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My Parents are Celebrating 30 years Married : North Carolina Wedding & Engagement Photographer


My Parents are Celebrating 30 years Married : North Carolina Wedding & Engagement Photographer

When I asked about their story -
"It all started back in February 1987 - my senior year of high school - Jody and I were introduced to each other through a mutual friend at Walt's Bar & Restaurant in Worcester, NY. Drinks, dancing, bar food and friends were the start of our love story, but we didn't know it at the time.

What caught my eye you ask? His beautiful blue eyes and his stunning smile are the first thing you see... his sense of humor followed suit..

Through our conversations on that first night and many phone calls later learned so much about Jody (Doc - as everyone called him) he loved to bowl and play softball - was an incredible center fielder and bowled on a bowling league right in Worcester - the same place that my gym class had bowling... well, I took the initiative and left "Doc" a note with my phone number and a note to call me! He called and our first date was on March 7, 1987, we went to have pizza and then to see a movie - we were supposed to see a different movie but I was insistent that I had the right theatre - wrong... we ended up seeing "Black Widow" - not something that either one of us wanted to see.... This is the night that he first kissed me with his soft butterfly kisses. His loving caresses made my skin tingle. His attention to detail and making me happy and content continue even after all of these years. 

Our courtship continued with me walking to Greenleaf with one of my girlfriends just to see "Doc" for a few minutes before heading back to school, dates every week where Jody would bring me either flowers or a stuffed animal and we would go dancing, bowling, softball games or hang out playing cards with friends. 

Jody always had a way with words and would leave me poems that he wrote on the table to find many times a week, he spoiled me with either stuffed animals or flowers almost every week. Even as the years went on he would still bring me home flowers.

Education has been a big part in our lives, I went to college and earned an Associates in Applied Science with a major in Travel & Tourism and a certification in Hotel/Motel Management.The college semester ended and with that came Jody down on one knee proposing Christmas morning in front of my family. A few short months later Jody and I moved in together .

Our wedding was planned for August 6th,1988 at the United Methodist Church in Worcester. We each had 4 attendants on each side and over 150 of our friends and family came to witness this incredible moment! 

Our son Shawn  was born August 29th just nine days after a family trip to Virginia Beach. Two years later, September 29, 1992 Brii Cher'ri was born. We had moved a few times and we were now living in Maryland in a very small trailer.... In 1994 we bought the home we currently live in - the home that we raised both of our children in, a home where we made memories, had good times and bad.... In 2007, we took our first REAL family trip to North Carolina and that was followed with a second trip to NC in 2008. Who would have ever thought that I would "lose" my children to their first vacation state??? But at least now I have a place to visit!!!!

When we were raising our children we didn't do many date nights - we did family things, sporting events and musicals - our lives revolved around our children and We don't regret that at all! By 2010 both our children had graduated highschool and were off to college on their own paths,In 2012, we gained a son in law the wonderful Joe ! and in2013 we adopted our Pitt-Lab mix Leah from the local animal shelter.... I am not sure who rescued whom in this case..... What a pleasure she has been. It's like having a child all over again!
In 2017 brought a lot of new to our lives.... We became grandparents to Phoenix . What an incredible experience it has been! On top of that we became "empty nesters" full time, when Shawn moved to Wilmington, NC in April.

I will not tell you that there haven't been challenges cause every relationship has those... but we both come from a long line of love and when something is "broke" you fix it to the best of your ability - if the situation is repairable. I love my husband more today than I did when we exchanged vows 30 years ago. Jody has a way of making me feel special, the coffee or breakfast served in bed or in my recliner, the hand holding as we walk anywhere together, the kisses hello, goodbye and goodnight. 

Our "engagement retake session" came as a surprise when brii told me to bring clothes with me when we were due to visit for Phoenix's 1st Birthday celebration. She was like you never had them done Professionally... and you know what she is right. We never had the money to pay for something like that. Our 'engagement' photo's are of us dressed up and my mom took them with her camera as we stood in front of a background of paneling. This should be a snap right.... just put the clothes on that you brought with you.... right???? Uh, No, not really.... brii is so good at her job that I will tell you I was in probably 5 different shirts, jackets, skirts... just to get the look that brii was looking for. Wow - this girl is tough -  but she knows her stuff. Finally, we are ready to go shoot these photo's - this should be easy too right - just stand there??? NOPE, she directs everything; look this way, pretend to kiss (how the hell do you do that??) She calls it the Nicholas Sparks pose & to be sure if you have shot with her you know it. We were scolded many times for REALLY kissing everytime she told us to almost kiss! Put your hand here nwalk like this, look that way, pretend to laugh, dad whisper something in her ear. Which had me in stitches (I can only image what  we looked like when doing this!) I will tell you that I have never had so much fun! I will honestly say that this first professional photo shoot was a blast and brii Cher'ri is incredible to work with!"

As you can tell my Mom is a much more thorough writer than I am. I get excited and babble with all the creative details so their story was much better explained by her!

I will say a few things. I learned a lot from my parents. I learned how to play sports, not great but hey I tried, they made sure of that Hahah! But Shawn got all of the sports genes while I got the artistic ones. I learned to be strong both in body & spirit, that no one can take away something you don't give them in the first place. But also that some people are worth giving to. It isn't always about you. Take care of one another, push each other to be the best version of themselves and in turn you will be the best  version of a couple together too. I am sure there is a million and more things but I am so excited to share their photos with everyone & celebrate this huge moment in their lives.

Good job Mom & Dad You've made it 30 years dealing with one anothers shit and thats uber impressive especially with children like Shawn & I to stress you out!



Lynsey's Bridal Session : North Carolina Wedding & Engagement Photography


Lynsey's Bridal Session : North Carolina Wedding & Engagement Photography

This gorgeous lady tied the knot last weekend! We are prepping to post her full wedding preview blog tomorrow & wanted to share her STUNNING bridal portraits ! Lynsey joined me here in Edenton on a very windy but beautiful day and we not only trekked around the lovely town taking advantage of the gorgeous settings Edenton has to offer but we also used the studio to achieve some dramatic lighted portraits for her as well that turned out to be some of our favorites! 

I am so excited to finally share these with you guys, its such torture waiting to post a bridal session til after the wedding day but I am always super hype when I finally can show all this gorgeousness to the world!


Amy & Alex are Tying the Knot & We get to capture it! Freaking stunning engagement sesh enclosed!

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Amy & Alex are Tying the Knot & We get to capture it! Freaking stunning engagement sesh enclosed!

OH Amy & Alex. 
You know when you meet someone and you are just like YASSSSSS. Well that was me when I met Amy. Amy met me on a day when I was randomly in Greenville, she was so sweet & amazing , I had my little boy with me and she loved him up and acted like we had beenfriends forever & believe me we are now. I didn't get to meet Alex that day but with the way Amy swooned over him when telling me all about their love story. 
From the cute living next to eachother in college experiences to their time together since & their big day to come! 
Finally, I was able to meet Alex. Grooms are always hit or miss haha, they usually don't really care to much about the details and really about the photos! So me winning them over can be a task though I am pretty hilarious so they end up loving me by the end. BUT , ALEX. OH my gosh Alex. This guy is the ish hahaha,  he laughed at my jokes and came back with his own he answered my sarcasm with sarcasm and truthfully it was just a relaxed natural amazing engagement session because once he did the stress of the day went away from Amy and believe me she had had a stressful day. But the moment Alex cracked some jokes and nuzzled up on her Amy was all happiness smiles and excitement. 

I really couldn't ask for a better couple, to keep me on my toes and my wit on my tongue. Their Wedding day is going to be an absolute blast for everyone involved & believe me I can't wait to capture all of the love games that they play :D


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What your Wedding Viel choice says about you!


What your Wedding Viel choice says about you!

Shoulder Length Veil: This veil is fun and not over the top. If you're wanting to stay traditional by choosing to wear a viel but don't want it to hide any details or your gown this is the choice for you, it is also easily flowing and won't hinder movement like longer viels may. This flirty option is definitely fun, and playful.

Elbow Length Veil:  Is one of my favorites! it is the perfect amount of traditional and does a great job accentuating all aspects of a bride, from her face to her dress and her cinched waist and her gorgeous hairstyle. It is a wonderful embellished touch that is also a nod to traditional aspects. This viel says traditional in every aspect.

Birdcage Veil: This Style is worn mostly by vintage , pin up , old timey styled brides, the birdcage veil is the perfect add on to perfect the look. Paired with a bold lip and vintage jewelry, the birdcage accentuates your wedding day style in just the right way.  This viel usually makes a bold impression! The birdcage veil does sit at a level right by your eye so you want to make sure you find one that will fit and sit perfectly!

Ballet Veil:  These veils will stop somewhere  between your fingertip level and the floor. This is an ideal length for all of those wind swept pictures, They are often very sheer and can easily show off the details of the gown ( you probably paid lots of money for) to everyone as you walk down the aisle. These viels are stunning and speak elegance but also simplicity in most cases. 

Chapel Veil: A chapel length veil is a viel that screams elegance and draws eyes right to it. Its small train that follows behind as you walk creates beautiful movement and attention. Chapel viels are usually for Brides who are very dedicated to the tradition of a viel and want this to be a focus of their ceremony.

Cathedral Veil: The BIG  ONE!  Cathedral viels are extremely long and beyond gorgeous but also extremely hard to keep straight or perfect while walking down the aisle let alone when you have to turn to your groom, walk up stairs or walk back after the ceremony. It is a more traditional viel but also an ATTENTION demander for sure. They are usually very detailed and draw more attention to the view instead of the bridal gown. Most Brides remove the viel after portraits and before the reception even begins.


Top 10 ways to get Gorgeous Photographs on your Wedding Day


Top 10 ways to get Gorgeous Photographs on your Wedding Day

Be Realistic With Your Schedule

On your wedding day, everything will take longer than you think, EVERYTHING. From getting your hair done, your makeup, to getting dressed. And mishaps will happen (trust us!) -- from misplaced vows to terrible traffic -- so set a strict day-of schedule that leaves extra time to deal with them without cutting into your portraits! The last thing you want to do is to cut your portraits short and lose out on shots due to a messed up schedule! So be smart about it! 

Just Enjoy the Day

Try not to sweat any of the small stuff, like a misprint in your programs, the groomsman forgetting his matching socks or your flower girl melting down during the family shots. Biggest of all, allow your photographer to keep you on schedule, to choose locations, posing and give them ample time to create those gorgeous photographs, remember that's why you hired them. If you're always looking for the camera, it won't capture you quietly chatting with your new spouse or laughing with your friends. Your photographer should be the one worrying about capturing those moments -- not you!

Pick Your Head Up! 

Look at your destination, not what is taking you there. So many couples shuffle down the aisle because they're so nervous, so many brides let their nerves get to them and watch their feet as they walk down the isle. At the very least, keep your head up, even if smiling isn't going to happen. A thoughtful look on a bride's face pre-vows or a content look during the recessional is way better than the top of your heads.

Take First-Look Photos

This isn't a must. But it is definitely a game changer in the day of wedding stress. My best reason to push this is the EMOTION I get in a first look, compared to the walk down the isle. First looks are intimate, you two & me. That is it and its all beautifully captured. The reactions are real and not held back because you are being watched by a huandred people. You are more relaxed & more emotional to be able to embrace your significant other in a way you may not in front of ALL of your guests who are deliberatly staring you down. ( As they should be, its an amazing moment at the altar) but with first looks you get that moment TWICE! You get the moment of them seeing you for the first time and then the moment of you walking towards the rest of your lives together. You aren't taking away a moment you are just allowing an equally special one to occur. Also If you don't want to miss a minute of your cocktail hour, the way to do that is to schedule your portrait photos before the ceremony. You'll have more time for photographs, you'll be less stressed at the wedding & you can go straight to the party right after the ceremony! Bonus: You'll be less nervous to walk down the aisle and your hair and makeup will be perfectly fresh for the photos.


Don't want a first look? Thats fine! Still take the time to think about your creative portraits, these are often a fun time between the couple and the photographer in which you get to express your personality as a couple and create art.  They are usually the most special photos of your wedding day so they will require extra planning and time.  Sometimes this means we have to scope out places prior to the big day and we will need to walk to a cool spot near the venue (e.g. by the beach), or take ten minute ride to get to a hidden spot that is amazing. It's super important to dedicate enough time in your day to make sure these portraits can be captured. YOU DON'T want to miss out on these!  The more creative the photos, the better and also the more patience and time that is required to take them.  

Remember, you will look at these pictures for the rest of your life, so make sure you leave between 45 to 60 minutes on your wedding day timeline for them, and your photographer should be able to create mind blowing photographs for you to cherish for the rest of your life!

Think about your space

When choosing your venue or visiting, look for places with the least amount of clutter or destractions that will be in your photographs! Getting ready photographs are an important time where we capture you and your girls or guys having fun, enjoying a drink, sharing stories. The last thing we want is those photos ruined by garbage cans or unnecessary clutter throughout the room. Another thing to look for is the best room or place with natural light. A clean nicely lit space is best for all getting ready photographs and makes the WORLD of a difference.


CHOOSE a TRUTHFUL photographer who GETS you!

If theres one thing everyone knows about me, its how blunt I am. I will tell you the truth and everyone else too if it means keeping your day as perfect as I can. if your makeup doesn't look good or your cheeks don't have enough blush I will speak up. If Aunt Sue tries to stand and take a photo with her ipad as anyone walks down theaisle I will tell her to sit. I will be a drill sergeant during family photographs. 30 people when asked to do photographs together simply turn into 3 year olds who can't listen. I am not sure why but ask any prior Bride and they will tell yo, family photograph time is the worst part of the wedding day and you will probably try to quit before your list is even done. The photographer sees more than most, and we can prevent and control things which is great but it also means we have sometimes be the ones to tell people off or make them get themselves together. Without a photographer who will take charge and tell the truth to you, you may have runny makeup and tilted eyelashes. Aunt Sue in every single ceremony frame and family photos will take 2 hours instead of 20 minutes. 



The more lights and colors you add to your reception, the better, so feel free to unleash your creativity in this department.  A winning color palette includes  purple, blue and pink, while lights can be anything from candles to chandeliers and lanterns, and any other type of accent light in between. Besides impressing all your guests, this detail will make a huge difference in photos, helping yours photographer considerably. A wall of christmas lights as an accent behind your gifts or your cake adds an amazing touch or even just as an awesome place for your guests to take selfies & for you to have some gorgeous portraits done! It adds an element with out adding an extra ridiculous cost!  Unique lighting & extra lighting will make the world of difference in just a typical wedding look & taking your wedding vibe to whole other level.


Always have us ride with you, if you can. Whether its in the car, limo whatever. Make sure you have room for one of your photographers. That way on the way to the ceremony, and also in the limo going to the reception  they can capture those moments. You will get some very intimate moments captured this way, and also some of the most unexpected shots. You toasting with your girls. Snuggling your new husband and those sweet stolen kisses you'll take. Those moments matter!
Also think about travel time when making your timeline, you don't want to lose out or fall behind because you didn't take it into consideration when planning!



Nothing enhances your wedding photos more than having a second photographer.  When there's two there are just so many more opportunities to capture memorable moments for you. 

In the morning they can split up, so that the second photographer can shoot the guys, so you can have what  happens on their side captured as wekk.  Working with a second photographer also allows the photographer to take extra risks on your wedding day and get even more amazing shots, the freedom to be more creative and have things from fun perspectives and new views.  

A perfect example is this first dance photo from Joan and Michaels wedding at Foothills Center in New York.  I saw that there was a small window that the lights were strung out of and asked the venue if there was a way to get up there. I climbed a ladder to the attic, stood on a chair & got the most perfect shot, as I was doing that, I made sure the second photographer stayed on the ground level taking close-ups of them dancing. 
Second photographers allow for so many more opportunities and also so many more moments captured. No matter how good a photographer is , they are still only one person and can only be one place at a time. Two sets of eyes are better than one & two photographers definitely are too!