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kure beach wedding | sam+chris

First Dance at a beach house wedding in Wilmington NC
It may be a statistical improbability that EVERY SINGLE COUPLE we work with is amazing, and I’m sure our readers get sick of the adjectives that I can’t stop using in these blog posts (amazing, incredible, fabulous, phenomenal, crazy, fantastic, unbelievable… my internal thesaurus doesn’t go far beyond those), but I have to do it again. SAM AND CHRIS ARE AMAZING.

I met them at a coffee shop in Carolina Beach about a month before their wedding. I wasn’t sure if they’d book; hell, from our email correspondence which was all fairly vague and inconsistent, I wasn’t even sure they’d show up for our consult. But the second Sam walked into the coffee shop, frazzled and all smiles, I knew she was a free spirit who I’d fall in love with.

The entire consult was just a mess of stories and gushing and laughter. When a consult veers from “all business” to “all laughter” I know we’ve found the perfect couple for our work and personalities. I left the coffee shop knowing that the wedding we were about to shoot a few weeks later would be a BLAST. I knew it would be a bit disorganized, heavy on the fun, and light on tradition. I knew that Sam and Chris trusted us completely, and that we would be free to work the way we work best, without being micromanaged or directed throughout the day. It takes a strong personality to let go of a part of your wedding and let the professionals handle it the way they need to; knowing that we gave Sam and Chris such confidence in our abilities thrilled me.

When we arrived at the Kure Beach house to start our coverage, things were mildly chaotic. Chris couldn’t find an ironing board. Bouquets were missing. The door to Sam’s room kept flying open with family members asking VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS of Sam (like, “did the yellow candle go in the blue vase, or somewhere else?”). Through it all, Sam kept this incredible calm about her.

I remember watching her as she stood beside the pool, arm in arm with her dad, waiting to walk down the aisle. She was smiling so big I thought her face would crack. I could tell she was jumping up and down on the inside, just wanting to get to that moment where she could see Chris, finally, after spending the last night apart and avoiding him all day. She BEAMED with excitement, she was warmth everywhere.

There’s a way to get amazing first dance shots, and it’s not easy. The couple has to let go. They have to completely immerse in one another and forget that a world exists outside of their dance. For some couples it’s easy; others are too nervous or too busy keeping time. Sam and Chris, though… they fell out of the real world the moment the first note of their song played. They were in their world the entire dance, and I love them for it. These are some of the best first dance pictures of 2012, and it’s all because they let go ofeverything but each other in those 4 minutes.

There was beer pong. That should tell you everything you need to know about how freaking cool these people are.

This shot of Chris’ grandma giving a speech during the toasts may be my favorite shot of 2012. LOOK AT THIS SHOT. It’s perfect. She is so beautiful.

Oh the dancing. This party got crazy, quick. When a few dozen people spend all day in a vacation home together, with a limitless supply of alcohol and dance music, things will get hot in a hurry. Even the kids were partying hard.

So much sexy. I can’t WAIT for their newlywed session when the weather warms up.

Limbo. For real, now, it’s been years since limbo has shown up at a wedding of ours. That’s a good way to revive photographers who are weary from 8 hours of running with their gear – start up the limbo. That shit’s fun to shoot.

Check out Mike all up in the action.

I could post more, but it’s all more of the same – lots of drunk dancing and singing and conga-lining and spilling beer and laughing and spinning and clogging and jumping and hugging. This is the advantage to having your wedding in a huge private home – the party can go on forever, and no one has to drive anywhere afterward.

When I think back to this wedding, I just remember Sam’s incredible smile and the way Chris looked at her all night long. The way they migrated toward each other through the dance floor every few songs, just to reconnect for a minute and to share their giddiness – WE’RE MARRIED!!!! How they grabbed us toward the end of the night and told us how much they love us and appreciate us and how thankful they were that we were there for them. How much it meant to us to hear those words. How we spent the entire drive home on a high from an intense shoot with people who were so much more than clients to us. How every last guest could have been one of our closest friends. We gushed the rest of the night and into the early morning about our good fortune, about how amazing it is to connect with people who we would never have met were it not for a series of internet events.

I don’t ever want to stop shooting weddings. Not when there’s a chance of being able to shoot weddings like this, even if they only come once in a blue moon. We love you, Sam and Chris, and we can’t WAIT to spend more time with you soon!!!