Jazzed for Love

Charlotte, Charleston, Wilmington, Worldwide Photography

Carrigan Farms {Pooran and Sarah} Charlotte Wedding Photographer

I met Sara Thornton and Pooran Okhovat on assignment for Quail Hollow Magazine. I was photographing them and their two adorable children and got two of my favorite images of the year. (The images are at the bottom.)

We quickly became friends and I told them then when they got married I hoped they would call me.

A week after they were legally able to get married here in North Carolina, Sara called me to tell me they were “going to the courthouse and did i want to tag along”. I told them they had waited this long and they needed to do it “right” not next to the jail intake room.

So with a little help, a week later we found ourselves at one of my favorite spots in the Carolina’s for a very laid back wedding, Carrigan Farms in Mooresville.

Sara and Pooran, own and operate Poza Salon, met as friends at cosmetology school in Charlotte. While they began as friends, they eventually realized they were soulmates. They wanted to marry.

“They day the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage was the day we had been waiting for for over 11 years,” Sara said. The couple wed in a small private ceremony, which they planned very quickly. Family and friends joined the couple as they took their marriage vows. What was the single best moment of their wedding day?

“When Jessy, our wedding officiant, pronounced us married by the State of North Carolina!” Sara said.

Working together and forging a family together makes their life a joy, the couple said.

“Unlike most couples, we are together 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we are still madly in love with each other,” Pooran said.”Running a business, a household and caring for our two small children is no easy feat, but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.”

Photography By Chuck Eaton of Chuck Eaton Photographers
Officiant Jessy Miličević
Venue: Carrigan Farms
Flowers: The Blossom Shop

Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago at 8:27 AM.

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Omni Charlotte {Rupal and Naman} Ritz Carlton Charlotte Hindu Wedding Photographer

When Naman first saw the elegant and beautiful Rupal, he was captivated by her.

The couple met in Boston, at a friend’s birthday party. Rupal, an optometrist brimming with bubbly enthusiasm and sweetness, was impressed by the handsome Naman. Naman, a striking and intelligent entrepreneur, felt drawn to Rupal. As the couple spent more time together, their attraction deepened.

Naman realized he had met the love of his life. So he created a wedding proposal (with a lot of help from the bride’s sister, Priya!) that Rupal would treasure for the rest of her life.

Using the skills he honed as a successful businessman, he used teamwork and planning to create Rupal’s fairytale proposal. Rupal’s sister, Priya, helped so much with the planning that the couple’s friends jokingly called Priya the secondary bride! But with Priya as his accomplice, Naman planned Rupal’s surprise proposal for the holidays, and it was spectacular.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Naman told Rupal he could not spend the holiday with her because of “an unexpected business trip.”

Rupal, needless to say, was extremely upset.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” Rupal said. “Food, shopping, family — what’s not to love?”

Resigned to a holiday without Naman, she planned to spend the holiday with family and go shopping with her friend Anisha on Black Friday. Instead of getting up at 8 p.m., as planned, she was awakened at 4:30 a.m. and handed a pink envelope with a message inside…

Minutes later, Rupal’s suitcase was was packed and her friend Neha drove her to the airport. Once they arrived, Rupal’s friend Anisha gave Rupal a second envelope.

“This message was accompanied by first-class airline tickets to MIAMI!” Rupal said. “After a very relaxed flight (that may or may not have included refreshing mimosas,) I landed in Miami, where I received a third envelope.”

Waiting at baggage claim, ready to sneak up from behind and surprise her were her sister Priya and her best friend, Maisha! The friends were excited and had already planned the entire day for Rupal. Once they arrived at their hotel, Rupal received her fourth envelope.

Since she had been woken up at 4:30 a.m. for a surprise plane trip and had to get ready in a hurry, she arrived in her room to find a gorgeous dress, shoes and jewelry already picked out and ready for her to wear. The friends headed to the Fontainebleau for a spa day.

“Nails, champagne and girl talk — what more does a girl need?” Rupal said. Rupal’s friends “suggested” that next they should all get dressed up, have a photo shoot at the beach and have brunch. So, they headed back to the hotel to change when Rupal got her fifth message.

This message came with a stunning dress, Michael Kors shoes and more gorgeous jewelry.

“Swoon!” Rupal said. “Who doesn’t love a man with good taste? (Okay, maybe he head help from a certain sister along the way!)”

When the girls stepped outside, a limousine awaited to take Rupal and her friends to the beach. Finally, as they arrived and began taking a few pictures by the ocean, the girls asked Rupal to keep walking and handed her the final envelope.

Soothed by the refreshing breezes and lapping ocean waves, Rupal looked up to see her beloved Naman, standing in the sand, tuxedo and all!

“As I walked up to him, he got on one knee and gave the most heart-melting proposal speech,” Rupal said. “There were tears, there were laughs, and obviously, I said ‘YES!'”

One year later, the wedding was just as joyous and beautifully planned.

“It was a jam-packed week full of emotion, smiles and tons of fun,” Rupal said. “Everything from our vendors to the venue made our wedding unique and our special day possible. We had an awesome group of people helping to make our day so wonderful. However, more than anything, what made our wedding unique
were the amazing family and friends who came to celebrate with us. We had three nights packed with parties, and 450 dancing people created an epic wedding weekend.

“We kicked it off with a spooky blast: a Halloween party for our friends. It was a great time for everyone to meet and got the weekend started right.

“On Friday, we began the more traditional Indian ceremonies with various religious ceremonies. The night ended with the Sangeet, where our friends performed some amazing (and hilarious) dances.

“Saturday morning was a morning to remember. For the Baarat (the bridegroom’s wedding procession,) more than 200 people danced their way through the streets of Charlotte in a crazy winter storm. The wedding ceremony itself took place in the gorgeous Ritz Carlton Urban Garden, and was followed by a decadent lunch with some amazing desserts.

“A couple of hours later, the real celebreation began. The reception was an incredible party that lasted nearly seven hours. There was dancing, some amazing speeches, more dancing, out-of-this-world Indian food, and some amazing cupcakes. It was possibly one of the best parties ever! Our wedding weekend was a whirlwind of fun, excitement and love.”

For their honeymoon, Naman and Rupal spent a week in beautiful Anguilla in the Caribbean.

“We enjoyed pristine beaches at some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, and the food was out of this world,” Rupal recalled blissfully.

The proposal was magical, the wedding was amazing and the reception was wonderful. But those things aren’t what Rupal treasures most about her storybook proposal and wedding weekend.

“The best thing about my wedding was marrying my best friend,” Rupal said. “Of course, I also loved celebrating with everyone who is near and dear to us. Oh, and the cupcakes!”

Photography: Chuck Eaton and Erin Kranz for Chuck Eaton Photographers
Wedding Coordinator/Planner: Ayesha Mian
Hairstylist/makeup for wedding: Neeta Patel- Belladev Studio
Cake: Ella’s Celestial Cakes
Flowers & Decor: Rahma Zaghari -Carolina Wedding Belle
Wedding Outfit: Traditional Lengha by Designer: Anamika Khanna
Wedding Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo
Reception Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Tuxedos: Designed by Acustom Apparel
Engagement/Wedding ring Designer: Tacori
Invitations/Stationery: Mira Malhotra- Mumbai
Ceremony location: Ritz Carlton- Urban Garden Downtown Charlotte
Caterers: Nishal Sethi- Bombay Grille
Reception location: Grand Ballroom- Omni Hotel Downtown Charlotte
Photo booth: Snapster Booth
DJ : Dj Desi-Amit Vasi
Chair rentals: Carolina’s Luxury Events
Wedding night hotel/inn: Ritz Carlton Downtown Charlotte]
Bachelor party location/activity: South Beach, Miami
Bachelorette party location/activity: Las Vegas
Specialty gifts/favors: Coasters from India
Transportation provider: Horse- Latta Plantation

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Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago at 11:45 AM.

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The Loft on Front {Tina and Brad} Wilmington Wedding Photographer

Tina and Brad are truly a match made in heaven.

Tina is a striking, statuesque blonde nurse, whose beauty is absolutely breath-taking. Tina had met Brad many years ago, in Wilmington. Back then, Brad was — as he is now — a popular professional wrestler. He’s known as much for his upbeat attitude and chiseled body as he is for gunning it full-throttle in the ring. Wrestling fans will recognize the Brad the bridegroom as “Lodi,” a fan favorite on the wrestling circuit. Brad also owns a personal training studio in Charlotte, N.C., called Your Flex Appeal.

When Tina met Brad 16 years ago, Brad and Tina had mutual friends. The years passed, and they lost touch.

They reconnected on Facebook, and became reacquainted in Myrtle Beach, where Tina lived. As their feelings for each other deepened, Brad grew to love Tina’s daughter from a previous relationship as much as he loved Tina. Brad, a father himself, has a daughter of his own from a previous relationship, and is also a deeply devoted parent. Tina knew she had met a man who had been tested by life and emerged a winner. Brad had not only wrestled other men in the ring. He had battled the temptations and demons of a life in the public eye. He decided to turn his back on the lesser things, and now just wanted to live his life for God and honor.

Tina knew she had found a warrior worth loving.

“We were discussing friends of mine that met and ‘just knew’ that they had found their soul mate,” Tina said. “We both professed to never thinking such things were possible, but feeling that it had happened between us. We believed that God had made us especially to go with each other. We began discussing marriage and the desire to join together at that moment for a lifetime.”

Brad suggested that he and Tina meet in Wilmington to meet their respective moms, but Brad had also arranged a photo shoot, and Tina happily agreed. She knew that Brad was generous, but she had no idea what gift awaited her during the seaside photo session.

“My daughter was with us, snapping her own pictures and joining in some,” Tina said. “After we took many pictures together, he found a perfect moment to get on his knee on the Wilmington River walk and propose. I excitedly accepted and we continued with our engagement photo shoot as the sun was setting over the water!”

Their wedding was held at a beautiful venue in downtown Wilmington that was built in 1880, The Loft on Front.

“It was both elegant and captured the vintage theme of our day. It boasts modern lighting fixtures and a gorgeous glass room that we utilized for our wedding signature items and such. The wedding day was on the day of an annual triathlon, so when we went out for pictures there were many people cheering and congratulating us, which was pretty cool!” Tina said.

Our caterers, Middle of the Island Catering, pleased with awesome service, great presentation, and delectable food. Our pastor, Matt Barcalow, (from Forest Hill Church in Charlotte) did a fantastic job. I could not have asked for anything better!

“Last but not least, our photographer, Chuck Eaton, was amazing. He served not only shooting great memories, but as a coordinator, handling all the little details and assisting with set up of the venue. Everything was beautiful and perfect and I married the love of my life…the very best part!”

Tina’s daughter Hannah was her maid-of-honor. Brad’s great friend, Dax Joyner, was his best man. Tina and Brad exchanged beautiful rings, which were custom-designed. Her engagement ring was an octagon center diamond, encircled by diamonds. Her wedding band was covered with diamonds, and Brad’s band was made of tungsten, studded with black diamonds.

Tina had poured over Pinterest in the months leading up to her wedding for bridal ideas. She hand-printed her own wedding invitations. For wedding favors, she and Brad took glass heart shaped ornaments and filled them with white snowy filler, then painted LOVE on them and placed a purple ribbon with their name and wedding date.

She made the wedding cake herself, a luscious almond cake with three tiers, butter-cream icing and filling, many purple handmade gum-paste roses and hand-piped designs, finished off with black and white pearl candies. She and her daughter went to Whole foods for their bouquets, and their good friend Suzanne Schmidt arranged the bridal bouquet from a mixture of white roses, tiger lilies, and other small flowers to make a beautiful mixed bouquet. She hand-crafted her own bridal veil of floor-length, single-tier ivory tulle on a beaded comb.

Her Allure gown was an ivory halter, lace-up-back dress with a fitted, pleated bodice that extended to the hip area, then flared out with a crinoline underneath that was ’50’s style with soft curly ruffles of purple that Tina hand sewed into the dress. There were many lace appliqués throughout the dress and across the large flowing train, with beading and crystals that shimmered as the light hit them.

After the cake was cut, Tina entertained Brad and her guests with a brilliant rendition of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be”

The couple’s first dance as a married couple was “All of Me,” by John Legend.

What was the bride’s favorite thing about the day?

“I married Brad, of course! It is the beginning of our beautiful lives together and the continuation of our love story, blessed by God.”

The couple honeymooned for six days in Aruba.

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Hairstylist for wedding: Myself {Tina}
Make-up for wedding: I did my own makeup and kept it more of a natural look
Invitations/Stationery: I printed my own invitations
Music/Entertainment/Booking Agency
DJ Bob Keller – Amazing DJ, providing great entertainment and keeping people on the dance floor and entertained.
Clergy: Matt Barcalow, Forest Hill Church, Charlotte, NC
Ceremony location:The Loft on Front, Wilmington, NC
Caterers: Middle of the Island Catering
Rehearsal dinner: (Close friend and family gathering/celebration) Pilot House Restaurant
Rental providers (tents, linens, tables, chairs, photo booth, etc.):
Etc Party Rentals for tables. We purchased everything else
Wedding night hotel/inn: Hilton Riverside, Wilmington, NC
Bridesmaid luncheon location: My beautiful daughter, Hannah Wagner, was my maid of honor and only bridesmaid.
Specialty gifts/favors:
We took glass heart shaped ornaments and filled them with white snowy filler, then I painted LOVE on them and placed a purple ribbon with our name and wedding date.
Transportation provider: Best Man and wonderful friend, Dax Joyner

Posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago at 9:16 PM.

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Charlotte Portrait Photographer {Giulias loves} Charlotte Newborn Photographer

Another new member of the family for one of my former brides…. I so Love my child.

Posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago at 3:08 PM.

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Charlotte Portrait Photojournalist {Katies girls} Charlotte Portrait Photographer

I love photographing these three…. I shot Katie’s wedding nine years ago and for to short time she worked here in the office after the wedding.

She used to drive from Mississippi to have me capture her girls.

Glad she is back in the Queen City so we can do it more often!

Posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago at 1:14 PM.

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Chuck Eaton Photography - 704.844.2993 Charlotte - 843.801.4252 Charleston