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Phoebe + Jeff’s Duke Chapel and Carolina Inn Wedding » Luster Studios

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Phoebe + Jeff’s Duke Chapel and Carolina Inn Wedding

High above Duke Chapel heavy clouds rolled across a foreboding sky. As I traveled to Durham my mind raced with thoughts of how this day would unfold. Where would I have the couple meet for their “first look” if it started pouring rain? But then I remembered how calm and collective Phoebe and Jeff were and that set my mind at ease. Although I had been working with them over the phone, we had not actually met in person yet. They had been referred to me by another couple (Lan and Kenny) whose wedding I’ll be photographing in September this year so I knew we would get along great. I was eagerly anticipating this day but couldn’t have imagined just how wonderful it would prove to be!

While interacting with everyone, several remarkable truths were revealed to me. They had mentioned to me about their relatively short engagement, so I thought that Phoebe and Jeff were one of those lucky “love at first sight” couples. As I learned more during their wedding reception it was obvious that these two were truly destined for each other in every way.

As individuals, their patience and humble demeanor shine through in the way they interact and share their hearts with others. While they also have a casual style to them they also love to laugh and let lose in a big way. During the first wedding toast it was stated how “beautiful” the wedding was but it was the several toasts that followed that really resonated with me. One by one, friends and family shared thoughtful stories about an unselfish Cardiothoracic surgeon and a warmhearted 6th grade teacher that somehow found each other against all odds amidst their busy lives.

I feel very fortunate to have been invited to document this wonderful wedding and feel as if I’ve made some new friends in the process! And in case your wondering… those clouds rolled away and we ended up with perfect weather the entire day. That’s the power of love I guess!








We went for a bit of a twist when the couple saw each other before their ceremony. I had the best man bring out the groom while covering the groom’s eyes.




Phoebe created custom wedding invitations for their ceremony. Beautiful!

The girls gather in prayer prior to the processional.

The bride mentioned to me that she chose Duke Chapel because of the beautiful architecture. She also said it was important for her to get married in a church with an organ. The Chapel has a gorgeously huge organ so I decided to shoot this in a way that would celebrate her inspiration in hopes of being a meaningful photo for her.









Their first kiss was short (very short) and sweet but I just managed to get it!



The bride’s veil caught in the wind just after their recessional and made for this very romantic candid.





“OH YES I DID!”




Although it was early March the flowers were just beginning to bloom on the trees.


What a cute jacket to wear to the wedding reception.






Check out this wedding ring! I’ve never seen anything like it before.


The Old Well Room at The Carolina always looks wonderful! Elegant with beautiful up-lighting.

After learning about their “surprise” wedding intro dance featuring the song “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO I devised a surprise of my own! That morning I made them boy and girl “Shuffle Bot” masks for them to enter with. I really appreciated that they were able to incorporate them.











They played a few wedding reception games in which a blindfolded bride had to successfully choose her husband from a lineup of “Asian men” by feeling the contours of their faces.

Ha ha! This gentleman was contorting his face as much as he could to throw the bride off her mission!

I had a moment of inspiration and asked the groom and Phoebe’s friend to switch places at the last moment right before she chose (correctly) her new husband. The resulting photos were priceless. Check out her reaction!


Did one of you ladies forget to shave this morning?



The bridal party set up a few slideshows the followed the couple’s relationship and also screend a video of the actual proposal. Amazing emotion on everyone’s faces to capture.







Jeff sang the first few verses of a traditional Chinese song to Phoebe before inviting her to the dance floor for their first slow dance as husband and wife.



PARTY TIME!




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