christopher + emily | hickory nut forest

“Seeds germinate in soft soil. I plant my seed of love in your weaknesses, not your strengths.”

- Avatar Meher Baba

It's no secret that hands on, intimate weddings are my jam.  I love them and truly, I feel like that's how a wedding should feel.  They should feel like you're being embraced by all of those closest to you, either by pie baking or dress fluffing or a thousand other things that loved ones love to do on your wedding day.  I find a lot of weddings are like shows that everyone shows up to with anxiety of things not being perfect and there is a detachment emotionally between people when that happens.

I met Emily several years ago at a doula training.  She is just completely genuine and thoughtful and totally the type of person that you would want to have along side of you while giving birth.  Emily was almost my labor doula with my 3rd baby.  2 of my 3 prodromal labor hospital runs she was there talking to me on the phone, sharing in my excitement or swinging by the hospital room to adjust my hips.  Emily wasn't there for my actual active labor, but just as I was being wheeled in for a very unexpected c section after more than a day of labor, Emily came to relieve my labor doula and went into the OR with me.  Her presence was just like her wedding, a warm, sweet, genuine embrace.  She took pictures for me, held my hand, rubbed my temples with oil and laughed and cried with us as we brought our baby girl into the world.  So Emily is kind of like family to me and I will always treasure her.

I was honored to be able to be there for her on her wedding day and capture the sweet love she and Christopher have for each other.

They were married at Laughing Waters Retreat Center in Hickory Nut Forest, NC.  When I pulled up I was in love.  Everyone was cheerfully bustling around decorating and spreading buckets of wildflowers all over the grounds.  Special women in their lives were dropping off desserts and laughing as they set up.  Mama's were nursing babies and children were everywhere.  It just felt so very warm and nice.

They were married in a Jewish ceremony with lots of thoughtful traditions.  The whole ceremony started with a traditional Mexican blessing.  My very favorite part of the ceremony was hearing person after person stand up and share a blessing or advice about marriage, from deep and beautiful poetry to jokes about figuring out who washes the dishes, it was all so encouraging and it just felt so uplifting to hear such positive words in a culture and time when there aren't a whole lot of positives being said about long term relationships.

Emily and Christopher had set aside some special time after the ceremony to go right into doing pictures of just them.  It honestly felt as intimate as a birth as they whispered and giggled and recounted their experience of the morning.  They were totally up for taking off shoes and climbing river rocks to get the shot and those candids of them are some of my very favorites.

Christopher and Emily, thank you both for letting me be there and for the honor of telling your story through photos.

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