Rachel + Mike // A Sea Pines Resort Wedding on Hilton Head Island

Being a good wedding photographer isn't just about taking beautiful photographs. It's not just about knowing how to operate your camera. It's not about knowing the perfect poses to make your couple look like models. It's not about being able to take the perfect detail shots, finding the perfect place to hang the dress, knowing just how to arrange the invitation suite for that perfect flat lay shot. While all of these things may contribute to your ability to capture a wedding day thoroughly, being a good wedding photographer is about so much more than these things.

Being a good wedding photographer is about presence. It's about being aware and present in each moment of a wedding day. It's about noticing. It's about bringing a sense of calm and peace to a wedding day, not being one more potential stress factor on your couple's big day. You are potentially with your bride and groom more than anyone else on the wedding day, so your presence, and the vibes you carry with you, are very important.  Being a good wedding photographer is about pointing toward something greater - a narrative bigger than yourself, and it's about helping each couple see the value and beauty of their own unique story.

Rachel and Mike invited us into their story and allowed us to do just that. It was such a gift to be a part of their day and to know that we had their complete trust. 

In the middle of Mike and Rachel's first look, after we guided them through a time of reflection on the day and the commitment they were about to make to one another, Mike (who is a psychologist, mind you) turned to me and asked, "Do you guys practice mindfulness, or is the way you direct just a part of your personalities?"

Pause. This is one of the biggest compliments we've received in our career (especially coming from someone who is well acquainted with the practice of mindfulness!) We truthfully don't have a steady mindfulness practice, although it's something I've dabbled with and resonate deeply with when I give it the time (and mindfulness - hah!) that it requires. But this idea of slowing down, being present, and noticing the little things is exactly what we hope our couples take away after interacting with us. We hope that they can look back on their wedding day feeling, not that it was a complete blur, but that they were encouraged to soak it all in - the big moments and the little ones alike. We hope that they look back feeling that they were fully present with one another, instead of rushing through a checklist of the day's events.

Sometimes we wonder if being wedding photographers is even what we're meant to be doing, since much of our "why" has absolutely nothing to do with the photos. But, as we mentioned in an earlier post, our cameras are our ticket into this intimate space of a wedding day. They serve as our free pass to enter in, be present, and most importantly to invite our couples to do the same.

Rachel and Mike, thank you for inviting us in. Thank you for letting us do our thing. Thank you for fully embracing the big moments and the little ones on your wedding day. It was truly a privilege to photograph and film your celebration.

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Many thanks to everyone who made Rachel and Mike's day so beautiful!

Coordinator: Tracey Mancini of Sea Pines Resort

Hair and Makeup: Eye Do Makeup and Hair Design

Dress: Pronovias from I Do... I Do... in Morristown, NJ

Invitations: Paper and Lace

Ketubah: Ketubah.com

Other Paper Goods: Minted

Florals: Tracey Inglesby of Flowers by Freshcuts

Ceremony Venue: Atlantic Room at Sea Pines Beach Club

Officiant: Rev. Christopher Mietlowski

Cocktail Hour Venue: 18th Lawn of Harbour Town Golf Course

Reception Venue: Harbour Town Clubhouse

Live Band: We Got the Beat

Catering: Sea Pines Resort

Cake: Sea Pines Resort

Photography and Video: Grain & Compass

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Audreyanna + Aaron // A Duke Mansion Wedding

Audreyanna and Aaron are absolute treasures.

They got married at one of the most elegant venues in Charlotte, and with the help and extraordinary vision of their coordinator, Ashley Snider, were able to incorporate their own fun, whimsical style into the day. Each of the details was simply stunning, from the bouquets and table décor, to the garland over the arbor, to THAT CAKE!

But what we loved most about this day was Audreyanna and Aaron’s continual focus on what was most important to them about their wedding day – their commitment to one another and the foundation of their faith that has brought them both together. At each turn in the day they were pointing back to the Lord and his work in orchestrating their relationship, bringing them together, and surrounding them by the love and support of their friends and families.

We truly see our job as wedding photographers as much more than “just taking pictures.” We take on the responsibility of helping each of our couples slow down, soak up their day, and begin to realize the magnitude and the beauty of the commitment they are making to one another. When we have a couple like Audreyanna and Aaron who already “get” that, we feel like we can help them enter into that even further.

Obviously our job as wedding photographers is to take beautiful photographs, and to capture the moments that happen before our lenses. But we’ve found that if we were just capturing pretty pictures we could be done shooting weddings tomorrow. That’s truly not what it’s about for us. The photographs are the means to an end. They are our ticket into the intimacy of our couple’s story and relationship – the free pass to step past small talk and get to the good stuff.

Audrey and Aaron – thank you for trusting us completely and for letting us “get to the good stuff” with you.

 

Vendors:

Venue: The Duke Mansion

Coordinator: Ashley Snider of Events Without a Hitch

Hair: Lizzy Rivera of Ups and Dos

Makeup: Pam Dalpiaz

Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Hayden Olivia Bridal in Charlotte

Florals: The Place for Flowers

Officiant: Wes McMurray

Cake: Sky's the Limit Bridal Sweets

Catering: The Duke Mansion

Band: The Royal Suits

Photography: Grain & Compass

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Christine + Daniel // A Fishermen's Inn Winter Wedding

Christine and Daniel. Their day was like something from a dream. Visually it was simply spectacular - from the winter decor and the beautiful snow that began falling during their ceremony, to the gorgeous florals by Summit Street Blooms, to their take on a unity candle ceremony - with a nod to Christmas Eve candlelight services, to Christine and Daniel and their bridal party and the way everything came together. But the visual beauty of their day is not where it ends.

Christine and Daniel's day had an almost poetic quality to it. The way their story has been woven together since before they knew one another, the words they shared with us about each another and how those were echoed so strongly by the words her sister and his brother spoke over them during the reception, even the smallest of details such as Daniel's ring - significant and meaningful in so many ways.

Daniel chose a ring that was inlaid with wood, something he always knew he wanted. You'll hear his brother share an analogy that fits so well with even that small decision. The wood in his ring is Koa wood, which is native to Samoa, where Daniel's dad is from. The surrounding metal is called Damascus steel, named after Damascus in Syria, which is where Christine's father was born. It wasn't until after they had purchased the ring when they were picking up their marriage certificate, and were asked where their fathers were born, that they realized the connection to both locations and Daniel's ring.  To Daniel, having his ring crafted from these two materials symbolized the blessing and guidance of both of their fathers on and for their marriage. What a beautiful story woven into such a small detail of their wedding day.

Truthfully, it's hard to do justice to a story like Christine and Daniel's. Our attempts to share every detail and piece of their story seem to come up short in what is a bigger and more beautiful narrative than we can explain through our photos and video. When we celebrate with a couple on their wedding day, it's a celebration of so much more than those few hours. It's sharing the joy with them of all that has led up to that day, and hoping with them in all that they will get to experience and share together each and every day after that. We're so grateful these two invited us into their wedding day, trusted our process and the time it took to tell their story right, and we are beyond thrilled to share their day and their story with you now.

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Vendors: 

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Fishermen's Inn

Hair/Makeup: Frank Gironda

Paper Goods: Saints & Charley

Place Cards and Calligraphy: Callie Geeslin of Calliegraphy

Florist: Summit Street Blooms

DJ: Music By Design

Officiant: Gabe Mulitauopele & Rob Bugh

Cake: The Cakery in Wheaton

Photography and Videography: Grain and Compass

 

 

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Molly + Johann // A Gloucester Wedding

Molly and Johann's story is such a special one for us to share. These two met at a wedding we filmed a few years ago - you may remember Juliana and Jeremiah's wedding film. Johann is Jeremiah's brother and was one of his groomsmen. Molly is Juliana's best friend and stood up with her as a bridesmaid. Molly and Johann "snuck off" for their first date after Jeremiah and Juliana's wedding, and the rest is history. What a joy for us to have been there right at the beginning (and even to have captured a glimpse of what was to come).

Molly and Johann had their first look upon the rocks overlooking the ocean - I think her words were, "I can scramble up the rocks, and I don't care if my dress rips! I want to get great photos!" What a gift to us as photographers! This day was such a treasure to photograph. Molly and Johann have such a sweet love for one another. We especially loved the time they took right before their reception to reflect on the day, take a little breather before the party, and to soak up a little time together in the middle of it all. That's what it's all about. Not all couples think they have the time on their day to do this, but it's well worth setting aside a few minutes to simply be together.

We hope you enjoy this immensely special love story.