Mallorie & PJ | Lenoir, North Carolina | Wedding

We are so thrilled to finally be able to share one of our favorite collections from 2016; the wedding of Mallorie & PJ Terranova. Since the day we met them at the beginning of our college experience at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, they have been embodiments of genuineness and humility. As individuals, they were excellent company with equally wonderful qualities, but when they came together, it was truly remarkable; as is such the blessing of marriage.

Their wedding ceremony was nestled between the mountains of Lenoir, NC, on the banks of the scenic Wilson Creek. They exchanged vows amongst the sound of the steady flowing water, the happy laugh or sniffle of a family member, and even the voices and music of close friends. It was a remarkable day, and we are so excited to share it with the only way we know how; through photographs.  

As if we needed another reason to be eager to share this wedding, we are humbled to announce that this beautiful wedding has been published in Book 1 of The Southeastern Bride Magazine. It's such a great privilege to see some of our favorite photographs within the pages of such a finely-curated publication.

To see more from this wedding, head on over to - The Southeastern Bride's Blog, where Mal & PJ were featured this week! 

 

Kate & Ryan | Duke Gardens | Engagement Session

Kate & Ryan may be NC State Alumni & loyal fans of their Alma Mater, these two couldn't resist a Summer afternoon in the Duke Gardens for their engagement session this Summer.

Being that it was my first time experiencing the incredible span of the Duke Gardens, what amazed me the most is that no matter which corner we turned, we always found something in full-bloom. No matter the time of the year, the season of life, or even the weather that day; there's always something blooming in the gardens. 

This idea fascinated me. Of course a scientific approach to this realization is understandable, but I prefer metaphors to simple reality in many cases. Not only did the three of us stroll through the grounds for the sake of the beauty that the season brought, but to also celebrate the seasons of their relationship; past, present, and future. 

If you were to stay stationary in the gardens, there would be times where your perspective was not nearly as colorful. But as long as you keep walking, you can always find something in bloom. 

Congratulations to Kate & Ryan on their engagement, and we can't wait to welcome their next season of their relationship with their wedding next June!

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Lydia & Dustin | Clemmons, North Carolina

Tanglewood Park, a favorite among North Carolina locals for it's scenic landscape that often serves as the perfect backdrop for an afternoon picnic was also a gorgeous location for Lydia and Dustin's spring wedding!

Lydia & Dustin's wedding day was spent in the company of close friends and family, nestled within the bounds of the park in all of it's Spring glory. Even with the looming grey clouds throughout the afternoon, Lydia & Dustin were relaxed and only concerned with meeting one another at the end of the aisle. The weather that day turned out to be especially gracious, bringing only a handful of raindrops and a spectacular sunset to lay across the rolling hills as the evening's festivities began.

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Peyton, and we wish them the very best in life's adventure alongside one another. 

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Sandy & Mitch | Raleigh, North Carolina

Sandy and Mitch are two individuals that truly have a heart for others. Upon finishing our first meeting with them at our favorite local coffee shop,  Mitch cleaned off my section of the table and removed my empty dishes without hesitation. My attempt at stopping him and taking my own dishes along with his was declined with a smile, and there was no choice but to accept his kindness. This small gesture from Mitch was simply the tip of the iceberg of friendship that followed in the months that followed before Sandy & Mitch's wedding. 

Once you spend at least five minutes with these two, it's to no surprise when you find that they are both full time nurses at local NC Hospitals. Their servant's hearts and hands are not determined by a clock in and a pair of scrubs, but are simply an extension of their personalities. They truly care for their patients, their friends & family, their acquaintances, and above all else; one another. 

Their marriage was held in the stunning Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and their celebratory reception that followed was held in the quaint quarters of Caffe Luna just a few blocks away. We are thrilled to share their wedding day in celebration of their marriage, and wish them the very best in their journey alongside one another. 

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Mason & Kelly | Durham, NC | Engagement Session

For their engagement session this Spring,  Kelly and Mason wanted a location that would not only be a different setting than their upcoming wedding at the Baynes Family Farm, but a location that embodied the history of the Raleigh/Durham area. With it's vintage signage and timeless architecture, Tobacco Road and the surrounding area of Downtown Durham provided the perfect spot.

Stephanie and I had a blast exploring the many scenic brickyards and pathways with Mason & Kelly, and even got the chance to catch the cityscape at blue-hour atop a nearby parking deck. The love between these two was obvious in their joking manner and pure joy gained from one another, and we can't wait to have them in front of our cameras again for their wedding this October. 

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-B

 

Jackson & Meg | Cornelius, North Carolina

If I had to describe the wedding of Jackson & Meg Joyner in a single word, it would undoubtedly be "communion." Although their wedding day was about the celebration of the coming together of these two individuals; they chose to make it about so much more then themselves. It was about the family and friends that surrounded them not only on this day, but of all those that preceded it. It was about the community they have rooted themselves within. And the most apparent of all, it was about their belief in Christ that served as the foundation of their relationship and soon to be marriage.

This beautiful wedding was held at Kadi Fit, a fitness studio located in the historic downtown of Cornelius, where the two frequently train alongside one-another.  The organic atmosphere of the Kadi Fit studio provided a perfect location for Jackson & Meg to sweat it out once more; this time out on the dance floor with their closest friends.

Throughout the entire day, there was an unmistakable energy created by the coming together of so many people that loved Jackson and Meg, and we are grateful to have been a part in such an incredible event. We wish these two the very best in all of their adventures that lay before them in their marriage. 

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Easter with Blake & Stephanie

Easter is a time of year that brings about beautiful pastel hues, celebration of the sacrifice that our savior made for each and every one of us, and quality time spent together as we welcome the blossoming new year. 

Although we may be college graduates with actual responsibilities and what-not, Stephanie and I just couldn't resist the urge to break out the easter-egg kits and dye a few eggs as we had done for so many years with our families growing up. 

After I had boiled the eggs (with substantial help and guidance from my mom at every step I must admit), and once Steph had drawn the multi-colored baths that our eggs would soon plunge into, our eggshell canvases were ready to decorate.

The time that followed was complete with both joyful conversation and silent moments of utter concentration while we painted and dyed our eggs. It was an afternoon spent with the person I most deeply love, unburdened by the stressors that would be tackled after a day of pure contentedness. We are so thankful that God has allowed our lives to intertwine into a single path, and are forever appreciative for the sacrifice that will make this path an eternal one. 

“Live in the awareness that Christ lives and that He lives in His people.” (Julien B. Weil)

-B

Alex & Megan | Chapel Hill, NC | Engagement Session

From the first time we met with Alex and Megan for coffee, it felt as if we were meeting with lifelong friends. Conversation transitioned from greetings and small-talk to our favorite kinds of pizza (a very deep subject,) in a matter of minutes. It was a true joy to experience how comfortable and natural Alex and Megan were as a soon to be married couple. Their abundance of inside jokes and humorous stories with one another left no doubt of the love between them, as it reminded me of the same closeness between Blake and I. 

Alex and Megan wanted their engagement session to look and feel organic, with a location that was a bit "off the beaten path." Caffe Driade; A quaint little coffee shop situated on the edge of the woods with stairs leading down to the Boylan Creek Trail, turned out to be the perfect setting for their session. After a few oversized Vanilla Lattes, the four of us spent the latter half of the day enjoying the  brisk, yet sunny weather that made for a splendid mid-December engagement session. 

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With Alex & Megan being such a natural couple as they are, the two were nothing short of a breeze to photograph, as their compatability together made for truly organic portraits of this wonderful couple. 

Blake and I can't wait for their wedding at The Stockroom at 230 this September! 

Dustin & Lydia | Raleigh, NC | Engagement Session

When my best friend Molly told me that the bride of a wedding she was set to be in was interested in having us photograph the big day, I couldn't be happier. This beautiful bride to be (Lydia) and I had met a few times prior to this occasion, and I had no doubt that being a part of her and Dustin's wedding was an opportunity Blake and I would cherish.  The two are so natural beside one another; both in photographs and their daily lives.

Their comfortableness together made their engagement session incredibly relaxed, even when we were chased out of our first location by a security guard. Although we had planned to have the entire session take place at the first location, the scenic grounds of nearby Pullen Park turned out to be an even better alternative. Blake and I had the pleasure of photographing this adorable couple as the walked together through the last of Fall's traces on a delightfully warm December day. 

We can't wait to have these two in front of our cameras again soon in Clemmons, North Carolina this March for their wedding!

-S

Rause Family | Raleigh, NC | Family Session

 

Ever since second grade, the Rauses have been a second family to me. Whether my feet were muddy from playing by the creek with Shawn, or I hadn't eaten lunch and had full intentions of scavenging their pantry of all remaining snacks, I was always welcomed with open arms.  When we received an inquiry from Mr. Rause about scheduling a family portrait session, I was thrilled to have the chance to photograph a family I know so well. 

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Their family portrait session was a birthday gift for Mrs. Rause, and would take place over the Thanksgiving holiday when the whole group would be back together under one roof. On the morning after Thanksgiving, we forsook our food comas and headed out to the Neuse River Trail for a portrait session along the river. 

These 6 people are a truly incredible bunch, and made for a joyful afternoon along the Neuse filled with smiles, laughter, and great conversation. It was a real pleasure to be able to photograph a family that I have grown up with, and I hope that these photographs at least partially make up for the numerous times Shawn & I woke them all up at 2 in the morning playing gamecube. 

-B





Austin & Esther | Raleigh, NC | Engagement Session

Austin and Esther truly encapsulate the ideal of enjoying life alongside one another. Throughout their engagement session, which began at the scenic outdoor dining area of the Boylan Bridge Brewpub that overlooks downtown Raleigh, it was nearly impossible to take a shot where the two weren't smiling or laughing with each other.

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As we walked along the outskirts of downtown Raleigh, and the grounds of Dorthea Dix Park that followed shortly after, the couple shared the numerous stories that gave these locations their significance. Favorite dining spots when Austin came to visit Esther at college, running trails where Austin attempted to keep up with a slightly more distance-capable Esther, and even the spot where the couple spent their first date together; suspended in their Eno hammocks between two trees that overlook the cityscape.

It was a true blessing to spend the afternoon documenting this couple's declaration of love for one another, and to get a glimpse into the countless memories that have brought these two closer together. We can't wait for their wedding next July!

- B

Julie-Anne | Downtown Wake Forest | Senior Portrait Session

For Julie-Anne's senior portrait session, she expressed that she wanted her portraits to embrace the fall weather as much as possible, and reflect the atmosphere of the North Raleigh area. We knew just the place. 

Stephanie and I had spent an afternoon on the grounds of Southeastern Seminary a few months prior, and we fell in love with the vibrant grassy fields and towering oak trees. With the intimate and historical setting of downtown Wake Forest just a few blocks away, it was the perfect setting for a fall portrait session with Julie-Anne. 

Her radiant personality and charismatic attitude made for not only great photos, but an all-around great time. We wish her the best as she moves on to her college career at Meredith! 

Pam & Theo | Southport, North Carolina

The aspect that we loved the most about Pam & Theo was their undeniable dedication to family. In our initial meetings together as we asked what they valued most in photos for their wedding day, their responses were synonymous and equally as quick; photos with each-other and photos with our family.

As individuals, there was no questioning that they were both deeply rooted within their own respective family tree. But on September 12th of this year, these separate families became one, on a breezy day in Southport, North Carolina. 

There were so many memorable moments throughout their wedding day, such as Pam's father seeing her for the first time in her wedding dress, Theo reading a love note from Pam just prior to their ceremony, or even the eager young family member who wanted to share the newly-wed's first slice of wedding cake. Apart from all these however, was a moment that truly encapsulated their love for one another.

Pam & Theo's first-touch was one of the most special wedding experiences I had the privilege of experiencing. At any moment during the minutes that they stood together, only separated by a small doorframe and each other's mutual promise not to see each other before their ceremony, I just wanted them to embrace each other and for a distant officiant to pronounce them as husband and wife already. 

With their family standing on the lawn, just beyond the porch where the couple stood exchanging kind words and gentle strokes of each other's hand, it was a perfect glimpse at the beautiful family that would become official within the following few hours. 

Spared by the blanket of rain that enveloped the opposite side of the bay for the majority of the day, the Robich wedding was instead covered with the smiles and laughter of friends and family, the celebration of a beautiful couple, and just a bit of breeze. 

Thank you to the Vetter & Robich family for allowing us to be a part of such a special day, and to Pam & Theo for choosing us to tell the story of your wedding.

With Love, Blake & Stephanie

Coming Soon: Mr. & Mrs. Cissel

On October 31st, 2015 at approximately 1:08PM, I asked my best friend to be my wife. She said yes. 

At 2PM the day before (Friday), I embarked on the 32 minute drive to the Jordan residence that I have made so many times over the past 4 years. With my clammy palms on the steering wheel and a small box in my coat pocket, I was prepared to ask Stephanie to marry me that afternoon. The plan was in motion. 

Step 1: Schedule an afternoon of yoga with Steph in Cary to take her picture. 

Step 2: Take her to Lake Crabtree Park, and non-suspiciously navigate to an isolated area I had scouted on on google maps over my past few months of planning. 

Step 3: Insist that we should take a video of us doing "Acro" together, and set up the tripod to get the big moment on camera.

Step 4: Recommend that we try a pose that I had seen on Instagram that would just so happened to involve me getting down on one knee. 

Step 5: Live happily ever after. 

This 5 step plan for Saturday seemed perfect as I mulled it over for the last few months, but things didn't exactly turn out the way I wanted it to. The parks were crowded, the weather was muggy, and an unexpected rain storm happened the night before that made the ground almost too mushy to lay down a yoga mat. On the drive to her house that afternoon, I prayed that if that day was the day that God wanted me to become engaged to the love of my life, to let it go smoothly and for my nerves to be calm; Coincidentally, steps 2-4 in my plan were all but failures that afternoon, I was more stressed out then ever, and I didn't dare force the moment that I had been looking forward to since the day we met.

Going with her to the Carolina Hurricanes game that evening was a definitely spirit-lifter, but while laying on her family's futon that night I couldn't help but be a bit disheartened. My plan had failed, and I had no backup-plan to fall back on. 

When I awoke the next morning, it was if the idea had been planted in my mind. I'm often terrible at remembering things (especially if I don't write them down), but that Saturday morning I remembered that a few weeks prior Stephanie called me after a meeting she had downtown to tell me about an adorable coffee shop she saw called The Morning Times.

As soon as I brought up the idea of going there for breakfast and coffee, Steph was all in (she's almost always down for anything spontaneous, especially if I'm buying her coffee).

That morning was perfect. The food was excellent, our lattes were superb, and the weather was a crisp 67 degrees and sunny. Everything felt right. 

After breakfast and coffee, I asked if we could find a rooftop somewhere that I could take a few pictures of her; she happily agreed. After several flights of stairs and burning off a portion of the calories we had just consumed, we found the perfect rooftop where no one else would be; the 9th floor of a government parking deck on a Saturday afternoon. 

There were 4 things that I wanted to ensure happened when proposing to Steph. 1.) Ask her parents permission. 2.) Make it a surprise 3). Make sure her nails were done 4.) Get the moment on camera. After the failure of my plan the previous day, I thought it would be impossible to find another situation with both of us in front of the camera where no one else was around, but God had a plan. 

Upon requesting that we take a photo together using my tripod with the skyline behind us, a simple flick to video mode was all it took to capture the best moment of my life. 

The truth is, things didn't go how I planned them, but the moment ended up being better than I could have ever planned.

I'm beyond blessed to call such an incredible woman my fiancé. I love you so much Stephanie Elizabeth Jordan. (We'll work on that last name) 

-B

Pam & Theo | Wilmington, NC | Engagement Session

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Blake and I had the joy of shooting this engagement session with Pam and Theo in Downtown Wilmington, NC. Being that Pam and Theo live in Wilmington, Downtown was the perfect location! Although the shoot involved a little bit (or a lot) of walking on a 95 degree day in Wilmington, camera strap sweat-lines and a blister or two was well worth it for having the opportunity to document such a lovely couple's engagement. 

With the way they interact, it is obvious that they comfort each other and are very much in love. It sure did make our job easy! 

Congratulations Pam and Theo! We can't wait for your wedding in Southport in September! 

-S

The Queen of Heart

Meet the better half of Foxtail, my beautiful companion Stephanie.  The last three years of my life has been a series of adventures, big and small, alongside the most incredible human being I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. This woman is the only reason I have survived 4 years of college. The one who ensures I'm eating something other than Stouffer's French Bread Pizza. The one who has completely redefined my perception of what it means to love. 

Our adventures sometimes consist of a trip downtown for a flavor of ice cream we've never tried; they can consist of wandering with cameras in areas where I keep my fingers crossed that my car isn't towed while we're gone; or even choosing to begin the journey of creating a photography business together. No matter how seemingly minor or vast these adventures may be, I cherish each and every one, as they are spent with her. 

As my first blog post, I found it suiting to share a few photos from one of our little adventures just a few days ago; spent wandering the shoreline of the Brunswick River and playing chess in a local coffee shop (Luna Caffé).  [http://lunacaffe.com]

 

As I had never played chess prior to this spontaneous match, Steph was eager to teach (most likely due to her competitive spirit and urge to beat me at a game of strategy). I sat sipping my caramel latte, eyes focused on her, trying to concentrate on her explanation of the game (I was so very distracted by how adorable she looks in that hat). She explained each piece in detail, describing their abilities and the primary objective of the game. However, as she explained one piece in particular, the details became a little more confident; a little more zealous. The Queen.

"The Queen pretty much does whatever she wants. She moves in any direction and she can take out anyone. She's pretty much the most dangerous piece on the board." - S

My eyes lifted from my caramel laden whip cream and greeted Steph's bright green eyes with a smirk. The Queen. The free-willed, author of her own path. A true force to be reckoned with. Needless to say... I didn't stand much of a chance against two queens at the table.  But at least the coffee was a win. 

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-B