When I was a kid, I spent all kinds of time on farms; my dad was in the farming biz at various points, as was my grandfather. When I went to college, I spent a summer sustainable development internship living on a farm. I milked goats at sunrise, tended to sheep and chickens, managed a productive organic garden, made cheese, slept on a cot in a barn with spiders for roommates–it was all very quaint—take my word for it. Suffice it to say, I adore farms. The fields, the animals, the smells and sounds, and even the slower and more deliberate pace of life.
So when Alicia Wagner, once an event coordinator for Charlotte Country Club before leaving for North Corner Haven, got in touch about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance. Partly I was so excited because I’d had so many fantastic experiences with weddings coordinated by Alicia at CCC, but I also just wanted to get back on a farm. The whole deal went to an even sweeter level when Alicia told me what I’d be shooting. It would be a party with the vibe of an “adult hippy day camp.” The guests would be shooting clay pigeons, fishing, taking farm tours, playing with goats, wearing flower crowns, and the like, all while donning some pretty spectacular apparel from Capitol, the luxury clothing boutique in Charlotte. Capitol, owned by Laura Vinroot Poole, was throwing the party to commemorate 20 years of business—the invitees were her loyal clientele, Capitol employees, and more than a few members of Charlotte’s elite. So, a gorgeous natural setting, beautiful clothes, incredible flowers and food, and happy people. I was sold, and so curious to see how it would all come together.
The answer: ridiculously, absurdly pretty. For one, the farm itself, which is located just outside of Charlotte in Lancaster, SC, is beautifully appointed. The mix of gorgeous vistas and rustic structures offered about the most amazing photographic palette I could have asked for. During the party, workers from the farm made rounds with a baby goat and a baby cow for guests to interact with (pretty stinkin’ cute), or guests could visit with Beekeeper Bill as he worked with his colony. The flowers, provided by John Lupton, set the perfect bohemian vibe–you’ll notice many of the guests even wearing flower crowns in their hair, which made everything look even more magical–especially when they hopped in the baby blue, ’74 VW bus which doubled as a photo booth. There was a tree swing adorned with flowers for guests to enjoy, baskets of Kantha quilts to snuggle under once the sun went down, bonfires for added light and warmth, and candles and twinkly lights everywhere you looked.
And then there was the food. The party was catered by Jim Noble, the owner of Roosters and King’s Kitchen. If you have ever eaten at one of his other establishments then you know–the food was incredible. His new venture, Noble Smoke, will be arriving soon in South End. Anything he didn’t provide was sourced from North Corner Haven itself; their contributions to the menu included the pork butt, the spare ribs, and the greens and veggies for the salad. From what I could glean, this is the basic philosophy of North Corner Haven, to provide for the events that take place there as much as they can from their own stock.
The soundtrack for the night was provided by Lee Fields and The Expressions. They rocked, and it shouldn’t go unsaid that Lee Fields has been throwing down his soulful sound since just about the dawn of time; his first release came in 1969, right when the R&B sound was born. He and his band provided the perfect compliment for the party. That man was pretty awe inspiring.
I had such a fantastic time capturing this party. Congratulations to Capitol for 20 years of success, and to North Corner Haven for the unveiling of such a lovely and truly unique venue. I hope to return many times, shooting weddings or parties, or really just to walk around and love on some animals. I could listen to Bill talk about bees for hours. Next time I won’t wear black though. Bill advised me to keep a little distance from the colony as we chatted so they don’t accidentally confuse me for a bear.
Venue: North Corner Haven
Event Coordinator: Alicia Wagner of NCH
Host: Laura Vinroot Poole of Capitol
Floral and Event Design: John Lupton
Catering: Noble Smoke
Photo Booth: The Little Blue Photo Bus
Rentals: Old South Vintage Rentals
Stage and Rentals: CE Rental
Lighting and Audio Visual: Eye Dialogue
Thank you to my second photographer, Emily, who helped to create this beautiful collection of images.
Kaley met Blair while she was working for the Susan G. Komen Foundation during the planning stages of the Race for the Cure. It just so happened that Blair was a marketing producer for Komen’s media sponsor, WBTV. When Blair came to pick up his team’s race t-shirts, he and Kaley immediately hit it off, but since both of them were a little too shy to ask for each others’ numbers, Blair had to keep finding reasons to stop back by in order to chat Kaley up. Finally, he gave her his card, and they continued to find reasons to connect professionally leading up to the race. It was Kaley who made the first move and asked Blair out for drinks. They hit Sir Edmund Halley’s and spent three hours talking on the patio. Only later did Blair find out how unusual it was for Kaley to stay out past 10 o’clock on a weeknight, so she must have been having a great time.
As Kaley and Blair began to see more and more of one another, they quickly began to understand that they might have stumbled into something pretty fantastic. And then, as couples do, they started to muse about their future together. In thinking about a future engagement, one thing Kaley told Blair was that he couldn’t propose to her on Valentine’s Day. This, of course, left Blair with no option but to propose to Kaley on the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day. I should note here that I also confronted my own husband with the pre-conditions that he would not proposed to me on a holiday or in a restaurant, so he took the liberty of proposing to me a couple of days after Christmas and in a brewery. What I’m saying, I guess, is that men just do this. Maybe one day we’ll figure out why, and all of the mysteries of the universe will be solved…
For the proposal, Blair flew Kaley’s best friend in to accompany her on a scavenger hunt around the city. Each place they visited was a location special to Kaley and Blair, and at each she found a separate group of friends or family and a gift. The final stop was at the office of Susan G. Komen on Randolph Road, and it was there that Blair proposed to Kaley on the very same stairs where they’d met 14 months earlier. They ended the day with a cocktail party in Charlotte, and the next day they drove down to Columbia to share the news and celebrate with Kaley’s extended family.
When it came to the wedding, Kaley and Blair really wanted to make sure the big event showcased their personalities. Blair, who has a Masters Degree in Art Direction, created the wedding logo, the Save the Dates, the table numbers for the rehearsal dinner, the rehearsal dinner decorations, and more. But it was his toast at the rehearsal dinner that Blair would probably say he was most proud of; there was a projector screen and all, and by the end of the toast, everyone was laughing and crying.
The wedding took place at Myers Park United Methodist Church, where both Kaley and Blair are members, and for the reception, they chose Charlotte Country Club. Their first dance was to Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. Before the big day, they took 8 dance lessons, but they were so caught in the moment when the dance actually arrived that all of it went out the window.
Kaley and Blair honeymooned in Playa Mujeres, Mexico and had an amazing time. I’m so happy for these two as they celebrate their 1st anniversary, and I feel lucky to have had the chance to spend this incredible day with them.
Ceremony Location: Myers Park United Methodist Church
Reception Location: Charlotte Country Club
Reception Coordinator: Kelli Taddonio of Charlotte Country Club
Videographer: Whitewash Films
Floral Design: In Bloom
Cake Artist: Charlotte Country Club
Hair & Make Up: Sabrina Simpson of Be Pretty
Band: Sol Fusion
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Tuxes: Wearing their own or Men’s Wearhouse
Reception Lighting: Wink Lighting
Transportation: Sunway Charters
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
Clementine and Charlie met in 2013 in Washington, DC. Charlie was so immediately smitten with Clementine that after setting a first date for the following week, he got back in touch with her to see if they could move the date up a few days. They ended up meeting for Sunday night drinks at a neighborhood bar; it didn’t take long until Clementine found herself charmed by Charlie’s sense of humor and adventurousness, and for Charlie to realize how much he loved Clementine’s smile and sense of wanderlust. When the time came, Charlie popped the question at home on a Friday night. The ring was one he had designed himself using diamonds that had once belonged to his grandmother and great-grandmother. The next day they left for a celebratory weekend in New York City.
When it came to planning the wedding, Charlie and Clementine had some pretty clear priorities. For one, they wanted to stress as little as possible. They also wanted to make sure that their time with friends and family was maximized on the wedding day, and so many of their choices reflect that desire. Their rehearsal dinner, for instance, took place at Sugar Creek Brewing. That’s awesome enough, but before they even hit the brewery, Charlie and Clementine and a bunch of their guests hit Park Lanes for a little bowling. They definitely prioritized the fun quotient.
Both the wedding and the reception took place at the same venue, the beautiful Charlotte Country Club, on February 18th. Because of the date, the chance for winter weather was something to take into account, but Charlie and Clementine had pretty much decided not to worry themselves about it. The day came off cloudy and a little drizzly, but the weather never caused a problem. For the pre-ceremony portraits, the girls and I stayed under cover in various locations, while the boys braved the outdoors. The first look, we did in the lovely breezeway that runs alongside the club, and then I got Charlie and Clementine together with their families in front of the club for a few more shots.
Charlotte Country Club looked gorgeous for the wedding. I mean, it always looks great, but I saw some things this time I had never seen before. For one, when guests entered the ceremony site, they passed through the reception room; to keep the suspense alive, sheer fabric was strung on either sides of a walkway, allowing only a gauzy view of the candlelit tables and details as folks entered. As soon as all the guests were seated, the staff drew back the sheers and voila, instant reception site. Another detail that really stood out was the amazing floral wreath—by Jay of In Bloom—that hung in the main window of the ceremony site. A final touch was provided by nature herself. Just after the ceremony, with the sun just barely hanging on, I took Charlie and Clementine outside for a few shots of them in front of a massive rainbow that arched across the entire sky—it was so perfect..
After a Happy Hour, the reception got kicked off in earnest. The dinner, a sumptuous combo of spare ribs, polenta and root vegetables, was served family-style. I’d never seen that before at a wedding reception, and it really spoke volumes about Charlie and Clementine’s desire for their guests to sit and talk and spend time with one another. The band, The Business, truly delivered. The dance floor was packed all night long. One of the most enthusiastic dancers was Charlie’s grandmother—she tore it up. When things drew to a close, Charlie and Clementine made their exit through a flurry of snow provided by snow machines. I hadn’t seen that before, either, so it was quite a night of firsts for me.
After the wedding, Charlie and Clementine, both of whom love to travel, honeymooned in Thailand and Malaysia. Not too shabby.
I’m so delighted our paths crossed and I was able to be a part of such a fantastic celebration, and happy 1st anniversary!
Ceremony and Reception Location: Charlotte Country Club
Officiant: Jim Lytle
Hair and Make Up: Who’s the Fairest
Floral Design: In Bloom
Cake Artist: For Goodness Cakes
Band: The Business
Draping: Party Tables
Thanks to my second shooter, Nathan, for helping to craft such a lovely image collection for Clementine and Charlie.
When they first met at the Selwyn Pub a few years ago, neither Caroline nor Eric were really looking to make a connection. Eric was there for a few beers after a round of golf, and Caroline was just out for a drink with a girlfriend. But when Caroline’s friend introduced Eric out of the gaggle of people who had gathered together to talk, things took on a life of their own, and before long, it was just the two of them, getting to know one another. When Eric texted the next week to ask her out, Caroline said yes. They started the night at Heist in NoDa, then grabbed frozen yogurt at Menchie’s, which was interesting since Eric really doesn’t like frozen yogurt. But he put on his best face and convinced Caroline that he was a fan. Anything for the cause.
Eric’s proposal actually happened sooner than he had expected. At first, his plan was to propose during a scheduled trip to Sea Island, Georgia, but when he received the ring much earlier than he’d expected, Eric knew holding onto it for too long would drive him nuts, so he improvised. He contacted Caroline’s sister to ask for advice on where to propose, and they settled on the City Club. Once that was decided, Eric called his parents and Caroline’s sister and family to ask then to be there for the big moment.
Eric had planned the whole thing out. The ring box would be brought out in a basket of freshly baked bread, and when Caroline unfolded the napkin to grab a piece, she’d see the box and, voila, magic. Only Caroline was really hungry and focused on the bread, so she didn’t even notice that the ring box was there. She says she thought it was a covered butter dish. But after processing for a bit, she realized what she was looking at and opened the box. Inside, where the ring should have been, was a slip of paper. She unfolded it and read, “I will let Eric have a Slip n’ Slide at our wedding.” There were two boxes, marked YES and NO. “Are you serious?” she said, and he told her she had to answer the question. She marked YES, so he got down on one knee and proposed, but I’m pretty sure he’d have proposed if she’d said NO, too. They finished their night, as Eric had planned, in a private dining room with their families.
The wedding took place at beautiful Myers Park Presbyterian Church, which was Caroline’s childhood church. She loved it there, and thought the sanctuary was so beautiful. The reception site was Myers Park Country Club, where Caroline’s parents are members. Caroline and Eric had spent a lot of time there, so it also felt special to both of them. The main goal for the reception was fun, so Eric and Caroline brought in a band to play dance and beach music, and since Caroline loves cake she prioritized getting Kathy Allen for the wedding.
For their honeymoon, Eric and Caroline went to Italy and spent time in Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice. When they got back, they started the real fun and work of marriage—building a life together with their sweet lab-terrier mix, Lily.
Happy anniversary, you two. I hope this past year has been as beautiful as the story that got you to the altar. All of my best wishes.
Ceremony Location: Myers Park Presbyterian Church
Reception Location: Myers Park Country Club
Hair Stylist: Rebekah McCann
Make-up Artist: Leann Kiger
Floral Design: In Bloom
Cake Artist: Kathy Allen Cakes
Band: Right to Party
Reception Lighting: Wink Lighting
Thank you to my second photographer, Nathan, for helping to craft such a lovely collection of images for Caroline and Eric.