Kristi and Aaron were married in the mountains of North Carolina at a location I've driven by plenty of times on my way to some outdoors adventures. It's a resort called Chetola. I've never turned down the winding road that welcomes you to the property, but somehow I had a picture in my mind of what it looks like after you enter the gates and venture past the pond that greets you at the road's edge. So much of what I had pictured was reality. Ridiculously green grass, a lake with lots of little coves, mountains dotting the sky in the distance, canoes, stone-framed buildings. Understated beauty at its best - one of the reasons I love the mountains so much (that, and the fact that it is at least ten degrees cooler). A few things I wasn't expecting: huge white swans and the greyest, lowest clouds I have ever seen. About five minutes after I pulled onto the property and finished arranging all my gear, I stepped out of the car into a light sprinkle. I was hoping it would pass quickly so the outdoor wedding festivities could go off without hitch. I should've been hoping that I would make it inside before the bottom fell out. That's just what it did. I was hardly in the resort's front door before the thunder cracked and the massive droplets began pelting that once-calm lake.
It speaks volumes about Kristi and Aaron that they made a quick decision to move things indoors and went on with the day as if nothing had happened. So relaxed. The rain took an afternoon break, letting us take some pictures outside. By the end of the night the storm was gone, allowing Aaron and Kristi to bring all their guests out on the dock to throw wishing rocks and light sparklers. Kristi talked about how she and Aaron would forever return to Chetola and all their friends' marriage wishes would be at the bottom of that lake to remind them what life is really all about. It was so genuine and heartfelt and a really sweet thing to witness. The rocks were followed by sparklers and the day ended with Kristi and Aaron running around hugging the necks of all their friends family. Kristi and Aaron have a really wonderful relationship and I'm so thankful I got to witness them uniting their lives.
I was so drawn to black and white processing for many of these images and I think it must be Kristi's timeless look that was drawing me in. She looks so classy and her dress was beyond elegant. Black and white complimented her and the harsh, sunless light so well. I couldn't stop myself!