2016 has been an amazing year. It’s because we’ve photographed the amazing weddings of our amazing clients. I met Je’Na several years ago when she inquired about an engagement session. Both she and her fiance are active duty military and due to assignments led to a several year gap between that time and their wedding day. When Je’Na reached out to me last year about her wedding day, I was thrilled. It had been a few years, but I remembered the chemistry between the two. However, the date she shared with me was already booked. I was shocked when she changed her date in order to accommodate my availability. This is very rare, but I couldn’t help but pour my soul into her wedding day!
Tell us about your proposal:
Arrin proposed on Christmas. He came into the bathroom and I wasn’t ready so I kinda closed the door on him when he started to walk in and told him I wasn’t ready yet. Then, about 20 min later (I was still not ready), he came back got down on 1 knee and proposed. I was very surprised and it took me a few seconds to pick my mouth up and say “yes”.
Describe your wedding dress. What was wedding shopping like for you?
The dress for the ceremony had a very traditional, sweetheart, fit and flare design w/ lace and beading. Again, I didn’t want anything too extreme or different but I also didn’t want a dress that was too plain. It had to be classy and elegant. Like most brides, I was determined to find the perfect dress even if I had to try on a hundred dresses. I found my dress at the 2nd bridal store I went to and it was the 5th dress I tried on. It just felt right. It had all the details but it was very light and easy to move in. I loved the way I felt in the dress, and my sister and parents loved the dress. I canceled the other appointments I had.
Dress shopping was fun. My mom loved every dress I tried on but my dad and daughter were very harsh critics. Wearing a dress that my then fiancé would love was very important. My husband and dad are very alike so if my dad loved it, I knew he would also.
Now the dress for the reception is a different story! I wanted something fun and sexy. I bought it online. The model online had no curves so the dress looked a little different on me but I still loved it. The dress was a very simple lace dress but the accessories I wore brought it to life. My mother was supposed to fix the split but she didn’t, so I and my very high split attended the reception. My husband will not allow me to wear that dress again… ever.
Originally I was going to return the dress b/c it showed my back rolls. But, most women have them so I guess that makes it normal. I lost 25 pounds since January so, to me, my body was as perfect as it was gonna get. Besides, I’m not a supermodel, I’m a nurse.
Tell us about your hair & makeup:
I HATE wearing my hair up because I have to wear it up in a bun every day since I’m in the military. Because of this, wearing the traditional up-do was not an option. Also, my husband likes my hair down so I wore it down. Again, I didn’t want a style that was too trendy or very different from my usual but I didn’t want it to look boring or like something I did. My hairstylist was great! I showed her a couple of pictures of what I liked, we did a trial and it perfect.
I was much more concerned about makeup than I was hair. I don’t wear foundation, concealer, and all that other stuff on a daily basis or hardly ever. I wear foundation, concealer lashes and whatever all that other stuff is called, 2-3 times a year, if that, for special occasions. I found a few great artist in the area and in Atlanta but the before and after photos of the women were unrecognizable, and I didn’t like that. I didn’t want so much make-up and stuff on me and my bridesmaids that we looked like different people. My husband doesn’t like a lot of makeup and more than anything I wanted to look good for him. So finding someone who had the skill to accentuate a woman’s natural beauty and embellish what was already there was important. Sharon Davis did exactly that! I was so happy after our trial. I enjoyed talking w/ her. She was very friendly and had a great vibe w/ me and my bridesmaids. Thank you for referring her.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
First look with my dad and husband. I somehow thought that my husband seeing me before the ceremony would take away from the awe of him seeing me for the first time when I walked down the aisle. Well, it didn’t and doing the first look just made taking other pictures easy and practical since we were running behind schedule. I loved the pics from our first look. I don’t think those moments could have been captured other than in a first look.
Tell us about your flowers:
Flowers, hmmm, that was a negative turned into a positive. The décor guy I consulted w/ wanted a little over $2K for all the centerpieces, bouquets, etc. The flowers he was supplying were fake! I could think of a lot of things to spend $2K on and fake flowers were not 1. Plus, it took him over 2 months to send me the quote. I got the quote in April and really didn’t feel like finding someone else at the last minute when a lived out of state. So, I did what I remember another bride telling me she did years ago. We ordered all the (real) flowers in bulk from Costco for about $600. My sister and I watched some youtube videos on how to do floral arrangements. I, my sisters and bridesmaids did all the floral arrangements and bouquets ourselves. They weren’t perfect but they were very nice and made w/ real flowers. I got several compliments on the centerpieces.
Was there any particular theme or style for your wedding:
We didn’t have a particular theme or style. We just wanted everything to be classy, simple, and elegant. We didn’t want anything too extreme or trendy but didn’t want to be too boring either. I wanted all the bridesmaids to wear white. I’d seen it in a few celebrity weddings and it was very elegant. But, the guys weren’t gonna wear white. My mother’s favorite color is purple and his mom’s is blue so we incorporated those colors in different ways; suits, wedding favors, ceremony program, flower girl accessories.
Tell us about your wedding planner:
Wedding planning w/ the planner didn’t go as planned. This experience was something that I, unfortunately, learned the hard way. The venue advertised themselves as a 1 stop shop w/ wedding planning included. The venue did day of coordination w/ all the vendors I selected but that is not wedding planning. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to hire a planner per the venue’s policy. So, lesson learned; know what you’re agreeing to before signing a contract. If it’s not specifically stated in the contract, it won’t get done.
How / why did you choose your ceremony venue:
We wanted a neutral place for our family and guest but also a place people would enjoying coming to, not just for the wedding. We visited Myrtle Beach, loved it and decided on that area. For the venue, it was very simple but elegant and their food had great reviews. Food is kinda at the heart of all we do w/ our families so having a venue w/ great food was very important.
Tell us about your wedding photography:
Another reason I really liked the venue was b/c I thought it would look great in our pics. We were way off schedule but I’m glad that we still got amazing photos. It was impossible for me to choose a favorite b/c they were so beautiful. I cried when I saw them b/c the day went by so fast, some of it I didn’t see and it was so great to get to experience our day again by looking at the pictures.
What’s your favorite image from your wedding day, and why:
I have so many favorites. I can’t choose just one. I loved the first looks pics, I love the pics w/ my nieces, I loved the pics in the robes w/ my bridesmaids and me, I love pics from the lighting of our unity candle and when we exchanged vows, I loved the pics of my husband w/ his mother and I love the gazebo & beach pictures. I could narrow it down to about 10 favorite pictures but not 1 picture.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Things will go wrong that you don’t anticipate. Anything that causes too much stress b/t you and your fiance the week of, avoid it or find the best solution and keep it moving. Certain details were just not important to my husband. I stopped getting offended and realized that he genuinely didn’t care about the details, not b/c he didn’t care about the wedding. Understand each other’s perspective and make the most of it.
Any advice for future brides:
All the little things that we as brides worry about, no one will remember or care after the wedding, not even you! Have fun. Hold vendors to their contracts. If the contract is not clear, have it clarified and re-worded if necessary, before you sign it. The most important detail at any wedding is the connection and love b/t you and your groom that guest should feel. That can’t be bought so don’t waste money on things that don’t really matter and that you can’t really afford anyway. When it stops being fun, whatever you’re planning and stressing over is not worth it.
Any final thoughts:
His parents have been married for over 30 years, mines for over 40 years It was important to have people be a part of our ceremony that had long, successful marriages. Our officiant has been married for over 30 years. The couple that read scriptures and gave words of wisdom during the ceremony has been married for 59 years and are like parents to me. Having those couples be a part of our day symbolized and honored what was most important about marriage to us; longevity and happiness.
Makeup artist: Sharon Davis
Venue: 21 Main Events at North Beach
Venue: North Beach Towers