Archive for Engagement

Uptown Charlotte Engagement, Mary Anne & Ethan

Mary Anne, a special education teacher, and Ethan, a budget coordinator for the city of Charlotte, met at Matthews United Methodist Youth Group while volunteering with middle and high school students.  In retrospect, it’s so poetic that these two met while volunteering their time and love since doing so is a key part of both of their hearts. Almost immediately, Ethan felt a spark of attraction, and Mary Anne quickly found herself feeling likewise.  Ethan was the first to make a move, asking Mary Anne out to dinner at Mama Ricotta’s.  

As their relationship deepened, Mary Anne found herself falling in love not only with Ethan’s good looks but also with his remarkable thoughtfulness.  For his part, Ethan fell quickly and irretrievably in love with Mary Anne’s sweet smile and with her innocent but hilarious sense of humor. They also learned what they loved to do together; for Mary Anne, it’s exploring new places and eating good food, and for Ethan, the emphasis is on exploring local craft brews.  Not a bad combination, and one that bodes well for many great years of traveling, eating, and drinking in style.

Ethan and Mary Anne got engaged on August 11th, 2018 during a memorable date night in uptown Charlotte.  The evening got started at Rooster’s with a charcuterie board–one of Mary Anne’s favorite things–and a couple of drinks.  As they waited for their dinner reservation, they wandered through uptown looking for some quiet and found it in 1st Ward Park.  Sitting there, watching the sunset, Ethan and Mary Anne vowed to commit their lives to one another. The ring features a gem that was worn by both Mary Anne’s grandmother and great grandmother.  Ethan and Mary Anne went to the Custom Shop in NoDa and designed the ring together.

We got together for our engagement session at 1st Ward Park, where Mary Anne and Ethan had gotten engaged.  For a while, we’d gone back and forth about locations, and I’d offered several options, but seeing as it was December and colorful landscaping was at a seasonal ebb, 1st Ward seemed like a good bet.  When I learned during one of our conversations that this was precisely where Ethan had proposed, it was settled.

It had snowed the day before, and there were still patches of snow on the ground when we started shooting, but one of the great things about 1st Ward park is that it holds its color no matter the season.  I love the various textured surfaces there and the soft tones of the Uptown skyline at sunset. To finish up the portrait session, we headed to the confetti hearts wall in South End for one more major punch of color. The mural had just been completed, and I felt it would make the most perfect backdrop for the final few images of Mary Anne and Ethan.

These two were a dream to photograph. They were incredibly tender and kind to one another, and I found myself touched by the depth of their commitment.  I can’t wait to see these two at the end of the aisle today. They’re made for each other, and I count myself so lucky to be a part of their big day.

Hair: Blo Blow Dry Bar

Makeup: Woo Skincare and Cosmetics

Confetti Hearts Wall: Evelyn Henson

Duke Mansion Engagement, Emily + Brett

Emily and Brett were living in Nashville when they met in 2014.  They were both out at a downtown restaurant called Jackson’s when their paths crossed, but each thought the other was already involved in a relationship, so things didn’t go anywhere that night.  It wasn’t too long, however, until Brett was calling Emily to set up their first date. This time, things went better. They grabbed dinner at a Nashville restaurant called Sambuca, sat in a corner booth, listened to some great live music, and ended up holding hands.  So sweet.

Casual and low-key when they aren’t at work, these two were a natural match.  Emily found herself attracted to Brett’s blue eyes and to the fact that he genuinely seemed to want to spend as much time with her as she wanted to spend with him.  On his end, Brett loved how Emily could light up a whole room, even if she were only meeting people for the first time.
When Brett made up his mind to propose, he decided to roll the event into another Emily had been requesting for several weeks–Saturday morning pancakes.  The catch? Brett had no idea how to make pancakes. So he did what most of us do in the modern age and surfed over to Youtube for a few tutorials. On the day of the proposal, Brett and Emily took a walk about the neighborhood and a nearby park.  Afterward, Brett told her he was going to make pancakes. When their delicious meal was over, Brett asked Emily if she would grab a new light bulb, saying there was one in the kitchen that needed replacing. And this is where it gets funny because unbeknownst to Emily, Brett had tucked the ring inside the lightbulb cabinet in a place where she was sure to see it when she went looking.

Only she didn’t go looking.  At first, she said she didn’t want to deal with that kind of stuff today; Brett could just handle it another time.  Scrambling now, Brett asked if Emily had seen any floodlights lying around. “No,” she confidently replied. “I know we don’t have any of those.”  Finally, Brett was reduced to saying, “Can you just check to see what kind of bulbs we have in there?” Emily gave in. She yanked open the door, and Brett could just see the ring sitting there.  But Emily only grabbed a lightbulb and handed it to Brett. “See anything else in there?” he asked. So, a little exasperated, Emily pulls open the door again and grabs a DIFFERENT bulb, still not seeing the ring.  At this point, Brett grabbed the ring himself, dropped to one knee, and proposed. The ring was one that he and Emily had discussed, but that Brett tracked down himself.  It’s simple and traditional, with a single round-cut diamond.

For the engagement shoot, we met at Duke Mansion  It was in early January, but the temperature was relatively mild, so shooting outside was quite pleasant.  It’s also a testament to how carefully the gardens around the mansion have been cultivated that even in the middle of winter, there was so much lush foliage to use as backdrops.  For Emily and Brett’s shoot, we started out in the East Garden, wrapped around the back of the mansion through the McGuire Lawn, got some beautiful shots on the steps in the Nisbet Garden, and then finished–with the sun setting–on the Dargen Spring Meadow.

Emily had her hair styled at Blo and did her own makeup, and she looked lovely.  Despite the fact that Emily and Brett had never had professional portraits taken, they were a complete delight to shoot.  There was zero awkwardness, just a sweet and comfortable feeling of affection.

Can’t wait to see these two later today when they make it official.

Charlotte Engagement Photography, UNCC Botanical Gardens, Sara Caitlyn & Andrew

Sara Caitlyn and Andrew met in the most organic of ways, through mutual friends.  After deciding that Sara Caitlyn might be someone he’d like to get to know, Andrew asked her out.  They spent their first date at Thomas Street Tavern, a spot my own husband and I know well from our dating days.  They had a great time and immediately planned a second date.

Relationships dynamics are funny things.  Some people are looking for a partner who will indulge their every whim.  And then there are people like Sara Caitlyn.  Part of what she liked so much about Andrew was that he had his own wants and desires; she understood that this was a relationship where she might not always get things her own way, and that actually drew her to Andrew.  Andrew found himself attracted to Sara Caitlyn’s unique laugh.  Every time he heard it, the sound put a smile on his face.

As their relationship matured, Sara Caitlyn and Andrew discovered a mutual love of traveling.  They took any chance to plan a quick weekend getaway to the beach or to the mountains.  Failing that, they indulged their mutual love for the Panthers, attending as many games as they could.

Andrew proposed on New Year’s Eve.  They had plans to go out that night, so they were spending a lazy day at home, just relaxing.  Andrew called Sarah Caitlyn into the kitchen, and when she arrived he dropped to one knee and popped the question.  It was simple and intimate, just what Sara Caitlyn had always hoped for.  The ring was one that Andrew had chosen entirely on his own.  They hadn’t really discussed rings before, so Andrew was flying purely on instruments.  That’s part of what I like so much about these two.  It’s a partnership of two people who are full and complete individuals, but who make the most wonderfully complimentary pair.

After Sara Caitlyn and Andrew reached out to me, I met Sara Caitlyn and her mom Kelly at Central Coffee for our initial meeting.  My home office was in the throes of a massive remodel, so the offsite meeting spot was a nice change.  I remember how smitten I was with Sara Caitlyn.  Her love for Andrew was so obvious, and I couldn’t wait to get them in front of my camera.

We made plans to do the engagement shoot at the UNCC Botanical Gardens.  The shoot took place in late March, so the flowers were just starting to bloom, and the whole place was green from all the Spring rain.  There were some lovely shots around the Japanese maples—I don’t know if there’s a prettier color than that initial red of a maple leaf.  Sara Caitlyn and Andrew were loving and adorable; I felt so happy to have the chance to spend the afternoon with them.

I can’t wait to see these two tie the knot in just a few hours.  I know it will be a day to remember.

Charlotte Engagement Photographer, Anne & Andrew

Anne and Andrew are one of the most entertaining couples I’ve ever met.  From the very first moment I met them, we were laughing, and the more I discovered about them, the surer I became that their wedding was destined to be one for the ages.  As I move along with my post, I’ll do my best to give you some of what I’m sure will be the hysterical highlights they have planned.  But first, how they got their start.

Anne and Andrew met at a Christmas party.  He hit on her, and she gave him her phone number.  Before too long, he was shooting her a 2 AM text asking her to dinner, and she accepted.  They ate tacos and drank margaritas and then ended up closing the bar.  Not a bad way to start a relationship.  All this time later, they’re still as fun-loving as ever, and they’ve only discovered new and adorably strange ways to make one another laugh.  When I asked Andrew what he loved most about Anne, he said it was her beautiful smile and sense of humor.  And when I asked Anne what she loved about Andrew, said it was his fabulous booty.  I can only imagine that he’ll be very photogenic from behind.

Andrew’s proposal was just as cute and quirky as everything else about these two.  It took some prep, but when Andrew was ready, he got Anne in the backyard, dropped to one knee, and flicked a switch on his hidden remote control.  MARRY ME popped up in lights across the back fence.  The ring Andrew used once belonged to Anne’s great-aunt Mabel, and the wedding band was designed to match the uniqueness of their precious heirloom.

For the engagement shoot, we started off at the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and then moved over to Camp North End for a few additional shots.  We finished up at NoDa Brewing on Tryon.  Anne and Andrew’s dog Goonie came along for the whole shoot.  One of my favorite moments came right at the end when Andrew busted out his mint condition Reebok pumps for a few portraits.  Pretty dang funny.  He’s promised to bring them to the wedding a repeat performance.  Since Andrew was the mascot for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, I’m also hoping he’ll bring all or part of his Sammy C. Hawk costume—I wouldn’t put it past him.

Based on how much fun we have had during our time together for the engagement shoot and throughout the planning process, I can only imagine how epic this wedding is going to be. They have more than a few tricks up their sleeves to delight their guests.  Can’t wait to see these two later today to get the party started.

Check out another Camp North End engagement session here.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens Engagement Photography, Krista & Drew

Krista and Drew met through friends.  They were at a birthday party, and as soon as they saw one another, the attraction was instant.  When the party shifted locations to a dance club later in the night, Krista pulled Drew out onto the dance floor and he knew she was someone special.  Of course, knowing someone is special and doing something about it are very different animals, so Drew took matters in hand and asked Krista if she “liked food.”  It was an easy question to answer, and their first date happened at an amazing Indian restaurant in Durham.

Quickly, Krista realized how much she liked Drew’s intelligence and kindness, and Drew found himself falling for Krista’s wittiness and smarts.  “She was the most intelligent person I’ve ever met,” he told me.  As it turns out, both Krista and Drew had always been infatuated with learning, and it was this mutual passion as much as anything else that drew them together.

When Drew popped the question, he and Krista were in New York looking for their first apartment together.  They’d been tooling around to different spots with Krista’s parents all day, and after a nice dinner, Krista’s parents excused themselves to go hold their place in line at a jazz club they all wanted to visit afterward.  When they finished with dinner, Drew and Krista walked toward the club through Washington Square Park, and when they reached the arch, one of their favorite spots in the city, Drew dropped to one knee and asked Krista to marry him.  The ring Drew used as incredibly special—it belonged to Krista’s grandmother, and all they needed to do was have the band customized at a local jeweler.

The engagement shoot presented me with what was nearly a photographer’s nightmare.  We made arrangements to have the session at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the campus of Duke University. Krista and Drew had flown into Durham from New York for the shoot, and as I was making the drive from Charlotte to meet them, the skies opened up and it started to pour.  I’d known for a couple of days that there was a chance of rain on the date, but my various weather apps told me we’d be safe at our scheduled time.  The gray deluge begged to differ. The rain was so heavy I felt as though I was driving at night. It was only as I was pulling into our location, racking my brain for any and all alternative shooting plans, that the rain dwindled and then stopped.  The timing couldn’t have been more ideal.  Everything was lush and rain-soaked, and we made our tour of locations without missing a beat.  At the very end, we got sprinkled on, but that was it.  Call it photographer’s luck.  I was so relieved.

Can’t wait to see these two walk down the aisle in a few hours.  They’re such a perfect match for one another, with their huge brains and hearts.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with their new life together.



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