When I was in college, I remember a friend telling me that most of us will know the person we’re going to marry by the time we’re 18. Well, I think that statistic, if there was ever any truth to it at all, probably hailed from a much earlier time when people were less mobile and tended to marry the people with whom they grew up. Things are obviously very different in this day and age, with people gallivanting all over the map, so it’s always so sweet to see two people who knew each other as kids coming back together in a new way as adults.
Hillary and John have known one another since middle school. They both grew up in Charlotte, but attended different schools. Still, they had some mutual friends, including two of the groomsmen. Hillary says she doesn’t remember exactly how she and John first met, but she recalls hanging out with John at functions, and even going to some of his church basketball games. One of her favorite memories of her youth, she says, was that she invited John to her Sweet 16. She was allowed to invite 5 friends from other schools, and John made the cut. I gotta say, that’s pretty adorable.
Hillary and John moved from friends to something more during senior year of college; John asked if Hillary wanted to have dinner with him, some of Hillary’s girlfriends, and their boyfriends. She said yes, not realizing that the whole thing was a set up. After dinner, the group hit Angry Ales on Montford and had a blast. A few days later, John invited Hillary and a few other friends to his mountain house for some skiing, and that was where things really started to fall into place. Hillary quickly discovered that John was kind and sincere and incredibly selfless. Although she had known John as a good friend for years, she found herself drawn to him in a new way. For his part, John found himself attracted not only to Hillary’s natural beauty, but also to her confidence in what she wanted from life, and to her willingness to stray from her comfort zone.
John proposed during the July 4th weekend. The two had planned an impromptu trip to Beaufort, SC, just for the heck of it. When they arrived on Friday evening, they had no real plans, so they headed out to look for a place to get dinner and drinks. After striking out—John kept finding little reasons to say no—they headed back to their bed and breakfast to regroup over a glass of wine in the adorable little courtyard. Hillary turned around for a brief moment to dry off her chair, and when she turned back around, John was on one knee. They spent the night celebrating, then announced their good news the next morning. When they got home to Charlotte, they held a big family dinner with both of their families to celebrate. The ring was based on one Hillary and her best friend (and eventual Maid of Honor) discovered a year earlier when they went out to do a little research. It’s a three-stone design with an oval and two half-moon diamonds. It’s pretty gorgeous.
While planning the wedding, Hillary and John knew a main priority was for their out-of-town friends to have a great time in the city in which both of them grew up. They decided on Covenant Presbyterian Church in Dilworth for the ceremony because it was John’s childhood church. For the reception, they chose Carmel Country Club because it was such a big part of Hillary’s life as a kid. Win-win. I for one, was thrilled with both choices. Carmel CC offers some beautiful scenery, and Covenant Presbyterian has both a fantastic-looking exterior and one of the loveliest sanctuaries in Charlotte.
Both the bride and the groom got ready at their family homes. Since John’s family lives only a few blocks from Covenant Presbyterian, the fellas decided to walk to the church, and that stroll yielded some great shots of the guys against the backdrop of downtown Charlotte.
After a lovely ceremony, the party reconvened at Carmel CC, where Right to Party, one of the most popular wedding bands in town, kept things hopping all night. The whole day was flawless, and I could see how much fun Hillary and John had reveling in the love of friends and family.
Congratulations, you two. I loved working with you, and I wish you all of the very best.
Ceremony Location: Covenant Presbyterian Church
Ceremony Coordinator: Lauren Walker
Minister: Bob Henderson
Reception Location: Carmel Country Club
Reception Coordinator: Megan Fennie
Floral Design: In Bloom
Cake Artist: Carmel Country Club
Hair and Make-up: Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Band: Right to Party
Linens and Draping: Shay of Party Tables
Invitations: Natalie O’Dell of Chez la Mariee
Julia and Patrick first met one another when they were freshmen at Boston College. They saw each other around campus every once in a while and said hello, but nothing more. After a brief summer away from school, they returned for sophomore year in 2011 and ran into each other. They exchanged numbers and started dating a short while later, in December of 2011. I’m a sucker for high school and college sweetheart stories, especially when those stories belong to a couple as adorable as this one.
And of course their first real date is adorable, too. Jules drove over to Rye, NY, where Patrick was staying with his family for the holidays. They ate lunch by the window overlooking all the beautiful Christmas lights, and then—and this is where it gets fantastic—Jules and Patrick joined Patrick’s family at an outdoor rink they’d rented out for skating. Not just his immediate family, mind you, but 50 members of his extended family who had gathered for a reunion of sorts, many of whom had a long and storied history in skating and hockey. Jules, who had next to no experience with skating, held her own and had a blast, and needless to say, she got a feeling for the family pretty quickly.
When Patrick proposed, he took Jules back to the same restaurant in Rye where they’d had their first date. He’d arranged to have the whole production filmed, and ten minutes after he popped the question, both of their families joined them for brunch and mimosas. The ring was a three stone concoction Patrick designed himself (after judiciously consulting Jules’ Pinterest page).
Jules (that’s what most people call her) moved on from BC to grad school, where she’s in training to become a physician’s assistant. When she’s done with school, her hope is to work in the ICU or in emergency medicine. Patrick, on the other (but equally awesome) hand, is a hockey player. He played at BC and signed his first professional contract out of college, with the Carolina Hurricanes. Currently, he’s in his fourth season with the Hurricanes, and his second as team Captain. I find these two so interesting, as I always do with couples who pursue what I see as exotic and kinda/sorta conflicting professions. Patrick plays a fast-paced and sometimes violent sport, and Jules patches people up. Gotta love that kind of yin and yang in a couple.
When Jules first got in touch with me to photograph their engagement session, it turned out that I was already booked for the date she and Patrick had hoped for, so I referred her out. When she got back in touch a few weeks later to let me know that their timetable had shifted, I was thrilled to have an opening. We decided to have our session at the Duke Mansion during the holiday season, and if you’ve been to the Duke Mansion during that time of year, you know how beautiful it is. Add two attractive people and mix. It was a fantastically easy shoot. My favorite moment was toward the end of our time together, when we made our way back to the Peter Rabbit Garden. There’s a little picnic table back there, and I asked Jules and Patrick to sit together for some portraits. Since I’m a southerner and know little about the finer points of northern life, I asked Jules if she would regale me with the rules of hockey. For the next ten minutes or so, she did her best to fill me in, Patrick chuckling every time she got something wrong. It was sweet and funny, and I adore the images.
Jules and Patrick will be married on July 7th in Palm Beach, Florida, and I wish for them all of the very best things. This shoot was a pleasure, and they are an inspiring couple.
Venue: The Duke Mansion
Hair and Make up: Patrick at Shine Salon
I married my husband in a backyard ceremony on Nantucket Island. Present at the event were our families and our closest friends and no one else. I tell you this not apropos of nothing, but because it’s important to acknowledge that weddings come in all styles and in all sizes, and that every wedding is beautiful in its own unique way. This was certainly true for Andy and Whitney.
Whitney and Andy met while Whitney was taking graduate classes with Andy’s sister, Ashley. They met when Whitney tagged along on one of Ashley’s Spring Break trips to Boston, and Andy turned out to be an amazing host. Over the years, they stayed in touch, and when Whitney wound up moving to Boston four long years later, they reconnected. The rest is history…but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesomeness of their first date, which happened when Andy invited Whitney to Haymakers for Hope’s charity boxing match, Belles of the Brawl. Essentially, this event consisted of watching amateur female boxers fighting to benefit breast cancer research. And lots of whiskey gingerales. Over the following weeks and months, Andy found himself falling in love with Whitney’s humor, smile, and sick dance moves. Whitney fell in love with Andy’s selflessness.
When Andy proposed, he and Whitney were at Latta Plantation, one of their favorite places. The dogs were splashing through the water when Andy suddenly dropped to one knee and proposed. Whitney was so shocked that she only said, “Stand up! Stand up!” and completely forgot to answer the question. The ring was handmade by a jewelry designer the couple knows from their time in Boston. Andy knew the jewelry designer’s aesthetic aligned perfectly with Whitney’s, and he couldn’t imagine getting a ring anywhere else. Whitney loves how her ring is modern and unique, but still classic in shape and design.
When they got home, Whitney’s mom was there to share in the celebration. They celebrated at brunch and then met up with Andy’s family that evening for a low-country boil. It was the perfect intimate proposal followed by a celebration with both of their families.
The wedding was held at Mecklenburg County Courthouse with Andy and Whitney’s immediate family. Andy and Whitney had a lot of non-traditional ideas they explored, but ultimately decided on stripping the Big Day down to the only thing that matters to them, sharing the special moment with those closest to them. Once they agreed to keep the details simple, the rest fell into place. For their reception, they spent the evening with their closest friends and family at Haberdish, eating delicious food and enjoying the company of their nearest and dearest.
Thank you to the McGill Rose Garden for letting us linger after hours for the family portraits in the gardens, and to Nectar for creating Whitney’s stunning bouquet. And thank you to Whitney and Andy for allowing me to celebrate with you.
Ceremony Location: Mecklenburg County Courthouse
Post-Ceremony Photo Location: McGill Rose Garden
Floral Design: Nectar
Hair and Make-up: Beauty Asylum