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jessica + andrew, married: part I (the wedding) | raleigh wedding and portrait photographer

Earlier this summer I had the honour of photographing a beautiful wedding in Chapel Hill with my dear friend Tanya Odom.  Jessica and Andrew were the epitome of southern romance. Andrew is strong, brave and somewhat serious. Jessica is loving, sweet and oh-so-elegant. Together, they’re the perfect couple. He takes care of her and protects her. She nurtures and supports him. And together, they make each other laugh. A lot. And on this, their wedding day, months of “worry lines” were replaced by deep smile lines. Not only was there a sense of love and joy in the air, but a feeling of relief as well. This day was the culmination of months of planning for the beginning of a lifetime together. I’m sure Jessica felt like this day would never get here. After all, the bulk of there engagement and wedding planning, she was alone. Andrew was always with her in spirit, but physically, she was alone. You see, Andrew is one of the finest young men our nation has to offer — he’s an American soldier. And he spent five or so months leading up to their wedding serving our country in Afganistan. So, if it seems like Jessica just can’t let go of him throughout the day, it’s true. She couldn’t. She was so glad to have him back with her that she will hold onto him forever and never let him go!

I’m excited to now share some of my favorite images from their gorgeous day with you.

I know the tradition is to not see each other before the wedding, but Jessica and Andrew decided to break tradition and opted to have a “first look” prior to the ceremony. They wanted to be able to have a few minutes of private time — all alone — so they could just be “in the moment” of their wedding day and say all those things to each other they wouldn’t be able to say standing at the altar. This was such a tender, touching moment — one they will remember for their lifetime.

We met at the Coker Arboretum on the UNC campus for their “first look” – and got Andrew into place. He was a mix of emotions as he waited for Jessica to arrive. Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Happy. VERY very happy.

He was all smiles as I told him Jessica was walking across the arboretum and was getting very near.  Seeing his bride for the first time…. He stopped telling her how beautiful she was only long enough to kiss her. It was hovering around 100 degrees outside but you’d never know it by looking at these two. They were so into each other that nothing else seemed to matter. One of my favorite images. Maybe ever.
Pure happiness. I love these images of Jessica. She was such a stunning bride.

Another favorite bridal image. There’s something so elegant and “hollywood” about this one to me. You are fierce, girl. FIERCE. With all capitals! Leaving to go to the church for final preparations before the ceremony. Another favorite image.
Gorgeous blue skies in Chapel Hill and the cutest little church. Just perfection. Jessica’s sweet dad made this sign to hang outside the church on their wedding day and later, in their home.

Unbelievably beautiful flowers from Fresh Affairs in Raleigh (my own florist as well!).

Jessica’s bouquet was stunning! Lovelovelove it!
Jessica and her dad share a tender moment just before they walk down the aisle. He looks content and peaceful that his little girl is marrying a good man.

A few words of love and encouragement before giving Jessica’s hand to Andrew… Isn’t this church gorgeous?!? Love this image of the congregation singing the old hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be.” This was a very moving moment. 
Committing their lives to one another….
and then sealing it with a tender kiss. And it’s official. The happy new Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Stay tuned for images from their fun reception!

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