Real Couples // Two Grooms Commit to Forever at the Rialto Theatre: Michael + Nicholas

Real Couples // Two Grooms Commit to Forever at the Rialto Theatre: Michael + Nicholas

Nicholas and I met the way most twenty-somethings meet these days: social media! We went to separate high schools but were both in theatre programs. Through state festivals we met a mutual friend from yet another school and then became friends on Facebook through him. I was living near Daytona Beach, and Nicholas was living in Tampa. After years of being friends online, I decided to drive down and meet him in person. We had a super casual first date at a Red Robin in the mall and we immediately connected so well. I quickly found myself commuting to and from Tampa sometimes two or three times a week to be together. After three short months, we moved in together, and have been together since.

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Real Couples // A Classic Vintage Savannah Wedding: Danielle + Kolby

Real Couples // A Classic Vintage Savannah Wedding: Danielle + Kolby

Ideas of professional collaboration quickly fell away, and they went on their first "date" — she didn't consider it one at the time — on June 29th, wandering through art galleries, grabbing a bite and a beer at Kayak Kafé, spinning records in Hang Fire, and sitting and talking in Ellis Square. At the end of the night, a stranger selling palm roses approached, entreating Kolby to recite a poem and confess his undying love for Danielle, which was surprisingly not awkward at all.

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Real Couples // Living in London, Married in Ireland: Jon + Donal

Real Couples // Living in London, Married in Ireland: Jon + Donal

Donal and Jon aren’t religious so they opted for a Humanist ceremony. Following a meeting with their chosen celebrant Sally O’Kelly they knew straight away that Sally was the perfect fit for them. She talked them through the process and how best to decide upon the script for the ceremony. 

Keeping it short, including special readings, music, and the inclusion of mothers of the grooms to light the unity candle and as witnesses made the ceremony that extra bit special. 

Donal and Jon decided not to include their own written vows but instead used a slightly more traditional script, not only because otherwise they would have been too emotional to speak, but because they felt the traditional script suited their feelings towards marriage and each other. 

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Real Couples // A Special Clemson Engagement Session in Columbia: Brent + Cass

Real Couples // A Special Clemson Engagement Session in Columbia: Brent + Cass

I loved being able to document the little looks between these two and learn about their engagement story. When Cass first told me about the way Brent proposed I was ecstatic to hear something as romantic as the story she shared! She told me about how Brent invited her to travel to Paris with him, how they spent a few days in the city as girlfriend and boyfriend, and how he surprised her one morning with the question of a lifetime. Doesn’t that sound dreamy and oh-so-romantic?! Brent and Cass left the country as a couple dating and returned ready to promise each other their forever.

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Real Couples // A Lake Michigan Beach Engagement: Emily + Ang

Real Couples // A Lake Michigan Beach Engagement: Emily + Ang

Emily's engagement ring is gold with a small diamond and was made for my great-grandmother in the 1940s by my great-uncle in Melbourne. My great-grandmother was a rabble-rousing Anglican woman who loved me dearly and was always kind. It seemed appropriate to give it to a rabble-rousing Episcopalian woman who loves me dearly and is always kind.

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Real Couple // A Fijian-Mexican Engagement Shoot in Oakland: Falisha + Jorge

Real Couple // A Fijian-Mexican Engagement Shoot in Oakland: Falisha + Jorge

We chose to have our engagement photos in Oakland because it's special for both of us. My grandparents migrated from the Fiji islands to Oakland, and his parents from Mexico to Oakland. It was the landing place for both our families – their first taste of a foreign culture where they longed to be and the start of the American dream. 

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Real Wedding // A Brooklyn-Themed Bar Wedding: Abby + Joey

Real Wedding // A Brooklyn-Themed Bar Wedding: Abby + Joey

Joey and I met at The Cove, a dark and dirty bar in Williamsburg. We met on the dance floor... not the place you imagine meeting your husband, but we lucked out! And oddly enough our close friends who married a year before us met on the very same night at the same club! We were sad to see it shut down a few years back. 

Our wedding venue was TBD, which also closed down now. We loved the mixture of indoor and outdoor space and it ranked high for "dance-ability" as well. Aesthetically, I loved the mixture of cement, greenery, metal, and street art; it felt really "Brooklyn" which we both loved!  And since we had a lot of friends and family we wanted to attend, the size really fit our needs.

As some of our photos suggest, we really tried to include "the city," and namely Brooklyn in our wedding photo story.  Street art, hip hop, and the backdrop to our single lives before and now married life after. 

Rima was a huge part of that, including the memories we'll hold onto forever. She came to us with high recommendations and did not disappoint! We also found out that not only did she used to work with my best friend Kat in television, she also photographed a friend's wedding in Wheeling, WV as well. The coincidences felt too significant to ignore!

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Real Couple // Fun-Filled Carnival Love Session in Durham, NC: Brittany + Deon

Real Couple // Fun-Filled Carnival Love Session in Durham, NC: Brittany + Deon

Deon and I (Brittany) work at a North Carolina-based health insurance company, and are happily married with three kids.

We met at a high school football game (my school vs. his). I noticed him right away in his white Avirex jacket, black jeans and Diesel shoes. I thought he was staring at me all night (he disputes this!), so I sent my friend to get his number.

We talked on the phone for a few months, then we lost contact when I moved to Charlotte. I don’t quite remember how we got back in touch, but we did. We had a conversation about taking our relationship to the next level and have been inseparable ever since.

We told our photographer Nikia Williams that we wanted to do something different and have a background that we felt captured our personalities. A photo session at the carnival allowed us to re-live our high school days!

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Real Couple // A Tented Garden Wedding in Louisville, KY: Elle + Suzy

Real Couple // A Tented Garden Wedding in Louisville, KY: Elle + Suzy

We met six years ago through mutual friends while I (Elle) was visiting my sister in L.A.. Between Suzy battling food poisoning and my already being half asleep with my PJ's on, it's safe to say that neither of us expected to meet our future life partners that night when Suzy walked into the room. It took no time at all before we were able to find everything and anything to talk about.

Our whimsical crushes on one another could have easily fizzled once I returned home to Kentucky; however, after numerous visits to see one another back and forth across the country, it was pretty clear that our “crushes” were much more than what we had thought. Our mutual adoration, curiosity, and yearning for one another only grew stronger with distance and time. 

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Real Couple // A Natural Setting Engagement Session in Mount Airy, NC: Ashley + Ruthie

Real Couple // A Natural Setting Engagement Session in Mount Airy, NC: Ashley + Ruthie

I'll never forget the moment my whole life changed. As I came down the escalator to the baggage claim, the woman of my dreams was waiting. She had my favorite flowers, hydrangeas, and the most heartfelt card in hand. Her legs were shaking as I approached her, kissing her before exchanging words. I've never lived a more romantic moment than that one. We really haven't been apart much since.

Two girls means two proposals! I asked first, on Elon day, right in front of her college dorm where she had a brick made with her name on it. She graduated there, under the oaks, and so did my dad when he went to Elon in 1972 (another thing that drew me to her). Elon is a special part of our story because it's part of what brought us to NC and allowed our paths to cross. I had flowers, a note, and a necklace with Ashley's married initials monogrammed waiting for her to find at the brick with her name.

The same words in my note she had engraved on the ring box she used to propose to me two days later at the airport where we first met (she's definitely the more romantic one). "Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat, I'll keep choosing you."

Being in our thirties, we both feel like we've waited a long time for the right one. We're thrilled to start our lives together, make our own traditions, get through school these next two years, and work on growing our family. We look forward to the depth of companionship that time will bring to our relationship, knowing that things won't always be perfect or easy, but that we are a team and we will love each other through any storm we may weather.

We chose to have our pictures done in a natural setting because we wanted the focus to be on us and our connection. We are often told that "we look so in love" and wanted that to come across in our pictures without distraction from a busy background.

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Real Couple // A Tattooed Feminist Elopement in NYC: Frank + Inger

Real Couple // A Tattooed Feminist Elopement in NYC: Frank + Inger

Our fairy tale wedding was the perfect prelude to our fairy tale life. I can say this with certainty, not because we will have any particular experiences, any particular successes, or any particular things, but because whatever happens to us will be met with a spirit of gratitude, partnership, learning, and wonder.

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Real Couples // A Winter Snowfall Wedding in the Poconos: Mamta + Hirsha

Real Couples // A Winter Snowfall Wedding in the Poconos: Mamta + Hirsha

Mamta and Hirsha's wedding at the Camelback Lodge in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania was this past December and all of us had our fingers crossed for snow! We had a backup plan, of course — wander into the snow machines for the slopes. But the weather was on our side and we didn’t just get snow — we got a snow STORM! Though the weather said “just a dusting,” while Mamta was still getting ready, it started snowing heavily! It stayed that way through their first look! They were so excited for snow photos that they stayed out for more than 45 minutes for portraits. (Mamta in those open toed shoes!) Hirsha’s family had a blast arriving in style — and in the snow! With the mountains as our backdrop, they had a beautiful and emotional ceremony filled with family.

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Real Couple // A Diablo Lake Engagement Session in Washington: Iyanna and Michael

Real Couple // A Diablo Lake Engagement Session in Washington: Iyanna and Michael

We got engaged on our four-year anniversary. Ever year we try to outdo each other with gifts on our anniversary. I was sure that I would win this year as I planned on gifting Michael, not one, but two Seattle Sounders jerseys because they are his favorite MLS soccer team. I had planned to record his reaction live for all of our family and friends to witness his priceless reaction. However, I did not realize that Michael had planted all of these ideas into my head through various family members. 

Michael played along with the surprise and had a small gift to give me so that I felt I had won that year’s gift exchange, and at the very end of it all Michael got down on one knee and proposed to me while all of our family and friends watched from all over the country. It was a magical moment that we’ll have forever and can relive whenever we want because he made sure that I had recorded it.

Diablo Lake was chosen as our photoshoot location by suggestion of our photographer, Meghann. It had been on our list of places to visit and therefore it was the perfect opportunity.

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Real Couples // A Joyful, Intimate Wedding in Baltimore: Hope + Meg

Real Couples // A Joyful, Intimate Wedding in Baltimore: Hope + Meg

Our wedding venue is the most beautiful, timeless space that combined historical significance with updated charm. It was also conveniently located not too far from where we lived. We drove by it several times a week and felt comfortable there. Since we aren't native to Baltimore, we decided that we would marry here and bring all of our loved ones to the city we call home.

Our ceremony was short and simple, officiated by our sister-in-law, Colleen. Everyone in our immediate family walked down the aisle in pairs with flowers. Meg walked down with her mom and dad. Lovey ran down the aisle and joined our bridesmaids up front in one of her favorite camping chairs. We had small wedding parties with a few friends and involved other close friends and family in our ceremony with our readings. We also worked with a great caterer, Copper Kitchen, that we knew would make our wedding food something to always be remembered.

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Real Couples // Intimate, Spectacular Elopement in NYC | Teddy & Vanessa

Real Couples // Intimate, Spectacular Elopement in NYC | Teddy & Vanessa

After prepping at the hotel, we made our way down to the pier. It had been overcast and threatening to pour all day, but we'd yet to have any rain and we crossed our fingers and prayed to Mother Nature to hold out until after the ceremony. Lo and behold, those grumpy grey clouds were the best thing to happen to our wedding because when we arrived at the site around 4 p.m. it was absolutely deserted! With the exception of a group of teenagers and a lone, very chilled out pot-smoking cloud gazer who was occupying the only skyline facing corner of the entire pier (and who kindly conceded it when approached by our ever efficient, polite and diplomatic officiant), we had the whole pier to ourselves! It was incredible. We felt as though we were in New York City's most exclusive spot, set against the backdrop of one of the most iconic skylines in the world. The breeze was blowing, the water was lapping and the city was just starting to light up—we were on Cloud 9! 

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Real Couples // Joshua Tree Engagement Photos: Eda + Matt

Real Couples // Joshua Tree Engagement Photos: Eda + Matt

Matt had been carrying a ring around for over 4 months and proposed on the last day we were in Copenhagen. We were at a dessert bar and he asked the waitress to hide the ring in my pastry, but they almost brought my dessert to the wrong couple! He told me that this place specifically puts gold in their desserts and when I found the ring, I thought it was part of the tart until he got down on one knee. Good thing I didn't eat it! I was surprised to hear that all our family members already knew except me. He nailed it!

We planned this trip just for leisure and our lovely photographer just so happened to have time to meet us in Joshua Tree for a quick engagement session. It was so nice to have such a different landscape in these shots.

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Real Couple // A Sweet, Fun Wedding in Pittsfield, MA: Jenn + Mark

Real Couple // A Sweet, Fun Wedding in Pittsfield, MA: Jenn + Mark

"We knew we wanted to have it in the Berkshires since most of my family and friends back in Virginia had not been there yet, and we wanted to give them a chance to experience the community and see why I decided to live in this area. We decided to go with the simplest (and most affordable) wedding venue option so that we can spend the money to customize a few details to our liking.

"I hate being the center of attention, so if I had my way, I would just magically appear at the front of the aisle, say "I Do", and then immediately poof away. Unfortunately, technology isn't there yet. So we settled on a very short ceremony so that there was minimal looking at me. But it was a very special moment because we had our dear friend, Ethan, perform the wedding ceremony. He quoted Bob Dylan, as requested, and really made the ceremony specific to us."

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Real Couples // A Dreamy, Fun Wedding in Saratoga Springs, NY: Daisy + Sam

Real Couples // A Dreamy, Fun Wedding in Saratoga Springs, NY: Daisy + Sam

I met Sam in my pajamas. PJ's with pink elephants ice skating on them. She loves to remind me. I was picking up a friend and she was walking with them. She was so beautiful. I found myself holding my breath as she walked up to my car. She never left my mind after that. I was such a fool too. I kept stuttering and getting tongue tied. I just wanted to be around her.

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Real Couples // Evening Garden Engagement Session in Shelby Township, Michigan: Genevieve + Maurice

Real Couples // Evening Garden Engagement Session in Shelby Township, Michigan: Genevieve + Maurice

Maurice and I met while attending Central Michigan University. After passing each other a few times on campus, exchanging smiles each time, we decided it was time we spoke. Maurice asked me to be his date for Sweetest Day, and five years later, on that same day, he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Breakfast in bed and a trip to the movies was just the beginning of our day. Maurice surprised me with a photo shoot at our local park. As we walked onto a wooden bridge overlooking the creek, I was shocked to see both of our parents approaching us. Seeing as how my parents don't live in the area, I knew something big was about to happen. Caught on camera was my guy on one knee, and myself emotionally overjoyed with the fact that I'll be spending the rest of my life with my best friend. We then celebrated with a family dinner and headed home. To my surprise, there was even more to come. I walked in to find hundreds of photos of us surrounded by string lights, candles, and a bottle of wine. Am I not the luckiest girl in the world?!

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Real Couples // Elegant, Heartfelt Wedding in Alexandria, VA: Tim + Tom

Real Couples // Elegant, Heartfelt Wedding in Alexandria, VA:  Tim + Tom

We reserved the Lorien's Presidential Suite which has a beautiful roof top terrace. After the official wedding reception ended, we had all our family and friends join us for drinks and light snacks on the terrace. It was a time for us to relax, get comfortable and unwind on a beautiful summer night with views of Old Town. The last guest left at 3:00 AM so we would say fun was had by all!

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