Wedding days bring up many emotions for all people involved. We think of those that couldn’t be there on the day, like Sam’s mother. We think of the past. We think of swing sets, skinned knees, dance recitals, and graduations. We think of the future. Milestones, vacations, babies, grandchildren, adventure. I don’t know what was swimming in Sarah + Sam’s heads on their wedding day, but I do know that they (along with everyone else) embraced the emotionality of the day.

They chose May 12th intentionally to avoid the southern summer heatwave. Of course, Charlotte hit record temperatures this year, but it didn’t affect the joy felt throughout the Duke Mansion. Sarah glanced at her dad, took a deep breath, and met her groom’s eyes down the aisle. With tears in his eyes, Sam took in his beautiful bride. Their personal vows had everyone a little misty-eyed, especially when Sam brought up the memory of his mother.

The humidity filled the atmosphere, and the sun beamed the most glorious orange hue as it slowly dipped below the treeline. Everyone took a collective breath as the heat dissipated.

The band serenaded the guests and kept the dance floor crowded. Their friends stole the mic to sing Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” which had everyone laughing. No one wanted the party to end, but eventually late night snacks were passed, sparkers lit, and the newlyweds departed for their honeymoon in Bali.

The team:

Photography:  MorningWild Photography
Second shooter:  Bailey Batten
Venue:  The Duke Mansion
Planning:  Mandi Boyle Events
Video:  Crown Alley Films
Cake:  Wow Factor Cakes
Dress:  Modern Trousseau
Band:  Java Band
Florist:  The Bloom Room
Hair and Makeup:  Lovely by Lindsey

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On an ideal day, they would be traveling. Maybe to New York City or Morocco or Thailand? Lauren + Dylan love to explore new places, especially if the food is excellent.

When they envisioned their wedding day, they wanted it to be reflective of the life that they enjoy living. Their closest family and friends were invited to celebrate with them at the Merrimon-Wynne House, a historic home in Raleigh. After their vows were exchanged, Lauren and Dylan happily skipped down the aisle, while their guests formed a chorus and sang a familiar Beatles tune.

Their guests were treated to the best international cuisine and were serenaded by an incredible local band. Everyone sat under hundreds of candles and beautiful centerpieces, a vision that was inspired by their favorite hotel in NYC.

The band played on last song as the evening dress to an end. Everyone paraded out of the reception with joy, but no one smiled as big as the newlyweds.

The team for this wedding was out of this world. First and foremost, I have to give major credit to Lucy, who helped me out. A few of her images are included in this set. This was also picked up on BRIDES this week!

The other phenomenal vendors:

Venue:  Merrimon-Wynne House
Catering: Snap Pea Catering
Dress:  Hayley Paige
Florals:  Meristem Floral
Band:  Sam Hill Entertainment
Planning: Gather Together Events
Hair and Makeup:  Ceremony Salon


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When we looked at the forecast for this evening, we were all a little apprehensive. Alex travelled from West Virginia to have her bridal portraits taken in Asheville, so we had to make a call on the weather by the afternoon. Of course, as the hours loomed closer to our session, the thunderstorms rolled in. We arrived at Black Balsam with the rain lightly falling and thunder booming in the distance. Alex (and her mom + friend) were such troopers. Did I mention it was freezing too? We hiked up in the rain, and she totally rocked it. For only five minutes, the sun peeked over the clouds and gave us the most insane sunset. Alex teared up and said that her aunt had passed away recently, and she felt as though she was making her presence known in the light.

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morningwild-the-ridge-asheville-wedding-photos-01No wedding day is exactly as a couple expects. I don’t think Stacey and Brian planned to stand in an ant hill during their first look, nor for Brian to wear a swollen eye because of an infection. They most certainly did not expect to get married in the middle of a thunderstorm. Stacey’s mother always said to “claim your bliss,” and they truly did. Nothing could get in the way of their happiness. In fact, I think the hail storm made for an even better story.

Stacey walked up to Brian on a pasture overlooking the mountains. He teared up as soon as he witnessed his bride. They exchanged vows privately, wanting to share such intimate promises alone.

Guests arrived early, chairs were set in a labyrinth, and umbrellas were stocked…just in case. The radar appeared clear, so no one thought otherwise. As the bridal party processed, a dark cloud loomed over the mountains. The slow and steady rain started to fall, and the storm rushed in. Like it was orchestrated, umbrellas popped up in unison as hail welted the shelters.

In the midst of a thunderstorm, Stacey and Brian were absolutely present. They drank in the reality and (literally) soaked up the moment. Guests huddled under umbrellas but still laughed and cried as beautiful letters and prose was read. Serendipitously, most of the readings included some allusion to rain, including the apache blessing that starts: “Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other.” Those words had never felt more appropriate.

Stacey’s mother’s absence was sincerely felt by everyone in attendance. In fact, many guests believed she brought the thunderstorm to the ceremony so that her presence would be visible.

As fast as the rains came, they disappeared right before the conclusion of the ceremony. Even though everyone was drenched, no one seemed to notice. The celebration continued as the guests travelled from the country to the city to their favorite brewery. Stacey and her dad shared a dance with light-up sneakers, which kicked off a dance party that no one wanted to end. They sprinted through sparklers and watched the last one fade. They waved the fire in the humid spring air, signaling the end to a memorable evening.

The team:

Photography:  MorningWild Photography
Second shooter:  Bailey Batten
Venue:  The Ridge + Highland Brewing
Planning:  Carolina Love Events
Hair + Makeup:  Lola Salon and Gallery
Catering:  Black Eyed Susan
Cakes:  Short Street Cakes
Florist:  Blue Ridge Blooms
Band:  Diverse Groove


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I’m excited to introduce Brittany on the blog today! If you’re one of my fall couples, you’ll probably see her around quite a bit! This girl is insanely talented, and I can’t wait to see how she grows over the next few months. Here is more about her:

I’m mama to a darling two-year-old girl named Amelia June, wife to a Naval Aviator, and a photographer. Growing up in a military family and having a military spouse has led to a fairly nomadic life. Moving so frequently has been a great gift to me. It has given me the chance to meet a diverse group of people from all over the country. It has fueled my love of travel and desire to learn about other cultures. It has also given me the need to document important moments in my ever-changing life through photography. That is why I’m so passionate about wedding photography. It’s such a monumental moment in someone’s life, a point in time which all other life events are centered around. To whiteness two people of different backgrounds and experiences embark on a new adventure together is such a powerful and wonderful thing. I look forward to learning how I can better serve my couples through this internship with Megan.

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