Dan and Amy Married in Downtown Durham, North Carolina – Documentary Wedding Photographer in Durham

Dan and Amy split their wedding ceremony across a weekend last June, with a small ceremony on a Friday at the King’s Daughters Inn, and a reception on Saturday on the roof of The Pit Authentic BBQ. In a similar spirit, more and more couples I work with are creating their own less traditional wedding days/weekends. That sort of vision clicks with me. The results are collaborations, like Dan and Amy’s big day, that are fun and unique. Dan and Amy and I have kept in touch since last June and I will let them take it from here. Congrats, y’all! (ALSO: Durham has the best summer thunderstorms. They make a background that looks like the surface of Venus. You’ll see, below).


1. What was most important to you in planning your wedding? Why did you split the wedding festivities across two days?

We went into wedding planning only after having some very pointed conversations as to whether or not we even wanted to have a wedding. More traditional-style weddings just didn’t seem like us, and we were afraid we’d be too busy with the formalities and miss out on time with our friends and family. So when it came down to deciding what a wedding would like, we wanted to put the focus on our guests. We wanted to optimize time with the people we love, many of whom were traveling a great distance to be with us. So splitting the events over a long weekend seemed like the natural way to increase quality time and decrease formalities.

2. What did you learn about yourself and your relationship in the process of planning the wedding?

We learned that it’s possible to share the responsibilities of wedding planning. It didn’t have to be a gendered project. Hopefully, we’ll take that shared partnership forth through other major events of our lives.

3. What was the biggest challenge?

The different format was a hurdle to communicate. There were a lot of moving parts over four days in total. It was our mini-wedding festival with many opportunities to celebrate in several different ways. Some of our more traditionally-oriented guests had trouble comprehending how they fit, despite our emails, website, phone calls, etc.

4. What advice do you have for other couples out there?

Know why you’re organizing the day. We decided that we wanted every moment to be fun. So we tried to organize each day and each moment around that word — fun.

Many people will say weddings are not for you, they’re for your family. We disagreed. Family is important to us. But we wanted the day(s) to reflect who we are and want to be. For us, that meant having as much fun as possible with as many of the people who we love and admire.

5. What was your favorite moment from the days?

The ceremony. We’re both fans of rituals; they feel ancient and somehow important. But the ceremony was one of the things we didn’t plan for a great deal. In comparison to caterers and such, it did not take up a lot of our planning time. So the magic of the ceremony snuck up on us. There was a great deal of emotion that we didn’t account for. Looking back, it seems obvious. It felt both gigantic and delicate, one moment in the countless moments to decide to stay connected forever.

A close second was the pool party tho. What a great time!!!

6. What factors other than photos went into your decision on a wedding photographer? Why did you decide to pick me?

Photography was one of the hardest parts of wedding planning. We both have (or like to think we have) a good eye for photography, so we wanted to find a person that took quality shots. But we also wanted to find someone that jived with our ideas about weddings, so we wanted a more documentary-style, less posed look for our wedding photos.

We had a rather traumatizing run in with a photographer that ignored our simple requests while thrusting samples of boudoir photos in our face. When we first talked to Justin, we felt heard. He was the first person to ask about how we met, and he seemed to really want to get to the bottom of what made us a couple. The wedding industry seems so full of people who already know exactly what you want. So when Justin came along, it was a breath of fresh air.

7. From booking to delivery of images and seeing the results, what in your mind made it the right choice for us to collaborate? Did anything surprise you?

We were surprised with how comfortable we were. We’re not generally at ease with having our pictures taken, but having these moments documented felt like the right thing to do. We like Justin and felt like we got along with him. But we were both taken aback by how comfortable we felt with him all weekend, especially during some of our most intimate moments.

8. What’s next for you as a couple?

Benevolent world domination.