This is the wedding story of Emily, who works in mortgage compliance, and Jason, who works in IT management. They had an interesting road to the altar, to say the least!
Both Jason and Emily shared their love story, so we’ll let Jason explain how they met:
“We met at a bar for a mutual friend’s birthday party in Charlotte, horribly cliché,” Jason said.
Emily immediately struck Jason’s eye: she was beautiful, friendly and fun-loving. There was a minor complication in the evening, however: unbeknownst to Emily, Jason’s ex-fiancee was also at the party.
After a fun (if somewhat socially awkward) evening, the group moved to a friend’s home for post-party conversation. Unfortunately, another hurdle on the road to true love soon arose, Jason said.
“I later found out there was another gentleman at the party trying to win Emily’s favor, to Emily’s discontent. I mention this because Emily was unaware of my fondness of her. She almost turned around and hit me when I touched her back while she was sitting in a chair, thinking I was the other guy. Great start right?”
As the night drew to a close, Emily’s had forgotten that she had an expired license tag. Jason offered to follow Emily home to make sure she got home safely.
After arriving, Emily hugged Jason goodnight and asked for his number so she could make sure he got home OK.
“I then ask for directions out of this maze of a neighborhood I am stuck in,” Jason said. “This is the very moment when I needed a good memory… which I do not have.”
A mere 45 minutes later, Jason texts Emily that he got home and all is well. That was… a slight exaggeration.
“I was so lost I did not make it home for another two hours! I swear, I heard banjo music at one point.”
(Emily did not find out about this until after a year and a half of dating, Jason admits.)
“The next day we spoke on the phone and set up our first official date and the rest is history!” Jason said.
And now, it’s Emily’s turn! Now, we embark on anguished seas of the “will-he-or-won’t-he-propose?” dilemma, familiar to so many women dating men they love.
“Let me start off with a few disclaimers,” Emily said. “Jason had informed me he was looking (for an engagement ring), then the purchase, and he topped it off by telling me when (the ring) came in.
“He wasn’t going to give it to me right then because he was ‘waiting for the perfect moment.’ This was understandable, but at the same time, he just enjoyed torturing me with it!” Emily said.
“He went as far as leaving it in the box and placing it on the counter for me to see every time I was in the kitchen. It became a very mean joke, that I can finally laugh at now, thanks to many visits with a therapist.”
“Fast-forward to the day of our engagement,” Emily said. “My parents had flown the kids to Florida for a mini-vacation, which had left Jason and me just enjoying solo time with each other. It was the last night we had before the kids came back, and I had planned a date night.”
The evening included the first “Discovery on the Rocks” event that Discovery Place in Charlotte had ever held. Emily also made reservations at the Melting Pot, the couple’s favorite restaurant.
“We had a great evening, and I just knew that he was going to propose that night!” Emily said. “It was the perfect evening, location, and it was the last night we were going to be kid-free for a while.
“Well, we wrapped up our dinner at the Melting Pot… and still nothing. Maybe he was waiting until we left? Got to the car, and still nothing. I started to get upset at this point, thinking he wasn’t ever going to propose,” Emily said. “Was this was going to be a continuous, sick game he was going to play out forever?
“We got home and I told him I was going to bed. I immediately ran upstairs and threw myself onto the bed and got as close to the edge of the bed as possible, so I didn’t have to be right next to him. He’s well aware this is my “I’m-ticked-off-and-leave-me-alone’ move. He came to bed and asked me if I was okay. I told him the female ‘I’m fine,’ and that I just wanted to go to bed.
“He tried to snuggle and I moved closer to the edge of the bed,” Emily said. “He tried to get me to roll over and face him, which I refused. Finally, he got frustrated and said, ‘You know, it’s really hard to do this if you won’t even look at me!’
“I rolled over and there he was with the ring. He had just been waiting for me to roll over,” Emily said. “He asked me to spend the rest of my life with him and I excitedly said ‘Yes!’ and then apologized profusely.”
From that day forward, getting married was a delight.
“We wanted to have a fun and relaxed wedding and I thing we succeeded in that.”
They danced their first dance as man and wife to “A Thousand Years, Part II,” by Christina Perry.
While Emily and Jason are still planning their honeymoon, they do know their favorite memory of their wedding day: “Happy tears!”
Now, it can get mighty hot during a North Carolina summer, as any Tar Heel can tell you. When those summer days got blistering, gorgeous little Stephanie and striking young Matthew sweltered right along with their chattering friends. They had no idea that their innocent friendship, born on sticky bus seats, would result in their summer wedding, where they rode in an elegant, horse-drawn carriage.
The years passed, and affection blossomed into love.
As adults, the couple soon embarked on their careers. Matt became an Audio Engineer with db Sound of Charlotte. Stephanie is now an Sales Account Executive with The Charlotte Observer.
Matt knew in his heart that Stephanie was his soul-mate. He planned a romantic proposal in the mountains.
Unfortunately, their busy schedules got in the way.
“When our plans were cancelled, Matt decided to make a delicious candlelit dinner on a Wednesday evening,” she said. “After we finished eating dinner, Matt got down on one knee and told me how happy he was and how much he was in love with me and asked me to marry him!’
For something different the two chose to have their wedding at the historic Lake Lure Inn. Can you say “Dirty Dancing”?
After a breath-taking bridal portrait session at Chimney Rock, N.C., the couple’s wedding day arrived almost before they could believe it.
Thanks to plenty of planning, their sunny, summer wedding came off without a hitch. Family and friends celebrated Matt and Stephanie’s wedding weekend in beautiful, scenic Lake Lure, N.C.
“The location itself was unique and amazing,” Stephanie said. “We were surrounded by mountains on a beautiful lake, in a historic Inn, where several parts of the movie “Dirty Dancing” were filmed. The ceremony itself was held inside the historic 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa.”
To coordinate the event, Stephanie worked with their very talented wedding designer, Eleanor Campbell of Events For You, based in Asheville, N.C.
Wedding favors were small gift baskets stuffed full of yummy treats. Guests spending the night at the Inn received Welcome Bags with information about the area, snacks and beverages.
To unify all the elements of the wedding weekend, Stephanie chose a delicate wedding palette of pinks, white, ivory and birch.
The couple chose to make their wedding weekend a chance for their families and friends to relax, as well as enjoy their wedding. They even had Stephanies Aunt whom noone had seen in over 30 years come to participate.
“Instead of a single wedding day, we had the entire weekend with our friends and family,” Stephanie said. “The Rehearsal Dinner was held under a pavilion on the beach at the lake, and we had an awesome bonfire, complete with a ‘Smores Buffet!
The wedding itself was a lakeside fantasy.
“I arrived in a horse and carriage drawn by two beautiful white horses, I and got to have my dad ride with me and walk me down the aisle,” Stephanie said. “After his battle with cancer and a severe surgery only a month-and-a-half before my wedding, it was truly heart-warming to get to have him by my side. He was there to give me away to the absolutely most perfect man I could have ever wished for.”
They even had Memphis (their Bojack pup) act as “ring bearer” during the wedding!
The couple danced their first dance as man and wife to “Come Away with Me,” by Norah Jones.
Her favorite moments: “Besides absolutely EVERYTHING, I would say walking down the aisle to the man of my dreams, but I’m going to have to go with the horse and carriage ride!” Stephanie said. “Both to and from the ceremony location at the gazebo by the lake. The ride to the ceremony with my dad was truly meaningful. He got to wear his grandfather’s ring for the first time in his life on my wedding day. He showed me the ring and it meant so much to him, as he had no idea this ring still existed, let alone any item from his family history until just the day before when his aunt delivered it. We also had a wonderful talk about Matt and their relationship and just so much amazing conversation.
“The ride to the reception from the ceremony with Matt was equally as amazing. We had so much fun riding back and waving to all the onlookers congratulating and waving to us. We had wonderful conversation and so much fun together, and it gave us time to be with each other before the craziness of the evening and after the craziness of the day.”
For a honeymoon? “We went to Puerto Morelos, Mexico, for six nights and seven days. It was absolutely amazing!”
Photography for wedding: Chuck Eaton and Jeni Buchanan for Chuck Eaton Photographers
Photography for portraits: Chuck Eaton of Chuck Eaton Photographers
Portrait Location: Chimney Rock Village, Chimney Rock, NC
Clergy: Rev. Tom Johanson, Heartlight Weddings
Ceremony location: Morse Park Meadows & Gazebo, Lake Lure, NC
Caterers: Food – Lake Lure Inn & Spa – Lake Lure, NC
Cake/Cupcakes- Hey Hey Cupcake! – Black Mountain, NC
Reception location: The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa
Rehearsal dinner: Lake Lure Beach Pavilion
Wedding night hotel/inn: The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, Lake Lure, NC
Bachelor party location/activity: Limousine ride uptown, Men’s Club, All American Pub
Bachelorette party location/activity: Uptown Charlotte, NC – Hilton Garden Inn & Suites, Fahrenheit Rooftop Restaurant, Bubble nightclub
Transportation provider: Horse & Carriage
Travel agent: Sandy Martin
Wedding planner, consultant, or designer: Eleanor Campbell with “Events For You,” in Asheville, N.C.
Bridal shows attended: Bridal Fair, Charlotte, N.C., January 2014 at the Charlotte Convention Center
Imagine being engaged for 9 years, but not being able to get married.
That’s what happened to Diona and Genevieve, a couple as love-struck as any I have ever had the privilege to photograph getting married. Sure, they had thought about running off to New York a few times for a quickie wedding.
But even more important than any Supreme Court ruling, Diona and Genevieve wanted what everyone wants: an opportunity to become a family surrounded by those they love.
The couple met over a decade ago. One evening, the lovely Diona had been working too hard and headed out to unwind. After seeing a play, she hit a local watering hole, trying to relax from her highly stressful job as a technical guru.
Sitting across the room was Genevieve, a hospitality industry partner, and the attraction was immediate. Since then, they have created a match made in heaven.
Diona asked Genevieve to marry her on Valentine’s Day in 2006. She had asked in the past, but Genevieve told her she needed her Italian family’s permission to get married. (Privately, Genevieve wasn’t sure Diona would ever work up the nerve to call her parents.)
Diona promised Genevieve she had her parents permission. This was even more surprising since Diona had called Genevieve’s parents in the middle of the Super Bowl, no less. Still, they had given their blessing.
So imagine Genevieve’s delight as Diona slipped an engagement ring onto her finger.
This year, the Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry. Diona and Genevieve finally had the opportunity to be legally wed. They even knew they were the 87th same-sex couple to get a marriage license in Charlotte.
Sadly, Genevieve’s parents passed away before the Supreme Court ruling. In honor of their memory, a good friend gently unraveled every stitch of the wedding dress worn by Genevieve’s mother. She then reworked it into a modern bridal style more in line with Genevieve’s tastes. “This way my parents could be a part of the wedding,” Genevieve said.
Diona chose to wear Armani. Generous friends offered to let the couple marry in their lavish back yard. Another best friend offered not only her chef-husband to do the catering, she even loaned them their beautiful daughter to serve as flower girl. Thanks to the love surrounding them, the couple and guests enjoyed a truly fantasy, storybook wedding.
For their part, the couple is over-joyed that their marriage is now legal in all 50 states. After exchanging vows, the minister even read from Judge Kennedy’s ruling sustaining their right to be married as they signed their marriage license.
Then, it was party on! Genevieve and Diona danced their first dance to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” The reception brimmed with happy families and friends long after the sun set.
What was the couple’s favorite memory from that night?
“Too many to say, but let’s go with the signing of the marriage license, reading of our vows, food, dancing, our hosts’ beautiful home, ducks in the pool, and the kids!” said Genevieve.
And I was honored to be a small part of the biggest day of their lives… so far!