Anna + Jason Married at Second Empire in Raleigh

Anna and Jason were married on December 3, 2011 and their wedding was one that Courtney and I were looking forward to shooting all year. I know Anna from my undergrad years at UNC where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma. I was friends with a lot of the Kappas and I liked to come over to their sorority house and eat all their food.

When Courtney and I met with Anna and Jason for dinner one night to talk logistics and we all ended up gushing about our love stories. Anna and Jason’s story sounds like it was lifted from a Taylor Swift song. They met each other after they had both just ended relationships that weren’t right for them. But they knew they were meant for each other soon after they met.

Their whole wedding was focused on their love for each other and it made me pause.

A whole billion-dollar industry exists around weddings and as a photographer it is easy to get lost in its machinery. It is easy for a bride and groom as well, but Anna and Jason refused to. They were laid-back and didn’t sweat the details. Instead they focused on their love, friends and family.

“We didn’t even rehearse the ceremony – we figured we could just wing it! The only thing that mattered was that we were getting married,“ Anna says.

They even planned the whole wedding, which had many do-it-yourself elements, in three months, she explains:

We planned our wedding in less than 3 months because it was important for us to get married on the date that we met. Our families and friends jumped in and helped with everything from cutting out invitations and place cards (our parents), to chauffeuring us around on the wedding day (Jason’s brother, Rob), to providing all of the flowers, decorations, and table settings for us (my cousin, Shearer), to baking the fleur de lis wedding favor cookies (Jason’s mom), to even officiating the ceremony (Jason’s friend, Casto)! And not to leave out the sock monkeys, Jason’s sister Courtney made Carolina Monkey her very own veil for the wedding! The whole thing was really such a wonderful experience and it felt awesome that our families and friends were so supportive and excited for us to get married!

The light, laid-back and intimidate tone of their big day allowed Courtney and I to slow down and make thoughtful pictures. We also had a lot of fun goofing off. To me, the emphasis on love culminated when we came across some Occupy Raleigh Protesters who had been camping out in front of the Capitol for 45 days. I posed Anna and Jason with one of the gentlemen and his “Occupy Love” sign. It was serendipity at its best.

From Courtney:

A recurring theme in conversation between Justin and I lately has been “collaboration.”  Cut-throat competition marks a lot of crafts these days, even wedding photography.

There’s a much happier alternative, though, and shooting Anna and Jason’s wedding represented the magic that happens when you collaborate during a wedding.  Collaborate isn’t even the best word for it—it sounds so industrial.  It’s more like a dance.  More like a giant contra dance with all sorts of whirling and spinning and sweating and laughing and getting dizzy.

This was the first wedding where Justin and I were hired as an engaged couple.  We met with Anna and Jason earlier this year for a fancy dinner and drinks, talked about the craziness that is being in a relationship, laughed a lot, and got excited about weddings.  That camaraderie among the four of us set the tone for the entire wedding day.  Justin and I had an entirely different groove that day because of how at ease we felt around Anna and Jason—it was out of this world groovy.

My favorite time during the wedding day was definitely the portrait sessions after the ceremony.  Even the posed family portraits (which can sometimes be a low point for a hungry, tired wedding photographer) were a blast.   I supported Justin’s legs while he stood on a chair, and together we goofed and giggled.

Shooting the couple’s portraits in downtown Raleigh was the epitome of collaboration.  It was one of those wonderful moments in creative work where it feels like walking on air, and where five minds become one. Justin, Anna, Jason, and Jason’s brother and I ran around the Capitol with still cameras and video cameras literally chasing the light, bantering the entire time.  We were all bouncing ideas off of each other and going for it—I have no idea which pictures belong to which person’s brain, because we all worked together… played together.  It was a blast.  My absolute favorite point was when Justin army crawled on the sidewalk with his 70-200mm bazooka-like camera aimed at the happy couple.  I stepped back and shot the scene because we looked too-funny.  (See picture below).

Anna and Jason, thank you so much for hiring us to shoot your wedding.  We talk about your wedding all the time and how much fun we had.  The ease in which we were able to let our guard down and be ourselves is definitely a testament to how strongly grounded you are as a couple.  Your love for each other and the people around you really made it a joy for Justin and I to go to our happy place—as photographers, as co-workers, and as an engaged couple.  We loved every minute of your wedding day, and we’re really excited about doing “coupley” things with you in 2012.  🙂

 

Here is a rundown of their look and logistics from Anna:

Dress: My friends and family all know how much I love antiques. I actually found my dress at a consignment shop on a day that I was not even out looking for a wedding dress. It just happened to fit me perfectly, so there were no alterations done to it at all. I think that completely illustrates the whole theme of the wedding. Things fell into place just like they were supposed to. I literally just tied a piece of ribbon from the craft store around it for a sash and affixed the beautiful seed pearl pin that my grandmama, Margaret Alexander Stevens, wore on her wedding day. It originally belonged to her grandmother/my great great grandmother Mary Moring.

Jason’s suit: Banana Republic

Ceremony, Reception, Catering and Cake: Second Empire

Flowers/Decorations: All the floral arrangements, decorations, and table settings were done by my cousin, Shearer Bridges. She did such an awesome job! She even sewed fleur de lis table runners and valences for the bay window with our names and wedding date on the center one. She arranged my bouquet and pinned another family brooch to it. This is the Stevens Brooch which was worn by my great grandmother Ethel Sefton Stevens on her wedding day. It was hand-painted with the Stevens Family Crest and was given to her by my great grandfather, Leon Stevens as a wedding gift.

Horse and Carriage: J&L Carriage

Hotel: Sheraton Downtown Raleigh

Invitations: Designed and printed by Jason Stanley. Our friends and family know how much we love music, and the invitations actually included a cd that we put together with all of our favorite and most meaningful songs.

 

Next two photos by Courtney Potter

Next two photos by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next two photos by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next two photos by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Left photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next two photos by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter

Next photo by Courtney Potter