Okay before I start this, it’s important to know that Leila’s name is pronounced “LIE-LA.” We literally started writing it that way in e-mails so I could remember, all caps included. I knew someone who had her named spelled Leila once, but pronounced it “Lee-la,” which is what I had been calling Leila in my head for months when I was corrected by Heather at Gilded Bridal, which is where Leila bought her stunner of a dress. Have you ever mispronounced someone’s name before? Something about the correction makes the mispronunciation even worse. It causes me to overthink it. Then “Lee-la” turned into “Lee… no, Lay-la… no no, Lee-la, yeah, Lee-la. NO. Lieeeeee…laa?” I couldn’t get it right. Until I remembered good old Lyla Garrity from Friday Night Lights. No, her name isn’t spelled Leila, but it’s pronounced “LIE-LA” and I freaking love Friday Night Lights so for some reason I was able to remember it this way because #texasforever and #cleareyesfullheartscantlose. I am 100% impressed that I didn’t call Colin “Rigs” once.

Now that we have that settled, Leila was our beloved former clients Carly+Jay’s maid of honor and we were so happy when she asked us to shoot her and Colin’s wedding in Asheville! It was actually in Swannanoa which is a pretty little small town just far enough outside of Asheville to be very woodsy, yet close enough where I could overdose on cinnamon buns at Posana for brunch. Ideal conditions. Hidden River Events is an incredible venue with a ton of wildflowers, horses, and dare I say the best lighting conditions on the planet (well, in the evening of October 14th anyway). It was beautiful. And Leila and Colin aren’t so bad themselves. Leila is of Palestinian descent and she and Colin met in Palestine doing all sorts of wonderful humanitarian goodness for people over there. They continue to do humanitarian goodness for all sorts of people from their homebase in Washington, DC with their dog Mr. B while watching Seinfeld at the same time. They were surrounded at their wedding by other Palestinians and also a lot of Irish. There were lots of good accents.

Leila and Colin were super fun to work with when we weren’t bringing up childhood traumas such as the death of Artax in the Neverending Story (don’t worry kids, I’ve since researched this heavily and the horse did not actually die, but was given to the actor who played Atreyu and died “much much later, living a good life doing horse stuff”). We are so, so happy to have been their wedding photographers and excited to see them and Mr. B again this spring for another portrait session where we don’t have to bring up the Neverending Story again (but we might because remember the rock guy?!). We love you guys! Thank you forever and ever neverending for having us. Isn’t this wedding purdy?

– Date: October 14, 2017
– Ceremony + Reception Venue: Hidden River Events // Swannanoa, NC
– Leila’s Occupation: Public Health
– Colin’s Occupation: PhD
– How You Met: Palestine
– Interesting Fact: I can do a lot of pushups.
– Honeymoon: Maybe Chile.
– Vendor Credits: Officiant – Jeanne Sommer. DJ+Florist+Coordinator – Hidden River Events. Food – Anne’s Custom Catering. Makeup – Jen O’Leary. Hair – Sarah Carpenter.

Michelle fulfilled my ongoing search for the unicorn bride: tattoos, short hair, and tea-length dress. Richard knows a lot about Star Wars. Together, they had cat-themed thank you gifts and a guest book consisting of two framed artwork portraits of cats in formalwear. Bonus bonus bonus points: Michelle is gluten-free so I could eat everything at this wedding, including all of the flavors of cupcakes, of which I had both chocolate and lemon (thank you, JP’s Pastry, for making me a very happy woman on this day). They were married on a very hot and sunny day at Fred Fletcher Park near downtown Raleigh amid some blooming Magnolia trees, an old and beautiful historic building, and some bridesmaids wearing fake mustaches. We laughed, we cried, we watched people do the Single Ladies dance. All in a fantastic day’s work for these two very awesome people.

Polka dot wedding dress Groom getting ready Blue and white striped shoes Bridesmaids getting ready Groom putting on shoes Raleigh Wedding Photographers Groom putting on tie Bridesmaid getting ready Bride getting hair done Groomsmen in hotel Borden Building Raleigh Bride putting on shoes Bride with tattoos Borden Building Wedding Wedding at Borden Building Raleigh Bride getting ready First Look Bridesmaids laughing Groomsmen portrait Bridesmaid with fake mustache Couple cuddling Raleigh wedding portrait Outdoor wedding in Raleigh NC Wedding at Fred Fletcher Park Fletcher Park Raleigh NC Outdoor wedding venues Raleigh NC Raleigh Wedding Photographers Bride with tattoos Groom portrait Raleigh NC Bride walking down the aisle Couple getting married Fred Fletcher Park Wedding Fred Fletcher Park Wedding First kiss Receiving Line at Wedding Borden Building Wedding Reception Cat signature guest book Kids playing at wedding Coffee wedding favors Wedding reception Wedding reception Cute kid with hat Wedding reception guests Cupcakes Fletcher Park Wedding Reception Kid jumping in park Kids playing in park Outdoor wedding venue Raleigh NC Couple first dance Raleigh Fletcher Park Wedding Reception Father Daughter Dance Father Daughter Dance Fletcher Park wedding reception Raleigh Wedding Photographers Outdoor reception Raleigh NC Wedding Reception Raleigh, NC Fred Fletcher Park Wedding Raleigh NC Wedding Reception Raleigh NC Borden Building Wedding Raleigh NC Wedding Reception Raleigh NC Borden Building wedding Fletcher Park Borden Building wedding Fletcher Park Dancing at wedding reception Ring bearer at reception Groom dancing with mother-in-law Guests dancing DJ Alex Choi of Vox DJ Borden Building Raleigh Bride playing frisbee Night sky Wedding reception Raleigh Wedding Photographers Wedding Reception Wedding Reception
  • Date: May 23, 2015
  • Ceremony + Reception Site: Borden Building at Fred Fletcher Park
  • First Dance Song: “God Only Knows” – The Beach Boys
  • Occupations: Richard is starting as an assistant professor and Michelle is starting a position in social research at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August.
  • How You Met: Wet met in graduate school at NCSU – Richard was two years ahead of Michelle in the sociology program.
  • Interesting Fact: Richard and Michelle play a lot of board games together.
  • Honeymoon: England for work/mini-honeymoon in June, and then a full honeymoon to a beach resort in December.
  • Vendor Credits: Officiant – Rev. Ingrid Weber Sagula | DJ – Alex Choi of Vox DJ Company | Cake – JP’s Pastry | Caterer – Irregardless Cafe | Cat Print Guest Book – Ryan Berkley Illustration

These guys are pretty much an absolute joy to be around. They’re both constantly smiling and laughing and nothing much terribly phases them. At one point during the first look, some of Amanda’s makeup got on Derek’s white shirt collar during some hugging, and they didn’t much care. However, in an effort to still try to look as neat as possible during the wedding, they did attempt to use a Tide stick and remove it. This didn’t work. We then called in reinforcements to bring Derek a new white shirt, which they dutifully delivered, only to have another relative’s makeup come off on that collared shirt as well, at which point they all smiled, shrugged, and Amanda said, “It was meant to be!” and they all carried on. That’s our kind of couple.

Their family and friends were all amazing, and we did inform Amanda at one point in the evening that in all of our years photographing weddings, we’ve never seen a guest break a glass or bottle on the dance floor and then immediately proceed to clean it up themselves (not to mention continuing to dance at the same time). Usually it breaks, everyone looks at each other awkwardly and they clear a space on the floor for the staff to clean it up (occasionally there’s some half-hearted attempts to clear the obviously large shards, but never a full-on-glass-and-liquid removal team). These guests broke a glass and actually fixed the problem! Amanda thought me noticing this was quite funny, but it does say a lot about the people at the wedding when you think about it, and we give the guests an A+ for niceness and consideration.

Amanda and Derek have been great great great. Willing, understanding, patient, welcoming, and all wonderful things in between. They are truly wonderful (and beautiful!) people, and we are so happy that they’re together because it makes us feel like the world is a little bit of a better place.

Date: September 20, 2014

Ceremony and Reception Venue: North Carolina Museum of Art // NCMA // Raleigh, NC

Amanda’s Occupation: Financial Auditor

Derek’s Occupation: Nonprofit Communications Director / Graphic and Web Designer

How You Met: At UNC. Derek was suitemates with two guys Amanda went to high school with. But we didn’t start dating until more than four years later and after we both had graduated.

Interesting Fact: About a year ago, Derek launched a website where he sells maps he’s designed of different cities throughout the world. But ironically enough, Amanda’s the one who has been to four out of the seven continents in the past year.

Honeymoon Destination: Paris and the Seychelles

Vendor Credits: Officiant – Will Vasaly (Amanda+Derek’s friend) | DJ – Mark McNally of Joe Bunn DJ Company | Florist – Watered Garden Florist | Cake – Cinda’s Creative Cakes | Caterer – Iris at NCMA | Hair/Makeup – Salon Blu Brier Creek | Coordinator – Morgan Greer at NCMA | Bride’s Dress – Paloma Blanca, Traditions by Anna | Bride’s Shoes – Kate Spade | Groom/Groomsmen’s Suit and Ties: J. Crew