You know when you spend time with a person and you just think - man, they are the real deal? That's exactly what it was like working Sara and Connor. Full of so much life and the most down-to-earth personalities, it was easy to capture the way they interacted with each other and their loved ones. With their wedding taking place at an Aunt + Uncle's home south of Hendersonville, North Carolina, Sara and Connor had the perfect wedding to fit their personalities - a simply intimate mountainside affair that was unforgettable.
It's always a bit nerve-wracking meeting a bride and groom for the very first time on their wedding day, but Sara and Connor embraced us into their moments if we were always meant to be there. I could feel it in the getting ready moments - warm smiles, soft laughter, and the invitation to just be wholly present in these memories.
It was so important to this couple that we get some photos with their dear friends before the ceremony. Although they had no formal wedding party, their friends from high school and college had supported them and been with them through the heavy times and the good days- to have them by their side on of the most significant days of their life meant the world. And goodness, it was easy photographing them all together. These friends meshed like peanut butter and jelly, and were so quick to make Sara and Connor feel right at ease. They're the kind of people you hold onto for life.
For Sara, these minutes were especially sweet. "One of my favorite memories was getting ready and taking pictures with my girls. This was a special time because all of our lives are so crazy different and our schedules are hard to sync. So to have them all together with me to help us celebrate was incredible and so much fun."
Pausing right here for a moment to admire the amazing details Sara choose to wear. The flowers from Poppins Posies were transformed into gorgeous bouquets by the bride and her friends. The ring she wore around her neck was her grandmothers, a generational sign of those who had gone before. I loved how significant each detail held, whether for making memories or preserving them. It's all in the memories, after all - those are what you carry around for life.
Finally, minutes later, the moment everyone gathered for arrived. Next to Nee and Dink's property is this gorgeous lot with lovely mountain views; the perfect space for a wedding. The catch? It's up a steep gravel road. Well, the guests marched their way up it, and when the time came, Sara was escorted near the top to make the final trek 'down the aisle' herself. Both of them share these moments as a favorite memory.
"With my dad by my side, seeing Connor and then my closest freinds and family up there to witness our day really filled my heart with so much thanksgiving and joy. It is a true blessing to have family and friends that are as sweet and loving as ours. It just meant the world to me that they were up there. I was so nervous, I really wish I had stopped to look at them some more, but I was kind of busy looking at my handsome almost-husband."
Connor held a similar view. "My favorite memory was seeing Sara walk up the mountain to join me at the ceremony. Her dress was absolutley gorgeous and looked incredible on her. She wouldn't mind me telling you that she found that dress at a thrift store, brand new, that fit her perfectly. It was so fitting because the idea of finding on at a thrift store matched the overall simplicity of the rest of our day. I was so blown away by how beautiful she looked and I also thought it was really cool that she chose to be her true self and not wear any makeup. I always tell her she looks so beautiful without it and she almost never wears it anyway. I thought our day was simple, beautiful, and personal, just the way we wanted it to be."
Isn't that after-kiss expression just the cutest!?
Another reason this 'backyard' venue was so special was because of his mountain views. Doing a wedding at a family members house is always special, but having almost 360 views of the surrounding area is almost unheard of. "The mountains are special to us because we both love to hike and it's always been something we do together. It's also special because Connor proposed on a mountain top," Sara shared with me.
She continued, "having our wedding at the mountaintop and family members' house just fit right in with what we wanted to do for our day. We wanted it to be intimate and focus on us, and the friends and family there to celebrate." And celebrate, they did.
The imprint of their loved ones was all over their wedding, even down to the cake + desserts. Sara's Grandma baked all the goodies, a good friend did the hair + makeup, and a slew of aunts and friends helped plan, coordinate, and run their day. Even though they were 'just family', they did incredible, leaving very little responsibility on the couple. Do you see their faces?! These are two people who don't have a care in the world except to enjoy being married.
Since we're on a roll with these details, can we take a moment to admire these!? With their wedding focusing on simplicity, the flowers they choose to use really stood out among the personalized home to make a statement.
The first thing I want to hear when we start talking to a couple is their story. Their a glimpse into what we dream for, what we hope for, and the essence of our present. I think story-telling, even in the lightest, most up-beat of ways, can be a beautiful, growing experience- it brings vulnerability to who we are.
Sara tells their together story in the most beautiful way, and it's everything I hoped for since getting to know them. "We actually met in the pizza line at our College. Our little tiny, 500 student, Christian College brought us together. We were 'officially" introduced by mutual friends we had met during orientation. For Connor, it was love at first sight. He always says, "I saw her from across the dining hall and knew that was the girl I was gonna marry.' "
"For me, it took a little time," Sara admitted, "but it wasn't long at all before he swept me off my feet. Erskine College is special to us because it is where we met."
Their proposal is just as sweet. "In January, we took a class through Erskine that taught us all about State and National Parks and took us on multiple hiking trips. One of these was to Ceasar's Head. After we went on our class hike, Connor took me back over to 'take a picture with the nice view'. As I was facing the lookout admiring the mountains and calculating where we would take our picture, he got out the ring and got down on one knee. When I turned around I was pleasently shocked to see him like this and managed to mutter out a 'are you for real?!' before my yes. haha I know, I know, but I was so shocked! It was kinda like when he asked me out on our first date and I said, "US?!" I guess it's still such a shock to me that such an amazing, patient, kind man loves me so unconditionally that he wants to spend forever with me."
Don't just take her word for it - see for yourself. When we pulled the two apart to take a few individuals, I told Conner to focus on his bride. He did, with the sweetest smile on his face, and gently blew her a kiss. That sort of sweet adoration- pure and sincere- is exactly the kind of thing that sets this couple apart.
These moments with Sara and Connor was another favorite memory for Sara. "This was such a special time, even more so than I expected. It was so nice to spend time with just Connor (and of course Veronica and Jeff) to reflect on our day. Even though we were talking to Veronica, too, I really felt like we got a minute to have a little conversation about the wedding and it was delightful."
Sara and Connor, we have so enjoyed being a part of your wedding memories! I can't think of a better way to end this peek at your wedding than with a reminder you choose to hear yourselves at the altar; a verse that you stepped into marriage holding close to your hearts.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Colossians 3:12-14
Special thanks to Lou Ann, for doing so much of the planning and coordination for their wedding, as well as to Pauline and Ann who worked so much behind the scenes the day of.