Monday, July 28, 2008

Christmas in july with cara & martin

exactly 12 hours after i became someone's "fiance" last weekend, i put my photographer hat back on and headed over to cara's place to begin shooting the most unique wedding i've done to date. you'd think i'd be a wreck that day, and on the inside maybe i was, but it turned out that my mind was in wedding overdrive, and my eye was ready for every special moment it could find.

i met cara and martin back in january, and when i heard that their july wedding would have a Christmas theme, i couldn't wait to join the party. after a hilarious trip to wrightsville beach with the couple for their engagement shoot (see "back to the beach," posted in may) and an afternoon of bridal portraits in pullen park with cara (where she found no shame in changing into her wedding gown in the middle of the parking lot), i knew this would be a wedding to remember.

these are a few of my favorite moments:
tip #1 for a successful wedding day - don't forget to eat. cara checked that off her list with a little mickey d's.
tip #2 - get the groom to the church on time.
tip #3 - say a little prayer.
you can't have a Christmas wedding without poinsettias.

here comes santa claus!

tip #28 - don't forget to take a break with dad.

and finally, remember that as soon as you get to the end of that line, the wedding ends - time for life to begin. from what i hear, that's the best part.

congratulations to mr. and mrs. haley!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

joining the brides-to-be!

forgive me for the long post - this one's pretty important.

can this be real? i've spent so much time with brides-to-be over the last year that it's been hard not to think about the possibility that i might get to actually be one someday...still, not wanting to jinx it, i've done a pretty good job at keeping my mouth shut and my mind on everyone else's weddings! well guess what - it's MY turn. :)

i met alan a little over 6 years ago at hanes mall in greensboro. neither of us remember many details. i was 17 and spending a week with girls from all across the state to prepare for the north carolina junior miss program. one of those girls happened to be from roxboro and as she and i quickly realized that we had more small town north carolina in our blood than concern for our fitness routine, we became inseperable. on a quick break from rehearsals and interviews, the girls hit the mall. half the town of roxboro had already arrived to watch their very own junior miss - stacey - hit the stage that night, and alan was right there to cheer her on...with an airhorn. airhorns are now banned from the junior miss program.

over the next few years of college i made countless trips to roxboro with stacey to visit her hometown. alan never failed to show up when i was around. after years of playing hard-to-get, it finally hit me like a ton of bricks that i had no choice - he was "it." one year ago yesterday, july 20, 2007, alan and i ended up at the same concert in raleigh. brad paisley. that's where i told him that i quit. and i did...i quit pretending that he was not absolutely made for me - cut-off sleeves, pick-up truck, and all.

we had no choice but to celebrate our anniversary at the brad paisley concert. because this time around i'm a wedding photographer, and would be working cara & martin's big day (photos coming soon) on saturday during the raleigh show, we headed to charlotte friday night.

i'm a smart girl, and i expected that something would happen sooner or later. still, i believed him when he couldn't eat much at dinner because "the food was too spicy and that energy drink made him feel funny." when he rushed me to get to the concert waaay before it started, i considered the possibility, but convinced myself that those backstage passes that he picked up (courtesy of mr. andy griffith, brad paisley's hero and a frequent customer at my family's butcher shop in nags head) were the one and only reason he was so worked up.

the concert was just as awesome as it was last year. when brad sang about how "it's time to put a ring on the finger i'm wrapped around" followed directly by my favorite - everything, and NOTHING happened, every suspicion i had disappeared and i knew i'd be waiting for another day.

after the show, we lined up with 68 other fans at the backstage gate for the meet and greet. since i knew where the passes came from, i recognized the initials "ag" on the bottom corner of our passes. the guard noticed those initials too and asked us to step to the side, we would be going in to meet brad last...after the crowd was gone. 20 minutes later, we were standing face to face with brad paisley (who knew the plan all along). after a little small talk and a quick photo, alan proceeded to stutter through our story. before i knew it he was on his knee, my brain stopped working, and thank GOODNESS that photographer kept snapping.

visit the tour blog at for their (much shorter) version of the night. this photo is courtesy of the tour blog.

thanks mr. griffith and mr. paisley for helping to make this the most special night of our lives. now we just need to know if brad wants to sing at the ceremony or the reception. :)