It has been weeks, over a month even, that we have been thinking through possible scenarios as to what is causing our daughters appetite loss and abnormal pain when eating. I personally went from concerned parent to slightly aggravated- concerned parent, then mama bear mode, ultimately upgrading frantically to - don't EVEN get in my way! All this in the course of 3 weeks. But who was counting (just Nora's parents)? The 3 weeks were how many weeks we have been in and out of Doctor appointments with Nora, not counting the previous weeks monitoring her symptoms from home.
Our great Surgeon finally intervened and got us back to Brenner's Children's hospital and on the right track. Here is our safety net for when momma doesn't know best... Brenner's knows the rest!
Here is my where my wild mind has fallen lately. This is all the "reals", folks. I am sure you have been scrolling my newsfeed on my personal Facebook page, if not I encourage you to here. I am Pro-Awareness. I am a preemie mom always and forever and I advocate for her. She was my 29 weeker born at 3 pounds and 3 oz. A premature birth is something a mother never let's go of.
This month of February, is a month that seems to have branded our families souls so to never forget what snow brings, what "normal" means, and literally a constant yearly reminder of flashbacks, scares, scars, and screams. Absolute Hell, really.
Today marks Nora's twin cousin's 5th birthday in heaven. His name is John Carpenter Vorys. They were both planned with futures filled with baseball and cupcakes. They were both due three weeks apart. They both arrived early in their own horrifying way... still 3 weeks apart. Carpenter arrived stillborn. Nora beat her 38% chance of survival. We believe it was her cousin who told her to keep pushing though.
Trust me there were two similar but completely separate versions of Hell burning through us the year of 2012.
February for the past 5 years, has landed Nora in a children's hospital for pneumonia, dilations, surgeries, sometimes both. This year we just happened to have our neediness to fall the week we usually drop everything to take the time to remember Carpenter. We are a Pro-Awareness family for loss families just the same as preemies. I hope you can follow this rolling ball and all the knots wrapped in this story of our family. This week was marked on the calendar to be for our Godson, Carpenter... his week. My husband and I have instead have sat in a hospital with Nora since Thursday.
Today, is Carpenter's 5th birthday in heaven. We find ourselves surrounded in this hospital room surrounding a child we all love, this is a feeling all to familiar from where we were 5 years ago when Carpenter made his entrance breathless for always. His parents did not get to take him home and watch him grow the past 5 years, neither has the rest of his family.
It is hard to be in a hospital today. It is hard because this date was life changing. It is hard because the preemie who survived, is sitting in a hospital room awaiting surgeries. And it is painful because it shouldn't be painful on a 5th birthday. February is cold (pun intended). Where do we find ourselves in these moments?
Well, at the end of the day we find ourselves.... together. We are all grieving someone today. We are broken people. Our Godson died 5 years ago today and we will always remember. It has been hard to show how we would like to honor him today from a hospital room, the last place anyone of us want to be. The suck-iest part, is Nora is on a non-food, only clear liquids, diet and can't even toast his name with a good piece of cake!
This is what parenthood is like when one child needs close medical care and the other is above us in heaven pulling her though. In moments like this we just stick together. We remember our Carpenter, and we fill in where we can when Nora is back at Brenner's. All to familiar and so strange to feel back at those beginning moments though. It was so good to be together for just the short time today. All we needed was a moment to share together and feel each others presence.
The sun has set and the day is almost over. I feel a little off the charts and wound-up as we are exhausted, and awaiting what tomorrows news holds for Nora. We are sitting here watching her sleep on an IV, feeling grateful and sad. suddenly just now realizing how unprepared we are to explain she will have surgery again. Only this time she will remember it and feel it. What's worse, she was most scared to come in because she may get a shot. Today sucks.
Tomorrow we will wake up, breathe, call each other and see how it goes. This is how we roll. Like Annie and I called it, we are tied together forever, "Like Knotted up in a big mess that not even the most OCD person can fix. "
A light between the sea is a reflection of Shea & Dominic's engagement across the Atlantic ocean from England to the US. Their love has shown a rippling effect to others on their journey towards their "I Do's". The romance between Shea & Dominic were complimented with styles by local vendors splashing a new look to viewers on how flattering an Engagement session can be. Welcome 2017, our first Engagement session of the New Year!
Lead Photographer: Nicole Huffman Photography
Second Photographer: Four Sparrow Photography
Event Planning and Florals : Edenhouse
Cake Artist and table linens: Huffman Events
Calligraphy Artist: Pep n Pop
Hair Stylist: Salon 405
Make-up Artist: Abby Roots
This is a real couple styled for their Engagement session.
It was a surprise trip across the Atlantic that Dominic was able to sneak one more trip to the mountains of NC to see his fiancé for the last time... until their wedding day only months away.
A love that's carried from shore to shore surely has a story to tell...
These two hold one a "message in a bottle type" feeling of romance. They are reserved, romantic, mysterious and I want to soak up all their photos!These two spoke more through their own love language and a lot of eye contact!
Dominic swears it's his English accent that got a ring on Shea, but I think the photos show how deep their love does go.
It was through thankful hands that local artists helped create a time and place that reflected the couples natural "down-to-earth" essence.These two definitely attract the quality of something... especially something new and different.
As their photographer, I count the days until my new friend, Shea, seals her heart to Domonic as he arrives in his new home here in the US, and they being their life journey together as Married!
August come soon! With all the families together I am sure I will learn beyond the silence of the seas what brought these two together and how it's impossible for the two of them to live without one another. Oh, How romantic a love across the sea can be! Cheers to forever! Cheers to Shea & Domonic on their Engagement !
Brittany's Bridals were a wrap to a beautiful year in 2016.
Have you seen these Portraits? Don't stop until you've seen them all, She is stunning!
Her wedding at 16 Hands Farm in Jefferson was the perfect send off to 2016 and "Hello 2017!"
Congratulations newly engaged couples! I am glad to have you here browsing. The best way to get the latest specials and news to which wedding shows I will be at (so we can meet), and any other must know information that is happening here at Nicole Huffman photography is to sign up for my newsletters. Visit the connect tab on my website to sign up~ who knows, maybe I'll have a give away!
**Upcoming Bridal Show Date to Remember*** Saturday, January 28th from 11am to 4pm at the Winston Salem fairgrounds, come meet me and my staff at the Carolina wedding show hosted by Don Freedman and Associates at 33bride.com to reserve your tickets, or pay at the door! Even better, talk to me and see how I can get you in FREE! yes, FREE!
You will notice updates happening on my website www.NicoleHuffmanPhotography.com, I have big plans for all you upcoming brides and grooms!
I am putting forth full force my efforts to make my end product the best it's ever been!
Each newly engaged couple I meet this year will be a priority for their Wedding Day and once we talk you will understand just how I can make sure that's possible! You want to meet for coffee? Let's set a date, we will talk about your wedding!
2017 will be up for viewing within the month of February 2017. Until then, private message me to see what promotions I have going on until then!
You will also see a new tab coming soon on my website for Wedding Planners.
I will be featuring my top wedding planners that I work with often at weddings. They come highly recommended and I will feature them each and why they are so important to me as a photographer to help make your wedding day flow seamlessly.
Just to give you a heads up:
Edenhouse Event Planning & Florist & Massage serving Wilkes and surrounding areas
Huffman Events and Florist & Linens serving Greensboro and surrounding areas including Wilkes
The Whole Shebang Serving the High Country
Thank you for ringing in the New Year with me, I hope to see you on the other side of my lens this year for your wedding, Engagement Session, Bridal Portraits, Family photos, Cake smash sessions, Senior Portraits and another other important life events that happen along this year!
336 981 4177
Nobody knew what beauty the bride would reveal, beneath the lace, the veil, the shoes. Only Bryan could hope for the days moments to pass till the doors opened wide, bringing him his lovely bride.
Ruth 1:16 "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after the: for wither thou goest, I will go..."
Cranberries, pine trees, and snow brought the winter season inside for a most meaningful reason.
The vibrant reds and lowly light lights romanticized the love filled barn at Blueberry Hills Barn venue that night.
Not a dry eye nor empty heart took their seat as a most beautiful bride made her way step-by-step in her red shoes guiding her way. She was embraced by her dad and little brother with pride. They walked with her gently down the aisle that night to the man she would marry. Together the two would carry the most precious present that year. The one where they stood united and the presence of family and friends where near.
It came without ribbons or tags, no trimmings or wrappings. It was filled to the brim and full of the fullest love two families could give.
They said their vows, kissed and made merry! Dancing was present, dinner was served, the Lord was so happy to have united in marriage a love so deserved.
Christmas came early, December 17th, 2016. Merry Morris for Christmas!
For Mr. & Mrs. Morris it was a Merry Christmas and to all who came, and to all who had a great night!
Love to you both on your wedding!
I still remember as kids and holding you down to smell your forehead demanding you still smelled like a newborn. You hated and loved it all at the same time. One of the best things about being the oldest has always just been being YOUR older sister. You have gone from being a pale, blue-ish green (true your eye color changes) eyed baby to a respected enlisted Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy. You now tower over me. But let's not let your manly height, rank and muscle-ey shape fool anyone, I would still hold you down demanding you were still like a baby to me!
Phone calls have always triggered memories for me, especially when missing you.
Our family made a life changing decision to move from Minnesota after you were born, so then half my family, including me and you, moved to North Carolina. It altered my life.
Ring…..ring….ring…. a static “hello…” from your little boy high pitched voice being delivered a thousand miles or more in an instant were often the first moments of an exciting connection I would look forward to while we grew up in the 90’s- so very far apart.
Most weeks of the year, except the summer and holiday breaks we were together. Phone calls were held in high regards, as it was equal to what most considered spending “family time” together from states away. Unfortunately long distance calls were very expensive then and even a call was a luxury we couldn’t afford for more than a few short minutes. We would write letters. I wrote you your own hand-made series of books with illustrations because you liked to read and I was an artist.
For those numbered days, like summer break, Christmas, Easter- days expected to be “whole” within families always felt incomplete. I missed my brother.
Your little boy voice still on the other end of the line still felt weighted with the distance I so longed to pull closer as you told me what you and your friends did in the tree fort we built.
Sure, most days I complained you smelled like boy sweat, but it was three weeks into my eight week summer break in Minnesota and I had so much to tell you and I wanted to know if you had messed in any of my stuff. You quickly reminded me you were sleeping in my bed while I was gone and not bathing on purpose and wearing my favorite penguin nightgown. I was 7 and you were 4, or maybe you were 7 and I was 11. The same phone call could be held for all those ages. That was our summers, letters and long distant calls.
Holidays have remained the hardest. I remember our NC family traveled to MN for Christmas and they were fighting as to where I was spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I didn't want to choose, or fight. I just sobbed. I remember sitting in the backseat of the car with our parents fighting and you reached over and held my hand and told me it didn’t matter to you because we always get to be together.
When our family made another big decision to move back to Minnesota when I was 18, I was heart broken and torn again. Ultimately, I stayed in the south because I was in love. You moved to Minnesota - back home. I was so happy you were in a good school with family and I knew you were going to like it. I was gong to miss you, and our memories in the house we grew up in. I cannot remember the last long car trip 24 hours to Minnesota. I wish I could because I would save it like so many days I took for granted. Days before our lives started us growing up.
Time flew, you graduated and I was there for it. I was so proud. You were headed to a good college.
I missed your college life, except for the phone calls… I cherished the phone calls.
Ring…ring…ring… “Ye-ellow”, it was a favorite way to answer the phone. The distance was still there even with the upgrade to cell phones, over the past decade it at least made calls more frequent.
This is how I found out you were going to propose, you did propose, and then wedding planning came. I saw you the week of your wedding and when I saw you in the parking lot I felt like years had gone by and this little boy I begged not to come in my room without a password was getting married. It was a surprising feeling, how much I missed out on Daniel. But gosh I was so happy for you, for you and Mandy. It has been the best thing you have accomplished so far.
I just couldn’t believe how fast the last 4 years had flown by.
You called agin when you were deciding on joining the Navy. You joined. I tried to fill as many sarcastic, loving, sisterly letters as I could in during boot camp. I hope they made you laugh.
Even now Holidays have always are tough. Something mainly my husband harbors the weight for me so I can force a smile and enjoy the blessings in front of me.
Living next door to his parents, the same street he has always lived on - his entire life with the same two parents and sisters had given his outlook on life way different than mine. For someone clueless to why I felt the way I do on missing family he tries REALLY hard (because he usually appreciates the space when there is any). I build up and let out my heavy heart until I feel weightless and after 12 years he listens, holds me, lets me cry it out. Every year. It’s the phone calls. I have always held on to the phone calls. Always waiting for the next. I love getting a phone call.
I am the oldest sibling. Missing parts of my younger siblings lives leaves static and disconnected lines. I did plenty growing up to shelter you, keep things I wanted you innocent from. I still doubt you can imagine most. I feel (as a mother to three) the next closest thing that comes even close to motherhood is the love that comes from being your older sister.
Lately, I have realized you grew up… and I am so proud of who you are..
One year we shared a room, a bed, jammies, and the school bus. Then one day we started sleeping in our own rooms. We still shared the same tree fort. Then I started middle school one day we were only sharing the couch after school, ate weird snacks on the kitchen floor and made fun of each other. When I wasn’t aware we were sharing the same land line, you would pipe in at the most embarrassing moments making middle school that much more awkward. Days passed like this and without us even realizing it, we were growing up.
Then life happened really damn fast.
I don't remember the day you moved. I just remember feeling like there were plenty of options of where I could be and I felt like crying again, only I couldn’t tell you. I was too old for you to hold my hand. You were starting a really good life and I was too, we were just going to be far away...again.
Ring…ring…ring… “Ye-ellow”, you told me the Navy was moving you to Charleston, SC. “That’s only 4 hours away!” I was the happiest sister.
My husband and I did something new this Thanksgiving. We took our kids to Charleston for Thanksgiving. It was so good. I was so thankful for this Thanksgiving. Daniel, you told me you had never heard anyone say “uncle Daniel, uncle Daniel” so many times in your life. If I could put in words the beaming from my heart when you said that.
For now, less dial tones and more being together. 4 hours is close from what we were used to. Seeing you and Mandy more while you are based in Charleston is my goal. We don't know where you will go next. But for now, sandy days in the sun on the beach are a luxury. Who knows, maybe Zack, the kids and I will get travel the world thanks to the Navy...and you.
Until I see you again, pick up your phone and call me. I can't wait to hear how your day was.
November 17th is Worldwide Prematurity Awareness Day. One in every eight babies is born prematurely. My Nora was 1 in 8.
November 17th, 2016 I celebrate Eleanor Francis Huffman, my survivor.
For 4 years now I have told our battle story countless times. If you know me or my family, you are aware we are preemie powerful. I want today to be as special and as important as any other time I have talked about my preemie parenting journey with Nora as the first time I spilled my soul. Our battle continues, with scars to be our reminders.
Often, I have found myself in the mirror obsessing over how different l look with my c-section scar, the imperfection that lays across the middle of my body, the way my shape has settled over 4 years. Sometimes it's the only thing I see... it's definently all I feel. Scar tissue has become a constant and painful needle thread through my body. Sometimes it overpowers what I know to be true and what the rest of the world compares perfection to be. It's often leaving me feeling short-handed. This is so unfair to Nora to see from me.
My husband hears the inner-most feelings I have about my postpartum preemie-mom body and he stops me... "You know what my favorite part about your scar is? Our 4 year old daughter"....aaand just like that I am pulled back in. It's a fact, it's my favorite part too.
I am always amazed at his awareness of what I often feel "alone" in my fight through preemie parenting. Because I guess, I carried her, I was on the one on bed rest, and it was my body that felt every scary second to the surprise early and bruised birth.
I have so easily left my completely supportive and responsive husband creditless to my experience as a preemie parent. This was his battle too, just as it was for Nora and myself. His scars are seen when I look in his eyes and see how he has given himself completely. He has carried us for the past 4 years.
Zack was the one holding my hand while speeding to the hospital as I was quickly diminishing, nearly hopeless to her beating heart. "She's still here, She's still here, don't give up...we are almost there".
I can remember hearing him on the phone with his dad after telling him I had gone into labor and we were at the hospital. His dad had said "I am so sorry...", because my father-in-law was fearing the same news our family got 3 weeks earlier at the still birth of his grandson (our Godson), that our family lost... another. Zack said, "...don't be sorry, she has a heartbeat!" That is what hope sounds like in real life.
While my husband was battling the impossible task of become a new father to his third child born 3 months early, his sister, Annie (my sister-in-law) and her husband Mike were somehow living through the seemingly impossible odds of just losing their first son three weeks earlier. They became our band of support. When I say band of support, I mean an unbreakable unity that was born over two babies, all in the beginning of two similar but completely different griefs.
Annie, arrived first that unbearable morning at the hospital. Hopeless yet hopeful and scared. She just lost her son and it was the early hours of the day of her son's funeral. And there she was, in a NICU, alone, grieving her sons loss, waiting on an ambulance to bring her hopefully breathing niece.
No longer than Annie arrived, Zack and their dad met together in the hospital that Nora soon arrived at. Nora did arrive, Nora pulled through her golden hour.
As soon as I woke up from my c-section, I signed myself out and headed to the hospital. For hours I sat next to a clear box lighting the most precious gift of hope I had ever witnessed thanking her angel for all this strength. My husband was with us until it was finally time to go to a funeral. I couldn't leave Nora, I just couldn't. Zack didn't feel he could leave Nora, but for his nephew Carpenter's funeral, he knew he couldn't miss saying goodbye. So he went and I stayed.
Our family made sacrifice after sacrifice to survive 2012.
Annie and Mike babysat days at a time in exchange for a babysitter during their hour long meetings at their new Support group with Heartstrings, a community for parents who have lost a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth, even children at older ages. It was how we lived for 77 days...one day at a time/ one hour to the next. After the first 77 days in the NICU, we took the next step home...still day to day, often being okay that just breathing was a win for the day.
Nora and I both have scars that a heartbeat of moments left us imperfectly connected. This battled warrior of a little girl has spread hope to our family. Without so much support from so much of our families, I am not sure how we would have made it through the darkest hours, the longest days and the mountains of obstacles Nora has had to overcome. It has brought us closer. It has spread to strangers who have become fiends. Even thought lost friends from over a decade came out to support us. Her strength has given so much hope.
I remember sitting in the NICU both of us stitched up and bruised, day after day fantasizing over the future. I would try to imagine our life 2 years, 3 years, 4 years and more down the road. Back then I was praying for a miracle, for healing. Here we sit 4 years later. I can tell you the remnants of the war are still within us, the battle scars here to remind us of the fight.
Today, Nora is sitting next to me on the couch trying to decide which shade of purple to wear today. "ALL the purple" I say to her, she looks at me wide eyed as we get dressed wearing purple from head to toe. This is a win for today! We are preemie powerful. #preemiepowerful #preemiepower
I hope this yearly letter to the world helps bring at least one more family awareness, the least it will do is offer my daughter a reminder of her true inner strength, her parents passion for her success and a documented account of what this annual day of awareness means to this family.
If you think of it, wear a purple ribbon today for all the babies born early. They fought like hell to get here. Today is a "Thank You for Fighting" to all the little babies battling for life.
This preemies mom
Carl and Paxton found each other 5 years ago when they were Freshman at Albion college in Michigan. Both come from big families with lots of siblings and lots of cousins.
Growing up, Paxton was always sweet with a side of serious, always ahead in her studies. Family often wondered who could be good enough for her when the time came for her and love.
It wasn't long after college started, the family members found their answer. The first holiday gathering Carl had swept the family away. From grandma to the littlest second cousins, everyone wanted to know more about Carl and could they keep him!
It was only a matter of time; her cousins kept saying that they all knew Carl was a winner and he had Paxton's heart.
Carl was meaningful and romantic when it came to proposing.
For over a month and a half he knew he would ask Paxton to marry him. He joined forces with her friends and co-workers to draw her to a special place they had many memories.
It was a hopeful day in July that Carl lead clueless Paxton to their old college stomping grounds and proposed on their special bridge, where she said "I do."
They decided to venture their way to North Carolina to visit family and take advantage of a mountain top Engagement session.
It is easy to feel on top of the world at the rock face of Stone Mountain. Just a camera and these two can be pretty powerful. It was refreshing to see them together. The mountains in the distance, mirroring the solid foundation these two are building their relationship upon.
Paxton & Carl, I am so happy to be joining you in Michigan for your wedding next summer! It is always my pleasure to capture something so real.
Over my time behind a camera I have come to appreciate each piece of the overall story throughout a wedding day more and more. No couple are alike. I feel the art behind photographing a wedding is the human element coming to life in each photo. Love is a universal feeling yet no two love the same. That is beautiful.
I find it amazing how so many find different ways to pronounce their vows and each new union symbolizes the same word "Love". I suppose there is no verb for love so expressing it with symbols and actions helps define it best on this special day.
After packing up when a long day of celebration has come to the end, I go home and go talk over each detail from that day with my husband and share all my favorites.
A) Blue shoes - who knew? I'm over here dying of jealousy and Amanda here is rocking her wedding day like the coolest bride I know.
B) The set of wine glasses - SO TRUE, thank you Amanda and Nate for setting the stage for real life in the Ever After days to come!
If I may speak out to those who are now married - Those who remember feeling a year or more worth of effort planning suddenly going by so quickly, and all that hard work having passed by in less than 8 hours. By the end of the day surely having felt it had been a blur and often now wonder if everyone soaked in all that hard work... we did. I certainly do.
When I miss my church service on a Sunday because I am with an amazing couple, I do not feel left out at home. I take home some really great life lessons at a wedding and I ALWAYS leave a wedding having learned something invaluable. Then I go home and share these invaluable life tips, into my own marriage. That is often what I look forward to most. And I am so thankful to all the couples who don't realize how much they are giving at their own ceremony.
One officiant said "it was by no coincidence we were all gathered together this day" to witness two people marry each other. This couple sat down and took the time to pick the people who impacted them the most, who supported them, who believed in their marriage and their journey they were stepping into and wanted them their to share this love that is so strong.
I love hearing personally written vows. I once saw a diary a bride shared for photos, that began with her and her fiancé's first date and she had wrote entires up to that morning on their wedding day and presented it as a gift to her groom before they walked down the aisle. Seeing his tears and her tears, that moment of surprise and thankfulness from each other....That reaction was worth every photo.
The friends and family who gather always share stories throughout the day of how the two brought everyone together that day. I am ALWAYS impressed.
This couple - Amanda and Nate Nguyen apparently were brought together by Nick (Amanda's dad) and hot motorcycles. - I think I speak correctly when I say it was the common make & model of Yamaha...and the cute guy on it.
What Amanda probably is realizing right now, what a great story her dad shared with everyone on this lovely evening that I am now so generously sharing with you all!
Amanda saw this cute guy on the nice motorcycle. She told her dad about the cute guy on the motorcycle. Amanda and her dad enjoyed their time together and by that evening Amanda told her dad something very exciting - She found the hot yamaha guy they saw earlier on FB!
Some joked about Amanda's ways of finding Nate, but I'm like Amanda. My family also calls me a "stalker" when we tell how Zack (my husband) and I met. I think we are just women who know what we want when we find it. And lucky for us - they were great guys we said "Yes" to after THEY proposed.
Thank you for the invite Amanda and Nate. Your wedding was wrapped with family and friends celebrating two very lovely people.
Best wishes in your journey together.
Venue: Kress Terrace
Flowers: Occasions Custom Floral Design
Cake: The Brides cousin Alyssa Morgenthaler
Make-up: Mary Kay by Lindsey Watson
Hair: Salon 929 of Winston, Lee Russell
Dress: Southern Bride
Have you been out to The Homestead at Mill Creek? It is a lovely wedding venue in Walkertown, NC.
This was my first time out as one of several great photographers in the local area.
There is an amazing group of local businesses in our area, we gather once a month to collaborate and build each other up. Doesn't that sound fun? I love it!
This past month was a great opportunity for a styled Engagement session to take place for inspiration for other Engaged couples like yourself! Let everyone know what you think, I am linking all the vendors who collaborated so I could take beautiful photos!
Meet Brooke & Isaac who are Engaged and enjoy their lovely styled session just for them and to offer a soft look of inspiration for your upcoming wedding while showcasing people you want to know about in the area for your upcoming wedding or event!
Notice the dress, it is a blush pink and flatters Brooke's skin tone. The dress was designed by Jill Stuart.
If you are loving this bouquet like me, Dahlias floral design pieced together this magnificent bundle of soft color and greenery.
Face Forward perfected Brooke's hair and make-up. I personally loved the side braid.
Nu Expression was the artist behind the stationary. I just love it!
I hope you enjoyed the colors, the couple and the photos!
If you are looking for a photographer, connect with me here on www.NicoleHuffmanPhotography.com, or call me 336.981.4177 I would love to hear what inspired you for our next styled photo session!
It was over two years ago I received an e-mail from a Miss Kristen Glaze. She was recently engaged and had moved from North Wilkesboro, NC, to a remote island in Alaska...Wrangell.
Never heard of it...Awesome!!
She was in search of a Wedding Photographer...and she was e-mailing me!
Kristen was so sweet to ask if I was available or interested in a destination wedding. Of course I was (is this for real??) As long as literally the sun wasn't scheduled to fall into the earth or any other natural disaster, there was no way I was passing up seeing Kristen & Jim tie the knot in Alaska! Honestly, I was more concerned if she was sure she wanted me to be the one with a camera on their wedding day!
It only took that initial e-mail and I was #AllDebord !
When Zack and I de-boarded the tiny plane on the remote island we were welcomed in a one room airport, (smaller than the main level of our NC home) Kristen and her mom, Debbie, were there, the groom, and Ollie, the guy from the hotel was also there to pick us up. Everyone was there!
We were helped into our hotel and went to the hotel restaurant for lunch before taking a rest after the 48 hour journey to this new and amazing place. Low and behold, we were thinking over our order and Zack says, "Nicole, the Time Bandit is pulling into the dock". "Hahaha, that would be so cool" as I laugh off and continue reading the menu, not looking up. "No, seriously it's the Time Bandit". At this point I look up just to "let him fool me". "OH MY GOSH, Zack, it's the Time Bandit!"
Wrangell, is a surreal place. If you look right, there are fishing boats of all kinds, like the famous Time Bandit and others from the Discovery Channel hit reality TV series. If you look back to your left there is The Yard, (background of the above photo) one of The History Channels hit reality shows. If you look straight ahead you have the Pacific Ocean with orca and humpback whales and Glaciers, only a fraction of the world will ever see.
*Fun Fact - The Yard actually took off work early for this wedding ceremony so that there wouldn't be such loud background noise during the ceremony.
*Fun Fact 2 - Notice the Time Bandit "photo-bombing" some of these photos of the wedding party!
I'm forgetting lunch and rushing to the dock with my camera to witness one of the star crab boat from our favorite TV show. "This is so unreal" I kept thinking.
Every place we went was a new level of excitement, the grocery store welcomed us as the photographers for Kristen and Jim's wedding on Saturday. The Apperal shop saw us walk in and said "Hey, someone is looking for the Huffman's"...."Uhm, Hi! We are the Huffman's...maybe. Who is looking for us?" It was Dave the bike rental gentleman who was on his way to meet us and leave us with bikes for the week. Of course... Dave!
What a nice town to live in. What great neighbors. That is just part of why it is so beautiful a place.
The few days leading up to the wedding Kristen & Jim invited us over with family for breakfast, for the rehearsal, even for a hike. They were beyond hospitable.
Zack and I went with the couple to Jim's Boat where he and Kristen were their own Fisherman. Jim Captain and Kristen the deck hand they brought in their own fish and profit this past summer. It was pretty amazing to hear Kristen could do all this like a champ, while working at the local hospital with Jim and still finding time planning this wedding. Her and Jim are both just wholesome people who are just very fun to be around.
The wedding day came,
Her dad walked her down the aisle...
Jim was amazed when he saw her...
They said ... "I Do".
Kristen & Jim had their crew of family from their home places and it was a surreal moment to feel being all the way on the Pacific Ocean side of North America with other Wilkes Natives (Atlantic Ocean side of North America).
At night we were roasting marshmallows and counting earth satellites, (I think we counted up to 28) under the Alaskan sky with childhood friends, as well as our daughters therapist. Being together years later and a world away from home definitely added to the celebration of why Kristen & Jim's wedding was so intimate.
For more from Kristen and Jim's nautical wedding, come on over to my office and I will show you the not advertised wedding album including all the great catches we caught that day hanging near the Time Bandit on this special summer afternoon in Wrangell, Alaska!
Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. DeBord!
What if I told you the first thing most brides & couples ask me right from the start is "How much do you charge?"
Does that sound about right? What if I also told you, it isn't the most important question from a bride or couples. Would you believe me? Let's keep reading (while enjoying this couples Engagement photos).
I do believe "How much do you charge" is the first thing asked because Newly Engaged couples are just starting to plan and often can get overwhelmed with the amount of information and services available for weddings. That is where I can help, ready to capture their wedding day.
It's fair for brides to not know what else to ask, so the importance of their wallet comes out first.
But...What do brides and couples want MOST from their photographers?
Is it how many weddings I have photographed?
Is it the amount of products each couple gets included in their wedding package?
Is it based on if I provide a limited number of images or the USB with unlimited amounts of photos?
What about my website, do I have the BEST photos?
Maybe, it's what's in my camera bag.
I think all of these are very important to talk about of course, but I think what's most important is my emotional contribution to their wedding day.
You'll notice when we meet, the fist thing I ask you will not be about your wallet, it will be somewhere along the lines of "Hi, I'm Nicole! What are your names? When is the big day? What are you most excited about? Have you thought about what photography you want included on your wedding day, if not, I would love to talk with you and get to know you a little to make sure we are a great fit to work together". I want you to be happy, like I will be when I show up cameras in hand as I stand at your side throughout your wedding day.
I believe what every bride wants most is to hear from me, a hired professional photographer, is that I am just emotionally invested in her wedding day as she is. I think if she hears that from me FIRST, that the other important questions will be answered as we get to know each other and knowing how invested I am will help her feel secure in her decision to hire a photographer like me.
I met Shelby's mom before Shelby even knew she was getting Engaged. Lucas had big plans for her!
In fact, after Shelby's mom and I talked a little about her and her soon-to-be fiancé, I was so high up on the call list she called me the day after he proposed! Already, I felt like friends of this growing family.
I soon met Shelby, her mom, and her grandma at their house. Everyone sat around in the kitchen talking about wedding plans and when they would get married and all the fun and excitement. I saw her ring, her smile, her families adoration for the newly engaged couple. It was fun.
I didn't get to meet Lucas just yet because he was at work - "He is always working" they told me.
When I heard how Lucas has been farming on his own, successfully, since he was 16 and having them invite me to where he farms for an Engagement session, I thought wow, these two are still young and just so ambitious, AWESOME!
Lucas proposed on the foundation of the home the he and Shelby are building together - Shelby's sister shared the proposal video with me, and yes, I just wanted to cry! It was so romantic!
It is exciting to have this family share in their joyful year of Engagement and tag along with my camera for all the important moments that will be happening. That is priceless to me!
I recently read about someone talking about their $30,000 photo. It immediately pulled me in. I read how this one photo she had on display that got so many reactions, much like I do with this photo of Kiesha & Kyle. After I read her article I realized she was right. It was a $30,000 photo.
Here is my $30,000 photo, and I'll tell you why it is.
It was taken on a live film set in Auckland, New Zealand. The film had not been released yet and I had to be discrete in how I shot angles and not to reveal too much that could expose the film set, or the location that had yet to have it's first debut on the big screens.
It was a military wedding. He is a Marine and she is in the New Zealand Air Force.
I flew in from North Carolina along with my husband to capture their day.
In my bag was Canon's top of the line equipment for professional photographers. We used all of it!
The gear itself was an investment over $20,000. If you consider our travel, our work time, our editing...This added up and when I stepped back to look at this photo I am so proud of, it is worth at least $30,000. But reflecting back to that day (weekend), the experience and this couple - priceless! The humbling realization that I was trusted to capture something so valuable to them was a once in a lifetime day for all of us.
After all the fun, I spent much time editing and making sure all their photos were clean and sharp and exactly what they hoped for.
Then, I printed this photo on a huge canvas and every where I go, THIS is the photo I get the most reactions from. Tears from moms, strangers and couples.
When you add it all up, yes, you can say it's a $30,000 photo. Or if you are me, Zack (my husband), or this bride and groom, we will all tell you it is priceless. It was worth every penny.
I thought I would share it with you all once more, I appreciate it so much more than I had after reading another photographer talk about the value of their work and what an investment it takes from your photographer and not to under-value your work. My value is based on your reactions. Reactions that I capture without you realizing it while you're on the other side of my lens. Reactions from strangers when it's a huge canvas mounted for anyone to see and tell someone else about. It is a beautiful and powerful effect.
It takes an investment from your photographer to create a great photo, one you can say is worth $30,000! So, think about that when you are shopping around for your wedding photographer. When the most precious moments in your life are captured, you want the person just as invested as you are.
Haylie and Zachary are married!
Haylie has been the wonderland bride with flowers surrounding her just as all their family and friends have surrounded them as she walked the grassy aisle to Zachary.
Haylie's floral artist was Desi's Floral Design out of North Wilkesboro, NC.
Her something borrowed laid around her neck, and her grandmother took time to perfect her nails. Her sisters and best friends adored her, showered her and helped her get ready that morning.
Haylie is the barefoot wild child from the farmlands of Indianna. She told me she was going "bare" on her feet this day but I had no idea how adorable her feet would be! These bare sandals are handmade and were worn by Haylie and her bridesmaids. Catherine Cole studio was the "shoe" artist:)
They joined each other in Trade, Tennessee (a short hop from Boone, North Carolina) at what felt like the edge of the world with their only barrier being the mountains to contain the love and excitement of the day which was unfolding like a magnolia tree blooming.
If you love rustic and beautiful mountains all around, you need to venture out to White Fence Farm. They hold a beautiful venue with an outdoor barn and covered dance floor, mountain tops, a guest house with all the “old house” things you love, even a vintage air streamer for the couple or groomsmen!
The groom, Zachary or Zach or Huffie, is a NC native. His family is from Shelby North Carolina. Haylie and Zachary each brought soil from their home-place and planted a tree together during their ceremony. This was a symbolic way of bringing their two families together.
“I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight
I wanna love you and hold you tight...
Spin you around on some old dance floor
Act like we never met before…
I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight
I wanna love you and hold you tight...
- A clip from lyrics to a song by Jodi Pardi that - to me- described these two at their wedding.
Here are a few divine cupcakes graced by Haylie at Indulge Bakery....YUM. Flavors included, S'mores, champagne, red velvet,
and Reese's peanut butter cup. There was no wrong choice...trust me, I tasted!
"...Spin you around on some old dance floor”
They are meant for this journey in marriage together.
They are one of few who are lucky enough to recognize the importance of inclusion and know what true love and commitment will take to be great together. They build each other up daily and that is very clear to all the family and friends who joined them July 9th, 2016.
May the best be ahead of you always!
So much love,
Emily first saw Daniel at their old high school gymnasium, on the stairs. It was among friends where she and Annie joked of who they would marry one day. Little did they know over a decade later that Emily and Daniel WOULD tie the knot this last weekend in May!
The floral arrangements, Event Planning along with the reception details from the wedding day were professionally arranged by the Huffman family with Huffman Events, based in North Wilkesboro, NC.
It only felt right that they took their nuptials back to the place where their young hearts first fluttered. When school was in session, it was Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School. Since then Bishop has moved and what is know as “Old Bishop” is currently Our Lady of Mercy Catholic school in Winston-Salem, NC.
Emily also has another passion that has grown with her since childhood, Irish Dancing. From a strong Irish family, Emily was supported and encouraged all the way to World Championships. You can see the passion and tradition that dance through her when she joins a ceili or two-hand--yes, her sisters are dancers, too!
It was a fresh look into Emily’s world when watching her Irish traditions come to play at their wedding.
Blue wedding shoes- Yes, please! She broke out her “real shoes” at the reception.
What's special about these shoes, you ask? Daniel had bought these as a surprise birthday gift a few years ago. Eventually he had to ask why she never wore them. To her it seemed obvious--they had to be first worn at their wedding! The perfect soft-shoes would surely get scuffed when SHE was on the dance floor! LOVED it!
She did dance at their wedding, to a beautiful Irish band! There was a two-hand dance with her sister that was impressive to say the least! More dancing with friends and family followed and I am sure the guys were relieved she kept it classical for Daniel and Dad!
We were able to sneak off for a few photos of just the two newlyweds in their old gym. Magic happened in this beautiful photo. When they mentioned “an old gym,” I am sure no one expected enchanted lighting and rustic wood bleachers to soften the mood.
We took a tour down memory lane and captured their first moments ever and their first as well, married!
I met Haylie towards the beginning of 2016.
We sat down in a (my favorite) local bakery, Indulge which is located inside Papa Joe's in Blowing Rock, NC.
Haylie had along her mom and one of her sisters. They were all beautifully dressed and soft spoken and Haylie was this happy and talkative young lady that was so excited in planning her upcoming wedding. I think we were all in such a great mood and conversation just fell in place that we forgot to order drinks!
-I think I literally jumped when Haylie said they had decided to take my recommendation and have Indulge made cupcake creations at their wedding (photos will be in their wedding blog).
It is a rare treat to just meet someone and know you could have talked for so much longer than allowed about their wedding, her details, her family, how they met... it was all going in the right direction. I had to work with them!
Lucky for me, Haylie got back in touch with me and we finalized a few details and we were officially on for July 9th, 2016!
These are her Bridal Portraits, taken just days before she walked barefoot down the grass-grown path to Zachary.
I think the love-struck bride was present in her photos, and I cannot wait to hear how Zachary reacted over her!
Because- I know he waited until after their wedding Saturday before he would sneak a peak at her in her dress! What a sweet guy!
Haylie is rustic, gentle, kind, and much like an open field of flowers, where the rest of the world and mountains grow around her.
I have grown to appreciate her, have her in front of my camera, and be thankful to witness her and Zachary's journey to their marriage!
Best yet, she is moving closer to me! I have openly called her out at their wedding that I plan to see them soon!
These are the ones, the couples, that I get up for, believe in myself more for, and persevere. A photo isn't great until you feel why it was worth taking. She has been worth all the photos!
I cannot wait to share your adventurous wedding in a few short days!
Your wanderlust photographer,
Megan and Jeremy are married!
Enjoy a glimpse into this wedding day and all the lovely people who made it possible and celebrated these two becoming one!
* Be sure to click on photos to enlarge their size or be able to view all the mini galleries below.
Megan has been a most adventurous bride, and I loved throwing wild ideas at her and Megan’s response being “okay, let’s do it”. This Includes a treacherous hike up a mountain in her wedding dress, the girl has no fear!
The photos proved to be amazing and worth the 90 degree uphill journey in dresses and toting along heavy camera gear!
From that first session, I knew Megan was a “bucket list” bride. Every photographer dreams of meeting couples who love adventure as much as they do, willing to go above and beyond for the prefect shot! Megan was that lady!
Megan and Jeremy really thought out the details. Megan pulled together so many different flowers to place around the reception room and it was eye-catching all around.
The color made details pop, like her ring on a single flower (!!!)
When their wedding day arrived it was no surprise that Megan was a happy bride, celebrating with every guest. When it came time for photos of just the two of them before the sun left that day, no words were needed. They were two people in love, who just said “I DO” for their forever. It was all I needed to get their photos. - Bucket list couple!
A new face for me at Megan and Jeremy’s celebration was the unexpected voice and acoustics by Shay Lovette during the outdoor ceremony at Broyhill park. I have already recommended him to my other lovely couples looking for a solo voice to carry the bride down the aisle. His voice complimented their ceremony perfectly.
The song “swept away” by North Carolina’s very own The Avett Brother’s took on a whole new level of "swooning" when Megan’s DAD sang it for her and Jeremy’s first dance.
A) The man can sing.
B) Dad singing to his daughter at her wedding… Oh my gosh! My eyes flooded and knees buckled! I soaked up their moment as it was truly genuine and magnificent!
Megan told me she wanted unique gifts to give her guests. Snake Mountain Iron Works (check them out- seriously!) hand crafted metal NC state tree ornaments for all their guests to enjoy through the winter holidays this year! Genius gift!
If you have ever tasted the best cake ever at a wedding, I’m sure it was made from scratch by Haylee Olson at Indulge bakery.
I’ll be honest- I’m slightly a cake snob. I am a very picky cake lover. It is not easy to find and taste a cake that is truly GOOD. Haylee on the other hand, I have seen her making yummy wedding goodness and every flavor has surprised my tastebuds! I am not sure of her secret ways, but she is the only cake artist that goes above and beyond for a catchy looking cake that tastes even better than it looks, that I have come in-taste with (wink).
Coyote Kitchen served dinner, in a most tasteful way. Everyone loved their southwestern display of foods. They even had a chips and salsa table, which was so perfect to have with dancing on this summer evening! I even grabbed a photo of Megan and Jeremy on their Blue iconic catering truck.
Enjoy a few more of the lovely two. It was a perfect day for their wedding. I am so thankful to have had them to work with!
Emmalyn is ONE!
What I love about smash cake sessions that I didn't know before, I don’t have to be in a studio!
I have battled for awhile if I should take on studio work so I could take the cute babe photos diving head first into their first cake! I wasn’t sure I was the best fit for studio photography. Deep sigh, until recently… I had an idea!
I climbed out of my “box of rules” and started looking around. I get so excited when I find a random corner door or overgrown driveway that has beautiful natural light.
“I want to take pictures here!” Is something my kids are OVER hearing me say. I am sure the general public AND family can only handle so many, many photos of my own cute babes.
But you, and your babe - I haven’t photographed yet! I would love to take you along for a one-of-a-kind photo session!
I am now offering One Year Smash Cake sessions, and other sessions that normally are handled inside a studio only we will be outside…somewhere completely new!
No doubles of your vintage & up-cycled location. It will be the first edition styled session just for you!
as long as we can both appreciate being "earthy" in the same way that, a little dirt never hurt anyone, just in case we find a picturesque puddle that leads to mud... and all those adorable puddled up photos! Yes, we will have a lot of fun!
Spots are limited as summer is already here! Let’s talk soon!
All sessions booked between now and 4th of July @ midnight will have no tax on their session! YAY- no one likes taxes anyway!
*If you are a fan of Miss Emmalyn's fancy accessories her mommy picked out for her One Year Cake Smash session, find more customizable accessories not found at your local retail shop here, www.baileysblossoms.com.
Emmalyn's romper, necklace and both bows complimented her session thanks to everyone at Bailey's Blossoms!
A couple weeks ago I made my way to West Jefferson, NC to photograph Kayla in her wedding dress at 16 Hands Farm.
We had 16 Hands Farm owner, Kelly, there to show off this stunning venue that has been hiding away for the perfect couples!
“I have to photograph weddings here!” I told Kelly, Kayla, and DeAnna (with Edenouse). There is so much to look at, not a single space that had not been thought about. So many pretty flowers, rustic barns, horses, even a pond, all perfectly laid out to catch your eye. There is so much character here, I could not take it all in during one session.
DeAnna with Edenhouse was there with flowers and talking about Event Planning. She is so talented with her hands and planning Weddings, it is obvious knowing the details is her thing!
Edenhouse boasted rich flowers in Kayla’s Bridal bouquet which also served as a beautiful backdrop to catch a photo holding Kayla’s wedding ring.
As a photographer, this is one place I would recommend local brides start looking for a fresh venue to hold your “I do’s”. I would love to join you there in photography paradise!
If you are looking to book Wedding Photography and packages, please connect with me here, under the “connect” tab, and if you book before July 4th, 2016 - There will be NO TAX on your wedding booking!
This is an Independence Day Celebration for all my photography clients! Let’s start talking about your wedding!
*Booking 2016/2017 wedding dates
Your Wedding Photographer
Our house was built with so much love.
Our love comes from Ohio, Good Ol’ Wilkes County, NC, Greensboro, Asheville, Michigan, even a place called New Prague, MN.
Our house has character, and memories too.
Memories with backyard fires that carry the smell of foil packs and smore’s all the way upstairs and rest on pillow cases long after the laughter and coals are out. The kind of fire that never really goes out.
Even in winter the fire is hot. We heat with wood and we keep it stocked. Warm feet and cozy seats leave us singing from our "top 100 list of best songs ever”. We bake to teach our children a sense of our heritage, and because I want chocolate pie!
The love in our house is in everything.
We have loved through graduations, marriages, newborns, loss, angels, football (Steelers and the Browns), baseball, family trips, family memories, family games, choosing family names for the babies. We have loved through so much, it wouldn’t matter what could come. It’s known we would all be there in our house, together. No matter the storm, no matter what weather.
Our house is sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, cousins, sons and daughters. We are one but we are not the same. We get to carry each other. We get to love one another, in our house.
There is so much about our house.
There are floors that creak, doors that pull teeth and a hole in the floor that all the kids from each generation love.
Because even when kids should be asleep, below is a baby grand piano that plays until they dream.
There is an old blueish-green stool that’s survived at least 4 generations and boasts worn memories of helping people up in our house.
Friends become family when they walk through the red side door.
They are always invited to stay for dinner and if they can’t, they’re told to please come back and “We’ll cook something together”.
There is always fresh baking, good home cooking, and every weekend at least a dozen or so of us sitting around the table for breakfast, for dinner, for game night, or someone’s yearly day of celebration.
Our house is strong. Strong with belief. Belief in our religion, belief that you can always do better if you try. Be good, be good, be good. Try your hardest, always give your best. Our house, I believe, is the best.
Now our house is 9 grandkids strong. To think back to where we started, it was with Number One, Caroline. Assigned a number by birth order, you're more likely to be called your number than your name. It’s easier that way!
The kids in our house are the reason we stay. We stay to be a strong house. We come home on weekends because we believe family should pray together on Sundays. We parent together because we are united. We play together because cousins will always be your best friends. And you can count on family forever.
Our house was built with so much love.
Yes, that’s our house.
I love this house.
I am sure you have a house like ours, or you have been to ours or one like ours. If not, you're invited to dinner and we’ll cook something together! I hope this warms your heart with thoughts of your own family home and memories this Father’s Day weekend.
Nicole and the rest of our house