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We were a great fit from the start knowing immediately Rachel and I jived well, having a few meetings with her, in particular, in the course of wedding planning. David, Rachel and I enjoyed an afternoon in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina during their vibrant engagement session (one of my all-time favorite sessions) where they braved mosquitoes like champs in the name of capturing stellar photos beside incredibly colorful murals, where we roamed back alleys of side-streets to explore cool architecture and all-around got to know each other. The result left me in awe of how photogenic these two are, how a softness about Rachel’s gaze and glowing smile makes David blush, and how their personal style and love shines through imagery. It most definitely left me anxious for the arrival of their April wedding date!
The Sutherland is an impressive southern home from the late nineteenth century, whose character is still very much in tact. I was careful to notice all of Rachel and David’s favorite things about the location – from the masculine groom’s getting ready location cabin to the books in the library, a favorite room of Rachel’s, whose vintage books I utilized to photograph their rings on. Rachel, her bridesmaids and mothers prepared upstairs in the main house. Rachel’s mom, Liz, put the finishing touch on her gown – a religious charm for good luck and protection – just before Rachel got into her gorgeous lace illusion neck long-sleeve Pronovias gown. Her mother and Maid of Honor, Jessica, helped secure each button down the length of her back and near her wrists with care. A true highlight was Rachel’s rabbit embroidered flat shoes! I LOVE any unexpected detail like this and I was all about photographing her unique footwear that I know she was super excited about sharing with me.
Not too far away David and his groomsmen were putting finishing touches on their day-of looks including sleek black ties and matching suit jackets, complete with a lot of laughs from the unusual “we’re being photographed and videotaped” situation they found themselves in! There were a lot of smiles in that little cabin! Also – can we please pause to appreciate the killer gift David had custom designed for his best friends?! I’ve never seen engraved Scotch bottles before. It was such a unique idea!
I was so excited to take this stunning bride and her bridesmaids outside to begin photographing them. The color palette of the day was neutral black, white and grey with green floral accents – from two tones of bridesmaids dresses, to the men in classic black, to their marble black-and-white invitation. Eclectic Sage did a beautiful job of complimenting it all with attractive bouquets and boutonnieres.
They opted to set up The Sutherland in a special way most couples do not, making their wedding extraordinary. They said “I do” in front of about 80 guests and opted for the groom’s suite cabin as a backdrop, with twinkle lights adorning nearby trees that truly lit up as the sun continued to set throughout the evening. As guests moved to the venue’s exterior patio to sip cocktails and enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres like mini chicken and waffles by Rocky Top Catering, Rachel, David and I, along with their videography team, were able to capture their first special moments as husband and wife. For a moment they exchanged vow booklets as well, just the two of them, keeping their truly sentimental expressions only between them.
I am so pleased we were able to sneak in photos by the pink spring Dogwood blossoms before they walked over to join their cocktail hour for a few minutes prior to guests being guided into the walled garden area, where the reception was setup. I love how the lace linens on the cocktail high-top tables were reminiscent of Rachel’s gown detail.
I am SWOONING over this reception image! A long dais of special grey and white farm tables from Cottage Luxe formed the center aisle of the dinner area with a long garland of eucalyptus leaves down its center. Geometric gold and glass candle holders dotted the table along with gold mercury glass. Stunning wood flower boxes housed floral centerpieces that echoed the wedding party bouquets. Woven wooden chargers were set underneath scalloped white salad plates, topped with grey napkins and a personalized thank you note from the bride and groom. Another favorite feature of the day was their wedding program and table seating assignments, all hand lettered on striking mirror frames.
Isn’t their cake simply elegant?! Ashley Cakes NC did a fabulous job, as always! It had just the right amount of gold leaf organically added to its buttercream frosted exterior and the flowers were so perfectly placed. I also must note their table numbers because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s such a small detail that makes a BIG difference. The numbers matched their wedding stationery suite so well.
The dinner was delightful (any reception with an avocado bar and not one, but two salad options and a taco bar to name just two of the highlights is great by me) and as the sun set and market lights lit up the space we were treated to multiple heartfelt speeches, excellent dancing songs, and of course delicious dessert.
I really can’t say enough about the team that made this all possible (again, a special nod and thank you to Megan and Gina at A Southern Soiree) and how fortunate I feel to have been such an integral part of capturing it all during a truly memorable time in Rachel and David’s lives. Congratulations!
Wedding Planner: A Southern Soiree / Venue: The Sutherland / Florist: Eclectic Sage / Rental furniture: Cottage Luxe / DJ: Bunn DJ Company / Videographer: Thomas Blake Films / Officiant: Perry Hardison / Lighting and mirror signage: ThemeWorks / Transportation: Carolina Livery and White Horse Transportation/ Hair and Makeup: The Makeup Culture / Cake: Ashley Cakes NC / Wedding gown: Nitsa’s Apparel, designer Pronovias / Rings: Diamonds Direct and Finks / Bridesmaids dresses: Bella Bridesmaid, designer Bill Levkoff / Tuxedo: Men’s Wearhouse / Shoes: Irregular Choice / Catering: Rocky Top Catering / Linens: CE Rental / Day-of stationery: PaperBuzz / Invitation design: Etsy / Invitation printing: Alphagraphics