Some of the best date ideas are the ones that remind you and/or your beau of things your grew up doing–it’s extra sweet to share those memories with one another, while making new memories together at the same time! When the adorable Amber Hatley sent me her and Mitchell’s favorite date ideas a few months ago, we knew it was worth holding on to their post until baseball season started. Mitchell played for most of his life, and the Durham Bulls stadium in Durham is one of the best spring/summer date night spots in the Triangle. I can’t wait to catch a game with Dave soon, and I hope y’all are inspired to take a peek at your home team’s schedule too!
Thank you so much to Six Foot Photography for these wonderful photos!
Names: Mitchell and Amber Hatley
By day: Amber is a wedding photographer based out of Durham/Raleigh, NC. Mitchell is a Project Manager for a high-purity mechanical contractor, Kinetic Systems, Inc. (i.e. he works crazy hard and I don’t completely understand what he does ;)). Mitchell also took on a second job when he married me! After our wedding, Mitchell became very involved in my business–whether it was watching me edit or listening to me dream big dreams. His interest in wedding photography began to grow and it wasn’t long before he was trained up and shooting weddings with me! We love working together and serving couples on one of the greatest days of their lives. There is also something extra sweet about working with your spouse at weddings–it always brings back incredible memories from our wedding day!
Where they live: Durham, North Carolina. We moved five times in the first year of marriage because of Mitchell’s job! Crazy, right? It wasn’t ideal, but we made the best of it and saw some incredible places. We’re happy to say we recently purchased our first home in Durham, and finally feel like we have planted some roots. We have been abundantly blessed with a great church, community, and careers. If we’ve learned anything from all of the moving, it’s that you can make any place a home as long as you are together and surrounded by community. It’s not the city or the home itself, but the people that makes a place special.
Their love story: We met in college at Western Carolina University, where we dated for three years and made some incredible memories together. Since he was a year older than me, he moved to Texas for his first job while I finished up my senior year. Over Christmas break, he proposed! We planned for a wedding, but through a series of events, we decided to end our engagement. We spent our time apart growing in Christ and learning individually. We prayed for each other every single day, and after two years of not seeing each other, the Lord brought us back together! Our relationship took on an entirely new meaning. Five months later, he proposed (again!), and five months after that, we were married!! You can read more about our love story here.
Their wedding: We got married on March 9 at the NC Arboretum, a beautiful venue in Asheville, North Carolina. We planned for a rather chilly day, and while it snowed the weekend before our wedding, we had a gorgeous day with a high of 67! With about 100 guests, our ceremony was intimate and romantic, in front of a fireplace surrounded by hydrangeas and floating candles. The reception was filled with delicious Southern food (bbq, mac and cheese, squash casserole), an assortment of cupcakes (vanilla, chocolate, red velvet), a dance party, and memories that will forever be with us! It was truly a fairytale and I never get tired of watching the video or flipping through the photos!
Amber and Mitchell’s five favorite date ideas:
1. Durham Bulls baseball game and dinner. We moved to Durham over the summer and quickly became a fan of living 10 minutes from the Durham Bulls stadium. It’s such a fun and affordable (depending on how hungry we are ;)) date night! We love getting a drink, hot dogs, nachos, or both, and watching a game. Mitchell played baseball for most of his life, so of course, he is a huge fan of this date night. Bonus: most weekend games have fireworks at the end of the game. There’s nothing better than cozyin’ up with your husband on a summer night under the fireworks!
2. Dinner downtown. We LOVE trying new restaurants, especially when the restaurant is downtown and has outdoor seating. We love being outside and exploring after dinner. It’s an added bonus if there are some cute, local shops nearby because we love to shop… okay, maybe it’s just me, but Mitchell is extra generous on a full stomach!
3. Day trips to the beach. Another reason we love our city? We’re just two hours from the beach! When we have a day off together, we love to make a trip to the beach. We take along a few good books and a cooler of snacks and lunch.
4. Post-wedding appetizers and dessert. After years of doing weddings together, we’ve created a new tradition that we love. Depending on the reception exit time and how exhausted we are, we enjoy finding a nearby spot post-wedding to have appetizers/dessert and a drink to celebrate another great wedding together! We chat about our favorite moments of the day, our favorite images we took, and any new things we learned!
5. Early church and brunch. We’re early birds and enjoy going to the early church service on Sunday. After church, we love to go to brunch at a local restaurant or coffee shop. It’s not unusual for us to get into a deep discussion over brunch about the sermon, what we’re learning, and what dreams we’re dreamin’! We love good conversation and absolutely believe it’s the foundation of a strong marriage! You can usually find us ending our Sunday cuddled up on the couch watching Netflix…most likely Parenthood for the second time. It’s our favorite show!
Thanks so much, Amber and Mitchell! Find lots more date ideas in the Southern Newlywed archives.