A few years ago, I photographed Toni and David at sunrise on a beach. Those photos, while very different from my current work, are still some of my favorite sun kissed images. Then last year David asked Toni to marry him and I was beyond honored when they reached out to me about being their wedding photographer.
A few months after that we had their engagement session on her family land and those images were added to the favorites folder as well. This past weekend they were married at the Roanoke Island Aquarium in North Carolina and it would only be fate that these are some of my favorite images too!
Toni is one of the kindest, most genuine people that I have had the pleasure of knowing in life and I was honored to be a part of her wedding day to a man that I just know is such a blessing in her life.
David has this way of looking at her that warms my heart to bear witness to. When they are together he just has this look of complete adoration and contentment like she is a part of him in a way that words cant describe. I witnessed that look during their engagement session and I knew that I would witness it again this past Saturday for their wedding.
Sure enough, as he stood facing the ocean waves, Toni began walking through the sand towards him for their first look and the moment that he turned around that look was more prominent than I have ever seen. He smiled so big and couldnt get her in his arms fast enough before they shared such a sweet moment of holding each other tightly.
After ocean front portraits, we headed to the aquarium for the ceremony and reception. Despite the helicopter that flew over, the wind whipping around us on the peir, and any other distraction that took place during the ceremony, these two weren’t going to let anything dampen their mood or this special day.
There is a detail that I remember so vividly from the day that brad and I were married. Its the memory of the way he held my hands and rubbed the top of them gently with his thumbs. I remember that feeling as if it just happened just happened and I hope that the good Lord never lets me forget it.
The reason I mention this is because during Toni and David’s ceremony, I noticed him doing the same thing to Toni…. holding her hands in his, rubbing the tops of hers with his thumbs ever so gently. Its amazing how something so simple can make you feel so comforted and hold such a lasting memory.
After their outdoor ceremony on the peir, their guests were welcomed into the aquarium where cocktail hour was held amongst the animals. There were otters, alligators, turtles, snakes, fish, and more for guests to admire with their cocktails. Soon enough it was time for their reception not start. Dinner was set up with the stingrays where guests could also spend their night touching the animals that swam within the tank.
The dance floor was actually a room full of jelly fish tanks with neon lights and backlights within the tanks which set the mood perfectly once the dj opened the dance floor!! The reception and seating was within the largest aquarium room that housed a glass wall from floor to ceiling of sharks and other fish that we were able to admire throughout the night. It was one of the most adventurous locations for a wedding that I have ever shot! We then finished out portraits of Toni and David at dark on the same lit pier where they exchanged vows.
Even with amazing beach portraits and a really neat location for their wedding, the friendship that I have formed with Toni and David over the last few years is one that I am so grateful for and something that I cherish! Thats the part that I love most about my job, having clients that turn into lifelong friends.
Toni and David- thank yall so much for choosing me to capture your wedding day. I think that your friends and family described yalls love perfectly during speeches because I really do believe every word that they spoke about your kindess, your genuine hearts, and your desire to always to take care of those around you. I absolutely loved and was honored to celebrate by your sides and I am beyond happy for you two as you embark on this new journey as husband and wife!