Anne and Andrew met at a Christmas party. He hit on her, she gave him her number, and not too long afterward, Anne was saying “Yes!” when Andrew asked her to marry him—in front of a big MARRY ME sign spelled out in lights on the back fence. Everything these guys do feels so natural and genuine and intimate. Even their story makes you just want to giggle. Needless to say, I was thrilled to spend their wedding day with them.
The wedding itself took place at Saint Gabriel Catholic Church. I have had the pleasure of working here on several occasions. I love this site for its beauty and versatility. After the ceremony, which featured a full mass, a gospel choir—only Anne and Andrew knew about it—made its way down the aisle and escorted the bride and groom out to “Oh Happy Day.” As the congregation filed out of the church, the choir moved on to “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher,” by Jackie Wilson. I was crying like a baby at this point, and people were dancing out the doors of the sanctuary. Can’t ask for more than that from an exit.
After the ceremony, I led the wedding party to Marshall Park in Uptown Charlotte for some post-ceremony portraits. It was fantastic to have a variety of settings for the formals, and I adore the way they turned out. In particular, I was thrilled when Andrew busted out his vintage Reebok pumps (as he had promised he would) for some of the shots. And I love the images of the entire wedding party on the steps that lead up to the neighboring courthouse, complete with a photobomb from the groom’s sister-in-law. I later learned that this was payback for the groom’s similar behavior on her big day. It was perfect!
When we finished up at the park, we all trucked on over to the Palmer Building, another of my favorite venues in Charlotte. Anne and Andrew, both Catholics, loved the building’s connection to firefighters, so they were sold on the venue. Man, did they make it their own with about a million personal touches. From the table numbers and framed family photos to the lanterns and reclaimed light fixtures, Anne and Andrew brought all of who they are into the decorating. Anne described their décor at the wedding as kind of a bohemian romantic look with a mid-century modern twist—I loved every bit of it, and I think she’s dead on. The arrangements from The Flower Diva were lush and organic. I thought the picture frames were a particularly sweet touch—each frame contained a wedding photo of an admired couple from one of their families. Pretty cute. And the nostalgic vibe went along perfectly with the song to which Anne and Andrew danced their first dance: Orange Colored Sky, by Nat King Cole.
The food—which was absolutely delicious, especially the cobbler bar—was created by Best Impressions Catering, and the music was provided by the always fantastic Spintastic Sounds. All in all, it was a truly individualized event, one full of the kinds of personal touches and genuine feeling that make a wedding impossible to forget. After the wedding, Anne and Andrew headed off to Asheville for a couple of days, and they have plans to continue their honeymoon a few months from now in Barbados.
Ceremony Location: St. Gabriel Catholic Church
Reception Location: The Palmer Building
Reception Coordinator: Jessica Alexander
Videographer: Crown Alley Films
Floral Design: The Flower Diva
Catering: Best Impressions
Hair and Makeup: The LaLa Girl
Choir: Voices of Eden
Thank you to my second photographer, Emily, for her beautiful images!
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.
Krista and Drew met at a birthday party, danced their hearts out that night, and then went on a first date initiated by the line: “Do you like food?” Not too long after, Drew was proposing with Krista’s grandmother’s ring in New York, and just a bit after that, I was meeting them over a Skype chat. I thought they were adorable, and thankfully, they liked me too.
Before the wedding even got started, I was treated to the beautiful surroundings of Krista’s family home. The house in Davidson, about two-and-a-half blocks from the church, and was built in 1901 as a dwelling for the clergy of the church. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can imagine the flawlessness of its details. It was such a magnificent place to shoot our getting-ready images, and it also provided the backdrop for Krista’s first looks with both her dad and Drew, which she did at the house back-to-back.
Once we got those shots, all of us—including the bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and flower girls—walked over to the church. Along the way, we paused on the campus grounds for some romantics of Krista and Drew, and to take some of our pre-ceremony portraits or the wedding party. The wedding took place at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. I’ve photographed weddings there before, but it’s been an age, and I’d forgotten how lovely it was.
After the ceremony, the party headed down to Charlotte Country Club, one of my very favorite venues. Not only is the club beautiful to look at, it’s also just so well run by one of the nicest crews anywhere in town. Before the official beginning of the reception, everyone enjoyed a sunset cocktail hour on the event lawn, one of their newest spaces. It was a perfect September evening, and the late day light was fantastic. Toward the end of the hour, Krista and Drew descended the spiral staircase and spent some time with their guests.
There were so many great elements that made the reception a killer party. One was the photo booth provided by Smile Laugh Share. The guests had a ball with that. Another was the fact that the band was Sol Fusion, arguably the best wedding band in town. What I really loved the most was watching the bride and groom. I hope it comes across in the pictures, but there was such a pureness to the love and respect Krista and Drew feel for one another. I kept noticing how Krista’s eyes would just go soft every time she looked at Drew, like this man was everything she’d ever wanted. These two are just so well matched.
When it came time for the exit, I was touched to see that there were little bags of cookies for guests to take home. The previous Christmas Eve, I had sent Krista and Drew—and my other upcoming wedding couples—cookies from the Appalachia Cookie Company. They liked the cookies so much that they ordered hundreds of them as wedding favors. I love when things work out that way. The exit itself was a shower of rose petals. The guests lined up out in front of the club as Krista changed into her going away dress. Each guest grabbed a fistful of petals in one hand and a cookie in the other and then showered the couple as they made their escape into a new, wedded life.
I’m so happy for these two, and I can’t wait to see what life holds for them.
Wedding Coordinator: Libby Sarver of Details Wedding Planning
Ceremony Location: Davidson College Presbyterian Church
Reception Location: Charlotte Country Club
Officiant: Charlie Raynal
Floral Design: In Bloom
Hair: Katy Barbour
Makeup: Jenny Le
Band: Sol Fusion
Catering and Cake: Charlotte Country Club
Photo Booth: Smile Laugh Share
Reception Lighting: Wink Lighting
Reception Favors: Appalachia Cookie Company
Thank you to my second photographer, Laura, for her beautiful images.
John and Carla were married at The Arbors, a stunning venue in western Rowan County near the town of Cleveland, NC. There are two major event spots on the ground; John and Carla’s ceremony took place in The Pavilion. I’d never photographed a wedding at The Arbors, and I can’t wait until the next time I get to go back. No matter the direction I pointed my camera, there was a gorgeous vista in the background. The grounds, which also function as a tree farm, are basically comprised of every kind of scenery you could hope to shoot. Beautiful copses of trees, manicured gardens, rolling fields of flowers, ponds, arbors,…the place has it all.
Our first stop during John and Carla’s day, to backtrack just a bit, was the house the couple had recently purchased together in Huntersville. I was there to shoot the details of Carla’s wedding day attire, and I tried to incorporate little touches of their lives together into the mix. The house had beautiful natural light, and I chose to use one of the dining room chairs to photograph the rings and Carla’s wedding dress. I love to do this, to layer the intimate atop of the familiar. I really loved how the images turned out.
When we arrived at The Arbors, I headed to The Pavilion with the ladies while Laura, my uber-talented second shooter, headed off with the boys. The getting-ready area for the girls was gorgeous—well appointed and elegant. The guys dressed in a cedar shake cabin on the lake. Both of us had a great time with our groups in what felt like totally different settings on the same grounds.
Carla had a first look with her dad on the patio outside The Pavilion—a truly sweet moment—and then walked her down a winding stone path to the ceremony site. As they stepped into the light, John caught sight of his bride and was overcome. His tears of happiness were sweet beyond words. At the end of the ceremony, after their vows, there was a lasso ceremony during which a beaded rosary was draped around John and Carla’s shoulders, signifying their everlasting union. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.
One of the things I loved most about the day was how focused John and Carla had been on the kids in attendance. They had made it very obvious how much they treasured the children of their friends and family, and I’ve got to tell you, there were a LOT of kids. It was adorable and hysterical. I can’t count the times I saw babies being handed off so a parent could hit the dance floor. And man, did people dance hard. Carolina DJ Professionals handled the DJ duties, and they kept the floor packed all night.
After the final exit—a snow-fetti shower—everyone hopped on buses and headed off to the after party. It was a non-stop day and night, and I loved being around so many people who were just there to share in the joy of the day.
I’m so happy I got to be part of this union between two such kind and genuine people. I wish them all of the best things life has to offer.
Wedding Planner: Ande Cain of Lisa Pleasant Events
Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Arbors Events
Floral Design: Willow Branch Flowers & Design
Hair and Make-Up: Eye Do Makeup & Hair
Photo Booth: Carolina DJ Professionals
Thank you to my fantastic second photographer, Laura, for her beautiful images!
Be sure to check out Carla & John’s engagement session post HERE.
Elizabeth and James are a unique mix of “adorable young couple” and “been there/seen it all.” They have, after all, known one another since high school, when they connected in the stands of a hockey game after James broke his hand and, being unable to play, he ended up sitting next to Elizabeth’s family. Fast forward through prom and dates and getting engaged and there they were, standing together at the altar.
Elizabeth and James got ready at their reception location, the new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel. I could have taken the girls in any direction for pre-ceremony portraits and had an endless number of incredible backdrops (I love shooting in uptown!) but I decided to take Elizabeth and her girls for portraits in Romare Bearden Park. After finishing with the group, I asked one bridesmaid to stay behind to assist me as I captured solo images of Elizabeth. We were just getting started when we suddenly heard a chorus of voices yelling in the distance. We turned to see a group of around 20 young guys sprinting in our direction, hollering incoherently. A little apprehensive, we waited for them to arrive, and when they did, they confessed that they were on a scavenger hunt and a photo with a bride would pretty much assure them of winning the whole thing. And who were these guys? A hockey team. Of course.
Elizabeth and James were married in a charming ceremony at the Great Aunt Stella Center on Elizabeth Avenue, which is a beautiful venue I hadn’t had the change to visit for a few years. If you’re looking for an interesting alternative to a more traditional church ceremony, this place is well worth a look; it’s a lovely building with a rich history, and it’s in the heart of uptown. After the ceremony, we made our way back to the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel for their reception. This was another great choice, and I’m sure it’s a venue I’ll be working more and more in the coming years. The reception space was so modern and vibrant, and the whole establishment was decked out with truly stunning furniture and décor. It’s definitely a venue with endless possibilities. One of the best parts of the reception—and I know this was really important for Elizabeth and James—was the band. They chose Bounce Party Band, and in addition to being outstanding in general, they kindly accommodated one of the groomsmen, who got up on stage with the bride and groom and, with the band accompanying him, performed Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” Just awesome. As much as I didn’t want the party to end, capturing Elizabeth and James emerging from the hotel onto a crowded Saturday night street in uptown Charlotte for their sparkler exit was about as perfect of a finish as you could get. Truly an incredible celebration, beginning to end.
I’m just so happy for these two, and it was such an honor to be there with them on their wedding day.
Wedding Coordinator: Candace Primm of Erin Padgett Events
Ceremony Location: The Great Aunt Stella Center
Officiate: Calvin Coolidge Wilson
Reception Location: Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel
Hair and Makeup: Sabrina Simpson of Be Pretty
Floral Design: Lori Wolno
Cake and other sweet treats: Amelie’s French Bakery
Ceremony and Reception Guitarist: Joey Rincon
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Brideside
Tuxes: The Black Tux
Thank you to my incredibly talented second photographer, Emily, for her beautiful images.