Charlotte City Club {Clare and Dave} Charlotte Wedding Photographer

When the chemistry is perfect, you just know it.
Just ask newlyweds Clare and David.
Matched by, the couple had a few stumbling blocks they easily surmounted.
“For our very first meeting we planned to meet at a wine bar, but when we got there it was closed for a private party,” Clare said. “Rather than have that sour our night, we improvised with a different idea and still had a great time.

“On our second meeting we tried again, in vain, to meet the same wine bar, but unbeknownst to us, private events in August were apparently popular there. So once again we forged a new plan and again had a fabulous evening. With that it was evident from the start of the relationship that whenever Dave and I have been faced with a roadblock, we’ve managed to tackle it together and make it into a fun adventure!”

Dave has over fifteen years of experience in the field of international finance. Clare has over fifteen years of experience in the fields of graphic design, marketing and event/project management.

Their proposal is a story all by itself. Clare explains:

“This past January Dave accepted a job offer that required him to move to Charlotte. The idea of moving to the South looked to be an exciting adventure. Charlotte was neutral territory for us both, as he is from Seattle and I from New York. However, the idea of joining anyone on a move to a new city without a job or home in place is a nerve-wracking decision,” she said.

“Dave understood this dilemma and knew, just as I did, that we wanted to be together not only in Charlotte; but also for forever. So on the Saturday evening just before the Superbowl, I was preoccupied with a freelance project. Dave, being the chef of the house, was running around preparing our typical dinner. However, on this particular night I noticed him scurrying more than the norm. Turning down lights, locating candles and music.

“When he said dinner was ready I went to wash my hands and then it hit me. ‘Could this be it? The proposal?’ Returning to my seat, I pushed the thought out of my head and proceeded to enjoy dinner. At the end of the meal, he began to talk about how happy we make one another. He then popped the question. I exclaimed ‘Yes!’ immediately. He then pulled out a little box with a simply elegant band of white gold inside. Knowing how I am, he wanted me to be involved in the selection of the engagement ring. But he wanted to show his sincerity in the proposal by giving me a ring.

“The next day we joyfully shared our news at the Super Bowl party we hosted and had been planning for weeks in advance. Days following the first proposal, Dave procured ‘the ring.’ On a particularly cold and snowy February night as we were walking in our neighborhood, he stopped me in my tracks in front of one our favorite New York City landmarks, the Flatiron Building. As I stood there, Dave knelt and presented me with a different little wooden box. Inside was the custom ring we collaborated on together. As the snow and the sun came down he asked again, this time on bended knee, ‘Will you marry me?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ It was amazing!”

With her background in design and event management, Clare helped stage a visually striking backdrop for the exchange of vows. Some of her guidelines for her wedding:

1. No specific wedding colors. As a graphic designer, I love color. Personally, I don’t have one favorite color, since there are so many and they all change depending on their pairing and the light. My dress was ivory. So ivory was a primary color. For the women in the wedding party, I asked them to select their colors from a palette I pre-selected for the sake of color harmony. They selected seven different colors: Rosewater pink, Gidget mint green, Agean sea lavender, Seaside pale aqua blue, Oyster Bay grey, Seaweed olive and Swan lake pansy purple.

2. The wedding party was mixed genders. There were four women and two men on the bride’s side. The four women wore the paler colors of pink, mint, lavender and aqua. The men wore ivory Filipino formal wear. The groom’s side consisted of three men and three women. The women wore darker colors to complement the tuxedos worn by the men on the groom’s side. These colors were grey, olive and purple.

3. Incorporating Filipino Flair. My heritage is Filipino-American. My parents are from the Philippines. I was born and raised in New York. So it was important to me to honor that part of me. So I requested that the Filipino men and women guests wear Barong Tagalog, which is Filipino formal wear. The fabric is sheer and made of breathable fabrics such as Pineapple fiber, which can be found different colors. Traditionally ivory is the color most worn.

4. Embracing Southern Style. As new transplants to the South, we wanted our guests to experience a taste of Southern hospitality during the entire wedding weekend extravaganza. We chose uniquely Southern menus, venues and treats.

The couple enjoys Charlotte’s burgeoning micro-brewery scene. Dave is a true beer aficionado, and his favorite beer in Charlotte is a local craft brew: Olde Mecklenberg Brewery’s Copper. Once the couple discovered that Olde Mecklenberg Brewery had event space and a Biergarten, they knew they had found the perfect place for their rehearsal dinner venue.

“It was also perfect for a Friday night, since they gave out a free Brewery tour that evening, which was a bonus activity for the guests,” Clare said.

“After extensive research we chose Best Impressions Caterers for their reputation and Southern food menu options: pulled pork, shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, coleslaw, peach cobbler and banana pudding. Since over 95 percent of the guests were from out of town, we commissioned a shuttle bus through CLT Express to transport our guests back and forth from the Marriot City Center to the OMB.

“Being from the West Coast, Dave never expected the Southern tradition of a groom’s cake, which I was happy to embrace. Wow Factor Cakes designed both our wedding cake and groom’s cakes. Dave is also a huge fan of the HBO’s series “Game of Thrones.” So I requested that the sigils (house crests/logos) decorate the tops of five cakes, each having a different flavor that represents the character and personalities of five of the main houses/families of the show.

“At the welcome dinner, I revealed the five cakes to Dave in front of everyone and proceeded to have him do a blind taste test to see if I was accurate in the my choice of the flavor to represent each house/family. Dave obliged which resulted in a fun game for all.”

Dave guessed three houses correctly by blind taste-test alone, an impressive feat. As favors in keeping with the evening theme, the guests were given monogrammed beer mugs and wine glasses, which were a gift a friend of the couple.

As Clare and Dave considered weddings venue was concerned, many sites were possibilities.

“After narrowing out venues in New York City, Seattle and Asheville, we decided upon Charlotte because it was our new hometown,” Clare said. “We wanted the August date — but not the August weather — so we looked for something indoors. The center of uptown Charlotte is the intersection of Trade and Tryon. All those factors combined with the elegance, décor and view from the top of the Charlotte City Club won us over. The formal feel was a nice counterbalance to the casual welcome dinner the evening before.

“Guests raved about the filet mignon, the pecan crusted grouper and the Carolina crab cakes! I have the biggest sweet tooth! So I loved that they were able to accommodate my request for a dessert bar stocked with homemade ice cream, chocolate macaroons, cheesecake bits and mini pecan tarts along side the wedding cake. Wow Factor Cakes decorated the wedding cake by matching the scattered pearls from my pearl cover-up.”

The guests’ wedding favors included Eleni NYC cookies in the shape of little blue Tiffany boxes and souvenir photos from a wedding photo booth stocked with props like parasols, hats, wigs and other fun items. As the evening drew to a close, Clare had yet another pleasure planned for her man.

“As a surprise to the groom, I had my dear friend and professional singer perform live Emeli Sandé’s song “Next to Me” as the second-to-last song of the night. Our exit from the building and entrance into the world as man and wife was spectacular, with each of our guests waving sparklers that lit the way to our getaway car.

“The following day we hosted a casual brunch at our new home, catered by Tona Johnston. Our departing wedding weekend guests bid us farewell while enjoying deviled eggs, tomato tart, pimento cheese, chicken salad, mimosas, bloody Maries and more.”

The couple then traveled to Charleston, SC, for a brief three-day “mini-moon.”

“We hope to visit Europe next year for a proper honeymoon trip,” Clare said. “We are currently planning for two-week visit to Spain or Italy.”

But as far as her wedding is concerned, Clare has no doubt what her most treasured memories will be.

“Absolutely nothing compares to the joy of having everyone you love and cherish in one room showering you with best wishes, love and support,” Clare said. “Dave and I were honored and elated that we had the turnout of 80 family and friends! The memories and the emotions from that weekend will be with us forever.”


Photography for wedding: Chuck Eaton and Josh Stillwell for Chuck Eaton Photographers

Groom’s Cake and Wedding Cake: Wow Factor Cakes
Flowers: Gabriel Marquez Floral/Event Design
Bridal Cover up: Scattered Pearl Caplet Designer: BHLDN
Gown: Gold Spun Tiernan Gown Designer: J Crew
Shoes: Claribel Designer: Bridal by Butter
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Convertible Octopus Wrap Dress in various colors Designer: CoralieBeatrix
Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse Boutique at Belk
Headpiece: M&J Trimming Bridal Salon Designer:
Veil: Trimming Bridal Salon
Engagement and wedding ring: Oscar Gama Custom Jewelry
Wedding rings: Groom’s ring: Lucas Family Heirloom
Hairstylist and makeup for portrait and wedding: Pamela Zwick
Invitations/Stationery: Designed by the Bride, Clare (Vivas) Lucas; Letterpress Printing by Red Stone Press
Music/Entertainment/Booking Agency: Audio to Go, Brian Hines
Cinematography: Crown Alley Films
Clergy: Reverend Hillarie Ann Cox
Ceremony location: Charlotte City Club
Rehearsal dinner: Olde Mecklenberg Brewery and Best Impressions Catering
Wedding night hotel/inn: Marriot City Center
Specialty gifts/favors:Custom cookies by Eleni New York, Monogram wine glasses and Beer mugs and Photo booth photos
Transportation provider: AMJ Limo and Transportation Service for the transportation to and from the wedding.
CLT Express for Rehearsal dinner shuttle from Marriot City Center to OMB.
Wedding last song performed by Katherine Brooks (bridesmaid)
OMB brewery tour for welcome rehearsal dinner

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About Chuck Eaton

Chuck Eaton is an experienced luxury wedding photojournalist based out of Charlotte, NC and shooting throughout the world. We love what we do and the clients who let us do it. We provide exclusive fine art portraiture and documentary wedding photography while having fun doing it!
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