We can finally put “shot a wedding in an actual hurricane” on our photography resume now. Prior to this day we had gotten up to Tropical Storm level, but nothing quite like this. The brunt of the rain and wind from the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew started landing in the Triangle area a couple hours before we were to start photographing, and we ran out to Target and bought ourselves some rain boots shortly before we arrived (which saved our butts all day, but especially when I stepped into a surprise sink hole of mud that went up to my knee). We had umbrellas, but they didn’t do a heck of a lot against the sideways rain. I had my backup camera on my hip for about 3 minutes in the rain during the first look, and it died shortly after (along with shorting out our 50mm, which recovered later after drying out). The rest of our gear was in rain sleeves and soldiered on, but still got pretty wet. Needless to say, Geoff and I got VERY wet, but we did bring backup clothes for the reception. :D

Obviously, it’s physically and mentally trying to photograph a wedding in a hurricane, but I’m pretty sure it’s even more physically and mentally trying to have your OWN wedding in a hurricane after planning for months and months and months and then a stupid storm comes and blows all your plans into itsy bitsy pieces. I’m pretty sure I would’ve cried. A lot. Crystal and Jason did not. Like our cameras, it was like they had rain sleeves for their SOULS that were weather resistant (wow, what am I writing?). They did not complain. They did not cry. They did not pitch one single fit. They were champions. They walked through puddles in high heels and suits in sideways rain. They took almost all of their pictures inside a mining themed barn with dirt floors and lots of places to fake-mine for gems because it was the only dry place. As Crystal said, “I did not choose a mining theme for my wedding; it chose me.” Crystal’s dress was covered in water and mud the likes of which I haven’t seen in my eight year wedding career, but she seriously did not complain once. They smiled. They danced. They got married. They hugged their dog Atlas (equipped with an adorable orange rain coat).

I think it’s 100% safe to say that if the first day of your marriage involves you being outside in a hurricane taking pictures in mining hats and covered in mud, your marriage should definitely last. It’s like the Ikea test, only more hardcore. And it was a sight to behold. Congratulations, Crystal+Jason… may the rain sleeves on your soul continue to protect your positive attitudes for the rest of your lives.

  • Date: October 8, 2016
  • Ceremony + Reception Venue: 1870 Farm // Chapel Hill, NC
  • First Dance Song: “By the Way They Dance” – Jump Little Children
  • Crystal’s Occupation: Coordinator of programs & events for UNC’s Program in the Humanities, Pilates instructor, KIND ambassador and enthusiast.
  • Jason’s Occupation: Non Profit Communications, community organizer, distillery owner .
  • How You Met: We were both on campus at Gettysburg College for the Volunteer Leadership Summit. At the VLS opening dinner and reception, Jason wandered away from his table to go find one of his former professors, Buzz Myers. Jason found Buzz, and interrupted a robust dinner table conversation that included Crystal and our Maid of Honor, Anna Jordan.  To Crystal’s surprise, Anna vouched that that Jason was a quality human and introduced us the next day.  We planned and led a service trip together to New Orleans for and with other Gettysburg alumni.  Then we fell in love.  Then we got married.
  • Interesting Fact: Jason can clap with one hand.  We both love dogs.  We will have nine.  Crystal stock piles gifts year round for her giftatorium, and is an excellent gift giver.
  • Honeymoon: New Zealand, maybe/ideally.  More financially realistically, California.
  • Vendor Credits: Officiant –Dr. Steven Gimbel, PhD, Professor of Philosophy at Gettsyburg College. DJ – Nick Neptune of Good Times Assurance Co. Florist – Chapel Hill Florist. Pumpkin Spice Cake – Courtney Andress. Chocolate Cake – Mary Cleary. Mini Cupcakes – Maya Gergen. Caterer – Farmer’s Table Restaurant Group. Videographer – Dogwood Media. Coordinator – Rachel Feldman. Makeup –  Julie Robbins Makeup. Hair – Alexis Ethredge Icaza of Bacio Salon.

Kelsey and Drew are going to have the luckiest marriage ever if the sideways rain at their wedding was any indication… and I think it was. Also, they were married on Cinco de Mayo which I’m SURE must be good luck somehow… or at least indicates that your marriage will be filled with excellent Mexican take-out (which, in my opinion, is good luck).

These guys are awfully sweet and wonderful, as evidenced by how many people love them and how they got their grandmother and me gluten-free cupcakes to eat for dessert. :) We hit it off right away at our first consult, and have had a wonderful wedding-planning courtship for the past year or so. I told Geoff, “What am I going to do when Kelsey is married?!” because we e-mail each other a lot. Drew asked Kelsey, “What, does she just sit at the computer waiting for our e-mails?” and the answer is yes… yes, I do. Apparently, I’m in safe hands because she specifically e-mailed me from their honeymoon in Costa Rica this week to assure me that she would not stop e-mailing me.

Drew moved to North Carolina for Kelsey and I hope that they stay because we love them and their furry dog-child, Miley. Miley was a big part of their engagement pictures and joined them again for some wedding pictures on the front porch of the Carolina Inn before the rain became too sideways. She’s very thrilled that her parents are finally officially married but is jealous that she did not get to accompany them to Costa Rica (she is e-mailing me in your place while you’re gone, Kelsey).

So congratulations to the wonderful Kelsey and Drew… and may your wedding have all the good luck in the world and excellent Mexican take-out!

First Dance: “Moondance” – Van Morrison

How You Met: Through friends

Interesting Bride Fact: Has a soft spot for any and all children

Interesting Groom Fact: Is awful handy – no wonder I keep him around :)

Honeymoon Destination: Costa Rica

Date: May 5, 2012

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Carolina Inn // Chapel Hill, NC

Wedding Planner + Flowers: C&D Events

Officiant: Reverend Carl Johnson

DJ: Jon Fowler

Cake: Rhonda Mullen

Caterer: The Carolina Inn

Hair: Dani

Makeup: Michelle Clark

Greg is called “Grisha” by Abby, her family, and subsequently Geoff and myself, and will therefore be known as Grisha for the rest of this post. The reason this post is so very long is that it’s kind of an engagement session+wedding rolled into one. They wanted to use their engagement session as a first look + wedding pictures instead of doing their newlywed photos on the day of. Unfortunately, we got about five minutes into it when the rain set in. And we’re talking monsoon style rain tapering off into a steady pour. We decided to move them to their wedding day, and we got in about 1.5 hours worth of pictures on their friend’s farm. Abby wore a vintage 1960s dress with a feather hair fascinator that she made. Her earrings were also handmade by Abby and Grisha…made from the plastic ring-sizer kit that Grisha bought when he was trying to figure out her ring size.

Their invitations were also handmade…courtesy of their printer and an atlas they bought. They printed the invitations and folded various sections of the atlas maps for envelopes. They kept the Newfoundland envelope. It’s where they plan on going for their honeymoon. Abby’s mom collected all of the materials for their centerpieces from every place imaginable. She’s been collecting since before they were engaged. “It gotten a lot worse since the engagement happened,” said Abby. I was told that I should probably receive a tetanus shot before photographing the wedding. Grisha’s mother sewed the chuppah and the poles were made from bamboo from the farm where we took their pictures. The cocktail hour was held before the wedding much to the delight of the guests. There was no aisle in the ceremony so I photographed Abby and her father walking to the Top of the Hill from the Carolina Inn. Grisha’s thumbprint is on the inside of Abby’s ring. Instead of a receiving line, the couple opted to serve ice cream to all their guests. There could not be two kinder people on the planet.

I recently started asking some questions to my couples for the blog. Sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t. Here are Abby and Grisha’s:

First Dance Song [Carolyn’s Answer]: None. After breaking the glass, Abby and Grisha’s guests erupted into spontaneous cheering and dancing, much to the plan of the newlyweds (hence the cocktail hour before the wedding).

Bride’s Occupation: Research assistant, currently applying to medical school, but will probably be applying again next year. So it goes.

Groom’s Occupation: Self-employed fleet GPS tracking device installer.

How You Met: Elevator! At Russian Language Summer Program at Middlebury College.

Interesting Bride Fact [Carolyn’s Answer]: Abby didn’t answer this, so I’ll use this opportunity to tell everyone that we creepily have the same purse, only in different colors. We both got it from Etsy from different sellers, but it’s the same purse. She also has other cute purses with birds. I used to have cute purses with birds until I literally wore a hole through the straps. We’re kind of purse soulmates.

Interesting Groom Fact: Grisha vermicomposts – yes that’s right, there’s a bin of worms in our apartment that he feeds our fruits and vegetables and shredded paper to.

Honeymoon Destination: Newfoundland, Canada (the whole thing! Not just St. Johns or Gros Morne National Park) – but not until summer 2012 and only if I get into medical school.

Date: October 22, 2011

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery // Chapel Hill, NC


Florist: Abby+Grisha made their flowers and boutonnieres using flowers from the Carrboro Farmers Market the morning of their wedding.

Pie: Top of the Hill

Officiant: Robin Renteria

Hair/Makeup: Destenee

Day-Of Coordinator: Not Your Grandmother’s Wedding // Chrissy Brady

Photobooth: Five Star Amusements // Bob Haggarty