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Chapel Hill Weddings at The Carolina Inn (Sara + Terence)

As Sara and Terence’s wedding day approached at The Carolina Inn, I began looking at the weather reports and discovered that April 16, 2011 called for HEAVY rain ALL day. After learning that we would need to move the ceremony inside, I was determined to embrace mother nature and help make this one of the best days of their lives in any way I could. With an aim to create some unique and creative wedding photos for them, I arrived with custom signs, rain boots and umbrellas… all in their purple wedding color scheme. However, it was for other reasons, I would discover how memorable and meaningful this day would become.

It all started in 2009 when Sara was visiting DC for graduate school clinical rotations. She really liked the area and was considering moving there after graduating from Wake Forest. Even though Sara and Terence went to UNC-Chapel Hill, they had never actually met. Their mutual friend, Leah, grew up with Sara and knew Terence from working EMS in Chapel Hill. As Sara and Leah were deciding on a fun place to celebrate New Years Eve, they called Terence for some local help. Sara and Terence immediately hit it off but he didn’t ask for her number. BUT, over the next week, he continued to call Leah to invite her out… and ask her to bring Sara along too. Eventually he took her on their first date… dinner and a movie in Georgetown. Since each of them work in healthcare, they quickly realized that it was one of the great things that they have in common. With a mutual appreciation of their crazy schedules they continued to spend time together almost everyday after that.

After being together for over two years, Terence decided to pop the question. Since they had developed such a love for Sunset Beach he decided to propose to her at his parent’s condo. He shared with me that there’s a mailbox situated on the beach called “Kindred Spirit.” It has notebooks and pens in it where beachgoers can stop to write messages to leave in the mailbox. One morning, Terence got up very early and wrote his own letter to Sara and left it in the mailbox. It rained most of the day, as he tried to get Sara to come for a walk on the beach. Each time he asked she refused because it was so rainy and cloudy. Finally, in the evening, the sun came out for a bit so he took her for a walk on the beach, and made a B line for the mailbox. I’m sure he was extremely nervous and a bit annoyed by the weather at this point. It began raining AGAIN but Terence insisted and pushed on. Sara was confused but went along with it anyway since they were already drenched! When they made it to the mailbox Terence got the notebook out and said there was something in it she should read. It was a letter describing all the things he loved about Sara. When she finished, he was down on one knee and presented her with the ring!

So this brings us back to their wedding day. As they were choosing their wedding venue, The Carolina Inn really stuck out to them. They loved the tradition and it’s tie into Chapel Hill. They told me that they LOVE watching Carolina basketball and many of their dates were spent going out to a sports bar and watching the games. When you see them together you can really tell how much they enjoy each others company.

I had mentioned earlier that this was to be a memorable day for everyone. None of us were prepared for what was happening while they exchanged their vows. I always turn my iPhone off during weddings to eliminate any possibility of it ringing. About halfway through their wedding reception I had turned it on to use it for a photo idea I had. Much to my surprise I had missed about 20 calls. I later discovered that several people were trying to reach me to see if I was ok. Unknown to everyone (safe and sound at the wedding) in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and other parts of North Carolina were being pummeled by several tornadoes. As I left that evening I had learned that we had been hit as well. We were among the fortunate ones, although we were not able to return to the area for a few weeks.

I honestly didn’t want to focus this post on storm systems, but I couldn’t help but tie some connections. It really helped remind me of the true meaning of marriage and weddings. Although the colorful details and gorgeous attire help create a visual feast for the eyes, it’s truly about the beautiful moments that remind us of what is most important. It’s about a determined (rain soaked) man on one knee making the ultimate commitment to the woman he cares most about. It’s about a wise grandfather serving as an officiant to oversee the union of a young couple in love. It’s being able to enjoy a special day with those that you love (and love you) most. It’s being reminded that life is swift and fragile.

I am thankful that I was able to capture and share these moments with everyone. For many reasons, I will never forget this special day and I know in my heart that no matter what life’s weather throws at these two, they will emerge stronger for it.

Reception: The Carolina Inn – Devon Schwartz
Florist: University Florist
Ceremony Music: Musica Musicians
DJ: MTP DJ Productions – Todd Pegram
Hair and Makeup: Beauty Ethics – Julie Hafer and Katie Godbold
Videography: In His Service Productions – Josh Norman
Wedding Planning: Bliss By Sam – Rachel Hamm