Simple. Classy. Elegant. Those were the words Michelle used to describe her dream wedding to me last year when we began discussing her wedding day. She also said the words that make my heart go pitty pat…”picking the right photographer is the most important decision to me because I know that the photographs are the one thing I will have from my day that lasts forever.” Sigh. And Amen! That’s my kind of girl right there and I am so glad she felt that I was the right fit for her!

I will say that Michelle scored on all of her visions of her day. It was nothing short of classy and elegant. Simple…well simple in the sense that it wasn’t tacky or overdone. But certainly not plain and simple. Everything had a purpose and was tastefully done by the talented team of professionals she and her mom assembled. And that my friends, gets a 10 on my scorecard!

Michelle grew up in Winston-Salem and now works as an auditor for a CPA firm in Raleigh. She is a graduate of NC State’s undergraduate program and also holds a Masters in Accounting from NC State. She is a detail person and busy lady. Most of the time she is traveling and working in client offices and not in her office in Raleigh. So planning a wedding remotely was not an easy task. It goes without saying that her mom was pretty integral in pulling off the day. Bryan is originally from Kernersville and although it’s not far down the road from Winston-Salem, the two didn’t know each other until they met at beach week following high school graduation. As luck would have it, he was also attending NC State. They ran into each other again at NC State orientation and became friends during their freshmen year. It took a while, but eventually they became inseparable. He is the quiet, reserved member of the pair and she is outgoing and fun-loving. Funny how it works that way when two such opposites are drawn together. But indeed, they are perfectly suited. And as Michelle likes to point out, it hasn’t always been easy in their relationship, since they have been together from high school to marriage over the course of the last 7 years. There was a lot of growing up to do and of course the pains that go along with becoming an adult, but it is evident that they are indeed made for each other and meant to spend their days together. So enjoy a look at how their day unfolded.

Michelle and her team of bridesmaids assembled at the nearby Brookstown Inn prior to going to Old Salem for the service. The Brookstown always provides a beautiful backdrop. When I arrived, Michelle and her friend, Erica, were working on a surprise for her mother. They were tying a locket onto her bouquet that contained her deceased grandfather’s photo in it as a reminder of him. He is the only grandparent of Michelle’s that wasn’t able to be present for the wedding. And she knew it would mean a lot to her mom to have him remembered on that day.

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And on Michelle’s mom’s bouquet, she tied a charm as a gift to her mom to commemorate the day. Something blue? Easy. Michelle’s adorable (and comfortable) bright blue shoes!

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And something borrowed was covered in two corners. Her mom loaned her a diamond ring that had belonged to Michelle’s great grandmother and her friend Erica loaned her a handkerchief she had carried in her own wedding. The handkerchief had Erica’s initials and also Michelle’s embroidered on it. What a sweet way to always remember their friendship! And a garter shout out to Pi Phi…Michelle’s college sorority at NCSU.

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Over at the Embassy Suites Hotel downtown, Bryan and the boys had gathered to finish up their details. Thanks to my friend, Grant Blair, for taking on the challenge! It’s always fun and somewhat interesting to photograph the guys getting ready. But this crowd was pretty easy to keep moving along in their tasks. I think Bryan was ready to see his lovely bride!
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A little help from dad is needed sometimes!
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Looking pretty dapper, Bryan!
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Oh the handkerchiefs! If it’s not the bow ties, it’s the handkerchiefs. Nothing slows down the wedding party progression like one of those! These guys look like they have SOME idea of what they are doing!
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Michelle had chosen a deep shade of plum for her bridesmaid dresses. And her dress was the Amara Rose Ivory Lace Mermaid gown, designed by Sottero and Midgley. Just stunning!
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Michelle was excited to share the personal touches she had added to the bouquets with her mom.
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Um, yeah. There were tears!
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Speaking of bouquets, the florals for the day were designed by Beverly’s of Midway. Beverly does an amazing job and is such a conscientious person. She personally makes sure everything is just as you want it to be. Personal service like that cannot be equalled and she is constantly providing some of the loveliest flowers as well.
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Another note…under the charm, is lace from both of Michelle’s grandmother’s dresses. Michelle’s mom had provided that to Beverly and Michelle thought is was so pretty…not knowing what it was until her mom explained it to her!
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Michelle’s hair and makeup was taken care of  by Up-do’s of Kernersville. They are so awesome to come on-site to your location and work with your bridal party!
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Michelle Smith…you are one gorgeous lady!
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Why is it that the guys are always chilling and the girls are in high gear???  True to form, this bunch was laid back and enjoying their time together!
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Michelle was looking forward to her dad seeing her for the first time in her dress.
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Yeah, more tears! It was starting to become a theme! But Michelle is very close to her family and being surrounded by so much family on her wedding day was so important to her.
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She presented a gift of a framed bridal portrait to her parents that was accompanied by sweet notes expressing her appreciation for all they had done for her throughout her life.
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And she was surprised to receive a special gift from them…an amazing diamond tennis bracelet to wear on her wedding day!
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Then it was Michelle’s turn to read a sweet note from Bryan and open his gift to her.
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OMG! The girl was now literally dripping in diamonds! Time to change her earrings because who wouldn’t want to put these on??
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The last details have been seen to and we are OUT THE DOOR! Time for some portraits.
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Bryan was also having his turn opening gifts and reading some sweet words from his bride-to-be.
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Great taste Michelle…monogrammed cufflinks and a beautiful new watch to adorn Bryan’s wrist!


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Michelle and Bryan chose to be married at St. Phillips African Moravian Church in Old Salem. Originally built as a church for the slaves of the Salem community back in 1861, the church is simple and beautiful. But put a beautiful bride and handsome groom inside and it comes alive. Just a beautiful setting filled with lovely light. And of course the best part of getting married in the Old Salem community is that you get Amy Grimes to work alongside you. Amy is the fabulous staff person at Old Salem that assists brides with all of the needed arrangements. She is not only knowledgeable and helpful, she is one of the sweetest folks around. A gem!
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A string quartet from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, provided the music for the service.
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Absolutely love this shot of Bryan watching guests assemble below in the sanctuary as he patiently awaits the start of the ceremony.
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A few years following the death of Michelle’s grandfather, her grandmother remarried a wonderful man who is also a minister. She was delighted to have him perform their ceremony.
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I think he was looking forward to this! Mr. & Mrs. Wence!
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With all of the stress gone and nothing but happiness ahead, it was finally time to enjoy the moment and reflect on what had just occurred! Love that my couples allow me to share in this moment.

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I am a firm believer that formal family pictures, though not terribly exciting, are an important part of any wedding day. These images of the important people in your life will be the ones you go back to year after year. So we handle family formals efficiently, but with care, knowing their importance over time.


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Over at the Visitor’s Center, guests were gathering and enjoying the fine food and drink provided by Visions Catering. Visions also did all of the room set up and design, turning the room into a gorgeous setting for a reception. I would also be remiss not to mention Melissa Lewkowicz, who owns Relish Design in Greensboro who was instrumental in making sure the day went as planned. Melissa’s calm demeanor and organizational skills were invaluable!
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Because Bryan proposed to Michelle during a Brad Paisley concert, Michelle’s friend had the words to the song her proposed to (called Then) written on a photo mat and framed around one of the engagement pictures I shot.
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Like a true southern bride, Michelle’s bridal canvas was on display for her guests to see.
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Also on display was a a group of images from  some of the weddings from each of the couple’s family members. How fun to see how things have changed, but also to see how timeless the photos are.
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The cake was made by Edible Artistry in High Point. Delicious and beautiful with two flavors…Vanilla Creme and Dulce de Leche. Yum!

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Time for introductions! Chris Fletcher of Triad DJ and Events handled the music and reception for Michelle and Bryan. As always, Chris did a great job of keeping things moving and keeping the dance floor filled!
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I cannot tell you how much I loved these signs that were on the bride and groom table. What a hoot!
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Toasts by the Best Man, Maid of Honor and grandparents of the bride kept the mood light and fun!
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And Michelle and Bryan shared a first dance with her dad and his mom, as is tradition.
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Then it was time to celebrate!
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The bouquet toss resulted in a tie! Let’s just split it girls!
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And Bryan took the garter retrieval to a new level. Since Michelle was completely over trying to sit down in the mermaid dress, she opted to stand instead!

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And the brother of the bride scores on the catch!

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After much celebrating, it was time for the evening to come to a close. But not before one last surprise!
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Michelle’s mom had arranged for a 1938 Buick getaway car to take the couple away. Gorgeous!


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What a beautiful day to celebrate the union of such a sweet couple. All of the detailed planning was perfectly executed and so many happy faces filled the day. It never gets old…being a part of someone’s wedding day. I am always honored to be asked to be part of such an important day. But when a couple puts such emphasis and importance on the photography, it is certainly even more special. Thank you, Michelle and Bryan, for trusting me to be part of your wedding day. I hope the images will bring wonderful memories to you for a lifetime!