Category Archives: weddings

Jessica and Matt’s wedding was my first wedding of the season.

This wedding was on a Friday, and as a photographer this is music to my ears! Friday weddings are the best! It is a fun way to kick off the weekend, and for brides and grooms this gives them an opportunity to jump start their honeymoon plans. Sometimes even spending more time with the guest that have come in for their wedding.

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Matt and Jessica are high school sweethearts. Their love is nothing but young, and pure, and extremely contagious. I met both of them at a historic home in downtown Wilmington. The home used to be a bed and breakfast called Four Porches. This home was a beautiful accent to their whimsical day.

The days colors consisted of beautiful pastels, brick, navy, and I can’t forget to mention all the gorgeous white hues you can imagine with beautiful crystal embellishments.

 

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The boys were on the bottom half of the home and Jessica and her girls were on the top floor. As Jessica got ready I went ahead, and captured a few candids of Matt with his groomsmen, and family. Everyone was very accommodating and helpful with making sure these two didn’t sneak a peek at one another as they got ready. Matt was handsome in his navy blue suit that had a nice touch of color complimented by his caramel brown shoes.

 

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I loved the dynamic between these brothers.. They definitely entertained me during the day!

 

 

 

We did however deliver a special note written to Jessica. Matt had written a message to Jessica on the bottom of her shoes. It was incredibly sweet and such a smart idea of sending a something blue message to his future bride.

 

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They opted for a first look without looking at one another and it was one of my most fun first looks I’ve ever done. They shared some words and opted for a final kiss before seeing one another. Kissing without opening your eyes is probably harder than you can imagine 🙂 but these two did great!

 

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Before heading to the ceremony site, our parties continued to get dress. Jess toasted one final  time as a single lady, and had her final touches of hair and makeup were done. When all was complete, all that was left was getting into one special dress.

 

 

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She was exquisitely gorgeous in her dress. Jessica beamed as her mom and her girls helped her into her dress. She was nothing but perfect. Jessica is one of my favorite people to photograph and something that I love about her is how genuinely sweet she is. She is radiant outside but she truly is a beautiful person inside. She is easy going, and her calm demeanor shows effortless in print.

 

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Jessica was on the top floor and as you can imagine another story was unfolding down stairs.  We played a little with this idea and again made sure to get the bride and groom in a single frame but without seeing one another. Down below from the porch, Matt was almost done getting ready and his mom was sweet enough to finalize his outfit with his boutonniere.

 

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Finally ready to start a wedding! We all walked to the Saint Thomas Preservation Hall. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a rustic reformed old church that sits in the heart of downtown Wilmington, NC.

 

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The bridal party and guest filled the hall, and the cutest little entrance was made for the bride.
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There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Matt watched in awe as his bride was approaching him. She was gorgeous in her crystal embedded dress.

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Jess and Matt exchanged personal vows, and performed a unity sand tradition to signify their two lives merging into one. They ended their ceremony with the coveted kiss making them officially husband and wife. And like their entrance sign said, their true adventure was all that awaited.

 

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Because I can’t forget one of my favorites parts of the day. Here are few bridal party and couple portraits that I really loved.  This was such a sweet group of family and friends, cheers to many more memories that you guys create and can’t wait to see how your love unfolds and grows!

-Best wishes and hugs!

Ceremony Site: Saint Thomas Preservation Hall 

Prep site: 4 Porches Bed and Breakfast

Hair and Makeup: Monica Kelly

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There are so many choices and options when choosing your floral arrangements for your wedding day. You can definitely get overwhelmed and feel stressed over something that can truly be magical. Flowers are an important part of your wedding day. I know that a wedding can get expensive but there are different types and ways you can approach choosing your floral types for your special day.

Depending upon your theme or your location, this will all play into what your preferences are for your bouquet, boutonniere, or even your reception or ceremony decor.

You could totally spend a ton of money on floral arrangements. And if you have it, I would strongly suggest dreaming for the stars. One of the newest trends I have been seeing are floral walls. Which are gorgeous! And I think you could actually make them if you are really crafty and have an abundant amount of time.

With that said a florist most definitely would be able to make this or create something similar. One of my favorite floral walls that I have seen is this one below.

(Photo Credit; on the image)

 

This was a rose, peony, moss, and what looks like a succulent base. I love that it is an ombre color pattern. It would compliment a garden wedding, and even a rustic wedding. This would  be a beautiful centerpiece for your family photos, bridal photos, or what you stand in front of for your ceremony.

I have even seen this with escort cards for your guest, and or even gold frames filled with images of the bride and groom as a reception center piece. I’m sure the possibilities are truly endless with this beautiful backdrop.

Another option to a flower wall could be as easy as choosing a venue that already has something like this. Your venue ultimately is the root of your wedding day. So it can add or distract certain elements of your wedding day. If your venue or ceremony site has natural vegetation, this is an awesome win! This wedding below was captured by a UK Photographer and its a gorgeous way to showcase natural beauty at a church there. This in itself is a beautiful backdrop for any type of photography.

 

 

(Photo credit on the image; M&J Photography)

Let’s talk reception flowers.. This arrangement was done at the Four Seasons In Florence, Italy. Four Seasons Firenze did a wonderful job on my brides floral arrangements. Not only did they create a romantic spectacular elegant arrangement for the bride but they were able to correlate this into all the pieces of the day. Each flower complimented the plate settings, the venue, and also the brides dress choices for the day.

They tiered the flowers with beautiful table top candles and created a beautifully layered structure of candles, a runner, floral arrangements, and also the actual table settings. The flowers I think add that small touch of elegance and delicacy that the bride definitely wanted.

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Another awe moment that I wanted to highlight was the use of flowers and light. The flowers were draped on the chandeliers over the guest table. What a way to tie it all together and really add to the romanticized feel of the day.  I haven’t really seen this in other weddings, but this was a great fairy tale way of showcasing your flowers at the reception. I never really thought of hanging flowers for a reception but what a gorgeous way of showcasing such a unique idea.

 

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This bouquet was the inspiration for the flowers used a this brides reception. The color palette was geared more for a fall wedding but I think this would be nice for a summer wedding too. The theme was rustic and the same flowers were tied into the reception site on the sides of the stair cases at the 128 south venue in Wilmington, NC.

 

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They were able to tie the color palette and flower choices to the brides cake. I love this look versus the traditional statues that often were placed on cakes. These can be cute but, I love the use of flowers to pretty up the cake a bit.

 

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Grooms need flowers too…

Other than the brides flowers we never really put a lot of thought into our groom. Simple, and chic is a great approach to dressing your groom, or ushers. I love this simple approach of a baby rose, a wild flower, and some greenery to tie in the brides bouquet. I even think a wrapped ribbon with one single flower is a nice way to incorporate a cohesive look for the bride and groom.  Her bouquet definitely tied in well with his bout.

 

 

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Ceremony flowers

Ceremony flowers are a must!  If you were thinking more traditional and not so much flower wall, check out this gazebo made of flowers to accompany your magical adventure!  Once again the Four Seasons did a wonderful job incorporating indoor items with a garden wedding. The usage of a chandelier outside tied with the ones used inside with flowers worked perfectly. I loved the usage of the floral gazebo to tie in with the garden of the Four Seasons Firenze too!

 

Simple is okay

Sometimes its the simplest bouquets that are the prettiest. This is a blush bouquet and screams feminety all over it. It is one color pattern and they used different tones to reflect transition and layers. Its gorgeous! It would compliment any bride on any day!

 

 

So when you are finalizing your flower ideas for your wedding please consider these small tips.

  1. Your venue choice and reception choice can either have natural vegetation that will cost nothing, and or think of how you can jazz up your scene by adding to it with floral arrangements.
  2. Establish a color palette that fits your theme and style for your day.
  3. Traditional or modern? Thinking in these terms will help you figure out if you want simple or more elaborate.
  4. Do it yourself, or hire someone? Sometimes doing it yourself may save money, but may cause you more stress. After all you have more than just flowers to plan for your special day. If you can do it you may want to hire someone to take care of this for you, and create your vision.
  5. Don’t forget the small details. Flowers can add to your day by providing color and mood. You don’t have to go over the top to get your vision out there. But definitely don’t forget the small details such as your groom, reception, ceremony, decoration for your plates, cake, and or if you want those petals in a photo.
  6. Stay within your budget. There is a lot of different kinds of flowers so don’t hesitate to search! Whether you choose silk or real flowers the possibilities are truly endless.  You may find something you didn’t think you would like by searching around for different price points. Forget about whats popular and get a little adventurous.  Who knows your arrangements might be the next “it” thing.  Don’t be afraid to choose flowers that no one has ever heard of. If it fits your theme, choose them!

 

 

For more options on flowers check out this article from Brides.com 

 

 

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Congrats on your recent engagement! Now what are you supposed to do?

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Most newly engaged couples aren’t experts of the wedding industry.  Unless you were that little girl that had a wedding scrapbook, your knowledge about the wedding industry is probably limited to the one’s you’ve attended and the one’s you’ve seen in a magazine. It can be a little daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years with past, and present brides!

  1. Be organized. With that said, start off with a plan. Choose a time out of the year you are considering to have your big ceremony. I only say choose a “time” because your date may be filled at the venue you want, or your vendor that you may want to use already may have a date. So be open to dates in the month, or months you want to get married in.  (If your flexible, than hey go for the stars and stick to your date.)
  2. Choose a theme. This makes life so much easier once you and your groom have figured out the locations that you favor. For example when choosing a venue space, consider these details. Will you have a lot of guest or a small intimate gathering? Do you want your ceremony, and reception to be in the same spot? Where will you get ready? Are you and your groom getting ready in the same spot? Is this an option? If not, how far are the facilities from one another? Do you want to dance under the stars, or would you rather twirl around a ballroom? Do you want your guest to serve themselves, or would you rather a wait staff to hand out their food?  After you’ve considered all those aspects you may find it easier to figure out where exactly you do want all the magic to happen. You may find your an urban lover, and would rather have a venue in a rustic brick atmosphere. Or, you love flowers, and being in nature. Dancing in the stars is part of your love language which means your dream wedding is probably a garden wedding.  You may even realize, you want a destination wedding? You don’t want the hassle of a huge guest list, and want something more intimate. There are plenty of destinations that can fit anyone’s budget. And traveling with family, or a small group  may be your favorite past time. So, if you see your wedding day with 50 or less people. This  may be your best option to have a wedding & honeymoon with your closes family and friends. Ultimately, any answer you and your significant other come up with will be right.
  3. You’ve figured out a theme, and perhaps what style of wedding you want, don’t leave out the details of location. Think about how far you will be from one place to another.  Where will your groom be when your getting ready? Also, what does the place you are getting ready look like? This will be more important for a photography aspect. Light is key in taking good images with that said, a beautifully lit room versus the basement of a church, or a conference room may not lend the same type of feel that a room that is open and filled with light from huge windows. Also think space.. If you want to see shoes, dresses, makeup bags, and beds everywhere in your images, than a hotel room will be alright. But if you want things to feel more open, organized, and less clutter, think a home or a studio space that allows you to have this. Ultimately all your details will depict how your day is shown or remembered.
  4. Wedding parties? How many? Who do you choose? Do I need a wedding party? The answer is no, you don’t need a wedding party. You can have however many people you want. Yes, it can be an unbalanced amount on each side. And yes, you don’t need all your relatives to stand beside you. Don’t let the madness cloud the importance of the day. After all it’s about only two people. So, if your standing at the alter and facing the person you love, I’d say your wedding party is complete. Try not to complicate it, make it simple. You know what you want, and it’s your day. Don’t include people because you feel forced.
  5. Elect a friend to help! If you don’t have a wedding planner, elect a friend to help. This person can help with scheduling, and speaking with vendors on the day of. You may call this person, the maid of honor, or the best man. Or, perhaps it’s your mom, or dad. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibilities on the wedding day. Your objective is to be present on your wedding day. You will need someone to communicate with guest, and vendors about placements, attendance and scheduling.  Your day will run more smoothly if you have a timeline/ and schedule. Don’t worry about creating a schedule.
  6. Create a timeline with your vendors! This is one of the most important steps in planning an effectively stress-free wedding! It may take some tweaking and some back and forth emails, but the end result will be most definitely worth it. Either your helper or your wedding coordinator will help execute this timeline. Your photographer will more than likely present a timeline for their part. This will explain how long things take, and where and what you will be doing. And it will also include participants and a wedding shot list if that’s something you’ve discussed. Other vendors such as florist, dj’s, & the venues you are using will more than likely present a timeline that will correspond to their specialties on your wedding day.
  7. Choose a dress at least 4 months before the actual wedding day. When you are shopping for a dress think about your options. You can buy brand new, or you can even open your horizons up by looking for a resale boutique (antique, consignment), or borrowing a family heirloom.
  8. You got your wedding attire, now what? How do you want the flow of your wedding day to be? If you don’t like a bouquet toss, don’t do it. If you think the garter toss is weird, don’t do it. You love the electric slide, and every other group dance they play at weddings, tell your DJ I LOVE those.. Create the day to your likings. Make traditions into new traditions, or keep the old ones for familiarity. Again, it’s your day there isn’t a wrong answer.
  9. Presents! Registry? There is tons of different registry options some are below, you can register at your local department stores. Such as Target, Bloomingdales, Macys, Belk, Dillards, Saks, Bed bath and Beyond.. or you can register with travel companies for honeymoon funds. Some companies I know of;  https://www.honeyfund.com/ , http://www.hatchmyhouse.com/howitworks (a registry for first time home owners) ,   http://www.downpaymentdreams.com/ . There is even a registry that will give back for you! How great to have your wedding start off with such a wonderful purpose. Who doesn’t like to do nice things and while shopping! https://www.theknot.com/registry/charity
  10. Stick to your budget. Whether it’s 50K or $500.. You don’t want to start this new life with debt. Be realistic of your goals for your future, and don’t let a huge party with strangers cloud your judgement. Yes, have a great time! Yes, create the dream to your storybook romance. But, don’t get too crazy where you can’t afford your next month’s car payment once the fantasy has worn off.  If you aren’t paying for all of it, think of who is. Don’t let your dreams cloud the consequences of their budget. You have the rest of your life with your special someone.  Money issues are the leading cause in divorce. Don’t let yourself get into a mess before your new life starts.

 

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There are probably other guidelines or tips that you may even discover through your wedding planning. I am sure I only touched a small bit of all the endless opportunities you can have on your wedding day. The goal of sharing these tips was to get your wheels turning. It doesn’t have to be a stressful venture if you are organized and know what you want. When you start to let friends, or families opinions get in the way that’s when things start to get sticky. Always remember the real reason of the day. Its the union of you and you lovey. It’s the day that will solidify a new life that is being created. A partnership for eternity. So treat it to be sacred and every other detail will literally just fall into place.

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-Cheers to being engaged!  <3

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