Intellectually, I knew that my two kids would be different, that they would be their own people with their own interests and anxieties and passions. So, I KNEW that. But actually watching those differences manifest themselves is shocking and fascinating in equal measure. For instance, Juniper, our 3 year-old, can’t stand to get her face wet. It’s not that she’s timid—she’s a bulldog in social situations—but she’s…cautious about certain things. Water being one of those things. Amity…not so much.
About a month ago, we took our first ever full-fledged family vacation. We packed Juni and Hammy and half the house into the minivan and headed to Georgetown, SC. It was a revealing trip for too many reasons to list here, but one of the most interesting takeaways from our time on the beach was that Juni is a little concerned about the ocean, while Hammy wants to be IN the ocean. Now. She would get smacked right in the face by a wave and laugh. When we tried to take her out of the water, she’d struggle free of our grip and scamper back to the water, obviously outraged that we’d tried to remove her in the first place.
You can see pretty much the same thing in these pictures. We didn’t really feel like taking the girls to the local water park, so we just plugged in the sprinkler and set them free. Juni would either run away from the water or finagle things so she wouldn’t get her face wet; Hammy was happy to stand 2 inches away from the sprinkler and take all jets full in the face. The girls are so young, only 1 and 3, so I know I’ll be noticing more and more of these ways they’re so similar and so different, but these past few months, during which Hammy has really started to show her personality, have been eye-opening. Hope you enjoy!
There’s so much to remember about Jeff and Diana’s wedding day. Everything about their ceremony and reception was organized around two simple principles—expressing their love for one another, and celebrating this new union with family and their closest friends. Even the smallest details of the day pointed at this genuine intimacy. I remember seeing the groom’s gift boxes for each of his groomsmen. Inside each was a pair of socks chosen to represent something about the groomsman’s lifestyle, a bottle of his favorite booze, a tie, and a pair of Ray Bans. Everything Jeff and Diana did with their day felt personal and authentic. Beneath the signs for the men’s and women’s restrooms, Jeff and Diana hung photos of themselves as kids. Pretty funny.
I also remember this day so clearly because it was my second wedding back from maternity leave, and it was HOT. Not that wussy kind of hot that dribbles a single, manageable line of sweat down the small of your back, but that Amazonian kind of hot that leaves any reasonable human being feeling like a sponge in a microwave. At any rate, the temperature and humidity were high enough that people were keeping their eyes on some of the older folks in the crowd, including Diana’s 96 year-old grandmother, Virginia. That’s why all of us were so shocked when, right near the beginning of the ceremony, two of Diana’s bridesmaids fainted, one after the other. Yikes. Everyone ended up being fine, thank goodness, but the heat certainly added a layer of drama to the ceremony.
Everything, the ceremony and the reception, took place at River Run Country Club in Davidson. This venue was so important to Diana because she grew up playing golf, and also because playing golf is something she and Jeff love to do together. In addition to featuring a lovely clubhouse for the reception site, being on such a beautiful course also allowed me to play around with the post-ceremony romantics, and I got some of my favorite results ever from that session. In part, this is because Diana and Jeff put so much trust in me—from the moment I met them, they were willing to do whatever I asked, and their amazing spirit really came through in the photos.
In the end, what sticks with me most about this day was the feeling of love. In particular, I was touched by the tenderness of the relationships between Jeff and his mother and sister. It had already been apparent to me how much he treasured Diana, but seeing the affection Jeff felt for all of these strong women in his life was so poignant I found myself tearing up repeatedly. The same was true of the love I saw between Diana and her parents. The closeness of her family came through in everything they did, and I could see how happy they felt to be adding Jeff to their circle.
For their honeymoon, Jeff and Diana went to Half Moon Bay in California for a week of biking, relaxing, and hot-tubbing. For their one year anniversary, they set off on an adventure in the Florida Keys, and I hope they’re having the most amazing time. Happy anniversary, you two.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: River Run Country Club
Venue Coordinator: Chris Zoghby
Hair: Beauty by Sarah Daniel
Floral Design: Flowers by Lingky
Catering and Cake: River Run Country Club
DJ: DJ Marty
Thank you to Nathan for contributing your beautiful images to Diana and Jeff’s collection
You can see images from Diana and Jeff’s engagement session on the Sugar Creek Greenway HERE
It happens so often that when someone calls to schedule a session with me, we discover—usually within minutes—that we share friends, or that we majored in the same field in college, or any of a thousand other things. That was certainly the case when Josh called to get a family portrait on the calendar. Almost immediately, I learned that Josh, Maggie, and their kids, Ella and Bryson, had just moved back to Charlotte, where Josh is from originally. They had been in Utah, where Josh worked in the solar energy field—also my major in college—and had come home to raise their kids. I also discovered that Josh and I had high school friends in common, a neat trick since we went to different Charlotte area high schools. I love how these little coincidences happen in my job. At any rate, they booked a date, and a few weeks later I met Josh and his beautiful family.
The session was incredibly relaxed and natural. Even though they had never had a professional family portrait before, there was no anxiety on their part about any of what I was doing. I don’t think anyone even wore shoes for the first half of the session. We just spent time in the front yard, and took a little walk to the pond across the street, and Josh and Maggie hung out with the kids as they played. And their children were precious. Ella, who is 7, adores her American Girl dolls, and also loves to sing, dance, and swim. She’s chock-full of energy and quick to warm to new people. During the session, Ella proudly rode her new bike for me—it was so sweet. Bryson, Ella’s little brother, is 3, and like most little boys, he also has an engine that never seems to run out of gas. Right now, he’s into monster trucks, dinosaurs, and pretty much any kind of ball.
From what Josh and Maggie told me, and from what I picked up during the session, I could tell that these were siblings who were really starting to like one another. They even hang out alone, away from mom and dad. As a mother of two young critters myself, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I look forward to that day… I so enjoyed having the chance to photograph this family. Their love for one another was so obvious, and I felt immediately welcomed into their circle.
Jeff always likes to say that he and Diana, co-workers at their first jobs out of college, “met at the water cooler.” It was actually Diana who initiated the jump into an intra-office romance, asking Jeff about his plans for the weekend while she was hanging out in his cubicle one day. They exchanged phone numbers over email and a week later they had their first date. The whole thing conjures images of Office Space, but in the sweetest way possible.
The first time Diana and Jeff went out, they had dinner and drinks at the Village Draft House in Raleigh, and pretty soon they realized there was something between them worth exploring. Part of what makes these two work so well is that they make each other laugh. Diana says that she first fell in love with Jeff’s ability to keep her in stitches, and Jeff was smitten by Diana’s sense of humor. They also enjoy doing the smaller, quieter things together, like cooking and playing golf. Diana has been playing since she was a child.
Jeff proposed during a trip to Florida to spend time with Diana’s family. When they arrived in town, Diana’s parents told them they had made dinner reservations at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale. They got to the hotel a little early, so Jeff asked Diana if she wanted to take a walk along the beach with him. As they were strolling and talking, Jeff suddenly dropped to one knee and proposed, catching Diana completely off guard. It’s a moment they’ll be able to relive as often as they want since Jeff had hired both a photographer and a videographer to capture the whole thing. Afterwards, they made their way back into the dining room of the restaurant and found Diana’s whole family there, waiting to celebrate with them.
The ring Jeff gave Diana is a beautiful pear-shaped solitaire with a diamond band that Jeff had custom made. They’d been to look at rings, so he had a good idea of what Diana might like. The catch is that their ring-shopping trip had happened an entire year ago. “He tricked me,” Diana said. Pretty good trick, though, and a nice treat to go along with it.
We met for a sunset engagement session at the Midtown Greenway in Charlotte. Jeff and Diana were very warm towards me, and especially tender and romantic with one another. The whole experience was lovely and memorable for many different reasons, but there’s definitely one thing that will always stick with me. For her first outfit of the shoot, Diana wore a beautiful dark teal skirt and a gray sweater. She’s a knockout and, if you look at the following images, you’ll also see that she has a pretty fantastic set of legs. We had just finished up some shots inside a pergola on the Greenway when Diana stepped out onto the sidewalk that borders Kings Drive. Immediately, there was a three-car wreck. Turns out, the driver in front had gotten a little distracted by the scenery.
When I first met Colby, she was—as we sometimes say in the South—knee high to a grasshopper. A slight exaggeration, maybe, but I’ve known her for a long time. My husband was a teacher at her high school, and by the time I actually met her in person when Colby was in her early 20s, I’d already known her name for years. Because Colby lived in our neighborhood, we’d sometimes run into her when we were out for dinner or drinks, and we’d always find an excuse to sit together and talk. I remember thinking that this was a girl I wanted to know. She was smart, articulate, and talented. I thought she was charming and beautiful.
Fast forward a couple of years and Elyse appears at her side. Only it wasn’t that simple, or that sudden. These two were old friends who came to know each other in high school, stayed in touch, and then discovered their love interest when the time was right for both of them. That time happened to be when Colby and Elyse—both of whom are insanely talented musically—were playing together in a duo they called Commonwealth. One day during rehearsal, their eyes met in a particular way…and the rest, as they say, is history.
What makes this beautiful couple work so well is that, like some of best couples, they’re opposites. They compliment each other. Colby says that she was attracted to the kindness of Elyse’s soul, to the strong and empathetic role Elyse played not only in her life, but also in the lives of so many other people in her life. Elyse says that she was drawn to Colby’s ability to truly live in the moment. No matter what Colby is doing, she’s always able to stop and to give Elyse her complete attention and affection.
Their engagement was just as magical as this perfect couple. Elyse—out of the blue, to Colby, at least—had a town car pick them up at home. They wound their way through Myers Park, prompting Colby to ask if Elyse had purchased a house they could never afford. Instead, they ended up at the Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden, which Elyse had rented out, and it was there that Elyse popped the question. Afterwards, they ate a decadent dinner at The Fig Tree, one of the best meals they’ve ever had.
At this point I should say, in total honesty, that Colby and Elyse are two of our people. My husband and I love them—they’re our family. That our two daughters have women like these to know, love, and learn from is everything to us. So are all the small moments we share with Colby and Elyse whenever we can. Glasses of wine on our porch, the occasional meet-up at a restaurant, whatever. When I think of the beauty and grace a good relationship can bring to the world, I think of these two. I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring. I’m just hoping for the pitter-patter of little feet.
Location: Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC
Hair and Make-up: Lovely by Lindsey
Dog: Presley, as himself