Back in 2017, one of my most popular sessions I shot involved a pit bull named Wilma and her love for destroying large, plush animals and sleeping on the couch. Geoff and I fell in love with Wilma, as she’s one of the most RIDICULOUS and charismatic dogs we’ve ever met, as well as the laziest (also recently proven when Jessica e-mailed me a bunch of pictures from Wilma’s daycare, of which she’s laying down in literally all of them while other dogs run all over her). Wilma has a brother, Britton, who is kind of anxious and can be shy, so he was not part of the first photo shoot, but Jessica and Dustin decided they wanted to try to make it work for their wedding photos on Thursday (they were married at the courthouse on Thursday, and did photos at home with the dogs, then had their wedding reception party on Saturday). AND IT TURNS OUT THAT BRITTON IS EQUALLY AS RIDICULOUS BUT ALSO LOVES CAMERAS. Wilma, perhaps upset that she wasn’t the sole star of the afternoon, spent most of her time with us staring intently at a lizard on the deck, while Britton hammed it up repeatedly. When Wilma wasn’t staring at lizards, she was busy violently shaking off her beautiful floral collar and then rolling around in the yard to the point where nobody could get her up.

Normally I might feel kind of bad writing an entire paragraph about their dogs instead of about their wedding but I 100% know that Jessica and Dustin will not mind. But now that I have discussed their dogs, whom I adore, I will discuss Jessica and Dustin, WHOM I ADORE. I feel like someone who wears glitter shoes that say “FRENCH FRIES” doesn’t really need an explanation as to why you love them but I will attempt anyway. Jessica exudes the most happiness and enthusiasm of anyone you’ve ever met. And in an entirely way too negative world, I love her. She is everything great and happy and positive and wonderful. She also likes incredible art, and sends it to me, for which the walls of my house are eternally grateful (the cat art here is by Casey Weldon, which were thank-you cards to her bridesmaids, and the plant art is by Angela Deane, which were also gifts to her bridesmaids). And Dustin LOVES Jessica and I’m fairly certain it’s for all the same reasons, and they make each other laugh so hard, and then it makes me laugh and I truly just want to hug them all the time. Dustin likes really old cars (one of his Volkswagens that he’s fixing up makes an appearance in this shoot) and working on sound equipment, and I appreciate men who have cool hobbies and like to work with their hands. Together, their house is incredible and joyous and they have a 70s built-in oven that’s chartreuse. Regretful that the 8 of us (four people, 2 dogs, 2 cats) were not married but will settle for friendship instead.

Date: April 27, 2019
Ceremony Venue: Wake County Justice Center // Raleigh
Reception Venue: Neuse River Brewing Company // Raleigh
First Dance Song: “I Only Have Eyes for You” – The Flamingos
Jessica’s Occupation: Hospitality
Dustin’s Occupation: Sound Engineer
How You Met: Through Jessica’s Brother
Honeymoon: Savannah, GA
DJ: DJ Nyce
Florist: Teacup Floral
Cake: Cupcake Shop
Caterer: El Molcajete Food Truck, Southern Harvest
Hair: Bride
Makeup (Ceremony): Michelle Clark Makeup
Coordinator (Reception): Amanda Scott, a Swanky Affair

Margaret and Bryan are singlehandedly responsible for nearly destroying our marriage by getting us hooked on the video game Overcooked. We first learned about this during their engagement session in Winston-Salem where Margaret described it as a video game in which “You’re a bunch of adorable characters working in a restaurant to fill orders really fast, but the restaurant is also haunted.” Immediately intrigued by this definition, we went home and downloaded it. And it is exactly as Margaret described:

I’m a little red fox wearing a chef’s hat. Geoff’s a guy who has a box for a head wearing a chef’s hat. We’re trying to make hamburgers, but we’re on different sides of a restaurant located in lava. He has the plates. I have the lettuce. I need to get the lettuce to him, but it needs to be placed on a rotating small rock in the lava. When it finally gets to Geoff, he falls in the lava, and we need to start over. Eventually Geoff falls in the lava so much that we lose entirely. Or – I’m a little raccoon wearing a chef’s hat, and Geoff’s a little black fox wearing a chef’s hat. We’re trying to make soup in a land full of ice. He has the onions, I have the tomatoes, and the kitchen is always catching on fire (nobody knows where the fire extinguisher is, or we dropped it in the lake). He sends the onions over to me, and I fall in the icy water and die. Eventually I fall in the icy water so often that we lose entirely.

Basically – this video game is impossible, but you’re always blaming your loss on your spouse’s inability to navigate either lava or ice, or the fact that they can’t chop vegetables fast enough. Of course YOU’RE chopping fast enough and YOU never accidentally send a plated order down the garbage disposal. There’s a lot of yelling. It’s like assembling Ikea furniture, but worse, and there’s no shelf when you’re done – just resentment.

We don’t resent Margaret and Bryan, though. In fact, we LOVE Overcooked, and actually beat the entire game, and are somehow still married (don’t hold your breath though, we still have bonus levels to complete and the holiday edition). And we’re grateful for Margaret and Bryan for introducing us to a game that we didn’t know we needed in order to hone our hamburger making skills. And it’s a testament to their own marriage that they, too, have played Overcooked and LOOK – they still got married! They must have good communication and the ability to make a mean pepperoni pizza peacefully together, and that’s what love is all about. They had a beautiful wedding with a stormtrooper ring bearer and a giant movie book for a guest book that I signed on the Temple of Doom page because that’s what Geoff would’ve wanted (he’s not dead – he was just across the room when I signed it). We’re so glad we got to work with these guys, and we will never forget them every time we yell at each other about vegetables.

Also, shout out to anyone who recognizes this ceremony’s fabulous cello player from a past wedding of ours! :D

Date: May 27, 2018
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Brier Creek Country Club // Raleigh, NC
First Dance Song: “I Love You” – Alex Clare
Margaret’s Occupation: Teacher
Bryan’s Occupation: Doctor
How You Met: OK Cupid
Interesting Fact: Love pugs
Honeymoon: Cartagena, Colombia
Officiant: Reverend Pam Carey
DJ: Jeff Simpson
Florist: The English Garden
Cake: Raleigh Cake Pops
Caterer: Brier Creek Country Club
Hair/Makeup: Brenda Van Benschoten
Coordinator: Shawn Shindler
Photo Booth: Shutter Booth
Ceremony Musicians: Elegant Ensembles

We’ve been looking forward to working with Elizabeth and David for some time, and this was amplified when Elizabeth showed up to put her dress on wearing a white jumpsuit similar to painters coveralls and fashionable sunglasses, and it only got more fashiony from there. This means KILTS! This was our first wedding with kilts (which is kind of astonishing that there have been no kilts in our 10 year wedding career!) and we were thrilled. Elizabeth’s family has strong Scottish ties, so they showed up in the tartan pattern of their clan (read: a specific plaid for those who aren’t Scottish) and rocked the kilts. Of course, David’s family is Italian, so they later did what they could to join in the ancestral fashion fun by outfitting David in an cummerbund sporting the colors of the Italian flag and singing “That’s Amore.”

There was so much more to love at this wedding too! Elizabeth sporting a giant bow dress with a V-neckline! BAGPIPES! A fab and super secret rooftop access point with wonderful views of downtown Raleigh! FUN PARTY EARRINGS. A band who played not only Steely Dan, but also complicated Paul Simon songs and U2, all while being named after everyone’s favorite childhood toy! A bunch of people from Erie, Pennsylvania! Also, a kid named Angus who became very obsessed with Geoff’s name. I overheard him repeatedly yelling out, “Geoff! Geoff! Geoffff! Geoff! Geoff! GEOFFGEOFFGEOFF” and later asked Geoff what this was about, only to find out that he had earlier had the conversation where Angus said, “What’s your name?” and Geoff said, “Geoff,” and Angus said, “Wow, cool name.” And Geoff said, “Is that your name?” to which Angus replied, “No, it’s Angus. It’s Scottish beef.” This is why I love weddings. From the bows to the Scottish beef and more. We were so happy to be a part of this lovely celebration with the incredible Elizabeth and David, and all their family history!

Date: April 28, 2018
Ceremony Venue: Duke Chapel // Durham, NC
Reception Venue: CAM // Raleigh, NC
David’s Occupation: Pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Duke
Elizabeth’s Occupation: Recently received a Master’s degree in School Counseling at NCCU
How You Met: Mutual friend & wedding party attendant, Jonathan Folley. David says 2006 at a New Years Eve party (Elizabeth sat next to him at one point). Elizabeth says 2012 at a pre-Thanksgiving party when they chatted it up over PBR’s at Raleigh Times.
Interesting Fact: Ask them your self! …over a beer and tacos from the nearest food truck.
Honeymoon: Seattle & San Juan Islands
Officiant: Reverend Dr. Lisa Hebacker
DJ: Mr. Potato Head
Florist: Bloom Works
Cake:Catering Works
Caterer: Catering Works
Wedding Coordinator: Meghan Hadley
Invitations+Wedding Programs: Alison Haszinski, One+Only Paper
Ceremony Pipe Band: Piobadh na Triantan
Clogs: Bryr Clogs
Make-up: Julie Robbins Makeup
Hair: Steven Paul Norton
Spray Tan: Tansformations