolina Golf Club, where Meredith’s uncle was a member, and where her grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Both were gorgeous venues, and I recall so vividly how lively the reception was. Anyone who could get him or herself to the dance floor was out there all night, moving to the sounds from All the Right Grooves, one of the best DJs in town. It was all pitch perfect.
John and Meredith, happy second anniversary. Congratulations on your first two years of marriage, and good luck with all the exciting changes on the horizon. It’s a wild ride, but one so worth taking.
Ceremony Venue: St. Gabriel Church
Reception Venue: Carolina Golf Club
Wedding Coordinator: Cissy Bevington
Hair Styling: Blo Bar Charlotte
Make-up Artist: Annie Farhi
Bride’s Jewelry: Etsy
Bride’s Dress: Carrie’s Bridal
Men’s Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Florist: Inseason Florals
Catering: Carolina Golf Club
Cake: Edible Arts
Invitations: American Wedding
Transportation: Rose Charters
Thank you to Sarah Collier of Taken by Sarah Photography for helping me create this lovely image collection for Meredith & John.