Geoff and I had several weeks there (12 weeks, actually) where we were out of town for almost every weekend. Emily and Charlie’s wedding was our first local wedding back, and we couldn’t have gotten back into the swing of localness with a better venue, better vendors or, of course, a better couple (granted, Charlie is a Phillies fan, but we don’t hold that against him). We love farm weddings as they tend to be really chill. This wasn’t actually chill because it was pushing 90+ degrees, but the people were absolutely lovely. :) Emily and Charlie were married by their friend (who gave them an amazing and humorous ceremony) and then joined their friends and family in the barn afterward for dancing.

Now – we see a lot of receptions and we see a lot of dancing. We typically know when there’s going to be a lot of dancing, and when there might not be so much dancing. This particular group of guests were very polite and well behaved and quiet, which usually means that they won’t be too much into the dancing. It was also very, very hot. Very hot. We were kind of sweating bullets all over the place. This is another sign that people will be fairly chill at the reception, usually talking and playing games as opposed to, you know, doing crazy dance floor gymnastics and jumping all over the place and dancing nonstop all the time WHICH THEY DEFINITELY ENDED UP DOING. I have no idea how they did it. Heck, their Grandma was on the floor! Geoff and I were sweating bullets just standing there and Grandma was dancing it up in the middle of a hundred some people. We were definitely impressed, and then even more impressed when one of the guests decided to toss ice into the mouths of people dancing which was a pretty ingenious idea. Anyway – it was pretty amazing and we were so happy to be there and be part of their fantastic party. Congratulations, to Emily and Charlie, and dance on, you crazy party guests. :)

Date: July 26, 2014

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Snipes Farm Retreat // Chapel Hill, NC

Emily’s Occupation: Was working as a Child Welfare Social Worker but is returning to school in the fall for Master of Social Work.

Charlie’s Occupation: Charlie is a high school teacher (Social Studies and English)

How You Met: We met freshman year at UNC, became close friends, but did not begin dating second semester of senior year.

Interesting Fact: Emily has only seen Charlie two times, in the 9 years they have known each other, without facial hair.

Honeymoon Destination: Spain and Morocco!

Vendor Credits: Officiant – Fennon Wisseh (friend) | DJ – Tim Hazel of TJDJ | Florist – Tre Bella | Cake – Scratch Bakery | Caterer – Beau Catering | Hair – Syd’s | Coordinator – Viva L’Event

This wedding was a big blue Mason jar full of awesome. Pink shoes. Rope swings. Lots of talk about tuxedo cats. When I asked Katie what her dress was like, she replied, “It’s tea-length”… to which I responded with a sharp intake of air and the creepy statement, “I’ve been waiting for youuuu!!!” to which Katie didn’t act too freaked out, but she probably was. The wedding ceremony was held in a pecan grove on an old southern plantation that was built in 1815, and the reception in the yard in an open air building called the carriage house.

Now, in an effort to completely embarrass myself, my sister, and my parents all in one fell swoop, I’ll tell you all that we are a family of super Civil War buffs. Weekends at our house between the approximate ages of 8 and 12 were spent watching Gettysburg on repeat and vising Gettysburg, alternatively. My sister and myself may or may not have spoke with really exaggerated southern accents. For the sake of sibling rivalry, my sister played the part of the North (still with a southern accent) and I took the part of the south. I may or may not have referred to myself as General Lee on more than one occasion… galloping around the house on a fake horse shouting, “But there is no time!” So I may have been a little bit excited in a house that’s not only seen the war, but had a picture of General Lee hanging in a bedroom. I may or may not have taken a picture of that to send to my family. I was pretty geeked to be there.

Also geeked to be there was, of course, our amazing Katie and Cameron, their awesome Maid of Honor Shelby and their fantastic Best Man Colin. Not to mention their wonderfully welcoming and kind parents, family, and friends. We had a great time and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was also one of those fantastic weddings where there are a lot of guys who know all the words to a bunch of pop songs and sing really dramatically. We love those. They are the best kind of wedding ever. Katie, Cameron, and their cat named Bug are now in the midst of a great move to Tennessee (she just came back to Raleigh from Iowa where she was in school). She’ll be a resident with a fellow podiatrist and surgeon. We have loved every second working with these two and wish them all the best in their move… and hope that they come back to visit us and that we someday may get to meet the majestic-looking Bug in person. :)

Bride’s Occupation: Podiatrist

Groom’s Occupation: Accountant

How You Met: In our junior year of high school in Earth Science :)

Interesting Bride Fact: Falls asleep in more movies than anyone :)

Interesting Groom Fact: Has seen more movies than any person I have ever known!

Honeymoon Destination: Moving to Tennessee – the honeymoon will be delayed :)

Date: June 9, 2012

Ceremony / Reception / DJ / Florist / Cake / Caterer: Magnolia Manor Plantation Bed and Breakfast // Warrenton, NC

Officiant: Rev. Craig Miller

Hair and Makeup: Ginger Mullins

Let me preface this blog post by saying that this was a commitment ceremony rather than a wedding, but “Raleigh Commitment Ceremony Photographer” is kind of a mouthful, so the header says it’s a wedding. :) But a terrific commitment ceremony it was. Just absolutely beautiful. Geoff and I had never photographed anything at Snipes Farm Retreat before, but I can soundly say that it’s my new favorite venue hands down. There isn’t an photogenic area within a mile of the property. Just gorgeous and absolutely perfect for our environmentally-conscious couple, Melanie and Eric. And, to be honest, I ran home after the rehearsal and called Geoff to tell him we totally should’ve had our Halloween-themed wedding here, had we known it existed. It would’ve been perfect! But alas. Anyway, we were super happy and thrilled to shoot here. Roger, the owner, couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating, and their celebration was stellar. Living in Boston, Melanie and Eric came back down to North Carolina (where they first met in undergrad at UNC) to have their ceremony with close family, friends, and adorable details. I apologize in advance for this super long blog post, but I really couldn’t choose. :)

Date: July 16th, 2011

Ceremony+Reception Venue: Snipes Farm Retreat // Chapel Hill

Officiant: Rev. Robin Renteria

Florist: Bluebird Meadows (Alice)

Videographer: Rachel Julkowski

Caterer: Vilmala’s Curryblossom Cafe

Pies: Scratch (Phoebe Lawless)

Popsicles: Locopops

Dress: Chrissy Wai-Ching

Bluebird Meadows farm did a ridiculously awesome job of the flowers, and Melanie and Eric chose succulent plants to give for their favors (ours are growing on our deck!).

I could not possibly love this photo more, and I’m predicting that my mom could not love this photo less. ;) But hey, I’m a little offbeat, Melanie and Eric are a little offbeat, and together  we all decided that this would be hilarious and/or kinda weird and/or adorable. Or maybe all at the same time. :) When you find a fake cow skull at your venue, you gotta use it, right?

Above: the chocolate chip cookie mix in mason jar favors! Below: the beautiful pies from the bakery of Phoebe Lawless, complete with the tiny clay turtle and octopus as pie toppers. :)

Melanie wore a beautiful handmade purple dress with a tiny succulent plant in her hair, which was so very her and so very them. Best hair ever! Eric wore the vest/tie combo, which, I gotta say, is a great option for guys getting married in the South in the summertime. It looks nice but is much cooler than the full suit.

For those who follow the CSP business page on Facebook, you know I’ve been talking about this for a very long time… and here it is… and it did not disappoint. The Unity Volcano!!! Handmade by Melanie’s talented sister Audrey, the Unity Volcano was seriously epic. I just about died when I saw it. Tiny hand-painted wooden dinosaurs and palm trees, as well as Dora, Melanie’s super fat cat, stood guard over the seriously awesome volcano and waited patiently for the ceremony. :)

Rev. Robin Renteria officiated the beautiful ceremony with grace. What a wonderful woman! This was our first time working with her, and we absolutely adore her!

They chose to pass their rings around in a tiny glass bottle for people to bless or give good wishes to. It’s was a beautiful part of the ceremony.

And here it is… the unveiling of the Unity Volcano. :D

GOOD TIMES. We predict this will spawn multiple copycat Unity Volcanoes which will launch Audrey’s awesome Unity Volcano making career.

After the ceremony, our newly united couple walked down to the lake and had a couple minutes of private time, which is seriously highly recommended. They didn’t even want me with them, which is good. Sometimes couples need that breather in their day.

Best. Guestbook idea. Ever. Melanie made these herself and printed them out after not finding a guest book she liked. They were two-sided and whole punched and fit into a photo album binder. They asked questions such as wishes/advice for the couple, where they should travel, predictions for the future, and you draw pictures of yourself. It kept everyone thoroughly occupied and had me cracking me. Every hour or so I went back and checked on it to read the new ones. So funny.

Above: Drawing of myself and Geoff, done by yours truly. Also, predictions for Melanie and Erick in the future: Robots. And, one of my favorites of the evening: “Don’t be afraid to talk with an accent – it keeps things fresh.” Below: In lieu of a DJ, the couple had multiple games scattered throughout the farm. Everyone had a great time enjoying them and it was totally different and relaxing. And, thankfully, I went home without the Cha Cha Slide stuck in my head.

Fidelma, who brought the rings after the ring passing ceremony up to the front by the volcano, was jokingly being called Gollum by everyone, transporting the rings to Mt. Doom, our Unity Volcano. So, naturally, we had to re-create it. Fidelma, wherever you are, if you have a Facebook account, you need to make this your profile picture for the rest of your life. Also, thanks for being the best sport ever!

And yes, ring shots with Jenga! Geoff’s dream ring shot come true.

This scale is just sitting outside the venue, which to me was a total sign we should’ve had our wedding here. But it’s totally old! I freaked out when I saw it and everyone who didn’t know we’re from Pittsburgh looked at me kinda weird. Pittsburgh has always ended with an ‘h’ except for the time period of 1890-1911, when it briefly dropped the ‘h’. So this scale is old. And awesome!

In lieu of a first dance, they held a Melanie and Eric trivia game! It was hilarious and the answers were off the wall. Grading it was amusing to say the least.

Hey local Triangle peeps! Did you know Locopops can come to your wedding!? They apparently totally can! And had I known this, I would’ve been all over it for our wedding last year! Yet another failure on our wedding that this day brought to light. However, we had fun eating them. Melanie and Eric had pies, brownies, chocolate chip cookie mix, and Locopops… to which Geoff delightfully proclaimed to me, “They have all their dessert bases covered!”

This is my first wedding to end with Chinese Wish Lanterns instead of sparklers, and I must say they are gorgeous! You must be a decent amount away from any other land or airport due to the fire and the flying and the flaming things made of paper going high into the sky, but it’s pretty!

Congratulations, Melanie and Eric! We hope you had a great trip to the mountains and love the pictures upon your return. :) Have a lovely life in Boston and we hope you visit us someday again in the south!