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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Goodness gracious, as of this week, we are a mere ten weeks away from our wedding day! As much as I feel like the time has absolutely flown by, Rob and I have also been intentional about savoring each moment, thoughtfully making decisions, and trying to stay present during a busy and exciting season of life. Now, all of our big tasks have been checked off, and it’s time to refocus on the small yet meaningful details, finalizing our ceremony, loving on our family and friends, and preparing well to become husband and wife!

One of the most exciting and wonderful days of our engagement was the day we took our engagement photos, which really and truly felt like a pinch-me moment. As silly as it sounds, that blissful, beautiful day was one of the best days of my life! Engagement pictures seem like such a rite of passage, a fun way to kick off the engagement season, and the perfect way to capture love and joy.

Rob and I are not used to being the ones in front of the camera, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous to be our photographers’ main subject (along with Rob, of course!). We selected Ally and Bobby as our wedding photographers for a myriad of reasons, including how comfortable we already were around them. I’ve now learned firsthand how important it is to really get to know your photographers and to get to work with them before your wedding day, and I cannot emphasize just how much FUN we had shooting our engagement pictures!

My engagement session advice to other brides-to-be is this: take advantage of your engagement session to get to know your photographers beforehand, get comfortable in front of the camera, and enjoy getting to snuggle and smooch your fiancé!

One of the other big decisions to make when planning your engagement session is deciding on your outfits! I was debating ordering or renting a long, flowy gown or statement gown for our engagement session, but the more I looked at dresses, the more I realized that this was just not me. Just because others have worn epic gowns does not mean that I need to!

One of the biggest takeaways I learned while planning out our engagement session was that I wanted these images and our day to be completely us. I didn’t want to worry about what others would want us to do or wear, or try to be something we are not! Once I stepped back and realized this, decisions were so much easier. I wanted to choose outfits that, when looking at our images in one year, ten years, and fifty years, we would look back on and still love.

Overall, I wanted to wear classic, timeless clothing in the colors Rob and I tend to gravitate towards the most: white, shades of blue, neutrals, and blush. We love High Cotton Ties, and this navy tie was a great addition to Rob’s dressier look. I’m so happy with how our look came together, but even more importantly, I love seeing how we smile at each other and how our love for one another shines through!

Another aspect of engagement session planning we had to tackle: where to have our session. If you’re puzzling out this question yourself, think about the places that are most meaningful to you and that make sense for the look you’re going for! We chose to have our engagement session on stunning Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina, and I cannot imagine a more gorgeous or perfect setting for our engagement pictures – it is like out of a fairytale! It’s only a few hours (and a quick ferry ride) from Raleigh, so Ally, Bobby, Rob, and I made a fun day trip of it. This island holds even more meaning for us now, and we are so grateful that we were blessed with a 70 degree, sunny, beautiful day in November!

I knew that we didn’t want any fancy, elaborate props and wanted to simply focus on images of just us. However, we made one exception, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our engagement session! We had our dear friend Alexa of Sage Paper Co. hand letter this truly stunning verse sign for us. In addition to being a part of our engagement photos, it will be displayed at our wedding, and we’ll have it hanging in our home forever. For us, it’s such a sweet reminder of what’s ultimately the most important part of our wedding and our marriage.

If you have engagement photos lined up, how are you incorporating personal touches to make your session unique to your love story? And if you have already had an engagement session, what is your favorite memory or best advice from the day? I would love to hear!

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely blog..

  2. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely Blog….

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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Portraits at the Merrimon-Wynne by Julie Livingston from Erin and Sean’s wedding

While Rob and I are still drinking celebratory champagne and have enjoyed every second of our engagement celebrations, we also moved fairly quickly into thinking about those looming big details pretty soon after his proposal: budget, guest count, venue, and wedding date!

Even before the proposal, we had a general timeline in mind for our wedding, and we also knew we didn’t want a long engagement. As a wedding planner in Raleigh, I have an excellent grasp on what it takes to plan a wedding, how long I think I need to do so, and a good read on the venues and vendors in the area. With the weddings already on my calendar for 2017, we were thinking a late summer wedding – or possibly late spring – would work well. All of this, of course, depended on when he proposed!

From Sarah and Cam’s wedding by Robyn Van Dyke

Rob asked me to be his wife on October 1, 2016, and it just so happens that we’ll be married exactly six months later on April 1, 2017! (Yes, April Fool’s Day – we’re two fools in love, as he says!) Once we were engaged, we discussed the location and potential venues for our wedding. We easily decided on Raleigh, North Carolina, as it’s both of our home now, and will be after the wedding, too. I went to college just down the road in Chapel Hill, and Rob has lived in Raleigh since graduating from NC State. We also met and fell in love here, so it’s only fitting that we tie the knot in our great city!

We inquired about pricing and availability at only a handful of venues, keeping in mind a few things: our large-ish guest count, the ambiance and aesthetic we wanted, the budget we had in mind, and a location central to Raleigh. The Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown was our first choice from the very beginning! We quickly heard back from them that they had one available Saturday in a seven-month window of time in 2017, which just so happened to be April 1. After mulling it over and talking with our parents, we decided to go for it! Our engagement might be a smidge shorter than anticipated, but we feel so great about our decision and the venue that we’ve chosen! We’ve gone together to a couple events at the Merrimon-Wynne, and I love that Rob loves this gorgeous venue just as much as I do. We cannot wait to transform it in April for our wedding and tie the knot as this special place in the heart of our city!!

Portraits just outside the Merrimon-Wynne by Julie Livingston from Erin and Sean’s wedding

One of the other biggest decisions we made early on was our photographer. This was one of the decisions that was really hard in some ways, and really easy in others. I am so fortunate that many of my closest friends in the area are wedding photographers. Rob and I regularly hang out with and are dear friends with some incredibly talented folks, and I looked with trepidation to the day when we’d have to choose just one. However, I know our friends completely understand and support us, and they often joked about who we would choose. (I, on the other hand, used to joke I’d hire each photographer for an hour of our wedding so we could use them all!)

Rob and I are thrilled to have Ally and Bobby Willix as our wedding photographers! We made the decision together, as I want Rob’s input and opinion on every major decision. We talked through a lot of options, looked at pricing, looked through portfolios of wedding work, and envisioned who we wanted there on our wedding day capturing all of those intimate, special, wonderful moments. Rob and I came to the same consensus that our amazing – and supremely talented – friends Ally and Bobby would be the perfect fit. We are so, so excited about this (and we know they are too, based off of their reactions when we called to tell them the good news!). We celebrated with them over champagne last week, and had so much fun talking all things wedding together!

If you’re a bride-to-be or have already planned your wedding, how long was your engagement? And what were the very first decisions you and your fiancé made for your wedding? I’d love to hear!

Robyn Van Dyke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Shelby Vanhoy reply

    Love this Stephanie! You picked the most beautiful venue and Ally and Bobby will capture the most beautiful moments. So excited for you & Rob!!

    xo, Shelby

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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