From the creative team...
For us, the design process always starts with a couple’s story, and inspiration shoots get the same attention to detail. In this story, we imagined Lauren (brunette) and Heather (strawberry blonde) as a couple who got engaged during a trip to Provence. With their shared love of travel, good food, and family traditions, that meant weaving together cherished heirlooms and the very essence of Provence to give Wilmington, NC’s Wrightsville Manor the feeling of a rustic French farmhouse.
For a look that was both romantic and a little bit earthy, we chose light coral, watermelon and rosé tones along with soft, dusty greens to accent the range of purples found naturally in lavender plants — from the palest heather through periwinkle, wisteria, amethyst, and violet. For Lauren — a lover of all things purple — we chose a bouquet consisting primarily of fresh lavender and silver dollar eucalyptus, while Heather's introduced more peach and coral tones with old-fashioned ranunculus, complemented by blush sweetheart roses and lavender stock. Boutonnieres for the dads had fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs along with lavender stems and a tiny peach ranunculus bloom. Buckets of coral geraniums and a garden trug with peach stock and deep purple delphinium for the bar brought their colors into every corner.
Both brides wore gowns that were simply constructed and perfectly suited to the French farmhouse look we wanted. Lauren's all-over lace A-line gown, floral crown, and mauve suede heels with cut-out detailing and leather-lace ties spoke to her romantic flair. Heather's loose side braid and silk dupioni gown with spaghetti straps and hidden pockets were a natural fit for her few-frills nature, while the lace popover jacket added a soft touch and her silk sash and ankle-strap pumps with sculpted, slightly chunky heels supplied the perfect pops of color.
Naturally, fresh lavender played a huge role in the overall décor, which featured potted lavender in wood buckets and crusty pots, as well as in the custom-designed stationery suite, the simple glass bottles marking the aisle, the delicate watercolor wash on the postcard-inspired cake, and the dried buds provided for the brides’ send-off. But there’s more to Provence than lavender fields, and we chose every detail to evoke that timeless setting: sun-bleached wood pieces, from the stripped antique doors, weathered farmhouse chairs and beautiful trestle tables to a vintage sideboard and a collection of wooden candlesticks; chunky earthenware paired with antique silver flatware; herbs at each place setting, in boutonnieres, and in mossy pots all around the venue; chipped enamel bowls and weather-worn buckets; tiny bottles of olive oil infused with fresh rosemary sprigs for favors; classic French charcuterie during cocktail hour; a bar stocked with Côtes de Provence rosé as well as herb-inspired signature cocktails; tables named for Provençal villages; and Impressionist postcards doing duty as a guest book alternative to celebrate the painters who called the region home a hundred years ago.
Family treasures were another essential part of the story, and included Grandma’s lace garter and ring box, a hand-painted china dish, an ivory crochet hook, bits of antique lace, plenty of family silver, and even Granddad’s vintage Absinthe fountain.
"I want to be the one
you can run to
whether you have
reason to rejoice
or cause to collapse."
- Beau Taplin Through your victories and defeats
Naomi and I met doing research in a Pepper lab at ASU. We both have a love for science, learning, and have a thirst for life. Our relationship has always been special and filled with adventure. I remember Naomi and I talking in front of the school library a few months after we met, and first on both of our bucket lists after graduation was to travel the world. Many people have this goal but few actually accomplish it. One of the many things that make Naomi and I perfect for each other is that we hold each other accountable to the things we want, we make sure that we find ways to accomplish our goals together, as often times our goals are the same. It wasn't long after graduation that we traveled to Italy and Costa Rica. The following year we saw the Berlin wall, hiked the Black Forrest and saw most of Germany. A few months after that we found ourselves cruising down the Nile river in Egypt, taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and waiting for our plane to stop moving in the wind as it almost blew over in Iceland!
I proposed to Naomi on 2 September 2017. Our engagement was elaborate and beautiful and filled with the people that we love the most. When the conversation of engagement photos came about, I came up with a unique plan.
We had just gotten back from our trip to Egypt, where my father and his family are from. We rode camels through the Great Pyramids, walked through the bazaars, and visited many of the memorial sites of the current revolution. We explored the museums of antiquities and the many other beautiful wonders Egypt has to offer. Because of how unique this trip was when compared to Europe and South America I thought it would be nice to not only bring a part of Egypt into the photos, but it would also bring a part of my heritage and nationality is well. I ended up telling Naomi I wanted to do a photoshoot in the desert with a real camel, to emulate our trip. We wanted to re-create the feel of Egypt so we picked the Imperial Sand dunes in California. It was quite the hassle to get all of the permits and insurance for a live exotic animal photo shoot, but it was well worth it!
With Carla and Michael, our wonderful photographers, we did a quick turn around trip to the sand dunes and captured the most amazing engagement photos any of us had ever seen. To create the mood for the pictures, we wanted it to seem as if we had just left an extravagant gala, and somehow got lost in the desert, met a camel, and decided that taking her along for our adventure was just what we needed for an end cap. The relationship that Naomi and I have is in many ways unordinary. We like to think outside the box, we go against the grain and we try to make everything we do an adventure. A love like ours is one in a million, so our photos needed to resemble that. We only get one shot at life and we want to make sure that we go big and have a lot of fun doing it!