Amanda and Billy tied the knot on May 31, 2014 in scenic Lawndale, NC at DeStarte' Bed & Breakfast Inn. In lieu of a traditional blogpost, I asked Amanda to answer a few questions about her wedding and what it was like to work with me. Read her answers below!
1. How did you and Billy meet and fall in love? I'd love to hear a little bit more of your story. :)
Billy had just moved to Visalia, California from southern California for a job promotion. In between jobs, he had a few weeks off that happened to include New Years Eve-- so of course he decided that that was the perfect time to visit his childhood buddy Justin, who lived in New York City. Justin and Billy visited Justin's church (which also happened to be my church), and I was singing with the worship band that morning. Billy was immediately drawn to me, and we crossed paths again at a New Years' Eve bash the next night-- where he followed me around all night (I didn't mind!) and kissed me at midnight. We spent the entire next few days together until Billy left. A year followed of countless hours on Google Hangout (including dinner dates, July 4 fireworks, even meeting the parents) and traveling almost once a month to see each other. Shortly after the proposal, I hopped in a car with everything I owned and two of my best friends and made the cross country move to join Billy in California.
2. You and Billy planned a NC wedding while living thousands of miles away from NC. What were some of the obstacles you faced in planning a wedding from so far away? What advice do you have for other couples in your position?
It was honestly not as hard as it sounds. The key factor was having the faith to book things without seeing or tasting first and having great friends to do some legwork! We did not see our venue in person before booking, but I had my dad check it out after we found it online. We got recommendations for catering, but never tasted anything before the rehearsal dinner. I purchased my dress and got fitted right before leaving New York and moving to California, so I had to have one of my bridesmaids go pick it up when it was ready and ship it down to my dad's house in North Carolina. And you know what? It all turned out WONDERFUL! We are very thankful to our friends and family who helped us.
3. This was our first time shooting at The Destarté Bed and Breakfast Inn, and we were blown away by the charm of this venue (and it's owners!) Why did you choose this venue for your wedding, and did your experience live up to your expectations?
Billy and I love being in nature so it fit perfectly for us to choose an outdoor venue. But not just any outdoor venue! We wanted something that was beautiful, charming, and rustic. When Billy found DeStarté online, we were both blown away by how green and lush and woodsy it was. Turns out it was perfect for planning from far away-- DeStarté not only had all the tables and chairs we needed, they had tons of decorations for use on site (hundreds of mason jars, mercury glasses, lanterns, etc!). The best part for us was that we had the entire Bed and Breakfast available to us all weekend. Since the majority of our wedding party was flying in from the west coast or New York, it was wonderful to be able to allow them and their families to stay on site all weekend for free. And it was really fun too! Our experience at DeStarté was above and beyond our expectations. The family who owns and runs it were such a joy to work with and so incredibly helpful.
4. What did you enjoy most about your wedding day and weekend?
The answer that first comes to mind is having everyone we love all in one place, partying and mingling and loving on us. To be honest, though, the best thing was finally becoming family with Billy. It was something we knew we wanted for more than a year at that point, and we were just waiting for the right time for us and our families. Um, also, we had a killer band that seriously rocked the party!
5. Amanda- since we both graduated from the same journalism program, I know that you are really well connected to photographers and other visual artists. How did you know that Justin and I were the right photographers for you and Billy?
What we loved about your portfolio was the realness. We wanted photos that candidly captured emotions and moments and photos that told a real story. I knew our best bet was a photojournalist, and I knew the best photojournalists came from UNC (obviously). Hand in hand with that is the realness of your editing style. We wanted photos that looked natural and not overproduced, and your portfolio exemplified that!
6. What is the first thing you want to do with the images?
Look at them over and over again!! Well, that's what I will probably actually do. I can't wait to share them with family and friends, and get some prints to hang up in our house.
7. Anything else you and Billy want to share about your wedding or photography experience?
You and Justin were a whole lot of fun, and I think that is worth emphasizing. You have the perfect combo of personable and professional. Also, aside from the pictures when you pulled us aside or took family/wedding party photos, I don't think we saw you once! Way to be stealthy :)
Amanda and Billy, thanks so much for throwing such an awesome party and inviting me to photograph it! I loved that both you and your dad showcased your fabulous singing skills. :) I will forever be grateful to you both for introducing me to the lovely town that is Lawndale N.C. and the charm of DeStarte Bed & Breakfast Inn. I hope you enjoy your photos!
Groom's Clothing: J. Crew
Florist: Lake Norman Flowers & Gifts
Catering: Chillin & Grillin
Invites: Amanda McPherson
Ceremony Band: Sue Thornton & Arp Ennis of Dirt Creek Band
Reception Band: Summerdaze Band