Mandy & Zach | Engaged in Johnston County, NC

Some couples are just really meant to be together; Mandy and Zach are one of those. These two are planning on tying the knot later this September and I know it will be one of the prettiest things I will ever see. Mandy, whom I have had the privilege of getting to know personally over the years, dreamed of marrying this man in the quaintest of settings. My heart melted when I heard Zach proposed and just knew they were going to have a great marriage.

Like most of my sessions, I really try to figure out who the couple really is. This was easy with Mandy and Zach--they loved fishing, hunting, and just all things southern. It was a dream come true for me as I channeled my inner Bertie County girl that had been stuffed from all of the "city" I have been living in. We started the day on Zach's john boat and then capped the day off at what will be their sweet reception spot--The Pond at Lazy O.

All in all, it was a great day spent with great friends. With Mandy & Zach there is always great giggles involved and I am just over the moon at the sweet moments we captured throughout the day.

If you are ever on the fence about having engagement photos done, just trust me and go all in.

Heidi Hendrix | Headshots and Lifestyle in Durham, NC

I have always admired Heidi's live freely attitude. She and I met years ago when we worked that Goodnight's Comedy Club in Raleigh and I swore we would have become best friends if she hadn't picked up and moved to Colorado so soon! This girl is a traveler, and has now made her way to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a comedian.

Any time that she makes her way back home to good ol' North Carolina--I always try to find a way to see her. This time, we actually made it happened and oh my goodness we made some magic happen that day. It was great to see Heidi again, hear about her amazing stories of New York, and to just give her so much loving for actually going out and doing what she was called to do.

We started off the day in a parking lot on downtown Durham. Yes, a parking lot. And I am not even ashamed to say that because magic can literally happen anywhere. We then headed around to a few sweet spots in Durham like Pour, The Durham Hotel, and even made her try one of the new Spin bikes Durham just placed on every street in the city. I am glad she was a good sport about it. Can't wait to see how far she goes in this career!

Emily & Ryan's Wedding in Downtown Wilmington at The Atrium by Ligon Flynn

Emily and Ryan's wedding day could not have brought prettier weather. Their wedding was held on the last day of March, and the weather reminded us of why we love North Carolina so much. It was a warm day with the best of breezes, no sign of drizzle, and the freshest of air coming off of the salty waters of Wilmington. This is Emily & Ryan's home, atleast until May; I don't think they could have found a better place to marry.

Emily and Ryan started off their day with their best of family and friends. Emily had a great group of gals that she spent the weekend with right there by her side before the wedding. The girls got ready right down the street from the wedding Venue, The Atrium by Ligon Flynn, which I thought was perfect as it was only a block away. Emily chose a long sleeved chiffon BHLDN gown that seemed to fit her just right, and the look her father had when he saw her for the first time was just one of the sweetest moments I think I may have ever seen. It's moments like these that mean the most, not about the smallest of details, but about family and love. Emily and Ryan knew that, and that's why their wedding had the best of touches.

When guests started to arrive they were greeted by these beautiful long and flowing white drapes that gated the entrance to The Atrium. Once inside they were adorned with the best of details that meshed perfectly with the couple, like a map of the United States that Emily and Ryan were planning on traveling through in May (they have a big move to Portland coming up soon), the most romantic florals hand picked for each vase, and a huge floral centerpiece doctrined in the middle. It was a site to see. During Emily and Ryan's planning period, I had the privilege of getting to know these two so well. One of their main loves are flowers, and Blossom Bay Design knocked it our of the park with this one. Emily and Ryan are flower lovers by heart, so this seemed extra special around their wedding venue.

Once the ceremony started I found myself holding back my tears. The bride and groom kept things so simple and romantic. It was just the two at the altar, no bridal party; just their closest friends and family there to witness them and their vows. My favorite part had to have been after their first kiss when they turned around and met eyes with their tribe who traveled far and wide to be their with them on their day. That was a special moment to witness. I know it meant the world to them, everyone could feel it.

The night continued with fabulous first dances, toasts, and even ice cream sandwiches! I love that this couple did not go with the traditional cake idea, they topped that by providing ice cream! It was the best! The dance floor was unstoppable this night, and the best part was the view. The fun part about the Atrium is that there is no ceiling above the dance floor, instead you see the beautiful sky right above. It was just an adorable venue all around and all of these small details meant the world to the couple.

The night capped off with the cutest of exits--a ribbon stick exit! All of the colors made for the best of images, the energy was fantastic. A sweet kiss goodbye, and the bride and groom started their life together.

Having known the bride Emily prior to her wedding made for an emotional day. I don't think Emily could have paired with anyone better. Ryan and Emily fit so well together, and I am just over the moon that I was there to witness it. It's the little things.

Special thanks to all of the vendors who made this day extra special!

Venue The Atrium in Wilmington
Florals Blossom Bay Design
Custom Rings Melissa Tyson Designs
Specialty Rentals Martha My Dear Rentals
Ice Cream Nye's Cream
DJ Active DJ
Hair & Makeup NSalo Salon
Gown Designer BHLDN
Groom's Suit Men's Warehouse
Invitation Suite Minted
Coozies Chick Design Boutique
Catering Pine Valley Market
Signs Salt and Sea Creative

Erika & Peter | Museum of Life and Science Engagement

I met Erika and Peter at the Carolina Inn Bridal Showcase earlier this year in January. Ironically, they got engaged earlier that day. What I loved the most about them is that they were completely in love with one another, happy to laugh uncontrollably and were present in the moment.

Anytime I do an engagement session I make sure to put them in an environment that really resonates with the two. They both, along with their sweet girl Dara, enjoyed the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham. With many summers spent here and more than a handful of family outings here, we knew this would be the perfect place to frame them.

Some of my favorite images of them have to be in the misting station. This is a great place to come in the summer when North Carolina gets unbelievably hot. It also makes for some great misty engagement photos as you can see. Yay for Durham having the best attractions!

The two plan to tie the knot next year at the beautiful venue, Iron Horse, and I am beyond thrilled that I get to witness their vows. It's going to be a great day!

Nikki Whitt