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I'm Ali Rae and I love building brands.
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Stephanie and Jeff are the couple of my dreams–adventurous, sincere, and relaxed, but still chic. I knew when they were game for a sunrise session on the beach in March that they were adventurous. But when we went to the second location for their engagement session, Airlie Botanical Gardens, and they came out in a suit and an elegant, emerald gown, that these were my people.
As they began to tell me more about their wedding day, I realized that this was going to be a wedding for the books. It was a smaller wedding with about 45 guests in attendance. All were close friends and family. This goes to show the character behind these two; they love and cherish those that they care the most about. That was obvious throughout their entire wedding day. The couple lives in North Carolina, despite getting married at the groom’s father’s home. Many of their guests made the trip to celebrate with them.
Immediately when Caleb and I walked through the doors, Jeff’s mother asked if she could get us any cider or coffee. We are so used to taking care of our couples on their wedding days that I didn’t really know how to respond. But it’s clear that the couple came by their loving tendencies honestly!
Stephanie went through her bridal transformation in a special room, a room that was dedicated to women who have been in and contributed to the Marine Corps. As a Marine spouse, this was an incredible honor to be at the Home of the Commandant and learn so much about its history.
Once both Stephanie and Jeff were adorned in their wedding attire, they ventured out for their first look on the sidewalks lining the parade deck. It was absolutely magnificent. When couples agree to do a first look, it truly makes my heart so happy because they are able to enjoy a moment to themselves and revel in the joy of their wedding day. It also alleviates the nerves leading up to the ceremony. For Stephanie and Jeff, their pup, Lanie, was also able to join in on the festivities. She could tell something was different about today and was really excited and a little anxious!
The bridal party was comprised of all Jeff’s brothers, Stephanie’s sister, and those close friends I mentioned earlier, who really were like family! The couple went to NC State and met while there. They are still very close with the group of friends that they established while attending the school.
One of my favorite things about ceremonies is watching the guests reactions to each part. The groom’s mother and father, who celebrated their 40th anniversary shortly after Stephanie and Jeff’s wedding day, held hands almost the entire time. It is so sweet to see the love for the couple and the love between guests as they watch a couple say their vows.
Afterwards, we all headed to the reception to enjoy some dancing and cocktails, but not before the Best Man and Maid of Honor brought some happy tears to the eyes of the guests. I honestly felt like royalty because the chef that was preparing the meal had cooked for President Obama and President Trump! It was a delicious meal and one that will not be soon forgotten.
We ended the night with a classic sparkler exit to send the bride and groom off into newlywed life!
Thank you so much to Stephanie and Jeff for including us in your day. It was truly a highlight of my photography career and I could not be more thankful to have met you all!
Venue | Home of the Commandants
Photography | Ali Rae Haney Photography
Bridal Gown Boutique | Maggi Bridal
Bridal Shoes | Kailee P
Bride & Bridesmaids’ Hair & Makeup | Jamie D’Agostino Makeup Artistry
Bridesmaids Dresses | Bella Bridesmaids
Groom and Groomsmen’s Suits | Men’s Wearhouse
Florist | Petal’s Edge
Baker | Stacie Cakes
DJ | Toussaint Productions
Caterer | Marine Corps
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