Jessalee and Aaron Downtown Durham Wedding

Intimate and easy backyard weddings are becoming a staple as I photograph more couples in downtown Durham. Jessalee and Aaron’s big day was a perfect example. The mild October weather and slanted fall light were ideal, and friends and family from afar enjoyed a short walk to their reception at Motorco Music Hall in the Central Park District.


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

We wanted our wedding to feel like ‘us’ – not too fussy, with the emphasis on fun versus formality.  We planned two days of festivities (three if you count brunch on Sunday at our house!) because we had lots of loved ones traveling from far away, and we wanted to share as much time with everyone as possible.

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

We were proud that we really approached the whole endeavor as a team.  We divided up the planning work equally, and we were definitely allies throughout the process – when there were difficult questions about the budget or the guest list, we could always work through it together.

3. What was the biggest challenge?

The guest list.  It forces you to make tough decisions!

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

Try to keep things in perspective!  It’s easy to get swept up in feeling like wedding planning is stressful, but the truth is that for most people, it’s something you’ve chosen to do, and it’s just one day in a long life together.  Try to enjoy it, and don’t let the little things stress you out too much.

5. What was your favorite moment from the days?

We really had SO MUCH fun the entire weekend.  Our ceremony was really special to us, and we loved dancing at Motorco at the reception.

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

We felt like your documentary photography aesthetic was a good fit for us, since we were trying to keep things as natural as possible.

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 enjoyed getting together with you several times before the wedding, so we had the chance to get to know you and become comfortable with you in advance.  We also loved a particular moment during the ceremony.  We were in our backyard, which is surrounded by trees and has lots of shady patches even on a very sunny afternoon.  During the ceremony, our officiant (Jessalee’s stepmother) asked if anyone had any objections, and Justin piped up!  To everyone’s laughter, he said he did not in fact have an objection, but that Jessalee was standing in shadow and not in the nice light like Aaron, and it’d be great if she could step forward slightly.  We really enjoyed the moment because it was very much in keeping with what we were aiming for – a relaxed and comfortable ceremony.  And we would have been so sad if Jessalee wasn’t in the light in any of the images, so we were extremely glad Justin spoke up!

8. What’s next for you as a couple?
We had a great honeymoon in Spain, and now we’re just enjoying life in Durham.  🙂