Melissa and I both agree- our wedding day in its entirety and the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner the evening before was the time of our lives! Melissa’s Maid of Honor and 2 other bridesmaids flew in from California for the wedding, and all 3 of them just meshed right in with our South Carolina friends at the rehearsal dinner as if they had all known each other their whole lives! After the dinner, our wedding party kidnapped us and took us to an old historic home converted into a coffee shop around the corner from the restaurant where we’d eaten, and we all just relaxed and talked; that is a memory we will remember and cherish forever! Thank you, all of our amazing friends in our wedding party! You guys made us feel so special and loved 🙂
The next morning, the day of our wedding, Melissa’s Maid of Honor threw a luncheon for her, her bridesmaids and a few other special women in Melissa’s life who’d flown in from California to help us with the wedding. The ceremony was at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, and as soon as everyone got there and Melissa had changed into her wedding dress, we met up at our favorite spot in the garden. If anyone is debating whether or not to see each other before your wedding, we highly recommend it! Your wedding day is so stressful, so rush-rush, and everybody’s late or running behind. Seeing each other, having that moment just the two of us for me to see Melissa in her wedding dress before anyone else, having that time to pray together and calm each other’s nerves… we wouldn’t have traded that for anything! It also gave us leave to have all of our family, wedding party and artistic photography done before the wedding, so we were able to scoot right to the reception after the ceremony and our guests didn’t have to wait!
As for the wedding in and of itself, we did things a little differently 😉 We entered an internet contest and won $500 in free flowers (which is funny, because all Melissa and I wanted flower-wise was one bouquet, for her, and single-stems for the bridesmaids. But winning this contest enabled us to get some other floral things that we didn’t think we’d have the budget for). Each bridesmaid held just one calla lily stem. Melissa is obsessed with TOMS Shoes, so our gift to each of her bridesmaids was a pair of black TOMS to wear for the wedding, and Melissa wore ivory TOMS (for every pair sold, TOMS donates a pair of brand new TOMS Shoes to a child in need in 3rd world countries). All of our bridesmaids picked their own dresses- Melissa just told all of the girls to pick out black, floor-length dresses that were not strapless, and then had her Maid of Honor pick out a black, floor-length strapless dress so she would be distinguishable. All of my groomsmen wore their own suits (which turned out awesome! A black suit is a black suit ladies and gentlemen… if you don’t believe me, check out our wedding photos on facebook and see for yourself! No one would’ve known they didn’t go out and rent matching suits, because no one micro-examines groomsmen). The groomsmen unanimously wanted to wear skinny ties, so we found skinny ties the same color as the bridesmaids’ lilies and gave all the groomsmen their ties as their gift.
As for the ceremony itself, we were crazy and got married outdoors in a garden in late fall- thank the Lord it stayed warm and light out! Our grandparents were not “formally” seated; we were on a time-constraint, racing the sunset, and this day was about us! At the end of our ceremony, our pastor, Phud (who officiated the ceremony), announced that guests would need to keep their programs for the reception.
As our bridal party was announced when they entered the reception (held at the open-air pavilion on the lake at Camp Thunderbird), each pair danced in! IT WAS AWESOME… Now, instead of an “Order of Ceremony” or “Thank You’s,” we had put the lyrics to our “First Dance” song in our programs and wrote about how those lyrics applied marriage to the Gospel and why the song was meaningful. So when we Melissa and I entered the reception and immediately began our first dance, we also had a slideshow of photos of the two of us during our dating relationship playing on a screen behind us AND the lyrics to the song in everyone’s programs for them to read- so it was basically unnecessary for anyone to pay attention to how bad of dancers we are (we’re geniuses). We also played slideshows of Melissa throughout her childhood during her dance with her dad, and a slideshow of me growing up during my dance with my mom. Thanks Mr. Mills for the awesome screen!
Instead of dismissing each table by number to go get dinner at the buffet, our Master of Ceremonies dismissed each table according to their accumulated score they got on their “About Brian and Melissa” quiz provided in their programs. We skipped paying a DJ and just threw together 2 different playlists on an iPod, one more relaxed to play during dinner whle Melissa and I walked around to all the tables and greeted everyone, and another second playlist for everyone to dance to towards the end of the reception. Thank you Braden for being charge of the music! We had some tables with chairs and some cocktail tables scattered throughout the seated tables at the reception so that people would feel welcome to get up, walk around and talk with other guests. The cocktail tables were more crowded than a lot of the tables with chairs by the end of the night, full of laughing people! We’re so glad everyone had so much fun- because we had an absolute BLAST!
Lauren and Stephen welcomed Cambria Christine Mobley on October 16, 2009! Lauren found us through her younger sister, Cheyenne, who’s senior portraits we did just a few weeks prior to little Cambria being born. Since sweet Cambria arrived just in time for the holidays, Lauren wanted lots of orange props, specifically pumpkins. Lauren and Stephen also wanted shots of her hands, feet and ears. Cambria was so cute, and all of the shots turned out awesomely!
Cheyenne is a senior this year at Nations Ford High School, Class of 2010! She looked at our proof gallery before the shoot and liked Brian’s work he’d done with a few models in Uptown Charlotte. Knowing that that’s where she wanted to shoot, she also knew she wanted some shots at her church where she works with inner-city kids. She’d painted some graffiti with those kids along the back walls of the church building, so we did a lot of shots there, as well as some against the classic “Uptown” background of high-rise buildings. Cheyenne was a natural in front of the camera- every shot turned out fabulously!