While there are certainly a lot of wonderful Outer Banks wedding venues to choose from, having your wedding at a beach house rental is hard to beat! It offers both a private atmosphere as well as the freedom and flexibility to add personal touches. Michelle and Kevin initially met as they both attended UNC for their Ph.D.’s. They shared with me that they officially fell in love during a visit to OBX but even before their engagement I already felt as if I knew them really well.
I had photographed their family (including their new puppy Carrie) when they were dating and we had a blast romping around downtown Raleigh. They contacted me immediately after Kevin proposed to Michelle amidst to the crashing ocean waves and a beautiful “Carolina Blue” sky. I was very excited when I also heard their plans to get married at the beach near Kill Devil Hills.
Their wedding was a beautiful mash up of their favorite things which they like to refer to as an “OBX Asian Country Wedding.” This included some traditional Japanese elements such as the 1000 (YES… I said 1000) hand folded paper cranes and some unique local touches like NC BBQ for dinner and Carolina blue accent diamonds on Michelle’s wedding band and engagement ring.
One of the most unique components of the day was during their wedding ceremony with the incorporation of a hand made Daruma Doll. The eyes of these traditional Japanese dolls are intentionally left blank so that the owners can paint in the pupil of one of them upon the setting of a goal and then will fill in the second eye upon completion of that task. Michelle and Kevin creatively applied this concept to their wedding day by painting in one of the eyes during their wedding vows. They will later add the second eye on their one year anniversary. For their wedding guests they also requested that they do the same as part of the wedding reception by creating colorful printouts which were then adorned with ink thumb prints of friends and family. It was very unique and fun to photograph!
I know that this is going to sound all too cliche, but anyone that knows the Bastian’s or the Itano’s will surely vouch for me. In all of my years as a wedding photographer I can honestly say that my experience with Michelle and Kevin (and their family and wedding guests) were at the top of my list of favorite weddings. They truly made me feel welcome and included me in everything they were doing. That meant the world to me as a creative wedding photographer. They saw me as an true artist as opposed to someone that was just “doing their job.”
For many couples their love and happiness is multiplied simply because it’s their wedding day, but with this bride and groom it’s hard to imagine that they could ever have a bad day. Michelle’s positive energy and smile are matched perfectly with Kevin’s steadfast (yet outgoing and friendly) demeanor. The energy felt between the two is simply infectious and directly energized the resulting photographs as we experienced their wedding day together. I hope everyone enjoys viewing them as much as I did taking them. Congratulations Kevin and Michelle and may your happiness continue throughout your life!
Planning and Styling: Sugar Snap Events – Shirley Cook & Laura Sorensen
Cake: Great Cakes! – Marsha Johnson
Ceremony Music: Julian Peterson Trio
Videography: Tight Production Films – Nic McLean
Hair and Makeup: The Sanderling Spa & Salon
Wedding Bands and Engagement Ring: Goldworks in Chapel Hill
DJ: “I do” Entertainment and DJ Service – DJ Bruce Jones
Suits: Bernards Formalwear
Gown, Shoes and Jewelery: Alexia’s Bridal Boutique
Transportation: Sandy Beach Tours – Sandi Morrison
Before anyone asks… this butterfly is real! I had placed the bouquet down for a quick photo and when I looked in my viewfinder it had just landed. I couldn’t believe my luck.